Tracking open and close dates for my credit cards is a must. I use a spreadsheet to keep track of which cards I’ve opened and closed so that I know when I will be eligible for the sign up bonus again, if at all. It is easy to forget which Amex cards I opened 4 years ago or how long ago it was that I opened a Hyatt card.
For the last few years I’ve applied for at least one new card every 3 to 6 months. There has probably been only one three month period that I’ve skipped. Until recently I was not very organized in my churning plan.
I’d usually have an idea of what cards I wanted to apply for but would wait until the last minute to layout my plan. This often led to missed opportunities where I would not earn the best sign up bonus, not apply for enough cards or forget about a card I had been wanting to get.
Last year I started the “Next Cards” Tab on my spreadsheet. I generally keep my list very specific for the upcoming churn and then loosely define what I’m going to apply for in churn number 2 which will be 3-6 months away.
I also keep a longer term list of cards I’d like to get. These cards make my list because they fit into my long term trip plans or they will just help add options for down the road. This also helps me keep a general list of sign up bonuses that I’m eligible for.
This is an example of what I have listed on our current spreadsheet. As you can see we’ll hope to earn 200,000 points from Amy’s next round of credit card applications.
I list out the spend requirement, the card, the bonus and notes about the card. At the time of the churn this spreadsheet help me makes sure we can hit the spend requirement and that we get all of the cards we want.
I read just about every blog post from the top miles and points blogs out there but I still don’t always know what the best sign up bonus is for any given credit card. There are many unpublished sign up bonuses that bloggers with affiliate relationships do not know about or don’t pay attention to.
Before I apply for any card I always do a Google search on the card to make sure I’m not missing out on a better sign up bonus than the publicly available offer. I also do a 2nd search and include the phrase “flyertalk” to review what people are saying about their application experience. These threads also have hard to find links to the best sign up bonus offers.
My List Of The Best Credit Cards
There are a lot of travel related credit cards out there. This list is not meant to include them all. This is my list of cards that I would consider getting if I was eligible to receive the sign up bonus.
American Air Gold
American Air Advantage Platinum
American Air Advantage Executive
American Air Advantage Business
Note: Amex also offers Hilton cards
Delta Platinum Business link
Delta Gold Business
Bank Of America
Alaska Air Business
Plenty of other options you can view here
American Air Aviator
Hawaiian Air Business
Virgin America Premium
All Flexperks options
Cash Back Cards worth noting