Do you have big travel plans on the horizon? Chances are you’ve been saving up enough dough to cover the costs. But have you considered a travel rewards credit card to help offset costs? Some offer generous incentives that could save you a bundle on your upcoming getaway. Read on to learn how to increase your approval odds.
What You'll Find in This Post
How to Get Approved for a Travel Rewards Credit Card
1. Retrieve your credit score
Having a low credit score doesn’t mean you won’t get approved, but the higher, the better. And if your score is in the trenches, you may want to wait a bit before applying. (More on that shortly).
You can retrieve your credit score for free through online tools, like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame. Keep in mind that creditors use unique algorithms when evaluating your application. So what you see could be higher or lower than what they see on their end.
2. Rectify errors
Your credit score isn’t the only item you want to take a look at before applying for a travel rewards credit card. You should also review your credit report to confirm the accuracy of the contents. Why so? Your credit score comes from what’s in the report and simple errors could be dragging your score down.
You can get a free copy of your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. If you spot errors, follow these instructions from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to file a dispute. Once they’re resolved, take another look at your updated credit score and decide if you’re ready to apply.
3. Shop around
Not all travel rewards credit cards are equal. So, you shouldn’t apply for the first offer that comes your way. Instead, shop around and narrow down your list to determine which ones best suit your needs. Be sure to read the fine print to get an understanding of the fees and incentives.
4. Improve your score
“Increase your credit score by 100 points in 30 days.” “How to increase credit score to 800 or higher in 30 days!” Sounds good, but isn’t as quick of a fix as it seems. According to FTC.gov, “no one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report.” And it takes more than 30 days to rectify major credit damage.
A better idea: learn what goes into your score so you’ll know what areas to focus on. The five components of your FICO score are:
- Payment history (35%)
- Amounts owed (30%)
- Length of credit history (15%)
- New credit (10%)
- Credit mix (10%)
Consequently, the best ways to boost your score include:
- Getting current on past due accounts and staying current
- Reducing your debt to available credit ratio on revolving debt (i.e. credit card)
- Only applying for credit as needed. (Each new application counts as an inquiry and shaves points off your credit score).
- Maintaining an equal balance of revolving and instalment credit
This could take a few months or years depending on what’s in your credit report. But it’s worth the wait if you want to get approved for the best travel rewards credit card products on the market. And if you don’t have any credit, a secured credit card or credit builder loan can help you build your score fast.
5. Submit an application
Have you received any credit card offers? If so, your approval odds are higher. But don’t fret if you haven’t received an offer. Many credit card companies have pre-qualification tools on their website. Even better, they will prescreen you with no impact to your credit score.
When you’re ready to apply, visit the credit card issuer’s website. Review the terms and conditions and complete the application in its entirety. Also, scan for errors and omissions as they can result in an unwarranted rejection.
You should receive a response within 60 seconds. Hopefully, it’ll be an approval notice. But if not, you can always call customer service and appeal the decision.
A Final Thought
If things don’t work out in your favor, try again with another card or give your credit score some time to improve. And before long, you’ll have that money-saving travel rewards credit card in hand.