Travel on Points

Starting from Scratch: Credit Cards

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

Starting from Scratch: Credit Cards

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

What if I don't have a credit card

Our standard advice for people starting out in points and miles is to sign up for a Chase credit card, typically the Sapphire Preferred or the Sapphire Reserve. But Chase has more stringent credit requirements than some issuers and therefore not everyone who wants a CSR or CSP will be approved. Specifically, Chase wants to see a good credit score with a solid credit history of more than a year that includes a variety of accounts. For those who have been told that credit cards are evil, or who got in over their head in their youth and haven't had a card in years, a Chase card may not be in reach.

So where do you start? There are still plenty of options that can help you build some good credit history.

Option A: a Card that Earns 2% Cash Back on Everything

This card earns a total of 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% cash back when you make the purchase and an additional 1% when you pay for that purchase. 

2% cash back is as competitive as any cash back card on the market, and will help you start earning rewards on purchases right away.

Option B: a Card that Earns up to 5% Cash Back

Another great choice is a card that earns 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter, and 1% cash back on everything else. If you can maximize the quarterly purchase categories, you could end up earning significantly more cash back.

This card also comes with a great promotion for the first year where the issuer will match your first year's cash back – so effectively you will earn a minimum of 2% on everything in your first year, although you will have to wait a while for the match.

Set yourself up for success by picking a card that will reward you for your spending so that once your credit history is established, you can really dive in. Check out these cards here.

Come join our Facebook group to continue the discussion and learn more!

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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