FAQ

cellardarling
2018 New York concert with members of the band Cellar Darling

Why do you talk so much about credit cards?

Credit cards, especially those tailored for travel, offer tremendous value especially from big welcome offers and benefits which can help you travel well at next to no cost. Many cards, after using them for a three-month period, can easily offer more than $500 in value and that’s not even considering benefits like airport lounge access, travel credits, and point multipliers.

Why get only between 1-2% back on all purchases on the ‘same old card’ when you can instead get multiple cards which offer a very high return on your spending mainly through welcome offers?

Before I started this hobby, I would generally avoid travel or just travel locally as I thought travel would be too expensive. The credit card hobby has allowed me to travel for next to no cost to places like Athens, Greece; Hawaii; Las Vegas; New Orleans; and Chicago. The sky’s the limit!

Will applying for many credit cards hurt my credit score?

In most cases, a hard inquiry will cause one of your credit scores to drop a handful of points. These dips are temporary (inquiries will later fall off) and have very little overall impact on your scores especially if you have scores in the mid to upper 700s. The yearning for a ‘perfect credit score’ is highly overrated offering very little, if any, tangible value. Why not trade a few points for great welcome offers, travel benefits, and much more?

Paying annual fees doesn’t make sense, why should I do that?

Many premium credit cards indeed come with annual fees, but benefits from the cards — especially in the first year — often greatly outweigh the annual fee. Annual fees can be a great upfront investment! When the second year comes, many issuers will offer retention offers or even waive annual fees following a quick phone call.

If the second year with the card doesn’t make mathematical sense, you don’t have to pay an annual fee because you can product change, downgrade, or cancel. When starting, I won’t suggest beginning with high annual fee cards. Instead, you can apply for no annual fee cards or cards with annual fees around the $100 mark. I talk more about annual fees in podcast episode two.

Why spend so much effort on this? Is it really worth it?

In most cases, you’re going to have to put in some level of effort to receive great returns – such is the case for traditional jobs and even for entrepreneurs. I find the returns from all I do surrounding credit cards to be well worth it. I’m mindful of how I use my time and often pass on many deals which don’t have a great payoff. Your level of involvement is up to you.

Opening credit cards, opening bank accounts, and managing accounts is low effort for great return in my eyes. I also find this hobby to be very fun and rewarding. I like solving puzzles, experiencing success, and having access to exclusive experiences travel credit cards have allowed for. I’ve also met great communities of people through this hobby and have made good friends I speak with regularly!

Don’t be the guy I met months ago who said, “I put all of my spending on my American Express Platinum Card and get a free flight every year.” You can do much, much, much better than that!

How do I get started? Which card do you suggest for me?

I’m careful to not suggest just one strategy or card because individual circumstances dictate different paths. Everyone, though, can start somewhere – even those with no credit or poor credit! Complete my credit card questionnaire to get started and listen to my library of podcast episodes for more information.

Beyond my questionnaire, I offer consultation through my Patreon page – for just $30 an hour, I’ll have a tailored call with you offering extra support and answering any questions you have.

Do you need to be a genius to benefit from credit cards?

Absolutely not! The hobby, though, involves some level of discipline, financial responsibility, conscientiousness, and diligence…it’s not for you if you’d lose control with a credit card buying things you can’t afford, missing payments, or only making minimum payments (and then paying interest). Paying unneeded fees and irresponsible spending will erode the credit card gains. People from all walks of life I’ve brought on as podcast guests benefit from credit card rewards, why not you?

Why bother with travel points and miles when I can just get cashback and use that for travel?

Using one card, even getting 2% back on all spending, leaves tremendous amounts of value on the table. As I mentioned, huge gains come from welcome offers and benefits…and acquiring multiple cards allows for more gains. If you’re not working on a signup bonus and have no category multiplier, sure, use your 2% card, but far greater returns come from acquiring many cards.

Should I get an Amazon credit card because I often spend on Amazon?

I think this is a terrible starting point. Instead, look for cards which offer high total value — especially in year one — rather than focusing on particular areas of spending especially when you’re not really spending much at specific retailers.

Many cards offering bonuses on category spend often don’t have large signup bonuses or travel benefits, so it’s best to avoid them especially early on because you’ll very likely gain much more value through other cards – especially Chase cards! In addition, there are many ways to save more than 5% on Amazon spend through creative methods. For more, listen to episode 15 of my podcast.

What’s the catch? Surely banks aren’t giving all of this for nothing!

Banks make tremendous amounts of money through people paying interest, unneeded fees, and overspending. Indeed, some customers will come out ahead, but the banks understand that and still come out way ahead. Why not benefit from what they are offering? As I mentioned above, you can be disciplined, astute, and well above the curve to benefit from this. I’m here to help!