I was in the exact same situation as you roughly a year and a half ago. One card with a $320 limit, One card with a $300 limit and an outrageous APR, a Wally World Store Card, and a huge demand on me to travel weekly with the rest of the consultants back and forth from Baltimore to Nashville. I had bad credit, and a not so great salary. My advice to you is this...
1. Explore flight options with Southwest Airlines. They have no baggage fees and fly most places.
2. Become a Rapid Rewards Member and book your flights, rental cars, and hotels through Southwest using their coupon and member discounts. It will save you money.
3. Budget Rental cars and Dollar Rental Car at the Airport are pretty much cheaper than all the ones listed on here especially if you use the discount codes provided on the southwest site (tried and true).
4. Book your flights at least 2 or more weeks out on Southwest and you can take advantage of the "wanna get away rates" that are much cheaper than other airlines.
5. If you book through budget directly (and still apply the Southwest Coupon Codes), you have the option to prepay. Remember, money already spent that you have a receipt for you can expense it and be waiting for that check to be direct deposited back into your bank account even as you're away on business.
6. Find out what or even if your company has any corporate agreements for rates with various hotels. I'm not certain that I can name this website on here, but Flyer Talk has a thread that specifically lists discount codes for Marriott properties and others that are available to the general public even if you do not have a corporate code, and that can save you money. Become a rewards member of every hotel chain that you can think of and even they will send you deals through email.
7. If you work with other consultants that work for other companies, ask if they have a corporate code that they use (I did, and it helped me tremendously). I was staying at the Renaissance Marriott in Music city for like $74 bucks a night. That hotel would otherwise have been $179+ nightly.
8. When you're on site, make it your business not to eat excessively expensive meals every day and night. Spend minimally during the day if you plan on mingling with others in the evening.
9. If you can help it, get a room that has a microwave and refrigerator, and purchase your groceries for the week and bring your lunch. It helps.
10. I can't recall if you have an account with a CU or not, but if you do, apply for a loan or card there. Speak with a loan officer and explain your situation. They may be able to help. In fact, they're more likely to be more lenient than prime lenders or others.
11. Did you know that you can have your hotel rooms prepaid in advance too? Money never has to change hands between you and the hotel. If you have a boss who manages a departmental budget or has a card or has a higher up that has a card, you can book the room, and they can fax over a form and prepay for your stay. All you have to do is hand over a form of payment for incidentals.
Your issue can be resolved. I am living proof of that. Sometimes, credit cards and loans are not going to be readily available, but you have other options. Also, pride might be the thing that prevents you from asking the question or putting it out there that you need help to your employer, but you shouldn't allow it to be the thing that prevents you from getting your job done and getting yourself in a better position. You'd be shocked how many folks appear to be well-to-do that actually have worse credit than you.
Just my two cents. I've jumped off that prideful wagon and fessed up, now I'm all the better, and traveling anywhere isn't such a problem anymore. But I had to start where you are right now.
Actually, that all is part of my issue. All of this is being booked for me through a business travel agency that my employer uses. I can not book my own travel. My employer has an agreement through this travel agency to use certain preferred providers when ever possible to reduce costs but with my limited experience so far the costs are the same as the normal going rate. I also have to expense an entire weeks travel together and am not supposed to prepay any expenses. For example I asked if I could prepay the rental car on one of my trips and they advised me that in case I was not needed and they had to cancel they would not receive a refund and therefore not to do that.
OK guys. I wanted to update everyone on here that has been really helpful to me. I spoke to the lady from Capital One exec. office yesterday morning. Explained my situation, answered a few questions regarding the dings on my credit report, my income and why I needed the CLI. She actually brought up a possible product change to a rewards card because she felt with me traveling for work getting points or cash would be best for me since I paid in full every month anyways, a higher APR didn't matter to me. She sent it in for manual underwriting and I haven't heard back from them yet but I just logged into my account to make sure the payment I sent yesterday posted and BAM $1,500 credit limit. It looks like they left me on the Platinum and didn't add any rewards but the important part is that it is going to make it a lot easier for me to do this traveling. I assume that I'll get a phone call from them at some point to tell me so I'll ask about the rewards then but really happy that they accomodated my needs.
This would not have worked was it not for the people on here who went out of their way to help me out. To each of you, thank you. This will take a load off of me for the future and hopefully the increase will also help my and my wife's scores.
Awesome news! I kept checking back as I know you needed it for work. Now you need a gameplan for the future.
Congrats!!! Good luck on the new job.
Working on the game plan portion of it now. Still trying to get Wells Fargo to goodwill some lates during the modification process. If they do that I should see a substantial jump. I have one old derogatory that falls off in less than 2 months, and one account that I have finally convinced the original that it was a fraudulent account again. They should be removing that in the next 30 days and they say that they will send me a letter stating that I am not responsible for that account this time so if they start reporting again I'll be able to get it knocked off sooner. If all that turns out I'm hoping for a 50-75 point jump. That would be awful nice right now.
This is awesome news and I am so happy for you. I knew it would work out no matter what. There's always a way even when it seems that there isn't. It sucks that your company now uses a travel company for all travel, so it pretty much voids most of what I said. When we got bought out and got switched to the new company's corporate cards, I dealt with the same thing. The fortunate side of it is that even if we didn't have to book through Carlson Wagonlit, I now have sufficient available credit to travel without worries. Apparently most places are moving to the travel company thing.
But it really does beg the question...If all travel is coordinated through a travel company for low price sake, why can't businesses guarantee cards for the staff members that they require to travel? It sucks to say the least. But I'm thrilled that you were able to work it out with C1. Now you can just manage that card for travel and get your game plan in order to build that nice cushion of emergency/if really needed credit limits that will enable you to not have to sweat bullets during your trips. Cheers to you. I know all about how it feels.