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What to do next? (College Student)

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What to do next? (College Student)

I've been fairly active with credit the past ten months and on these forums but I've never really sat down and thought about my goals. Recently I've been super active on here and questioning my set up.

 

WasCB14 says "Until your income is significantly more than $31k, your best option may be to just occasionally get a nice bonus and not bother with airline loyalty or a focus on a particular CC rewards program". I wanted to start my own thread instead of piggybacking another. Should I shoot for high bonuses on AF cards, grab small bonuses on no-AF cards for age, or go for large bonuses with downgrade paths?

 

Also, should I bother sticking with one issuer or vary between a few? I've been told either way and I'm not sure which seems more efficient/effective. All the cards in my sig are acquired in the last ten months so I will be sitting in the garden for a while I just want to get some advice in order to know my goals better and have a plan for when my file looks good again.

 

Oh also since I am a college student I have a lot of large spend every semester as I pay out of pocket instead of student loans; other spending is travel and food majority.


New Accounts: 13/6 15/12 16/24 oops
I think I got all I want...

Message 1 of 36
35 REPLIES 35
Moderator

Re: What to do next? (College Student)

You've acquired a staggering amount of credit in a short period.  I know the SUBs are addictive (see signature, and that doesn't show closed or AU cards LOL), but it's probably time to slow down.  As long as you know what you want to do with your rewards, splitting them among different rewards isn't necessarily a problem.  If you have a fairly low income and are looking for premium cabin international travel with one particular transfer partner, it probably makes sense to stick with one.  If you are looking to maximize cash back, be careful of cards with minimum redemption values since if you're spreading spend around to maximize that, it'll be difficult to get up to $25 or $50 with say the card you're only using for gasoline.

 

I think it's a good time to decide how you want to use your rewards, and then you can work on a game plan from there, and maybe go for a new card with a huge SUB each semester?


Message 2 of 36
Super Contributor

Re: What to do next? (College Student)

With your lower income, I probably would be reconsidering paying for cards like Gold or Platinum. Chances are you won't spend enough to make them worthwhile compared to no AF cash back options.

 

wasCB's point was that because of your lower income, your rewards on everyday spend are not going to be that big in the grand scheme of things and you will probably reap more value out of the occasional sign up bonus instead of signing up for 15 different cards and trying to maximize every dollar. With lower income/spending it is important to decide what you want to redeem for and focus on 1 or 2 programs to help you with that goal because chasing every dollar is going to leave you with a tiny amount of rewards in many systems that will be of no use.

 

To be honest, I think you already have plenty of cards and could be too many for your income/spend but that is a personal opinion. I would say to focus your spend on 1-2 programs, maybe get the occasional signup bonus, but don't spread your spend on a dozen cards. It just won't get you anywhere.

Message 3 of 36
Frequent Contributor

Re: What to do next? (College Student)


@kdm31091 wrote:

With your lower income, I probably would be reconsidering paying for cards like Gold or Platinum. Chances are you won't spend enough to make them worthwhile compared to no AF cash back options.

 

wasCB's point was that because of your lower income, your rewards on everyday spend are not going to be that big in the grand scheme of things and you will probably reap more value out of the occasional sign up bonus instead of signing up for 15 different cards and trying to maximize every dollar. With lower income/spending it is important to decide what you want to redeem for and focus on 1 or 2 programs to help you with that goal because chasing every dollar is going to leave you with a tiny amount of rewards in many systems that will be of no use.

 

To be honest, I think you already have plenty of cards and could be too many for your income/spend but that is a personal opinion. I would say to focus your spend on 1-2 programs, maybe get the occasional signup bonus, but don't spread your spend on a dozen cards. It just won't get you anywhere.


I've done the math on the Plat/Gold and based on my spending habits they're perfectly made up for. If I was for some reason do some serious consolidation I would be okay with only having those two and they are def my last to get rid of. 


New Accounts: 13/6 15/12 16/24 oops
I think I got all I want...

Message 4 of 36
Frequent Contributor

Re: What to do next? (College Student)


@K-in-Boston wrote:

You've acquired a staggering amount of credit in a short period.  I know the SUBs are addictive (see signature, and that doesn't show closed or AU cards LOL), but it's probably time to slow down.  As long as you know what you want to do with your rewards, splitting them among different rewards isn't necessarily a problem.  If you have a fairly low income and are looking for premium cabin international travel with one particular transfer partner, it probably makes sense to stick with one.  If you are looking to maximize cash back, be careful of cards with minimum redemption values since if you're spreading spend around to maximize that, it'll be difficult to get up to $25 or $50 with say the card you're only using for gasoline.

 

I think it's a good time to decide how you want to use your rewards, and then you can work on a game plan from there, and maybe go for a new card with a huge SUB each semester?


I haven't ever thought of wanting to do international travel. Business/First class also seems like too much to me per $. I think the only international travel I would want to do is up north to Canada. The best class I've ever flown in is Comfort+ on Delta and that's good enough for me. 

 

I have never been seriously interested in cashback as a long term strategy but would be okay with them as a sign-up or if it's a larger % card like Cash+ or Disco. 

 

I do plan on slowing down like I said I am in the garden just looking for goals to reach for to determine a game plan.

 

Finally, I have been trying to hit a SUB every semester just not sure what I should be chasing now since I have so much already.


New Accounts: 13/6 15/12 16/24 oops
I think I got all I want...

Message 5 of 36
Senior Contributor

Re: What to do next? (College Student)

Keep in mind airlines can sometimes make it a hassle to find partner award space (and once you learn, the search process can always change). Several have mileage expiration rules that infrequent flyers may find harsh. Keeping track of half a dozen different foreign frequent flyer account programs may not be worthwhile if you fly domestic economy just a few times a year.

 

With all your new accounts you may have limited options for new cards. You should make any further applications worthwhile.

Most spend: CSR, CFU, BBP
Rewards/AAoA ballast: CF, Discover, Costco, ED, Arrival
Perks: Schwab Platinum, IHG49, Hyatt75, Brilliant, Delta Platinum
Potential closures/downgrades: Savor, BCP, Double Cash
Message 6 of 36
Frequent Contributor

Re: What to do next? (College Student)


@wasCB14 wrote:

Keep in mind airlines can sometimes make it a hassle to find partner award space (and once you learn, the search process can always change). Several have mileage expiration rules that infrequent flyers may find harsh. Keeping track of half a dozen different foreign frequent flyer account programs may not be worthwhile if you fly domestic economy just a few times a year.

 

With all your new accounts you may have limited options for new cards. You should make any further applications worthwhile.


Worthwhile as in high SUB? or something else?


New Accounts: 13/6 15/12 16/24 oops
I think I got all I want...

Message 7 of 36
Super Contributor

Re: What to do next? (College Student)

Amex points generally are best used for international/first class travel. Outside of that, the value is only okay. If you aren't wanting to do that sort of travel it may not be worth paying those AFs. I understand you don't want a cash back strategy, but MR points really aren't great for much else outside of (typically higher end) travel. Someone with more MR expertise can chime in, but I never got the feeling they were useful for many other redemptions.

Message 8 of 36
Frequent Contributor

Re: What to do next? (College Student)


@kdm31091 wrote:

Amex points generally are best used for international/first class travel. Outside of that, the value is only okay. If you aren't wanting to do that sort of travel it may not be worth paying those AFs. I understand you don't want a cash back strategy, but MR points really aren't great for much else outside of (typically higher end) travel.


I noticed the partners on Chase are much more economical and domestic travel-oriented; should I garden for 5/24 and aim for a mainly UR setup?


New Accounts: 13/6 15/12 16/24 oops
I think I got all I want...

Message 9 of 36
Super Contributor

Re: What to do next? (College Student)


@ToxikPH wrote:

@kdm31091 wrote:

Amex points generally are best used for international/first class travel. Outside of that, the value is only okay. If you aren't wanting to do that sort of travel it may not be worth paying those AFs. I understand you don't want a cash back strategy, but MR points really aren't great for much else outside of (typically higher end) travel.


I noticed the partners on Chase are much more economical and domestic travel-oriented; should I garden for 5/24 and aim for a mainly UR setup?


I think UR points are more flexible than MR for the simple fact you can cash them out easily, but I don't know that any of the transferable points are your best option necessarily. Generally speaking, if you're just going for cheap domestic flights, a cash back card is going to be better.

Message 10 of 36
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