Before we get started diving into the wonderful world of traveling thanks to credit cards and their many perks, you should understand that like in life, there is no such thing as a free lunch.
First, you should know your credit score! It amazes me how many people don’t know their credit score–this three digit number is literally your key to everything finance related in life! Many credit card companies provide your FICO score to you for free, as well as services such as Credit Karma and Credit Sesame. You should not jump into this game if your score is lower than 700-720. If it’s lower than that, take the time to build it with one credit card.
To expand a little on this point, applying for new lines of credit will slightly lower your credit score; however, by paying your bills on time and managing your lines of credit judiciously, your score will eventually be higher than when you started!
Second, and this is a nonnegotiable, ALWAYS pay your statement balance in full every month on ALL your cards. Paying interest negates any of the benefits you’re getting from these cards.
Third, slow and steady wins the race! Know how much organic spend (e.g. everyday bills and expenses) you can realistically put on credit cards every month. Buying things to reach credit card spend is a terrible idea! Truly awful! If your monthly expenses are only $500-$600 a month, maybe a credit card that requires you to spend $4,000 in three months isn’t the right card for you. Additionally, don’t apply for so many cards at once that meeting all of those minimum spends will be impossible.
Following these rules, managing multiple credit cards is a lot less difficult than it seems.