Cartes de crédit stratégie

Our strategy for opening and closing credit cards

To the point Here is our strategy for opening and closing credit cards according to your objectives.

There are several questions that come up in the exchanges on the Facebook group regarding credit card applications:

  1. How to open and close credit cards, or when to ask for them… how does it work?
  2. How often can we apply for credit cards?
  3. How long should they be kept. or when should they be closed?
  4. What is the strategy to adopt?

The optimal request sequence for credit cards

On, we keep repeating this golden rule: before choosing a credit card, you need to draw up a budget, a strategy and an underwriting sequence, because it’s not possible to underwrite all credit cards at once. Credit card applications will have to be staggered over time.

Therefore, which card(s) to start with? The following are questions that can help establish this strategy.

Which credit card enables me to reach my goal most quickly?

You have a well-defined goal (that plane ticket that you have to book in a few months for spring break, or that kitchen that you will have to redo soon, etc).

No need to earn Aeroplan points to save on your kitchen renovation. On the other hand, a card offering an accelerated cash back bonus for a few months will be interesting.

Or are you planning a trip around the world? Among other things, you’ll need a credit card with no foreign currency conversion fees!

For those who’d like to “get points for travel”, there’s an additional analysis to be made, since this objective is very broad.

Indeed, it’s different types of points for different types of trips. And it’s often better to have several types of points for one same trip and others for another trip you make during the year!
Without knowing the following information, it is difficult to answer: destination,types of trip, theluggage need, the need fortravel insuranceairport lounge access, etc.

Which credit card offers the highest earning rate?

Take the American Express Cobalt® Card as an example: it’s one of the credit cards that offers the best accumulation rate in certain spending categories.

Do you have some renovations to do? Consider buying gift cards at your convenience store or grocery store with your American Express Cobalt® Card and you’ll earn 5 points per dollar (a minimum of 5%)! Find out how to earn 5 points per dollar at hundreds of retailers.

Which credit card offers the biggest bonus of all the credit cards in the world?

You have ONE big expense(municipal taxes, high car maintenance fees, dentist, etc.) that is planned / foreseeable: then head, to a credit card like the Business Platinum CardMD from American Express or the National Bank World Elite Mastercard® which will offer you a very nice welcome bonus after spending $5,000 to $7,000 in 3 months!

American Express doesn’t usually require proof that you own this business (see our detailed guide to obtaining a business credit card). So be prepared to show your documents (or register with REQ).

What is the value of the points you earn with the credit card?

Don’t hesitate to calculate the value of your points since points are not equivalent (see our estimate here).

We are often asked which are the best credit cards with no annual fee or which credit cards do not charge a foreign currency conversion fee.

While it is optimal to minimize costs, it is equally optimal to maximize your return on investment: it pays to absorb some costs (or to take advantage of first-year free offers).

See Jean-Maximilien’s detailed answer on this subject in the milesopedia Facebook group.

Current promotions and/or upcoming changes in the short term

Ask yourself two questions:

Answers to these two questions can influence the request sequence of your credit cards.

When there are good offers on the market, you should target them first because they can be withdrawn at any time.

It is therefore optimal to start with the best offers in force: in this respect, our monthly ranking of the best credit card offers can help you.

We repeat: when an offer is “too good”, it won’t stay forever.

Our ability to reach the purchase thresholds that allow us to obtain the application bonus

The idea of applying to multiple credit cards is mainly to trigger subscription bonuses. It is therefore important to consider the following aspects:

  • Will I be able to reach the trigger threshold for each card requested promptly?
  • Should I synchronize with a particular time of the year because it is more conducive to significant expenses on my part (payment of taxes, large planned purchases, etc.)?

There are, of course, services to help you, such as Plastiq, PaySimply, PayTM and Rakuten. But when it comes to spending $10,000 – $15,000 in 3 months, it gets complicated!

Include planned expenses in your strategy, and you should not create expenses to earn points. That’s not the spirit behind the point hunt.

To maximize the chances of reaching all the purchase thresholds that give access to the application bonuses, it is preferable to keep one or two months between spouses, i.e. not to apply to cards during the same months, and alternate.

Our credit bureau rating

Asking for several credit cards on the same day

Credit applications to the credit bureau count for 10% of the credit score.

Sometimes multiple requests in one day are considered one request in terms of impact on the credit bureau.

Credit bureaus (Equifax and Transunion) assume that you are shopping around for credit and that you will not say yes to all offers.

It is therefore recommended to concentrate these credit card applications on the same day. However, it also happens that each of these requests may result in an alert. And each credit card account opening will be reported on the credit report, which can have a downward or upward impact on your credit score. But it will be momentary.

Avoid asking for 2 cards from the same issuer

For example, you can apply on the same day for one of the American Express cards, a Scotiabank credit card and/or a BMO credit card.

However, some on the group reported having no problem applying for two CIBC credit cards at the same time: the CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card and the CIBC Aventura® Gold Visa* Card.

Pay attention to the usage rate

Also remember that your credit card usage rate accounts for 30% of your credit rating.

So, when you receive your credit cards and start using them, make sure you keep the total usage rate of your credit cards below 30%.

It is often suggested that payments be made on a regular basis (without necessarily waiting for the statement to be produced) to keep the usage rate low.

An additional card, yes or no?

No. In the vast majority of cases, it is uneconomical to ask for an additional card when signing up (except when the additional card provides benefits, as is the case with the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card or the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card).

It is indeed more optimal for each spouse to apply separately for the credit card . Although the couple will incur higher annual costs, the application bonuses will also be doubled.

An authorized user is not considered to be an existing customer. So if you’re on someone else’s account, there’s nothing to stop you from signing up for the same card yourself and getting the welcome bonus.

However, if you wish to apply for an additional card for your spouse or family member, please note that there will be no impact on your credit report (or theirs).

The most important question remains for the couple: Will we be able to reach each of the purchase thresholds that trigger underwriting bonuses promptly?

Knowing that some expenses are somewhat familiar (taxes, daycare, groceries, Hydro-Québec, etc.), the couple may put the expense on both spouses’ cards.

The frequency of asking for cards credit

Assuming you have a good credit rating, applying for credit cards every three months is possible.

This being said the profile of the point hunter can be compared to that of an investor: prudent-moderate-dynamic.

The dynamic will apply for an average of 3 credit cards every three months and can quickly get up to 12 cards per year.

But if you are starting, we advise you to do it every six months with 2-3 cards each time (so 4-6 credit cards in the first year). Also, respect your profile. Some cards will fit so well you won’t want to part with them.

Credit card issuer rules

Each credit card issuer has specific rules for earning a welcome bonus for a previously held card (which you have cancelled).

Here’s a table of rules for the main issuers, subject to change (be sure to check the terms and conditions of the offer you’re applying to, as they may differ):

Issuer Rule
American Express Canada 1 lifetime bonus per card
NBC Not currently hold an NBC card or have done so in the past 24 months
BMO No rule displayed
CIBC You must not have had the same card in the last 12 months
MBNA No rule displayed
RBC 90 days between each card application
Scotiabank Not currently hold a Scotiabank card or have done so in the past 24 months
TD You must not have had the same card in the last 12 months

Some of these issuers have posted rules that are not applied. For feedback from other customers, check out the Milesopedia community.

How long should they be kept, or when should they be closed?

The goal is not to keep all these cards forever. So there will be a cycle that will inevitably end one day with closing a card.

And the cycle time will depend largely on why the said card was requested initially.

As for the cards that should be kept, they will be different for everyone. So you need to determine which ones deserve their place in your portfolio, and whether the annual fees are justified from year to year.

For example, for a traveler, the following cards are an excellent long-term base.

Credit card Justification Net cost
American Express Cobalt® Card

155.88 $

National Bank World Elite Mastercard

$ 0 (thanks to annual travel credit)

Thereafter, you can complement with cards such as, for example, the Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card and/or the Marriott Bonvoy® Business American Express®* Card according to your needs and travel style. Each of these credit cards offers a free night certificate, which offsets the annual fees year after year!

Credit cards which you requested only to get the bonus

The general rule is to keep a credit card for one year.

Indeed, for some cards, you have to keep the account if you want to use the bonus, because the action of closing the account leads to the loss of points (if they have not been used or transferred manually/automatically to another loyalty program).

This is particularly true of American Express Membership Rewards, as well as the travel points-type cards generally offered by banks(BMO Rewards, Scotia Rewards, etc.).

Conversely, when points are automatically paid monthly into another points program (e.g.: AIR MILES, Aeroplan, Marriott Bonvoy, etc.), the points are automatically credited to your account andclosing the card has no impact on the points, as these are in a separate program from the credit card .

However, we try to keep them for one year, which will facilitate a future application. Generally, annual fees will be refunded within 30 days of being invoiced. So there’s no problem cancelling a credit card after 13 months.

Credit cards which you requested to access VIP lounges

Have you applied for a credit card offering free passes to airport VIP lounges?

These cards should be kept as long as you need access to VIP lounges (upcoming trips). Cancellation of the credit card linked to a Priority Pass or DragonPass account will result in the cancellation of that account and all available visits.

Credit cards which you requested for insurance purposes

Have you applied for a credit card to benefit from its travel or purchase insurance?

Keep these credit cards for as long as you need insurance (extended warranty on a purchase, travel insurance, etc.). However, it is impossible to make an insurance claim if we no longer possess the SAME account with which the purchase was made.

Indeed, what matters is the account and not the card . For example, if you bought a plane ticket with the BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard, closed the account in the meantime, and signed up again 6 months later to get a new bonus, the insurance won’t apply: because although it’s the same card, it’s not the same account.

Bottom Line

It may seem a little complicated at first, but you end up finding your way around and giving yourself a modus operandi that works. The objective must remain to travel for free (or almost…!) like the members of the private Facebook group and not to go into debt. Everyone should go according to their needs and abilities.

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Audrey Voisine
Mother of two young children, pharmacist, travel hacker's wife and frequent traveller, Audrey shares her advices and destinations recommendations on milesopedia.

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