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Fly American? This One’s For You


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US Airways-American Airlines merger moves forwardThe official okie-dokie came down yesterday for the merger of American Airlines and US Airways.  This is an excellent chance to boost your American Airlines frequent flyer miles.

For an unknown amount of time, you can get a US Airways credit card that has no annual fee the first year and gives you 35,000 frequent flyer miles if you make one purchase.  Click here for that application.  I did that one and it worked like a charm.

A few years ago, I got a Northwest Airlines card and bonus frequent flyer miles before they were absorbed by Delta.  Last year, I did the same with Continental before they became United.

Once my miles were safe and sound, I eventually canceled the defunct airline’s card.  This made it possible to get the sign-up bonus on the surviving airline’s card.  It’s a double-dip of sorts.  Had I not canceled the card, the new and improved airline would have eventually replaced the old airline’s card with the new airline’s card – but no second sign-up bonus.

I don’t know if I had ever flown Northwest or Continental, but I knew their miles would eventually become Delta and United miles.  It’s the same with US Airways becoming American miles.

For the US Airways, use the link in this post above.  Other airlines have cards that offer nice sign-up bonuses.  Click on Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers for up-to-date deals, terms, and conditions on these cards and more.  Email me if you have any questions about which card might be right for your situation.

Photo: nypost

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  1. Brad
    Brad10-30-2014

    Hey Chip! Does it ever hurt your credit record if you cancel a credit card? I thought the credit reporting companies didn’t like that kind of churn and that it might be better to hold it and not use it. What do you know?

  2. Chip
    Chip10-30-2014

    Hi Brad! Yes and No. The End. Buuuuut seriously…

    It can hurt your credit score if you cancel a credit card. Why? As you can see in the diagram in this post, 30% of your FICO credit score is based upon how much money you owe. AKA your Debt-To-Credit-Limit percentage. Let’s say you owe $1,000 on a credit card that has a credit limit of $2,000. You have a second credit card that has no balance on it and has a credit limit of $8,000. Right now, your Debt-To-Credit-Limit percentage is $1,000 divided by 10,000 ($2,000 + 8,000), or 10%. But if you cancel the card that has a $8,000 limit, you now have a Debt-To-Credit-Limit percentage of 50%.

    So it is best to keep both cards around. Another reason, as you can see from that graph in the link, 15% of your FICO score is your Length of Credit History. Keep those old cards around!

    As far as cancelled cards not looking good on your credit record/report I would not worry about it. I can relate my personal experience to you. I just pulled my free Equifax credit score for owning a copy of Quicken 2015. My Equifax FICO credit score is 820, by the way. That is out of 850, so it’s pretty sweet! The report that accompanied my score shows that I have 59 accounts. 25 closed and 34 open. Most of those closed accounts are credit cards. The other are mortgage accounts from when I refinanced. I get new credit cards every year. I got 8 new cards in the past year.

    I try out a lot of different cards. If I decide that I no longer want to keep a card after trying it out for a year, I do three things before canceling.
    1. I call the number on the back of the card and ask if they will waive the annual fee for another year. If no…
    2. I ask if they have a free version of this card. Many do. That keeps this cards credit history alive. If no…
    3. I ask if I can transfer the credit line to another card that I have at their bank. This keeps my current available credit limit amount over all my cards at their bank, even if I cancel the card.

    If I strike out on all three options, only then do I cancel the card.

    I have a slew of cards that I don’t use regularly. One needs to put activity on those cards or they may go dormant, get cancelled and thereby lower one’s credit score. My solution: I mark my calendar to do something every January. I swing by my safe deposit box, take my cards to the gas station, fill up my tank by putting $2 on every card. I return the cards to the safe deposit box. Then I wait a couple days to pay off all my cards in full online. Done and done. Some say that this needs to be done every six months to keep cards from going dormant. I have done it annually for several years without a problem.

    If gas stations don’t work for you, you can always buy yourself e-gift cards at Amazon.com (click here). Load up your cards there, buy the card, it shows up in your Inbox momentarily, the load it to your account for future purchases.

    Another option is to use the self-checkout at the grocery or be a good Samaritan and feed some parking meters that take credit cards.

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