If you are like me, you have done things in the past to screw up your credit. Like me, you can fix it – without a Hot Tub Time Machine or a fully-functioning Flux Capacitor. I’ll tell you how you can join me in rarefied credit score air so high you’ll wanna bring a Sherpa.
The past is the past. Mistakes do not have to continue. We all used to wear diapers, but at some point that way of life lost its appeal.
Having good credit is possible even if you defaulted on loans, made late payments on credit cards, have collection agencies bugging you, or have gone bankrupt.
As detailed in my post “I Cut My Mortgage Rate in Half” when I refinanced my house, my FICO credit score was 817. That’s on a scale of 300-850, thankyouverymuch.
Lipstick on a Pig
Even if you have sworn off borrowing any more money, you should polish up your credit report as best you can – and correct any mistakes on there. Employers are increasingly doing credit checks of job applicants. Yes, your credit determines rates at which you can borrow money, but also whether you have to pay deposits on utilities and cell phone plans.
Of course, landlords don’t like to rent to folks with a sketchy credit history. As I mentioned in “The Chickenpox of Your Report”, in my ten years of landlordiness I found that not all people with bad credit are irresponsible, but most irresponsible people have bad credit. Here’s how we un-sketchify your credit history:
My hobbies have always involved cards: baseball, poker and credit. Last week in my April Amex App-Aloosa, it took 20 minutes to apply for four American Express cards. I was approved for all of them.
This hobby isn’t for everyone. I like trying out different credit cards while marinating in their huge sign-up bonuses. I always pay the cards off in full so I never pay any interest – otherwise this would be a losing proposition.
Here’s how my April Amex App-Aloosa went down:
I got the Gold Delta SkyMiles personal and business cards, as well as the Starwood personal and business cards. I will get over 100,000 miles/points in bonuses once I meet the spending requirements. These cards have great perks.
I opened up a clean browser window for each application and clicked on “In Private Browsing” in Internet Explorer. Google Chrome calls it “Incognito”. You may feel compelled to do this in a tuxedo while drinking something shaken not stirred.
Ben Franklin said, “Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” April 15th is only 20 days away, so the latter is top of mind. Unfortunately, the former made a surprise visit to my extended family this week.
I don’t wanna be pushy, but I hope you will take this as a Call To Action. Don’t compound a huge personal loss with a financial one. Just like how you (hopefully) keep some money stashed away for emergencies, you should have frequent flyer miles at your disposal.
Bereavement Fares are NOT the Answer
In the past two years, I have had to catch a quick flight to be with my dying dad and to attend a close friend’s funeral. Both flights would have cost $1,000 each – even IF I qualified for the bereavement fare. That’s the way it is. Period.
Bereavement fares aren’t cheap. They are for close family who must be there – not friends. Basically, if you aren’t mentioned in the obituary or married to someone who is, don’t expect to get the small discount. Airlines have requirements that must be met.
What’s The Solution?
The best/easiest/cheapest way to get miles that never expire is via Delta offers for personal and business cards. Click on Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers for up-to-date deals, terms, and conditions on these cards and more. For some, the toughest hurdle will be getting rid of the mindset that having a
“Fan” is short for “Fanatic” – a person marked by excessive enthusiasm, intense devotion… and body paint. Fans like me gotta root for the laundry, despite my Bengals’ stripes having mustered only four winning seasons in two decades.
Never an annual fee. Make one purchase and get bonus points worth $100 in cash back statement credits. Check it out!
I usually reserve the use of my phone to win concert tickets, give my political opinions to robots, and to ask strangers if their refrigerator is running. Alas, I have found another use:
Stop the Presses! I was asked to take this post down. I will try to get some version of it back up. Meanwhile, treat yourself to these awesome bonuses – while they are still around. 50,000 points = $500 cash or $625 in travel.
Remember, if you aren’t a business entity like an S-Corp or LLC, you can still apply for the Ink cards as a Sole-Proprietor, use your name as the business name, your social as the Tax ID number. Very easy, legal and FUN! Click here for more info on this, Snoop Dogg and Festivus.
- Chase Ink Bold® Business Card – 50,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. $95 annual fee waived first year. No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Chase Ink Classic® Business Card – 20,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in 3 months from account opening. No annual fee.
- Chase Ink Cash® Business Card – 20,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in 3 months from account opening. No annual fee.
- Chase Ink Plus® Business Card – 50,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in 3 months from account opening. $95 annual fee waived first year. No Foreign Transaction Fees.
Just a quick mention about two current airline offers for TWO FREE FLIGHTS. Go getcha one now!
This is billed as “Two Free Flights” but the 50,000 Southwest bonus points can be stretched to many more round-trip flights. For example, I just plugged in a random mid-January trip from Burbank to Las Vegas that is 5,880 points – round trip. Big Bonus-Point Bang!
They keep sweetening the deal to get my dead dad to sign up for a United MileagePlus Explorer card. Well, it is a generous offer – but he’s not doing any more flying.
These card offers come because he didn’t Opt-Out of them. How could he? He doesn’t have wi-fi at his current locale six feet under. To avoid the temptation to accept their sweet offer on his behalf (and commit fraud), I opted-out for him at OptOutPrescreen.com. You can do this Dead or Alive.
There are pros and cons to this. If you Opt-Out, you will get less junk mail. Then you can find out what the best offers are if you click on Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers for up-to-date deals, terms and conditions, and more. Woo-hoo! All right! Yea Chip’s Money Tips!
But don’t Opt-Out so fast! Junk mail has a silver lining. If you Opt-In to mailings – you
Chip’s Money Tips Subscriber-Extraordinaire Jacko has a question:
“Can you recommend a decent rewards card that will allow me to float some payables for a few months?”
Absolutely! Three of the four Chase Ink cards have a 0% introductory rate for the first six billing cycles that your account is open. Float, float on… until Summer!
Ink Classic, Ink Cash, Ink Plus and Ink Bold are similar but different. If they were unfamiliar food, we might say they all “Taste like chicken.”
Ink Classic, Ink Cash and Ink Plus all have a 0% introductory rate for six billing cycles. For that time period, there is 0% interest.
The Ink cards were created for business use, but that pretty much includes anyone who makes a buck doing something. As I have said before, if you are a handyman, nanny, dog walker, actor, or sell stuff online – congratulations the IRS says you are called a sole proprietor!
When you apply for one of these cards, put your name as Name of Business, your social security number as Tax ID Number, and sole proprietor as Type of Business. It’s all legal and legit.
Before I give you the breakdown of what each card offers, here’s a way to maximize these bonus babies!
Happy Guilt-Free Fun Spending Day! Today’s the day to help yourself and small businesses. Take a minute to enroll all of your American Express cards at ShopSmall.com, then spend at least $25 per transaction on each card to receive a $25 statement credit. Not sure what to buy? Try gift cards for local shops, baby! Confirm participating businesses at ShopSmall.com‘s map. More details in my posts here and here.