Video: Four times to open a new card

Jenny Hoff
Former managing editor, video
International broadcast journalist, podcaster and blogger.

 

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Getting bogged down with card offers but not sure about adding more plastic to your wallet? Here are four times we think you should definitely take the plunge:

1. Major life event.

If you’re planning a wedding, buying a houseful of furniture or expecting a baby, instead of using your old credit card on which you just get one point per dollar spent, sign up for a card offering a big sign-up bonus. Sign-up bonuses often require a high minimum spend in a short amount of time, and the added spending related to your major life event can help.

Not sure which card to get? Check out our CardMatch tool to match you to cards worth considering and for exclusive sweeter sign-up bonus offers.

2. Sign-up bonus of 80,000 points or more.

Another time you should sign up for a credit card is when there is a sign-up bonus of 80,000 points or more.

If you’re looking to build rewards fast, there is no quicker way than grabbing a big haul of points when you open a new credit card. These super-sweet sign-up bonuses don’t come around often, but when they do, don’t wait on it.  

3. Companion pass possibility.

Also, don’t forgo the possibility of a companion pass.

If you have 50,000 points on Southwest, for example, after signing up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card, do a simple side gig and get the Southwest Business Premier credit card, which often has a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points. With both card sign-up bonuses, you’ll have the 110,000 points for a Southwest Companion Pass that will let you bring someone with you for free on all of your flights for the rest of this calendar year and next year.

4. A major purchase you can’t immediately afford.

You should also consider a new card if you have a major purchase that you can’t immediately afford.

It sounds counterintuitive, but if you have great credit, you can make that purchase with a 0 percent credit card and pay it off over several months interest-free. Many cards will offer 0-percent interest on purchases for at least a year.

Just make sure you pay off the balance before the promotional offer ends to avoid a high-interest surprise.

For reward cards, only sign up if you don’t plan on carrying a balance. What you would pay in interest far outweighs any points, miles or cash back you earn on your spending. But if you’re in a healthy credit situation, these are four times you should absolutely take advantage of what’s being offered and get some freebies while you can.

See related: Video: Tips when applying for a new card, Which reward is better: cash back or travel?


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Updated: 07-18-2018