The Impact of Travel Hacking on Your Credit Score

by RJ

in Travel

The last time I checked my credit score, it was at 717. That was on June 12, 2010.

Since then, I have applied for4 different credit cards. The purpose for applying to each of these cards was to earn free miles.

The four cards I applied four earned me 200,000 miles. That’s good for 4 round trip tickets to many international destinations.

So how did this impact my credit score?

Let’s find out.

Last time I checked my credit score, I did so using MyFico. Now it costs $20 to get a credit score at MyFico, so instead I’m using Equifax. You can view your FICO® score through Equifax for $15.95.

I’m happy to report that my credit score as of 5/13/2011 is 752. An actual increase!

Why did it go up? I can think of a few reasons.

  1. I only had one credit card before, so more credit cards improved my utilization rate.
  2. I paid all of my bills on time.
  3. I didn’t apply for many credit cards all at once. Although, I’m not entirely sure if this helps or not.

One of the biggest assumptions about travel hacking is the negative impact on your credit score. Everyone’s credit situation is different and nobody knows exactly what goes into this calculation. However, my point is that you should always test assumptions. Many times, they’re incorrect.



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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jude Boudreaux, CFP®No Gravatar May 15, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Hey RJ, a few free places to check your credit score are and . CK lets you check once a month, and Quizzle once every 6 months. Good for supplementing other checks from time to time.


John HunterNo Gravatar May 16, 2011 at 7:58 am

Increasing your credit history length can help too I think. If you have limited credit it often can improve your credit rating to have more credit available. Overall the credit number seems to me to be pretty flawed. But it is used by lots of credit providers. Of course, since most of the large ones would be out of business if they were not bailed out by us taxpayers, that they use flawed ideas is nothing to be surprised about.


YvetteNo Gravatar May 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Very useful post! I’ve been wondering about the effect on your credit score.

It probably helped that you didn’t apply for several credit cards at once. The amount of new credit is about 10% of your credit score and includes the number of inquires and recently opened accounts, among other factors. Also, if you applied for cards too quickly, it likes you’re in a liquidity crunch and preparing to spend a lot on credit. Creditors are more likely to deny more applications.

Great find on Equifax. I was upset that FICO raised their prices.


No Debt MBANo Gravatar May 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Fascinating. I would have never guessed that your credit score could go up so much while applying for credit cards. I’ve never applied for cards just for the sign up rewards due to concerns about my credit score. Maybe I shouldn’t be holding back – I only have two cards now.


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