Reader credit card question: What are next steps after 'buyer's remorse?'
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Editor’s note: This article is part of a column to answer your toughest credit card questions. If you would like to ask us a question, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For many, the decision to apply for a certain credit card is the culmination of a lot of research — considering goals and spending habits, comparing card options and checking approval odds. But what happens when you finally take the plunge to apply for a new card only to learn that maybe it wasn’t the best choice for your needs after all?
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[pullquote source="Staci D"]Has anyone had "buyer’s remorse" after applying/being approved for a new credit card? I was looking for a card for hotel stays, but typically bounced around based on deals. I’ve always liked Marriott and decided on the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card for the 4x gas/dining points*. I just got it and already finding the area I'm in isn’t the most Amex-friendly and can't use it as much as I thought I could. I figure at this point I suck it up to get my sign up bonus but when is too early for a new card? I’ve heard so much about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, but I'm still a beginner and not sure how to maximize the points. I have the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and I feel like it takes forever to earn points at 2x/$1. Any help is appreciated!![/pullquote]
*Note: 4x points at U.S. gas stations
It’s always unfortunate when a card you were excited about turns out to not be accepted everywhere. While Amex has made some great strides in the past few years to become as widely accepted as other top payment networks, there are still some areas where Amex is less likely to be allowed, compared to Mastercard and Visa.
That’s one of the reasons why we always suggest incorporating cards from all three issuers into your strategy to ensure you’re able to maximize your spending regardless of which payment networks are accepted at any given merchant. Of course, building a portfolio of credit cards takes time, and beginners may not have access to five cards across networks.
That aside, let’s walk through questions posed by Staci.
How soon is too soon to get a new card when you’re feeling buyer’s remorse?
Every issuer has differing restrictions to consider when spacing out your card applications, and specific rules are rarely published. You’ll likely see recommendations to wait six months between card applications. While this is a good rule of thumb when you’re building your card portfolio, it’s not a hard-and-fast one.
It’s important to space out applications to avoid too many hard inquiries on your account (which is a red flag for card issuers) and negatively impact your credit score. But plenty of people (most of the TPG editorial staff included) have applied for more than one card within that time frame with no problems.
So long as you’re not making a habit of applying for multiple cards within a short period of time (which could lead to negative action being taken by an issuer worried you may be gaming the system), you should be fine.
Related reading: The ultimate guide to credit card application restrictions
What card to get next?
It’s true that the Chase Sapphire Preferred is an excellent credit card choice for beginners, and we recommend it quite frequently on TPG. Ultimate Rewards points are incredibly valuable — in part because you can redeem them for 1.25 cents each through the travel portal with the CSP, and in part because of the program’s list of transfer partners (including Marriott).
While jumping into transfer partners and maximizing points can seem daunting, it just takes practice and experience (and TPG has a ton of advice on maximizing Chase points to help you get started). I used my own Chase Sapphire Preferred points last year to book a round-trip flight to Croatia for under 60,000 points through the travel portal. While it wasn’t the highest-value redemption out there, the memories I made on that trip will stay with me for the rest of my life. And I got to go without dipping into my savings because of my CSP.
While you’re not earning bonus rewards on gas station purchases with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you will get 3x on dining and 2x on travel purchases. Plus, the card comes with 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. TPG estimates you can get $1,200 in value from that bonus alone, making it one of the best available.
Related reading: Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card review
If you decide to close your Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express® Card after you’ve earned the bonus and held onto it for a year, you could also eventually look at getting the Chase-issued Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card.
You’re getting some of the same hotel benefits from your Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, including a free night award every anniversary, 15 Elite Night Credits and more. And you’re also getting 6x at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program.
And at a $95 annual fee, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless is an affordable addition to your wallet.
Related reading: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card review
Buyer’s remorse happens, even with credit cards. A card turns out to be less useful than you thought, other cards come out that better fit your needs, your priorities themselves change.
Definitely keep the card for at least a year — Amex has a once-per-lifetime rule on earning bonuses and you’ve already paid the first year’s annual fee, so you’ll want to make sure you earn the bonus and utilize your first year’s benefits. Once you’ve earned the bonus, you can put it on the backburner and consider your other card options.
Looking for your next credit card? Check out our guide to the best travel credit cards