Rewards Credit Card Question


I really enjoyed reading the thread about how people pay their bills each month. One of the things that really stuck out to me was how many of you use credit cards to pay your bills, then pay your credit card each month. After, of course, you reap the sweet rewards from them.

I’ve decided that we could certainly pull that off, so I’ve been looking at rewards credit cards. There are a lot of them that look pretty good.

The problem is that I applied for one of the big ones (I think the Chase Sapphire) last year and got rejected due to my high income/debt ratio. True, it’s all student loans, but still, I got rejected.

I want to try again, but I’m afraid that I’ll a) get rejected again and b) get dinged on my credit when I do. Are there any good rewards cards out there (probably travel is the direction I’ll go) that I can probably get with my high student loan debt burden?


It really depends on companies, they all use different ratios and scores.
I got 12 new cards last year, never was rejected once even with a mortgage and loan.

Our favorite is the SPG card from American Express to get free hotel stays and the American Express Gold for flights.


The Mad Fientist made a web app to compare most of the cards that are available. I have a Chase Sapphire. Probably just be hit or miss when applying with a high income/debt ratio. Credit card applications don’t hurt your score that much and they drop off fairly quickly (I think like 2 months? does anyone know for sure?)


If you have a fidelity card, I’d suggest their rewards card because it’s good for 2% back on everything when placed in one of their accounts so it’ll help force you to save.

Otherwise, I would say you need to analyze your spending to see what are your top spending categories or stores and see what cards would give you the best return.

Most importantly, NEVER CARRY A BALANCE. Carrying a balance ruins any cashback on a card. Also don’t try to get the most out of your card-your method of paying is changing, but your spending habits should not.


I only have one card the Discover It card.

2% cash back on gas

1% cash back on all other purchases

Great website and they have some great tools like a spending analyzer, free credit score graphs and I believe they may double your cash back rewards after your first year as a holder. Mot 100% sure if they still do that. They are also very good about increasing your limit when you ask. I’ve had the card for a year and a half and have received three increases already (even though I don’t need them).

Hope this helps and good luck!


I just have the Discover - 5% on rotating categories and 1% all the time. Nice and simple, and I’ve had them since 2000. They’re not the best in terms of rewards, but not the worst either.


If you join Credit Karma’s site, they’ll give you a good idea of what cards you have a good chance of being approved for.


I also have the Discover IT card with the rotating 5% categories, AND they double ALL your cash back for the first 12 billing cycles. But most importantly for your question, I’ve heard that Discover is the most friendly in terms of giving people cards - in other words, they’re known for giving their cards to anyone with a pulse!

Oh, and that doubling of the cash back applies to a Refer-a-Friend bonus, as well! So you might want to hit someone up in this thread for a refer-a-friend link if you decide to go with a Discover IT card. Maybe @SteveC since he mentioned it first? (Of course, I have one if you want, but I don’t want to impose when I wasn’t even first to mention the card!)


Momma would kill me if she found out I took it over you.

Ladies first!


Citibank has a 2% cash back card on everything. 1% when you charge and 1% when you pay your bill. Or look at the two Chase Freedom accounts. One is 1% on everything and 5% on rotating categories. The other one is 1.5% on everything. The Freedom is probably easier to get than the Sapphire and no annual fee. I like the suggestion to check Credit Karma and see what they are recommending for your.


We have an Amtrak rewards card. It is awesome. Free and reduced cost trips! Imagined status!


I had debt due to student loan, too, which was paid off recently. In India, I haven’t experienced the problems of banks rejecting my credit card application due to student loan. I had been using a student credit card which also rewards me for paying my bills on time. I would have suggested you the student credit card as well but I think you are not a student now. I am sure there might be banks that will accept your application regardless of the debt. This is the reason I got a credit card when I started working part time so that I could build my credit score for the future. It helped a lot in paying off my debts really quick.


Hope it helps


I created a calculator for myself with 50+ of the top cards on there to see which card would provide me with the most rewards/cash back based on how I spend my money each month (travel vs groceries vs restaurants, etc.).

You can get the excel doc here, but be warned, you need to sign up for my email list to get it:

Obviously, would love for you to sign up :slight_smile: , but you can also just email me if you just want the excel: [email protected]. Just let me know!

Oh, the page above breaks down a lot of the assumptions I made too, so its a good reference if your curious how I made the calculations that I did.


We do it for the travel perks. Check out to see what I mean.

As for the cards, Reddit r/churning has the best sign up order flow. I’d love to give you more detailed advice and get your referrals, but I would start with the PDF on that Reddit thread. That’s better than anything you’ll find from anyone in the FIRE community since that thread has no agenda.