The Travel Point Earning Strategist Toolbox
Unit Two: The Importance of Excellent Credit
Excellent credit is an important part of your financial foundation. Learning some basic steps about how to understand and navigate your credit score is important for long term personal financial health. A travel point earning strategist always keeps their credit within a good range.
- Read Chapter 10 and 11 in Family Travel on Points eBook
- Watch Video: How To Use Annual CreditReport.com .
- Explore recommended credit monitoring and repair services. Sign up for one monitoring service recommended or choose one of your own.
- Watch Travel Plan Instructional Video and update your Travel Plan Rough Draft with any credit challenges that you may have discovered and add some possible solutions.
- Optional: Download and Print the Credit Case Study for an informative and fun self or family activity.
What does excellent credit have to do with travel?
If you don't mind paying full price, excellent credit is irrelevant. However, in budget travel it means everything. It gives you leverage with travel to either upgrade your trip to the next level or come out of pocket very little for a good trip. Watch the following video from The Credit Shifu explaining his version of the credit card tier system. Depending on your current credit score, this video will give you a sense of where you currently are on the credit card tier system.
Click on the closed captioned icon to read text for YouTube Video.
Note: If your score is not in one of the desired ranges, not to worry, you can still master the game of earning points while you work on fixing your credit. You will not earn them as fast, but you will still earn them. The cards recommended by the Credit Shifu are opinions and I may not share those opinions. This video is to give you an idea of the credit cards tier system.
To maximize this game, a credit score of 750 + is desired. However, if you are within the 650-700 range, you can still apply and negotiate with the credit card companies to gain approval. If you fall below 650, you will have to invest time into credit repair before moving onto the next unit.
Check Your Credit Score
Most financial institutions such as banks, credit unions, and credit card companies offer some type of credit score service for free or a small fee. Be aware of any services that want your credit card information on file. Most of them will offer you a "free" trail period, then charge your credit card monthly for a subscription.
- Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax (three major credit bureaus) also provide credit scores for a monthly subscription fee. Advantages of using these services is personal care. Your subscription includes direct access to their customer service centers. Representatives can give you advice on how to improve your scores according to your goals and help you personally with any errors you may need to dispute.
- You can also go through a third party such as Credit Karma or Credit Sesame. Signing up for these services are free and credit repair information is self-service but informative.
- Another option is viewing all three credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com. Although a credit score is not provided, you can order a copy of your report with all three bureaus completely free.
- AnnualCreditReport.com is the only website authorized by the Federal Law to provide the credit report free. Some people pull all three reports at once to start, because there can be a difference between them. Others pull one report from one credit bureau every three months so they have access year round for free. Click on the following link to watch a video and read How To Use Annual CreditReport.com .
Click on the image to access www.Credit.org
Credit.org is an accredited non-profit HUD approved agency. Some of their services are paid for by donations and grants from various sources; such as mortgage lenders, government agencies, and other non-profit organizations.
Credit Repair: If you fall short in this area, and are in need of help, the National Foundation For Credit Counseling is a good place to start repairing your credit. Counseling is free and confidential over the phone or online. There are also many informative articles the resources to choose from on their website. The first session is 30-45 minutes long that provides an evaluation and provide recommended referrals. Once the counseling is done you are able to reach out to your counselor anytime.
Revise your travel plan
Complete the credit score information of the travel plan with the information you learned about your credit or as a family. The following video will explain how to apply credit scores to your travel plan.
Click on the image to access https://www.ngpf.org/
Before moving on to the next unit, you should have...
- Read assigned chapters in Family Travel on Points eBook.
- Explored all resources in the unit.
- Examined your credit score, researched methods to improve score (if any), and made notes about possible solutions.
- Signed up for at least one credit monitoring service.
- Revised travel plan with credit score information.