Upgrading your credit card can be an easy way to earn rewards points and cash back without applying for a new card.
If your current card doesn’t offer spending rewards, you’re essentially missing out on free money and other perks. The right upgrade can bring you points and miles for flights and hotels, cash back on groceries, and rewards on dining and entertainment, which might not be available with your current card. Credit-building cards, for example, often start out with low credit limits and minimal rewards, since they’re designed for newcomers and students.
An alternative to upgrading is to apply for better cards once your credit score is high enough, but that could involve a new credit check, which could temporarily lower your credit score. Plus, a new credit card increases the hassle if you use your credit card for auto-payments — something an upgrade could help you avoid.
To help you decide what’s best for you, here are a few things to consider when upgrading your existing credit card.
The biggest benefit of upgrading your credit card is that you can access better rewards without, in most cases, undergoing a whole new credit card application and credit check. This way, you keep growing your credit history with your current card issuer while enjoying more perks and savings.
“In many cases you won’t even need a new card number, so you don’t need to go back and reset all of your autopays,” says Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com, which like NextAdvisor is owned by Red Ventures. “So I would say ease of use is definitely a reason to do this.”
Upgrading a credit card can be a good option for people who are still using a secured credit card, and have enough credit history to switch to a card with more rewards. For instance, someone who opened a Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card in college could check out some of the best Capital One rewards cards after spending a few years building their credit score. They could then call the issuer to ask for an upgrade.