Climbing the credit card ladder (reuploaded)

This whole week I've been attempting to get approved for different credit cards from different banks, I recently got my rejection letters as to why I could not get approved for the cards. So now I'm waiting for the appropriate time to call the reconsideration hotline.

I never understood, sympathized, or empathized the heartache or sorrow students got when they received a rejection letter from the university they applied to (since I never applied to go anywhere) until now when I received a rejection letter to a credit card. Tragic. Anyway, they all point out to one thing, having little credit history. Granted, this argument is VERY valid as I only got my first credit card in May 2017 and from that point on, I started establishing credit history and the majority of these companies don't know if I'm reliable since I don't have a long track record. 

However, the proof is in the pudding. I've never missed a single payment, I only use 8% of my TOTAL credit, I have a total credit of $11,000, a credit score of 700 - 720, and two inquiries during the past year. All done under the ripe age of 18. So, I'm pretty pissed that I can't get approved for any other cards of my choice, thus, leading towards the creation of this post! 

Climbing the credit card ladder

The way this will be devised is by breaking down and give examples of the most basic cards, to something that offers rewards and cash back, to something with an annual fee, to boujee ass cards, lastly to invite only or as I like to call them #BigBallerCreditCards. 

A tier system based off and created by the Credit Shifu, a personal finance Youtuber focused on credit cards and topics related to credit. Please check him out since I yanked this tier system from him.

Tier 1: Basic/secure credit cards. 

For the folks who want to establish credit, like a student or an immigrant coming into the U.S or who have a poor credit score, these cards are highly suggested. They don't contain an annual fee, they don't offer any cash back, airline miles, or rewards programs, and they're very conservative on your credit limit. It can be anywhere between $250 - $1,000. 

The secure credit cards require for you to make a small initial deposit, anywhere between $200 - $500, just in case you don't pay off your monthly bill. 

A few credit cards that I recommend to any of the folks listed at the top.

  • Capital One Secured (or unsecured) platinum

  • Chase Slate

  • Discover It secured

  • Citi Simplicity

Chase slate.PNG
Discover It.PNG

Tier 2: Cashback and rewards program credit cards

Allow me to get this straight, I got denied my Chase Freedom card, a card that gives me, possibly around a $3,500 - $7,500 credit limit, 1% cash back on all purchases, and 5% back on quarterly revolving items... but yet, get accepted for an Amex Everyday card AND invited to apply for a Blue Cash Everyday card also by Amex, which both include a $10,000 credit limit and is super hard to get your hands on since it's Amex. What the hell JPMorgan Chase? Anyway... onto the next list of cards. 

This the card

This the card

The tier 2 credit cards offer rewards and cash back, are they the best? No, they're okay. Do they have an annual fee? Nope. You must, however, have a good credit score and good credit history.  

Some of these cards might have an initial 0% interest for 15 - 18 months, as well as a bonus reward if you spend a certain amount, usually before 3 months.

Read how you can improve your credit score

Some cards include

American Express  

  • Amex Everyday

  • Hilton Honors

  • Blue Cash Everyday

  • Blue Delta Skymiles

Bank of America

  • Bank of America Cash Rewards


  • Chase Freedom

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited

  • United TravelBank


  • Discover It (unsecured)


  • Citi Double Cash

  • Citi Thankyou

Capital One

  • Savor Dining

  • Quicksilver

Your credit limit will be anywhere between $500 - $10,000. Your credit score must be around 690 - 720ish. You must prove that you are also employed or are making an income. 

Blue cash back card.PNG

Tier 3: More cashback and rewards program credit cards, except they have an annual fee

These cards tend to provide better reward programs, bigger sign up bonuses, and usually carry an annual fee. It's all about the rewards and benefits for these cards as they offer perks that tier 2 cards would not offer.

Capital One

  • Venture Rewards

  • Quicksilver One

American Express

  • Premier Rewards Gold Card

  • American Express Green


  • Chase Sapphire Preferred


  • Citi ThankYou Premier

Anything airline related  

  • Alaska Arilines

  • Jet Blue

  • British Airways

  • Delta Skymiles

  • Platinum Delta Skymiles

  • Southwest rapid rewards

  • Citi Aadavantage

With any of these airline cards, you're limited to a few airport lounges or pay smaller fees when visiting a lounge and acquire certain perks when traveling. i.e. priority boarding, free bag check, and miles that can be used to either travel for free OR travel at a discount.

Anything hotel related

  • Hilton Honors Surpass

  • The Hyatt Credit Card

  • IHG Rewards

  • Marriott Rewards

  • The Starwood Preferred Guest

The annual fee for the cards can range from $65 - $150, a credit score of 710 - 740 is needed to get your hands on any of these bad boys, we're getting to the point where you need to make close to the median household income in the U.S but not necessarily surpass it, and have some great credit history. 

Chase sapphire preffered.PNG

Tier 4: Boujee credit cards 

This is as good as it gets for majority of regular folks. Usually if you aren't pushing a half a million net worth or making big baller money, tier 4 is as high and as good as it gets in the credit card ladder. They all let you have access to numerous airport lounges internationally. 

Some cards are:

  • Sapphire Reserve

  • United MileagePlus

  • Amex Platinum

  • The Ritz-Carlton

  • Delta Reserve

  • Citi Prestige

Story time

Quick story, I bumped into a kid my age who carries an Amex Platinum card under his name, and I was both aroused and jealous all at once. Like the card is seriously a huge panty dropper... but how come he has an Amex Platinum and I don't?

Apparently his parents established credit history and a credit score under his name from a ripe age and the moment he turned 18/19 he was able to get his hands on the card. Good parenting. I would say "do it for your child, they have leverage in their future" there is also a side of me that says "fuck em, let them build credit themselves and learn how to manage credit." It's up to you to figure out what kind of parenting route you'd like to take.

Back to the tier 4 cards

These cards usually carry an annual fee of $350 - $550, a credit score of 730 and above is needed to get your hands on these cards, median income is needed if your credit score is below 730, you can have a lower income but MUST have a high credit score, and great credit history. 

Chase sapphire reserve.PNG

Tier 5: #BigBallerCreditCards or Invitation only credit cards  

There are only two cards (that comes to mind anyway) that require an invitation from: American Express and JPMorgan Chase. 

  • American Express Centurion

  • J.P. Morgan Reserve

Now, when I say you need big baller money, I mean it. To qualify for a J.P. Morgan reserve, you need about $10 million under management through J.P. Morgan and for the American Express Centurion you need to pay an annual fee of $2,500 with a $7,500 sign up fee, a $16 million net worth, and annual income of $1.3 million. 

These cards are so prestigious that you must have history with either JPMorgan or American Express to receive a phone call to even be considered to have these cards.

JPMorgan reserve.PNG

All credit (heh... get it? Credit?) goes towards the Credit Shifu for creating the tier system of credit cards once again.