While with credit cards, the optimal strategy can vary for each individual based on their unique situation. This is the general strategy I follow:
1. Get a starter card (if this is your first card):
Getting approved for your first credit card is often the hardest step. Don't expect great rewards for this first card, just be patient as this card will help build your credit history. It is generally recommended to wait 3-6 months before applying for your next card. Also considering asking your parents or a trusted friend to add you as an authorized user to build credit history. Note that while their behavior WILL impact your score (so you should find someone financially responsible), you do not need to physically hold the card (in case they are not too comfortable with actually giving you access to their credit line)
2. Get Chase cards:
This may seem awfully specific, but there is a reason for this. Chase has a rule called the 5/24 rule. Essentially you will not be approved for any Chase cards if you have 5 or more credit cards from any banks within the last 24 months. While this may sound like a lot, your cards may build up fast once you start, so it is always good to get Chase cards first as you can always come back to the other banks later.
3. Get cards with high signup bonuses:
While you may earn 3-5x on “dining”, the earning potential for signup bonuses can be in the 15-30x range. As such, you should look for cards with high sign up bonuses (for example, Chase Sapphire Preferred, spend $4000 in 3 months, get 60,000 UR points, equivalent to $600 in cash or up to $1200 in travel!).
4. Advanced Techniques
There are so many ways to push your earning potential even further. Tactics such as getting business cards, paying large payments like rent and mortgage using a service called Plastiq, and double/triple-dipping using reward portals like Rakuten.
Important Note: While this represents a general guide, it is the sole opinion of myself and based on what has worked for me. Most card recommendations are cards I have and like on my spending and traveling pattern. The tips mentioned are also mostly based on what I have learned from other resources and proven useful for myself. It is important to know that regarding credit cards, rules are constantly changing, and what has worked for one person before may not work as well or no longer work for others. I highly recommend reading through each card's full details or reach out to me for questions before pulling the trigger.