Frequent flier programs should really be renamed frequent spender programs. These days it is much easier to rack up miles and points by signing up for lucrative credit card bonuses than trying to earn them simply by flying.   

Many have asked me if getting more credit cards ruins your credit score.  In short, the answer is no. There will be a temporary dip of two to five points in your credit score (your score is on a scale of 300-850) per credit card application, but as long as you remain aware of the five main factors that determine your score and keep them strong, you can absolutely open several credit cards a year without affecting your overall credit worthiness.

According to FICO, your credit score is based on the following five factors:

--Payment history: 35 percent. This is the single biggest factor – over one third of your score depends on it, and it means the simple act of paying off your bills on time is crucial to building and maintaining a good credit score.

--Amounts owed: 30 percent. The record of the balances you carry counts almost as much as your payment history. The higher your amounts owed as compared to your total amount of credit, the lower your score.

--Length of credit history: 15 percent. The longer you’ve had credit, the higher your score. That’s why it’s important to start building up your credit early in life.

--New credit: 10 percent. Any new lines of credit you open, whether it’s a credit card or a mortgage, as well as new credit inquiries such as when you apply for a credit card.

--Types of credit used: 10 percent. This factor considers the kinds of accounts—credit cards, retail, installment loans, mortgages, etc.—that you have.

No one piece of information determines your credit score, but all five together paint a more comprehensive picture of you as a consumer. The good news is that you don’t have to have a perfect record in all these areas, but you do have to take all of them into consideration when building your credit.

Which card is best? The best card for you is one that serves your needs. In general, you should get a card that allows you to transfer to a number of different frequent flier programs or to purchase any flight with points. Diversification is key - loyalty programs change all the time (usually for the worse), so you don't want to be over invested in any particular one in case the program makes negative changes or there are no awards available to your desired destination for your dates of travel. I chose the following five cards based on flexibility, the value of the sign-up bonus and other money-saving perks: