You probably want to start the CC game 1.5 to 2 years before the trip. I think you might be too late to do it properly if you’re going in 6 months. The issue is that it generally takes a few months from when you apply for a card to:
- receive the card
- put the minimum spend on card to earn the signup points bonus
- receive the signup bonus which might take 1 to 2 statement cycles
- transfer signup bonus in case of UR or AMEX MR points
And then once you have the points, you might need to book a year out to make sure you get a good usage of those points without getting hit by blackout dates and paying more points since the flight is near full, or just not having any award seats remaining on a given flight.
Check out the subreddit AwardTravel - they might be experts at this.
Also, I’d go for a 0% FOREX fee card for once you land. USAA 2.5% card is FOREX free if you qualify. Capital One Quicksilver is 1.5% cashback with no Forex Fee. There’s a few options you can find, and I find it useful to have at least one Forex-Fee-Free card that earns at least 1.5% because otherwise you could be using a generic 2% card with a 1% FOREX fee and still earn 1%.