It’s been quite a while since I did a credit card app-o-rama. I have been working on cleaning up my credit report in anticipation of refinancing my mortgage (learning all about “credit bumpage” in the process – more to follow on that in a later post) and with my mortgage apps in I went ahead and put in a bunch of card apps. This time I applied for 8 cards, and at the time of writing I have been approved for 7 with one outstanding. One thing to note is that despite completely eradicating all inquiries on my credit report and starting off with a 765 estimated credit score, I did not get a single instant approval. So it does show that having all these new accounts can impact your ability to obtain credit. Eventually after reconsideration and/or just letting things go through the process I mostly got approved, but this game does have it’s impact.
Also at this point I am starting to run out of cards to apply for as banks are definitely getting wiser on churning and I have had so many of the other available products. But still there were some interesting double up opportunities as I mention below.
So here is how the story panned out… note I do not recommending applying for this many cards in one go unless you are confident you understand the impact it can have on your credit and your ability to meet the spend requirements without putting yourself in debt. These stunts were filmed on a closed set by a professional stunt driver
Card 1: US Bank Club Carlson Personal Visa
I’m sitting on around 750k of Club Carlson points and really wanted this card to maximize the redemption value with it’s last night free feature. Well no instant approval and indeed I got a rejection for having “too many recent accounts”. But I did manage to get them to submit for reconsideration and the card was eventually approved with a $10k line.
Min spend here is $2,500 in 90 days for the 85k sign up bonus.
Card 2: Barclays Arrival
A lot has been written about this card, and for once the hype is probably justified. 2% travel cash back everywhere with a 0.2% return dividend really is very hard to beat. This was initially an instant decline, after calling recon and going through the app they approved me for $10k. Again the concern was so many new accounts.
Min spend here is $1,000 in 90 days for the 40k sign up bonus.
Card 3: Chase Ink Plus Visa
Technically a business card and I already have a Chase Ink Plus Mastercard under my own name as “sole prop”. I wanted to see if I could get the card again now it is being issued as Visa. This just sat pending for days so I eventually called 888-338-2586 and was able to get application status and be connected to a reconsideration analyst. After some to and fro I got this approved too, and was then passed on to personal cards for the next one…
Min spend here is $5,000 in 3 months for the 50k sign up bonus.
Card 4: Chase Marriott
Put this in the “I have all the other cards and wanted to get something” category. There is a 70k sign up bonus and at some point I could make use of a Ritz-Carlton stay. I had to shift some other credit around for this one so chopped $5k off of a $20k Hyatt line to get this one in (yes that’s the Hyatt line I did an off-cycle app for in November that now gives me Diamond status as long as I keep it!)
Min spend here is $1,000 in 3 months for the 70k sign up bonus.
Card 5: New Old Amex Blue
When I moved to the USA in 2006 my first ever credit card was an American Express Blue Card as Amex was one of the only issuers that would look at my UK credit history (and indeed showed the account as being open since 1999 which is when I first got any kind of Amex product). That card had long ago been closed to make way for more interesting reward cards, but with the current status of manufactured spend at grocery and pharmacy stores, the re-emergence of this card – which gives 5% unlimited cash back at grocery stores and certain pharmacy stores after your first $6,500 – has caused a lot of excitement.
I am still curious how Amex will handle this, and right now I am getting 5x on my Citi card for another 6 months, so this one may just sit there waiting to see how the foot soldiers engage in the battle first.
I was not instantly approved, but was a day or two later without having to do anything.
There is no sign up bonus on this card.
Card 6: Citibank Best Buy Visa
Say whaat?? Yep you read it right, I blew my one Citibank choice on the Best Buy card. Best I can say is “watch this space”. I just received my denial letter (“too many credit inquiries”) – so now I will escalate to the Citibank Executive Office who will no doubt approve. So why on earth get this card? For now let me just say “watch this space”. But if you read up on it, you will see it has some very attractive MS potential.
Once I have this out of the way I do plan to do a second, off-cycle Citi app, most like the 100k AA offer.
Card 7: PenFed Travel Rewards Amex
PenFed credit union has some great products including great mortgages, and I figured I would add one of their credit cards. This card earns “5x” on air travel, though the points themselves only have an approximate 0.85 cents value when redeeming for certain gift cards like Hyatt, so it’s more like 4.25x, but that is still a pretty good multiplier. Add in a 20k sign up bonus and I figured why not?
I got approved for a whopping $27k line on this one and interestingly there is an 18 month 0% balance transfer offer. While there is a 3% fee that fee is capped at $250. So if I BT’d $25,000 I would only be charged 1% for 18 months borrowing. Why on earth would I do that I hear you say? Well one could in theory use that money for float for other MS activities. Yes that is absolutely very high risk, and yes that kind of credit utilization will absolutely trash your credit score. But still for those of who get kicks from risks….
Min spend here is $2,5000 in 3 months for the 20k sign up bonus.
Card 8: Bank of America Alaska Airlines
I used Alaskan Airmiles for our amazing Emirates trip to the Maldives last summer, and am keen to earn more.
I went with the 30k sign up after first purchase offer as the 40k offers only just showed up after putting the apps in. This sat in processing for a loooonnnng time and none of the recon lines published on the blogs work any more. Indeed I had forgotten about it but then saw a new Bank of America account show up on my credit report! So eventually I got approved.
No min spend here for the 30k sign up bonus.
I did not apply for either the Wells Fargo or TD Bank 5x cards. With 6 months remaining on my Citi card and the Amex Blue, I will see if these are still around in 3-4 months time when I try to find another set of cards to apply for.
Summary of Cards, Bonuses and Spend
|Credit Card||Sign Up Bonus Amount||Minimum Spend|
|US Bank Club Carlson Visa||85,000 Club Carlson||$2,500 / 3 months|
|Barclays Arrival||40,000 worth $440 travel||$1,000 / 3 months|
|Chase Ink Plus Visa||50,000 Chase UR||$5,000 / 3 months|
|Chase Marriott||70,000 Marriott||$1,000 / 3 months|
|American Express Blue||None||N/A|
|Citibank Best Buy Visa||None||N/A|
|PenFed Travel Rewards Amex||20,000 worth $170||$2,500 / 3 months|
|BofA Alaskan||30,000 Alaskan||First Purchase|
|Total Spend Requirement||$12,000 / 3 months|
So I have 3 months to make $12k spend, though readers will recall I have managed to spend more than that in an hour or two in the past, so that presents no significant barrier.
How did y’all fare on your recent app-o-ramas?
You can subscribe to Miles Abound by email by signing up here. Keep up to date on ideas and experiences around miles and travel!