In the past few months, we have seen a bunch of developments. We’ve seen greater restrictions, great new sign on bonuses, but, yet still, a new churnable credit cards. Is it time for a different strategy for credit card applications?
Three of the big credit card issuers have made rather meaningful changes to how one receives bonuses, or whether one is approved at all.
- February, 2016: American Express adds once-per-lifetime to Personal and Business cards
- August, 2016: Citi limits you applicants to one bonus per 24 months per brand
- September, 2016: Chase briefly puts in writing, the 5/24 rule; despite considerable additional discussion.
The fact is, it is getting harder to churn sign-on bonuses.
Great New Cards and Sign On Bonuses
There have been some nice bonuses of late, although more importantly, is the growing competition in the premium card arena. Of note:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve, an amazing card (though maybe not a daily use card for resellers–But I cover all the key benefits of the card, so check out the link!), with a 100k Ultimate Rewards point sign-on bonus.
- In response, American Express Platinum added 5 points per dollar on airfare. Note, this personal.
- AMEX didn’t stop there, the American Express Platinum two new benefits (1.5 points per dollar on purchases $5k or more, and 50% back on “pay with points” airfare), and a 100k Membership Rewards sign-on bonus. Sound similar to the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
- American Express, this time with its Delta offerings increased sign-ups for the Platinum Sky Miles Card to 70k, and the Gold Skymiles Card to 50k.
- Chase recently confirmed a new business offering, the Chase Ink Preferred (sound familiar?), with an 80k Ultimate Rewards point sign-on bonus. Based on what is currently available, my read, is that it is an inferior card, with 3x on up to $150k spend in categories which I see no feasible way to spend $150k in.
All indications point me toward the thought that this is not the end. We are still waiting to see what Citi will do with their devalued Prestige offering. I think we might also see a new Chase Business Card, as Doctor of Credit implies when he reports on the Chase Ink Preferred (link above). We might also see a new offering from American Express, although I anticipate it would be difficult to create a new offering without devaluing the Platinum cards.
New Churnable Credit Cards
Okie, we’re pretty weak here, I’ll admit, but there are a few churnable credit cards that may make sense.
- Bank of America’s Asiana Visa – 30k bonus after $3,000 spend. Have another each month (or so I’m told).
- Bank of America’s Virgin Atlantic card, get 90k after a year and a bunch of spend. Believe me, this is one I’m considering, given Greg the Frequent Miler’s enjoying his Necker Island Challenge, and by the way, his comment of not expecting Richard Branson being there — he was welcomed to the island by Richard. I have to wonder if Greg brought up that complaint letter.
So, yeah, the pickings may be slim here, but, for some, that may never have had a Delta AMEX (me!!!), there are other cards that are quite tempting.
My point in this post was my attempt at working out my own credit card strategy over the next 18 months. Normally, I work in 18 month timeframes, it seems like a reasonable balance between one and two years. Of course, 18 months used to be the magic number with Chase and Citi, that is changing to 24. So what is my conclusion? Given that my wife and I play the two player game, I might apply for cards, and let my wife sit on the sidelines–or vice versa, depending on her preference. The challenge here though, is the fact that there are some cards that just make too much sense to pass up, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, when it was briefly leaked, which both my wife and I were successful with. So, yeah, I’m not sure what I’ll do if another Chase Sapphire Reserve-like offer comes about, but, barring that, I’m thinking its going to be the two-player game.
What will you do?