I’ve been spacing out my credit card applications, so I decided to go for a big one this April. I applied for five cards, and after some phone calls, was approved for four of them to the tune of 240,000 total miles and points. I’ll explain the five cards I applied for, how I was approved, the sign up bonuses, and why I didn’t get the fifth one.
I’ve built a big balance in a lot of the major programs, so for this application round I was looking to diversify my balances. I also needed to start getting some hotel points since I have more than enough airline miles. Still, I just used a bunch of American Airlines miles so I wanted to replenish some of those as well. Here are the cards I applied for and how I went about getting approved.
Citi AAdvantage Business Visa – 50,000 miles after $2500 spend in 4 months (approved)
The first card I applied for was the Citi AAdvantage Business Visa. Although the biggest public offer is for 30,000 miles, I applied using this link which I found at the Flyertalk thread that details the best current Citi AA mile offers. As of this post, the 50,000 mile offers are still active, but make sure you read through the most recent posts before you apply for anything.
Anyway, I applied and received a “pending” message, which I expected. I immediately called Citibank at 1-800-695-5171, which is actually the personal reconsideration line (woops, the business line is 1-800-645-7240). It ended up not mattering. The rep picked up, I gave him my application number, and he approved me immediately. He also confirmed the 50,000 AA miles after $2500 of spending in four months without my even having to ask. Excellent.
One thing to note, I applied for this business card as a sole proprietor, meaning I used my own name as my business name. They didn’t even ask me about my business, but I was ready to discuss about how much money I’ve made and how much credit I needed. Remember, many people have their own businesses even if they don’t think they do. For example, if you buy and sell on Ebay, that is considered your own business. I’ll talk more about applying for business cards in another post.
Chase Priority Club Card – 80,000 points after $1000 spend in 3 months (approved)
I was most worried about the Citi card since I applied for two Citi cards last August, which is why I applied for that one first. The next one I was worried about was this Chase Priority Club card. There are better cards out there, but there are some specific Intercontinental hotels that I am looking to redeem these points at. I have a lot of cards with Chase and a lot of credit with them so I wanted to apply for this one early in the process.
So after I got off the phone with Citi, I applied for the Priority Club card using this link. Again, the public offer is 60,000 points but the higher sign up bonus is discussed at length in a Flyertalk thread. I applied, got another pending, and immediately called Chase reconsideration at 1-888-245-0625. After a brief hold, the rep asked if I was willing to decrease my credit limit on my British Airways Visa which I rarely use and use it to open the new card. Why, that’s exactly what I was going to suggest! Chase is always proactive and I like that. I agreed for the credit line move, and boom I was 2 for 2.
US Bank Club Carlson Premier Rewards Card – 50,000 points after first purchase, 35,000 more after $2500 spend in 3 months (approved)
I’ve been coveting this card because of one unique perk – cardholders receive one “bonus” night when redeeming points for hotel rooms. That means I can redeem a hotel room for 50,000 points at the Radisson Blu in Rome and get the second night for free. Or two nights for 100,000 points and the third night free, etc. Even though Club Carlson isn’t as big as some of the other hotel chains, I figured it’d be good to get points in them so I have flexibility with where to stay.
I wasn’t too worried about this card – I don’t have any cards with US Bank right now. I got a pending message but I’d read online that most people get pending and then receive an e-mail in a couple of days with approval. That’s exactly what happened for me, so I was 3 for 3.
American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Personal Card – 10,000 Starpoints after first purchase, 15,000 Starpoints after $5000 spend in 6 months (approved)
Starpoints are a very valuable mileage currency because they can be used for redemptions at Starwood hotels AND they can be transferred to a litany of airline partners. You also get a 5000 point bonus when you transfer 20,000 points to a partner, netting you 25,000 miles for 20,000 Starpoints. Since they are so flexible, some consider Starpoints to be THE mileage currency. I’m not as high on them, but figured it was time to add them to my portfolio.
I’ve been holding off but I decided it was time to apply for the Starwood American Express card. For some reason, AMEX has always been great to me in terms of instant approvals so I wasn’t too worried. Sure enough, they instantly approved me for the card and I was 4 for 4! At this point, I was done applying for cards (this was about 11 AM on a Monday). But, after reading around the blogosphere, I was tempted to apply for one more…
Barclays Arrival Card – 40,000 points after $1000 spend in 3 months (denied)
The points blogs have been abuzz about the Barclays Arrival card because it has one of the best fixed value point bonuses out there. Basically, for $1000 of spending you can get $400 worth of travel (a little bit more because there is a rebate on points used on travel). That means you can use the points for travel but still accrue mileage. At around 9 PM I decided what the heck, might as well apply.
Another factor in my decision is my knowledge that Barclays checks my Transunion credit report, which no other bank has checked as long as I’ve been doing this. Anyway, my application went from pending to denied a week later. I called reconsideration, and they said I hadn’t had my US Airways account long enough (opened in November). I thought about calling again, but Barclays is known to track the number of times you call and even in extreme cases shut down your accounts. Since I just applied on a whim, I decided to leave it be – I’ll decide between another US Airways card or this card again in a few months.
Effect on my Credit
I checked my “fako” credit score on creditsesame.com and creditkarma.com after my applications. As you can see, there was a little dip, but nothing major and I’m confident it will go back up after a few months, since I have more credit available to me and my credit utilization will decrease. For more on that, you can see this post.
US Bank actually sent me my credit score from Experian. It wasn’t 787 like Credit Sesame estimates, but it wasn’t too far off either.
I love the rush of applying for and getting approved for new credit cards. Even more, I love the opportunities that points and miles give me that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford myself. I did have to deal with my first rejection, but that’s okay. In the end, I wound up with a haul of 240,000 miles and points – not bad for a Monday morning! If you’re looking to get in the game, I would recommend you start slow or only with what you are comfortable with – when I started I’d only get one or two cards at a time. As you gain experience and comfort you can always build up to a big app-o-rama like this one. Feel free to check out my credit card strategy series if you need more pointers!