13 Credit Card Applications – 7 Banks – Our Recent App-O-Rama Strategy & Results

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credit card application strategy
Photo by Simon Cunningham.

 

Recent Credit Card Application Strategy & Round – 13 Applications

Over the past couple of weeks I have written a couple of posts alluding to my last round of applications, but nothing that talks about it in detail. Today I wanted to break down my application strategy, discuss the results and provide any other relevant information.

Unlike many people, we don’t do huge application rounds like this very often. While my wife and I had picked up a number of cards throughout 2014 whenever a good offer presented itself, the last large round of apps we had done was almost a year prior.

Which Cards We Applied For

The cards I applied for:

  • Alaska Airlines Visa Signature
  • Bank Americard Cash Rewards
  • US Airways Mastercard
  • Sapphire Preferred
  • Citi ThankYou Premier

The cards my wife applied for:

  • Alaska Airlines Visa Signature
  • Bank Americard Cash Rewards
  • US Airways Mastercard
  • Sapphire Preferred
  • Wells Fargo Visa Signature
  • U.S. Bank Flexperks Visa Signature
  • Citibank AAdvantage Platinum Select

Neither my wife nor I applied for any American Express cards this time. I had just recently signed up for the Business Gold Rewards 75k offer and it wasn’t the right time for her to apply either.

Application Breakdown, Strategy & Results – My Cards

credit card application strategy

Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature – 25,000 miles after approval.

I applied for this card to get the 25,000 valuable Alaska Airlines miles. Unfortunately Bank of America hates me. Every time I apply for a card they only give me a $1,000 credit limit and a Platinum Plus card with a lesser bonus. This time was no different.

RESULT – Instantly approved with a lesser 5,000 mile bonus.

credit card application strategy

BofA Bank Americard Cash Rewards California Bar Foundation – $175 after spending $500 in first three months

  • Doctor of Credit had a great post about these co-branded cards. Normally they come with a  $100 bonus, but they are running a temporary increased offer. Since Bank of America combines same day inquiries, applying for one of these cards wasn’t an additional hit. Additionally, they pay a 10% bonus when transferring rewards to a BofA checking account, meaning the bonus is worth $192.50! Oh and now I can pretend to be a lawyer. 😉
  • RESULT – Instantly approved.

credit card application strategy

Barclay’s US Airways Mastercard – 50,000 miles after first purchase and 10,000 at the first anniversary

  • Having recently cancelled one of my Barclay’s cards, I had a fairly high expectation that I would be approved. I had this card once before, but it was closed over a year ago. The offer on this card is simply too good to pass up considering it won’t be around for much longer. I applied through the special elite link which offers the 10,000 anniversary miles.
  • RESULT – Not instantly approved. Approval came after two days without calling in.

credit card application strategy

Chase Sapphire Preferred – 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after $4k spending in first three months

  • I have had the Sapphire Preferred card before and liked it. Recently I wrote my review of the card along with my thoughts as to its long term place in someone’s wallet. While I considered getting a different Chase card, this seemed like the logical choice given it had been over two years since my last go around with it.
  • RESULT – Not instantly approved. Approval came after two days without calling in.

credit card application strategy

Citi ThankYou Premier – 20,000 points after $2k in purchases plus 30,000 points in year two after $3k more in purchases.

  • I have largely overlooked the ThankYou program. With their recent announcement of transfer partners, I decided it was time to jump back in. This card has a fairly generous, albeit complicated bonus, but it still is worth it to me. Now I can transfer my previously orphaned points to partners or redeem them at 1.25 cents instead of 1 cent each.
  • RESULT – Not instantly approved. Approval came after three days without calling in.

My Overall Result – As you can see I was approved for all five of the cards I had applied for. I had just recently also picked up the Amex Business Gold Rewards card, making it a 6/6 situation. Not bad overall with the only disappointment coming from Bank of America with their reduced bonus on the Alaska Airlines card.

Application Breakdown, Strategy & Results – My Wife’s Cards

credit card application strategy

Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature – 25,000 miles after approval.

  • Bank of America likes my wife better and she didn’t have any of their credit cards so this made sense as an application.
  • RESULT – Instantly approved for a Visa Signature with the entire bonus.

credit card application strategy

BofA Bank Americard Cash Rewards California Bar Association – $175 after spending $500 in first three months

  • Same reasoning as above. With credit inquiries being combined, this seemed like an added bonus. Plus the 2x at grocery and 3x at gas make this a decent card for spending.
  • RESULT – Instantly approved.

credit card application strategy

Barclay’s US Airways Mastercard – 50,000 miles after first purchase and 10,000 at the first anniversary

  • Same card as above, same elite bonus offer. Same result.
  • RESULT – Not instantly approved. Approval came after two days without calling in.

credit card application strategy

Chase Sapphire Preferred – 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after $4k spending in first three months

  • We were both on the same time cycle with the Sapphire Preferred, so it made sense for us to get them at the same time again. Same result here, but they did approve my wife one day sooner.
  • RESULT – Not instantly approved. Approval came after one day without calling in.

credit card application strategy

Wells Fargo Visa Signature – No bonus

  • You read correctly. This card doesn’t come with a bonus. however it does pay 5x points at gas, grocery and drug stores for the first six months. Since we are expanding our banking relationship with Wells Fargo this seemed like a good time to get the card.
  • RESULT – Instantly approved.

credit card application strategy

U.S. Bank Flexperks Visa Signature – 20,000 Flex Perks after spending $3,500 in first three months

  • FlexPerks is another program I am interested in expeirementing with. I personally have two U.S. Bank cards, however my wife only had one (Club Carlson) so it made sense. We didn’t freeze her secondary bureaus, so I was a bit nervous about this one.
  • RESULT – Not instantly approved. Approval came after five days without call in.

credit card application strategy

Citibank AAdvantage Platinum Select – 50,000 miles after $2k spending in the first three months.

  • I had been calculating how long it had been since she had received the bonus on this card and felt it was time to get it again given the 50,000 public offer currently available. Unfortunately Citi had changed the rules as I previously reported. It turns out my wife wasn’t eligible and is still considered a current cardholder.
  • RESULT – Denied because she is considered a current cardholder. She would have been approved for a different Citi card. 🙁

My Wife’s Overall Result – This was another successful round of applications. Other than the blip with Citi, every application was approved without the need to call into reconsideration.

Conclusion

If I count the Amex Business Gold Rewards card I had applied for about two weeks prior, we were 12/13 during this round with the one denial coming on a technicality rather than the bank not wanting our business. We do have good business relationships with each of these banks and plan to spend on each of these cards.

Overall I am happy with the result and with the bonuses and benefits we will see from this application round. So do you apply throughout the year or are you an app-o-rama freak who loves to apply every 91 days? Let me know in the comments!


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30 COMMENTS

  1. Wow! That leaves you with a lot of required spending. With the current tightening up on manufactured spending, how are you going to accomplish this?

    • I purposely mixed in cards with different spending requirements (including instant bonuses) to keep this in check.

      The $14,500 in spending ($24,500 if you count the Amex Business Gold) can be accomplished in a number of ways. My wife and I have business expenses, plus Serve helps me pay other bills which normally can’t be paid by credit card.

      Both my wife and I have Serve cards which gives us $10,000 a month in cash reloads and $3,000 per month in online credit reloads.

      • How does cash reloads factor into using Serve to meet minimum spend requirements?

        I’m in the same situation as you, having two serve cards (wife). Both are soft serve so I load 1.5k each per month.

        • Look at it this way and I am not saying this is necessarily my strategy, but lets keep it simple. Based on the approvals, I have $24,500 to spend in three months. $3k can be accomplished by Serve each month ($1.5k each by my wife and I), that leaves $15,500 in 3 months.

          I can purchase $500 pin-enabled gift cards for $3.95. To finish the spend I would need 31 cards which would cost $122.45. I think that is worth it, but perhaps I should write a follow up post more in depth with a few options.

          • Yeah, it’s financially feasible to do the gc route, however its no where close to being realistic if one is time strapped such as my wife and I w/ our 7 month old.

            I’ve had to accept the fact that I can’t do as many of these deals as I would otherwise like to. Finding the quickest/easiest way is more important than the most profitable right now. Any type of underwear MS tactics is primarily what I’m looking for.

            Would definitely like to see a follow up post with more options!

  2. So if I have a Citi AA Mastercard – am I eligible for a AA exec card or would they say I am an existing card holder?

    – narayana

  3. Thanks for the info on the BofA Americard offers. I just might pick up a couple of these. Another checking account could be useful too.

  4. I was also considered a “current cardholder” by citi, and not approved. I read a while back about how to get ride of this classification… gotta look into it so I can apply again in a while.

  5. can i ask how many inquiries you had on each bureau before doing this app-o-rama? i started to see a 50% rate of denials recently with the reason being ‘too many inquiries’ so I started to keep track of my # on each bureau, i currently had 17 & 18 with equifax and experian.

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