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Churners War Story from the “Front Lines”
As I really hope all time readers know, Miles to Memories is not here to sell you credit cards. We do have indirect affiliate links that require several clicks and searches and using those links helps to support the site, but I would never want anyone to get a card that they don’t need/want.
In this hobby we are bombarded by credit card deals along with features and benefits. This is the best travel card and that is the best card for everyday spend. Take a look at this limited time offer and don’t miss out on that fantastic deal. I write about a lot of this stuff too. The truth is it can be exciting. I am genuinely excited by it personally.
What I think we don’t cover enough as bloggers is the difficulties that can arise in this hobby. From fraud encountered when manufacturing spend to the time suck that this hobby can have. For newcomers, it can be hard to see the whole picture. Do I think it is all worth it in the end? Yes, for me it is, but that doesn’t mean that it is all roses.
One Reader’s Story
Today I want to share the story of a reader who recently decided to go big with an app-o-rama. He has been emailing with me back and forth for the past couple of months and I have provided advice when asked, although he has done plenty of research for himself. With that said, he had never done a large application round and I don’t think was fully prepared for what was going to happen, despite all of the research.
This reader has great credit scores and no history of churning. He stumbled upon miles/points earlier this year and picked up a few cards piecemeal. Then he began planning this “app-o-rama”. After initially emailing me about it, I did mention I thought his plan was too aggressive. With that said, he had taken the time to investigate and felt ready.
So application day came and he went for it. One after the other he applied for the cards that he had set out to get. One by one the applications went to pending and two were even instantly denied. Why? Well the main reason is probably lack of a relationship with the banks.
Since I am not trying to give out any personal information, I won’t tell you which banks and/or cards he applied for, but in the end he was able to get approved for 80% of the cards. Here is how he did it paraphrasing his own words:
- For several banks he refused to take no for an answer and called back as many as five times to get an approval.
- He was able to answer any questions specifically relating to his credit.
- He had extensive notes about the features/benefits of the cards he was calling about and used them on the phone calls to sell the agents as to why he wanted them.
- He spent time building rapport with the customer service agents on the phone.
To paint a fuller picture, he also mentioned feeling “defeated” and felt like this was a “battle”. Sometimes we forget just how personal all of this is. I am really glad he mostly had success, but there were a lot of lessons learned the hard way.
Data Points on Two Banks
While I want to leave specifics out for the most part, this reader did run into two issues that I think reinforce what we have learned lately. He tried to get multiple apps approved with BofA and ran into their new stricter policy of not approving more than 1 application. Frequent Miler mentioned this the other day as well.
He was also able to get both a Freedom and Sapphire Preferred card due to his lack of churning history. With that said, it took multiple phone calls to get the second card approved, but it does seem that there is still some wiggle room with Chase personal approvals, although I don’t believe that applies to churners.
Thankfully this reader seems to have learned a lot and has decided he will wait quite awhile before trying a huge application round again. That is the best course of action in my opinion. After having done this for a long time I have learned that banks are so much easier to deal with once you have established a track record with them.
Be prepared for a lot of work and emotion. Talking credit and finances with a complete stranger is exhausting and highly personal. You are going to have to defend yourself at every turn and it will feel as if you are under attack or in “battle” as my reader put it.
As I once wrote, slow & steady doesn’t make you a loser. You don’t have to apply for credit cards in huge batches. Do what you are comfortable with. This is real life. Real money. Real credit. There is a lot to understand here and a lot that can go wrong. The worst thing anyone can do is get in over their head. (For the record I don’t feel this reader has done that.)
If you are denied for a card then don’t give up. There is of course calling back like this reader has done and I have even mentioned how you can take reconsideration a step further if calling in fails. If they have already run your credit, you may want to pursue it as far as possible, but of course it takes time.
Finally, speaking of time and how “free” all of this is, I’ll quote this reader directly, “Nothing is FREE. And time is just so DAMN EXPENSIVE.” Very true and something everyone should consider when calculating their true cost in this hobby. It makes sense on so many levels for me, but that may not be the case for everyone.
I think our reader is happy with his decisions in the end, although he wasn’t prepared for the amount of time and energy it would take to get approvals. Thankfully he is now going to be building a relationship with these banks, which should make it easier in the future as long as he doesn’t try to do too much too fast. Thanks to him for letting me share his story.
Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.