Results of my January 2016 Credit Card App-o-Rama

I decided to go ahead and apply for some new credit cards a few weeks ago. I was starting to get a little panicky over Chase’s new 5/24 rule, so I especially wanted to get my husband in for a Chase Ink Card since he has fewer applications on his credit report than I do.  I applied for cards for both of us, which is a first for me. Usually I’ll just get cards for the one of us. But, I’ll explain in a minute why that was!

Capital One Venture

Ah yes, Capital One.  You don’t hear much about “lucrative” Capital One cards. Their travel cards usually can’t be used to redeem fancy pants first class flights or $700/night hotel rooms unless you can shell out multitudes of points.  But, as I mentioned a while back, we’re planning a family trip to Disney World, and I wanted a way to offset some of the costs of the Disney trip. I had read over at My Dollar Plan that Madison used Capital One Venture points for some of her Disney expenses. And I thought that was a fantastic idea.

So I applied for two cards. One for me and one for Ken.

Bonus: 40,000 points after spending $3000 in the first three months

Approval Details: Ken was approved immediately for a $30,000 credit limit.  I received a “pending decision” message, and a few days later, I was denied.  Why?  Get this:

“Based on your credit report from Equifax, too few or no revolving accounts have a balance.”

So wait, Capital One doesn’t want to give me a card because I don’t have enough credit card debt?  I didn’t bother to call for reconsideration because there are a lot of threads that say Capital One doesn’t even do “reconsiderations.”  Womp womp.

Barclays World Arrival

I’ve had this card for several years now and have redeemed points at some great places, like the Anglers Hotel in Miami, and a few other hotels that have reviews forthcoming. In the same vein as the Capital One Venture card, I thought we could use some extra Barclays World Arrival points in the coffers to cover even more Disney expenses if necessary (and if not for Disney, they always come in handy for other expenses, like non-chain hotels).

Bonus: 40,000 points after spending $3000 in the first three months.

Approval Details: Had Ken apply and he was approved immediately with a $12,500 limit.

Chase Ink Bold

Chase recently changed their application rules and cards can be denied if you’ve had 5 credit applications (from ANY bank) in the past 24 months. At first this was just for Ultimate Rewards earning cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but it will soon be applicable to all Chase cards.  Yikes! Since Ken doesn’t apply for cards as often as I do, I definitely wanted to get one of the Ultimate Rewards cards before 5 credit card applications hit his credit report.  I’ve had this card for several years now, so it was just Ken that applied for this card.

Bonus: 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5000 in the first three months.

Approval Details: Received “pending decision” message, but within a day, the application was approved with a $5000 limit without any action on our part.

 

Citi HHonors Signature Visa

It’s almost comical how many times I’ve applied for and been approved for this card. Seriously, I have never been denied and have probably had this card a half dozen times now.  Well, this time was no different.  It was just me who applied for this card, mostly because I didn’t want our minimum spending requirements to get too crazy for the next three months.  I was running pretty low on HHonors points, so I thought it was a good time to apply.

Bonus: 50,000 HHonors points after spending $2000 in the first three months (However, shortly after I applied, there was an improved offer of 75,000 points, so I may call to see if I can get my bonus bumped up).

Approval Details: Approved immediately with a $15,500 limit.

 

Have you applied for any points and miles cards recently?

Results of my recent (mini) credit card app-o-rama

 

There’s general guidance on the points-and-miles blogosphere that applying for credit cards once per quarter is a pretty good strategy.  Enough time has passed between inquiries on your credit report, and it’s good to always continue to have those credit card points and miles rolling in on a regular basis.

I don’t follow that rule hard and fast.  I’ll apply for cards several times a year, but it’s not like I apply for a bunch of cards every three months precisely.  I had just applied for a bunch of cards in early June, and didn’t really have any intention of applying for more until maybe right before the holidays.  

But then, after nearly a year of mulling options, we decided to pull the trigger on a fairly major basement renovation (more on that in future posts!).  Which meant some bigger expenses.  Which meant that we could meet minimum spending requirements for some new credit cards pretty darn quickly.  

So, lo and behold, I pretty much did apply for new cards almost exactly three months after my last app-o-rama.  I’m calling this a “mini” app-o-rama because it only consisted of two cards, instead of my usual 3 or 4.  

 

SPG American Express (Personal)

During the recent bonus increase for the Starwood Preferred Guest Amex Card, I decided to finally apply for this card.  It seems to be a staple of many miles-and-points bloggers wallets, and I even had Ken apply for it a few years ago (when we wanted the points to stay at a W Hotel in St. Petersburg (a Starwood property), but I’ve never had this card!  

Bonus: 30,000 SPG points after spending $3000 in the first three months.  

Approval Details: Received “pending decision” message.  My first ever for an Amex Card!  I had to close out an old, unused Hilton HHonors Amex to be approved for the card.  Easy Peasy.  Approved with a $17,500 limit.  

 

Discover It

This card has some VERY lucrative cashback offers for the next year.  The bonus includes double cashback on all purchases for 12 billing cycles.  So, that would be 2% cashback on normal, everyday purchases, and 10% cashback on their rotating quarterly bonus categories.  Additionally, they’re offering 10% cashback when you use your Discover Card on Apple Pay!  That was too good of a promotion to turn down, even though it doesn’t necessarily translate to “points and miles” easily, I still love the idea of some easy cash back!  

Bonus:  $100 bonus after first purchase within three months.  

Approval Details: Approved immediately with a $3000 limit.  Seriously Discover, a $3000 limit for somebody with a 790 credit score?  I called to see if they could increase the limit, but they said that they wouldn’t do that until I had the card open for at least 90 days.  Womp womp.  I can still use the card obviously, but I don’t like having cards with lower limits because it puts me more at risk of easily reaching the “50% of my credit limit” guidance that can start to hurt your credit score.  Oh well.  I’ll work with it.  

 

Have you applied for any new credit cards recently?  What have been your top picks?

P.S. Message me if you’d like for me to email you an application link for either card!  

Results of Ken’s Recent Credit Card App-o-Rama

We haven’t applied for any new credit cards since my app-o-rama back in late May.  This time, it was Ken’s turn to apply!

I had Ken apply for three cards, each with $3000 minimum spending required within three months.  Typically $9000 minimum spend in three months would be a bit aggressive for my tastes (since I’ve always been a bit hesitant to try manufactured spending), but I figured with the holidays coming up, it shouldn’t be that much of a stretch.

So, what cards did we opt for this time?

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Bonus: 40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after spending $3000 in three months.

Approval Details:  Received a “pending decision” message.  Ken called the reconsideration line later that evening.  Ken was approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred after moving $12,000 worth of credit from a Chase Freedom card that had a $31,000 limit.  I must say it was one of the lengthiest reconsideration calls I’ve experienced in some time.  They verified pretty much every element of his application, and then put him on hold for probably 5-7 minutes on two separate occasions.  No big deal, though, it’s all worth it!

 

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard

Bonus: 50,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $3000 in three months.

Approval Details: Instantly approved with a $15,500 credit limit

 

American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass Card

Bonus: 60,000 Hilton HHonors points after spending $3000 in three months.

Approval Details: Received a “pending decision” message.  However, within moments, I checked the application status page, and it stated the application had been approved with a $17,000 credit limit.  So there was no need to call the reconsideration line!

 

So, what do we plan on using these miles and points for?  No particular plans yet, but travel opportunities always arise to use them!  We’ll probably use many of the AAdvantage miles  (along with my AAdvantage balances) for first class or business class to Japan in the Spring of 2016.  Time to book those flights will be here before we know it!  

Hilton points are always valuable to me since there are so many Hilton’s all over the world, and they give out points like candy.  We’re staying at two Hilton properties (5 nights total) in the Florida Keys soon. It’s all free thanks to points.

And it’s always valuable to have Chase Ultimate Rewards points in the bank!  I’m thinking of a long weekend trip to Chicago in the spring or next fall, and there are several lovely Hyatt properties that we can stay at by transferring some Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Have you applied for any new cards recently?

May Credit Card App-o-Rama (Chase Hyatt, Citi HHonors, Amex HHonors)

I hadn’t applied for any credit cards since November, so I was starting to get the itch for some new ones.  We’re planning a trip that will include stays at a few Hilton properties, so I was looking to boost my HHonors points balances.  And I looked around to see what other cards might be useful for some travels in the next year or two.  Here’s what I went with.

 

Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature.  This is the second open Citi HHonors Visa Signature Card I have open.  And the third time I’ve been approved for one.  So, even though it takes a lot of points to redeem at Hilton properties these days, Hilton seems to give out HHonors points like candy.

Bonus:  50,000 HHonors points after spending $1000 in the first four months.

Approval Details: Received a “pending decision” message after my application.  With seven open Citi cards and nearly $150,000 in credit available through Citi, I thought they were going to make me close some old cards, which I wouldn’t have minded.  When I called the reconsideration line, they just asked me to verify my address, my mother’s maiden name, and my annual income.  As soon as the friendly Citi rep entered that information, I was approved for the HHonors Visa Signature card with a $15,500 credit line.

 

Hilton HHonors American Express Card.  In line with my goal of shoring up my HHonors balances, I applied for another HHonors card.  I like this one because there is no annual fee, and such a low minimum spending requirement!

Bonus: 50,000 HHonors points after spending $750 in the first three months.

Approval Details: Immediately approved with a $17,000 credit line.

 

Chase Hyatt Card.  Now that Hyatts have increased the number of points needed for a nightly redemption, I definitely saw more value in this card since it gives a flat out two free nights, regardless of hotel category, and we don’t have to redeem any “points” for a stay at a Hyatt.  I’m thinking about a trip to France and Morocco in the next 18 months or so, and the two free nights would be great to use at the luxurious Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris.

Bonus: Two free nights at any Hyatt property

Approval Details: Received “pending decision” message after my application.  I called, and I agreed to shut down an old card that I no longer use (Chase Air Tran) and move that $23,000 limit to the new Chase Hyatt card.  I was approved by the end of the call.  For me, I have determined that Chase does not like me to have any more than $65,000 in open credit at any given moment.

 

Poor timing?

I was a little bummed because within a few days of submitting my application, I saw that the sign up bonus for the Citi HHonors Visa signature card had been increased to 60,000 points.  Then I saw that Amex had upped its bonus for its Starwood SPG card.  In previous years, this increased bonus always took place in August.  I definitely wanted to apply for this card come August, and I thought that would’ve given me plenty of buffer time in between Amex applications (May to August) to get approved for the SPG card.  But now that the SPG card bonus is running in June, it’s highly unlikely that I would get approved.  So, I’ll either have Ken apply for it, or maybe we can just wait until next year.  He already has the personal version of this card from his September AOR, but he can always apply for the business version.

Oh well!  I’ll call Citi to see if I can get my bonus bumped up to the 60,000 points, but if not, I’ll live!

 

Have you applied for any new credit cards recently?

Wallet Review – Cards I’m Keeping and Cards I’m Cancelling

My wallet is getting a bit out of control these days.  It’s bursting at the seams with credit cards.  **  Thanks to many recent credit card app-o-ramas, it’s time to do a thorough review of my wallet contents and figure out which cards to cancel and which ones to keep.

Back in November, I attempted to cancel several cards, but I was lured back in with things like $75 and $45 statement credits.  But, I made a mental note to still cancel those cards before the annual fee came due.

Credit Cards I’m Canceling:

Chase AirTran Personal card.  We travel domestically a lot, and I wanted to get this card before it would be discontinued thanks to the Southwest / AirTran merger.  I applied for this card back when Chase was offering 32 AirTran A+ Rewards (good for two free roundtrip tickets).  I earned those points, and now the card has outlived its usefulness, so away it goes.

Nearly all of my Citi AAdvantage Cards.  I got hooked on these cards back during the 75,000 points double browser method days.  Then there was the whole applying for three cards every 60 days thing.  I have many personal and business versions of these cards.  I’m going to keep one, since it offers a 10% rebate on AAdvantage miles redeemed.  That netted me 10,000 miles when I redeemed 100,000 miles for our flight from St. Petersburg, Russia to Washington, DC.  But all the other ones will be cancelled.

US Airways Mastercard.  I already had one of these cards, so I wondered whether I would get approved for a second one.  But I really wanted an extra 45,000 miles in my account before this card went bye-bye as part of the US/AA Merger. Luckily, I was approved!  Now that I’ve earned my bonus miles, I don’t have much use for this card, so away it goes.

On a related note, I tried canceling my old US Airways Mastercard a few months ago (one I’ve had since 2010).  They offered me a $45 statement credit and basically “downgraded” the card to a no-fee Barclays World Arrival card, so there wouldn’t be an annual fee anymore.  So I kept the card open as the new no-fee World Arrival card.  But, in trying to streamline my wallet, I’ve kept their $45 and am going to cancel anyway.

Ken’s Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card.  We collected 50,000 bonus points on this and don’t need it anymore.

Not now, but canceling soon:

Amex Platinum card.  I scored this card during an amazing one day fluke of 100,000 bonus points back in January 2013.  It carries a $450 annual fee, and I used to think that you got a lot of value for that $450 fee, including free airline lounge access.  Now that the Amex Platinum is no longer offering lounge access in US Airways and American Airlines lounges, I don’t have much use for this card.  (Although I may see if they offer a credit or other bonus).  However, I’m holding on to the card for now because this is my only Membership Rewards points-earning card.  I used to have an Amex Gold Business card, but I cancelled it last year.  So if I cancelled with Amex Platinum right now, I’d forfeit all of my Membership Rewards points.  Hopefully a good sign up bonus will come soon, and I can apply for a new Amex Membership Rewards points card and cancel my Platinum.

On the fence

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.  My annual fee comes due for this card soon, and I think I might cancel it.  While the 2X points on dining and travel are nice, I don’t think it is worth the annual fee. I’m not sure, I need to think about this one.

Keeping in my Wallet

I’m keeping the rest of my cards, at least for now.  I especially get a lot of value out of the Chase Ink Bold card, my Barclays World Arrival card (different than the World Arrival card I mentioned above.  This was a new application back in November, not a downgraded card), and my Chase Freedom card.

Have you cancelled any credit cards recently?  Which ones did you ditch?  Which ones are you keeping?

**I don’t actually keep all these cards in my wallet.  Once I’ve met minimum spending requirements on one that I don’t plan to use anymore, I relegate it to a designated drawer at home.  It’s good to have a stash at home in case I lose my wallet!

End Note: A lot of people recommend keeping cards open so that you have leverage if you apply for a new credit card and are declined.  That way you can say, “Well, can you approve me if I cancel this card?”  1) Thankfully, I’m rarely declined for a credit card.  2) When I am declined, that technique never works for me.  So I just cancel them when I feel like it.