At the beginning of January, I again applied for a new set of credit cards – I apply every 3 months (90 days really) for whatever cards offer me the best signup bonuses with minimal requirements and annual fees. From my previous posts, you’ve read that annual fees are not usually a problem if you’re in the military, so that is not usually a factor for me. Some might say that I’m ruining my credit score because of all the credit applications, but my credit score has actually gone up since I started applying every 90 days; tomorrow I’ll have an article on why that is.

I decided to apply for 8 cards initially, from 4 different banks, all on the same day (I later applied for another one from another bank). When applying for multiple cards from the same bank on the same day, it only counts as one hard credit pull, which reduces the credit inquiries and limits the impact on your score.

I actually made a critical mistake during this latest application round – I actually only had 80 days between applications! I thought I had last applied on the 4th of October for a round of cards, but it had been the 14th! I typed it in incorrectly on my phone, and as a result, I initially was approved for only 2 of the 8 cards, and had to call bank’s reconsideration lines on all the rejections.

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From Chase bank, I applied for two cards, the Southwest Premier Business Visa, which offers 50k Southwest points after $2k spend in 3 months, and the IHG Rewards Visa, which offers 80k IHG points after $1k of spend in 3 months, and which offers a free night at any IHG hotel every year, including Intercontinentals! I’d applied for the Southwest personal during my last application round, but only earned miles during the 2014 calendar year. These 50k points plus the 50k from the business card, plus $10k in spend makes 110,000 miles, meaning I could get the Southwest Companion pass for my wife or son! Again, for active duty military, Chase cards usually waive their annual fee, although some people have had trouble. They denies both my applications, because of “too many recent applications”, but I’ve been a very good Chase customer, and a quick call to both the personal and business recon lines got my cards approved and actually increased my total Chase credit limit!

From Barclaycard, I applied for 3 cards, the Barclaycard Arrival, the US Airways World Mastercard, and the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard. The Arrival offers 40,000 points after $1k spend in 3 months, which is equivalent to around $440 of travel expenses. If you consider that it gets 2x points on all purchases, and that you get a 10% points back on travel redemptions, this card offers 2.2% back on all purchases (when applied towards travel purchases). It is my everyday spending card, meaning all spending not going towards minimum spends or category bonuses. I got approved immediately on the Arrival, but got denied the other two. I had recently had two separate US Airways cards, and cancelled one in the hopes that I could sign up for another in short order, but they emailed me saying that they couldn’t give me another signup bonus after the previous two, so it was automatically denied. I also got denied on the Frontier card, but because Frontier miles are not really aspiration for me, I decided not to call the recon line, as Barclaycard is tougher on reconsideration calls than any other bank. Remember that Barclaycard waives the annual fees for military members.

From US Bank, I applied for the Lifemiles Visa Signature card, which offers 20,000 miles after the first use, and the Club Carlson Premier Visa. Both cards have their annual fees waived. Lifemiles have some interesting uses, which I’ll go over in a future post. The Club Carlson card offers 85k points after $2.5k spend in 3 months, which go towards Club Carlson properties, including Radisson and Radisson Blu properties, of which they are quite a few in Europe. The coolest thing about this card though is that you get a night free on any awards nights over one night, meaning that if you want to stay somewhere two or more nights and redeem rewards for it, your last night is free! I initially got an email on both that more information was needed. I called the number provided, and both were approved without hassle.

Finally, I applied for the USAA World Mastercard. I didn’t need a USAA credit card, because I”ve already had their Amex for years, and there’s no exceptional signup bonus or rewards opportunity, but this card has one thing that no other credit card in the USA has – a chip & pin! I’ll review this in a future post.

A week or two later, the Citi AA Executive card with 100k mile bonus came online, so I signed up immediately for that, and got immediately approved! Remember that Citi cards get their annual fees waived for military members, but some have said this doesn’t qualify for the fee waiver. I’m still trying to find that out, and I’ll let you know as soon as I find out.

So, overall it was a great round of applications. To recap:

Chase Southwest Premier business: 50k miles after $2.5k spend

Chase IHG Visa: 80k miles after $1k spend

Barclaycard Arrival: 40k miles after $1k spend

US Bank Lifemiles Visa: 20k miles after first purchase

US Bank Club Carlson Premier: 85k points after $2.5k

USAA World MC: no signup bonus

Citi Executive AA: 100k miles after $10k spend

So, overall, 375k points/miles after $17k spend in 3 months, with all annual fees waived (if the Citi Exec waives it). It seems like a lot, but fortunately I have a CVS on the way to work that accepts credit cards for Vanilla Reloads, $2k a pop, so I completed the minimum spend in about 2 months, using my and my wife’s Amex Bluebird accounts, in addition to Amazon Payments.

Has anyone done any App-o-ramas recently?

Posted by glenn | 13 Comments

13 responses to “My most recent App-o-rama!”

  1. Ryan says:

    How long do you typically hold cards for? And what is your ‘timeline’ before reapplying?

    • Andy says:

      @Ryan – I’ll hold them indefinitely if A) I’m not paying annual fees, either because it doesn’t have one or through SCRA and B) they hold some value either through category bonuses or provide some other perk like free nights in a hotel (like the IHG card), or lounge benefits (like Amex Plat). Another good reason to hold onto it, especially for frequent churners like myself, is that it prolongs your average length of credit history. I have a post for tomorrow or Wed on credit scores. As I said above, I wait at least 90 days from my last application from that particular bank before reapplying for something else. Remember also that banks have certain limits on either total credit allowed or on number of cards held.

  2. Mike says:

    Morning Glenn, Do any exchanges carry Vanilla reload cards and allow credit cards for purchases?

  3. Alex says:

    How did you meet minimum citi aa card spend i have read that they treat vanilla purchases as cash advances.

    • Andy says:

      @Alex – they treat Amex gift card or other straight-up gift card purchases as cash advances, but I buy VRs at CVS, and they don’t check to see what you’re purchasing at CVS.

  4. Benji says:

    You wrote “Remember that Citi cards get their annual fees waived for military members, but some have said this doesn’t qualify for the fee waiver.” In your post about citi waiving your fees, I wrote a comment asking if you had ever actually had your fees waived. You only show the letter stating what documents are required. I am just wondering because there are numerous comments stating that people were denied benefits and I don’t think I saw any saying that people were granted benefits.

    • Andy says:

      @Benji – I’ve just applied for SCRA benefits from Citi last week, and haven’t gotten anything back yet. I’ll update the site with Citi’s decision.

  5. a says:

    Did you meet 10000 minimum spend for citi aa card with vanilla reload cards or do vanilla reload purchases show up as can advances?

    • Andy says:

      @a – I did most of it w/ VRs through CVS, and they only see the transaction as originating from CVS, they don’t see what you actually purchased. That being said, I just completed the spend last week, and haven’t yet paid off the bill, so if anything changes or is different, this site will be the first to know.

  6. Alex says:

    Can you use the CITI AA card with vanilla reload?

    • glenn says:

      @ Alex – I am currently doing just that. Be warned however that the third day in a row that I tried to purchase Vanilla Reloads at CVS, they shutdown my card because they thought it was a fraud attempt! I even was limiting the reload to $500 at a time, but it still triggered the fraud radar.

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