Emily applied for 6 credit cards (only the Chase Ink Bold pays me a referral) in February. So far, she’s been approved for 4 cards for 240,000 miles and points. In case you’re wondering, Emily has a 6 year credit history.
She also got approved for the US Air MasterCard and Bank of America Virgin Atlantic card for a second time as you can see in the picture, though as always, your experience may be different.
As I’ve written before, Emily and I don’t have any big loans in the next 2 years (equity, house, student, etc.) so we regularly apply for credit cards to earn millions of miles and points. We also pay our cards in FULL each month because paying interest will negate the benefits of earning miles and points.
We then use these miles and points to have lots of Big Travel with Small Money!
If I were applying for a big loan, I wouldn’t apply for any credit cards until I had my loan. Much better, in my opinion, to do everything possible to get a low interest rate on the big loan first, and then churn credit cards.
Many credit cards require you to complete a certain minimum amount of spending before receiving the sign-up bonus. I am careful to see that I can complete the minimum spending and use the 40+ ways to complete minimum spending requirements.
Credit Card Resources
- Hot Deals tab which lists over 12 different cards with a 50,000 mile/point sign-up bonus
- Travel Credit Card tab which lists most airline, hotel, and bank points credit cards
- Reconsideration phone numbers which has 118 comments and reader success stories
- 40+ Powerful Ways To Complete Your Credit Card Minimum Spending Requirements to help complete the minimum spending requirements on credit cards
6 cards from 4 different banks
In general, we apply for credit cards from different banks so that we don’t have credit inquiries (which usually happens every time you apply for credit) hitting only 1 credit bureau.
I want to limit the number of inquiries on each of the credit bureaus, because banks don’t like seeing too many inquiries (especially in the last 6 to 12 months) on your credit report.
Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are the 3 main credit bureaus in the US. Banks will usually request a copy of your credit bureau from at least 1 (sometimes more) of these credit report. The exact credit bureau used depends on where you live and which bank you’ve applied for credit from.
1. Chase Ink Bold. As I’ve written previously, the Chase Ink Bold is a great way to get another 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points. I’m a big fan of Ultimate Rewards points because they have a great airline partner, United, which doesn’t charge fuel surcharges for Star Alliance award travel and Hyatt which has some very expensive hotels which I wouldn’t stay in without miles and points.
Business cards are an easy way to get extra miles and points, and as I’ve written previously, many of us may qualify for businesses. However, business credit cards may not have all the consumer protections which personals cards have.
Emily applied for the Chase Ink Bold card using the Tax ID (if you don’t have a tax ID, you can use your social security number) from Million Mile Secrets, but she wasn’t approved instantly. But we called the Chase business reconsideration line and after answering questions about Million Mile Secrets, she was approved. The telephone representative was very thorough in his questioning (how long has the business been running, what do you do, what is your salary from your regular job etc.), but was very friendly.
We asked to close a previous Chase Southwest business card (the fee was due in a few weeks!) and to transfer that credit line to the Chase Ink Bold. The rep closed the Southwest credit card and approved the Chase Ink Bold, but only with a $5,000 limit. But since this is a business card, the credit line does not show in our personal credit report and effect our credit utilization or credit aging (however the credit inquiry does show in our personal credit report).
2. Citi American Airlines business card. Emily applied for the Citi American Airlines business card for 50,000 miles using the Tax ID from Million Mile Secrets, but she wasn’t approved instantly.
But we called the Citi reconsideration line and was approved after verifying information on the application regarding Emily’s salary. We weren’t asked any questions about the business. We’ve been using up our American Airlines miles quickly so we were thrilled to get approved for the Citi American Airlines business card.
Emily cancelled her last Citi American Airlines business card in June 2011. In our experience, the rules for getting another Citi AA business card are a bit quirky. We used to be able to get one 3 months after cancelling our last Citi AA business card, but lately we’ve had to wait at least 6 months after cancelling to get approved for another Citi business card. This is different from our experience with the Citi AA personal cards which we’ve managed to get again after at least 18 months since we were last approved.
However, Citi does often ask folks to submit proof of the business such as a bank statement or utility bill so read my post on how to fill in a business card application before applying.
3. Barclay’s US Air MasterCard. Emily had an earlier US Air MasterCard from February 2011. But we were curious to see if we could get approved for another one despite already having the card. We submitted our application, but it wasn’t approved instantly.
So we called the reconsideration line and the phone was answered immediately. The telephone rep asked us a few questions about income on the application, and mentioned that we already had an existing US Air credit card!
But before we could explain why we wanted a second US Air personal credit card, she said that she would close Emily’s existing US Air card which had only a $2,000 credit line (Platinum version) and approve her for a $5,000 credit line (Premier version). She mentioned that Emily consistently paid her student loans, which suggests that she was reviewing our credit report while we were chatting.
This was extremely unexpected, and I have no idea why the telephone representative suggested closing one version of the card and approving us for another version. Unless she collected miles and points as well and understands why folks would want a second card! But we’re not complaining.
Note that Emily’s experience may not be your experience if you apply for the US Air MasterCard again.
4. Bank of America Virgin Atlantic. Emily applied for this card in August 2011 and still has the card open. I was curious to see if Bank of America would approve her for another card despite already having the card.
Emily’s application was pending, so we called the reconsideration line and verified personal and income information on the application. The telephone representative approved her for another Bank of America Virgin Atlantic credit without even mentioning that she had an existing card.
This is one of the most underrated credit cards to churn, because 50,000 Virgin Atlantic miles can get you a one way trip from most of the US to London in Virgin’s Upper Class (yes, the fuel surcharges are ~$400), or you can transfer them to 100,000 Hilton hotel points.
I actually received 80,000 points for my last Virgin Atlantic card (no idea why), and so did some readers. I’m hoping that Emily will also get 80,000 Virgin Atlantic miles for this card.
Note that Emily’s experience may not be your experience if you apply for the US Air MasterCard again.
5. Citi Thank You Premier. Emily applied for the Citi Thank You Premier Visa in August 2011, and we wanted to see if she would get approved for the Thank You Premier MasterCard.
Her application was pending, and when we called the reconsideration line, we were told that her application was denied because of too many recent inquiries. Well, she only had 3 recent inquiries in the past 3 months (2 of which were from Citi for applications in this app-o-rama), so we wrote a letter to the Citi Executive offices with a copy of her credit report which we were able to get for free because her application was denied.
We’re still waiting to here back from the Citi Executive office. In my experience, Citi has a terrible telephone reconsideration experience, but is quite helpful if you write them a letter.
What’s interesting to me is that Emily’s application wasn’t immediately declined because she already had a Citi Thank You Premier, which could be a sign that you can get more than one Citi Thank You Premier card. We like the Citi Thank You Premier because the 50,000 point sign-up bonus can be used towards $665 worth of airfare with no blackout dates, which makes this great for domestic US travel.
6. American Express Hilton (60,000 point offer no longer available). Emily has never had this card, but we wanted it for 2 reasons. Firstly, it is a no-fee card, so Emily doesn’t have to worry about cancelling the card and will show American Express that she’s a long time American Express customer.
Secondly, we’ve accumulated lots of Hilton points by transferring points from Hawaiian Air and the Virgin Atlantic credit cards. 50,000 Hilton points gets you 1 night in the top category 7 hotels, but as Loyalty Traveler often points out, you can get a 28% discount if you book a 4-night category 7 AXON award for only 145,000 Hilton points (instead of 200,000 points).
You’re eligible for an AXON award if you have an American Express Hilton card, so this was another reason why we applied for this card.
However, American Express wants to see Emily’s tax returns (again), so we’ve asked the IRS to send American Express the tax returns. I’m pretty sure Emily will eventually get approved for the card, but it will take a few months.
Credit Score Impact
[You should know that I get a referral if you sign up for Credit Sesame using the links in the post. Emily and I have been using Credit Sesame for years and are very thankful to readers who use our link!]
They are not official FICO credit scores which lenders usually use, but substitute scores or “FAKO” (as in fake) scores.
But these are good substitutes for me because I don’t want to spend money to get my official credit score.
Emily’s score of 755 was last updated in January before her February App-O-Rama. Credit Sesame gives a substitute of her Experian score, but for some reason is not updating for February or March.
But despite applying for credit cards for years, she still has a score in the 740 range last year.
Emily’s Credit Karma score is 736, but her official TransUnion score is 746 which was in the material which Barclay’s sent with her credit card. Credit Karma gives a substitute of one’s TransUnion score.
Bottom Line: Most of the millions of miles which Emily and I use for Big Travel with Small Money have come from credit card sign-up bonuses. And it is nice to know that we can potentially get the US Air MasterCard and Bank of America Virgin Atlantic card again (though your personal experience may be different).
This is a great way to earn lots of miles and points, but you HAVE to be careful.
Don’t apply for credit cards if you can’t pay off the entire balance monthly. You’ll likely be paying more in interest than the value of the miles and points. And don’t apply for credit cards if you will be applying for a big loan in the next 2 years.
What’s your experience getting the same type of card again?
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