Emily’s December 2012 App-O-Rama – 8 Cards. 355,000 Miles & Points!

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Emily and I set travel goals and we then collect miles and points to get to those goals. Our goals are quite simple. We want to have enough miles and points to travel within the US in coach to visit friends, to go to Michigan or Ohio to visit family and to have weekend getaways.

We also want to travel internationally 2 to 3 times a year – ideally in business or first class, but we’ll choose a flight in coach if it means less connections and more time on the ground (like we did when we visited Brazil during Carnival).

We also need hotel points since we have to stay somewhere. We don’t really care which airline we fly or hotel we stay in as long as we can save money while traveling. I’m partial to Hyatt because I’m a Hyatt diamond, but I won’t say no to free or cheap hotel stays.

Emily’s December Cards

Emily applied for 8 credit cards and was approved for all of them except the US Bank Club Carlson card (still pending) after ~1 hour on the phone with the Chase and Citi reconsideration folks, so Santa was good to us!  In case you’re wondering, Emily has a ~6.5 year credit history and a credit score above 700.  This cards focused on international travel and hotel stays.

Emily drew inspiration from Rapid Travel Chai – who managed to get 4 different cards from Barclaycard approved on the same day – and applied for 3 separate Barclays cards one after the other using the same browser.  She received instant approval for all 3 cards!

Do consider using the links from Rapid Travel Chai as thanks for discovering this!

Emily applied for the cards in the order of importance to us– first the Chase Ink Plus followed by the Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa.

The Chase Ink Plus has a reduced minimum spending of $5,000 (instead of $10,000) within 3 months so we wanted to get in on that sooner rather than later.  Emily had cancelled her earlier Sapphire Preferred Visa in May to avoid the annual fee, but missed having the no foreign transaction fee and double points on dining and travel and wanted it back!

Next were the 2 Citi Hilton cards with 50,000 points each.   My affiliate link to the Citi Hilton card offers only 40,000 points, so I used the link from Flyer Talk and in the Hotel Credit Card tab for 50,000 Hilton points.  After calling the Chase and Citi reconsideration lines and getting approved for their cards, Emily applied for the Barclays Frontier Airlines card for domestic travel.

She got an instant approval, so we decided to follow in Rapid Travel Chai’s footsteps and applied for the Chairman’s Preferred version of the US Air card which gives you 40,000 US Air miles regardless of which version of the card you get approved for with the annual fee waived.

She then applied for the Barclays Priceline card to see if she would get approved for another Barclays card and was instantly approved.  I also want to research the Barclays Priceline card.  We could have applied for the Barclays Best Western and Choice hotel cards, but didn’t find them interesting enough.

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!

Note that you should NOT apply for multiple cards just because I or other bloggers do.  As always, do what is comfortable for you!  Make sure you can meet the minimum spending requirements comfortably.  There is no harm in applying for just 1 or 2 cards at a time.

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 apply for credit cards.  And to be as conservative as possible, I wouldn’t apply for many cards in the 2 years before a mortgage or refinance.

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.  I may also buy Vanilla Reloads at CVS and use them them to fund my Bluebird and pay bills such as student loans, mortgages etc.

Credit Card Resources

8 cards from 4 different banks

In general, we apply for credit cards from different banks, every 3 to 4 months, 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.  If you apply for 1 or 2 cards at a time, I wouldn’t worry too much about this.

Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are the 3 main credit bureaus in the US.  Banks will usually request a copy of your credit report from at least 1 (sometimes more) of these credit bureaus.  The exact credit bureau used depends on where you live and which bank you’ve applied for credit from.

Personal Cards

1.   Chase Sapphire Preferred (Visa).   Emily first got this card in June 2011 and was able to get matched to a very limited time offer of 100,000 points in June 2011, so we were really happy with our Chase Sapphire Preferred card!  But the $95 annual fee was due in June this year, so Emily transferred the Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt and United to avoid losing them and cancelled the card to avoid paying the fee.

I got a Chase Sapphire Preferred for myself after cancelling Emily’s card, but Emily wanted one for herself because she didn’t like me swapping my Chase Sapphire Preferred into her purse every time she had to use it for travel and dining (for 2X Ultimate Rewards points) or for foreign transactions because of the no foreign transaction fee on the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Emily could have got the MasterCard version of the Sapphire Preferred from the MasterCard site, but I was curious to perform blog research on getting another Sapphire Preferred Visa version.

After calling the Chase reconsideration line, she was approved for her 2nd Chase Sapphire Preferred after closing her 2nd United Explorer card with a $5,000 limit.  I’ll keep you posted if she gets the 40,000 point sign-on bonus as well!

Update:  She did get the bonus again.

2.   Citi Hilton.  Emily wanted more Hilton points, so we decided to apply for 2 Citi Hilton cards with 50,000 bonus points.  My affiliate link offers only 40,000 Citi points, but this link on the Hotel Credit Card tab is for 50,000 points.

The application page doesn’t mention the sign-up bonus, but readers have confirmed that the link works. Of course we wanted more points, so we used the better link for 50,000 points!

Emily applied for 2 Citi Hilton cards and had to call the reconsideration line to get approved.  The first rep noted that we had too much available credit, so we offered to cancel the Visa version of her Citi American Airlines card to free up some available credit.  We kept the American Express version of her American Airlines card to use during future American Express Small Business Saturday promotions.

We then called again for the 2nd card and the rep asked us if it was okay to move credit from Emily’s existing Citi Hilton Reserve to get approved.

3.   Barclaycard Frontier Airlines Card.  I recently wrote about the Barclaycard Frontier Airlines card which offers 35,000 miles after spending $750 within 3 months and Emily decided to apply for the card since Frontier Airlines flies to Kansas City and has a few non-stop flights from Kansas City.

Emily didn’t have any open Barclays credit cards at the time and had cancelled her Barclaycard US Air credit card in February and her Air Tran card in August.  She was instantly approved for the Barclaycard Frontier Airlines credit card.

4.   Barclaycard US Air Card.  Rapid Travel Chai wrote an intriguing post about getting approved for 5 different Barclaycard cards one after the other.  So we decided to apply for the Barclays US Air card with 40,000 bonus points using the better Chairman’s Preferred offer.  Sure enough, we got instantly approved!

5.   Barclaycard Priceline Card.  We really didn’t find the other Barclaycards appealing, but I wanted to see if we could get another card approved.  We applied for the Barclaycard Priceline card with a terrible 5,000 point sign-on bonus.  The main reason for applying for this card was to investigate the 2% cash back on all purchases or potentially higher cash back if you use the card with Priceline’s Name Your Own Price.

And we were instantly approved!  If you do apply for more than one Barclaycard at a time, do consider using the links from Rapid Travel Chai as thanks for discovering this!

6.   US Bank Club Carlson.   The new Club Carlson hotel credit card offers 85,000 points after spending $2,500 within 3 months.  The card also offers free Club Carlson Gold elite status.  Emily wasn’t instantly approved for the card and we didn’t call the Club Carlson Reconsideration line, because they don’t seem to be very helpful over the phone.  We’ll wait for the letter in the mail.

Business Cards

The credit line for business cards does not show in my personal credit report and impact my credit utilization or credit aging, so it doesn’t impact my personal credit score in the long term.  However, the credit inquiry does show in my  personal credit report, but the effect drops off after 3 to 6 months.

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 even though we don’t realize it.  However, business credit cards may not have all the consumer protections which personals cards have.

1.    Chase Ink Plus.   The Chase Ink Plus currently has a reduced minimum spending of $5,000 (instead of $10,000) within 3 months for 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points.  I don’t know when the minimum spending will increase to $10,000 so we wanted to apply for the Chase Ink Plus sooner rather than later.  We’ll likely transfer the 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points to United, Hyatt or Southwest.

Emily already had 2 Chase Ink Bold cards when she applied for the Chase Ink Plus, one Ink Bold with the Million Mile Secrets Tax ID and one as a sole proprietor with her social security number.

Emily applied for the Ink Plus using the Million Mile Secrets Tax ID (if you don’t have a tax ID, you can use your social security number).

We called the Chase business reconsideration line at (800-453-9719) to get approved for the card.  The first two reps declined her application because of the large number of new credit accounts opened.  But the 3rd rep agreed to approve her application if we closed one of her two Ink Bold cards.

The rep asked the usual questions – how long has your business been established, is it a full time job for you, revenue projection for 2013, how much experience do you have in your business etc.  See this post for a list of questions which I was asked when I was last approved for a Southwest Business card.

Credit Score Impact

Credit Sesame and Credit Karma 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 us because we don’t want to spend money to get our official credit score.

Credit Sesame:

Emily’s credit score was 721 in early December before her December App-O-Rama.  Credit Sesame gives a substitute of her Experian score.

Credit Sesame Score

Credit Karma:

Emily’s Credit Karma score is 732 and was updated on December 30, 2012 – 3 day after her applications.

Emily’s Credit Karma Score

Credit Karma gives a substitute of Emily’s TransUnion score.

Bottom Line

Many of the millions of miles which Emily and I use for Big Travel with Small Money have come from credit card sign-up bonuses.  We use our miles and points for a mix of domestic travel, international travel, and to spend time time with friends and family.

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.

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114 responses to “Emily’s December 2012 App-O-Rama – 8 Cards. 355,000 Miles & Points!

  1. Did you churn as well, or just her?

  2. I’m considering the Citi Hilton cards as well. I have a Citi AAdvantage but I got that 14 months ago so i should be good. Two questions though – do none of the reps ask why you want two of the exact same cards? Is there a good answer besides I want the sign-up points?

    Also, I’d like to get another AA bonus asap, to do so i believe i can apply for the citi aadvantage card again once 18 months has gone by. That would only be 4 months from today though. Is that enough time. I’d then have 4-5 Citi cards, seems like a lot…


  3. My concern has always been that the reconsideration line could do another soft pull and find out that you just applied for 7 other cards in addition to theirs. Has this ever happened to you or do they only seem to know what was current from the hard pull at time of application?

  4. @Lou- you are totally fine. And you simply say you want to stay in hiltons for both business and leisure and keep expenses separate.
    @Jeff- first of all what is the worst case scenario ? they deny you ? big deal. secondly all you need to do is stay focused on why you want THIS card youre calling about. They will quickly forget about all the others you applied for. Believe me the rep from citi has no interest in hearing whats good about chase cards or vice versa unless they want a churning lesson. (which has happenned to me twice…)

  5. This may be a n00b ? but you said you didnt have any loans coming up so it’s fine to apply for cards. Why would this matter so long as your credit score remains high — I realize you take a couple pts hit w/inquiries but your score may also go up w/higher avail credit & lower credit utilization. I am applying to grad school and was going to apply for a 2-3 cards but I don’t want to mess up anything if I need to go knocking to Ms. Sallie.

  6. How did she get the bonus twice on her SP Visa? I thought that was a one time shot for each card, and that to get the bonus again she would have to apply for the SP MC.

    On a related note, should I cancel my SP Visa before I apply for an SP MC, or can I apply and then close the Visa at recon, using its credit line as leverage? Thanks for your help!

  7. What an amazing churn, you go girl! But living too close to the edge for me. On my last churn, I got 5 cards….but it was so scary. I thought one of them was going to say no. Mike Fein has the right perspective.
    @MMS (or anyone who knows)- Do you think it’s okay if I apply for 2 Citi Hiltons i January and 2 Citi Aadvantage in July? I know Chase, but not Citi. Thanks.

  8. Hey Darius/Emily,

    You guys must have gotten over a dozen cards each over past year, and still have some older cards. Do you manage to use all the cards each month, or are there cards that you put into storage? There are some cards I seldom use (like SWA, BOH, US Airways), but try to put a $5 charge on amazon giftcards once in awhile. I don’t know if that helps me from getting shut down.

  9. I’m loving this! We are waiting until after we buy our next house to do something like this, but I am ready! 🙂

  10. Thanks Dariaus! We knew we had to cancel my husband’s Sapphire Preferred because we didn’t want to pay the annual fee, but we didn’t know what other card to get. After reading your post, I said, “If Emily can get one, so can I!” (Your blog my favorite and I am happy that I used your link to apply.) Instant approval!
    I had gotten turned down from Chase for years (too many lines of open credit) but I have recently gotten approved for a United Card. I guess I have been charging enough, because I got approved immediately. (I don’t think that has ever happened before!)
    The only issue I have now is that I will still need another card to go to Europe this spring because the Sapphire Card is too thick to fit in the vending machines over there. Have you and Emily had this problem and how do you recommend getting around it?

    Wishing you and Emily and Happy New Year!

  11. Awesome! Can you please answer one question? How long after you cancel a card do you re-apply? I always thought I had to wait a year, but it looks like Emily did not wait a year. Thanks!

  12. Did the Barclays inqs consolidate into 1 pull like Citi does?

  13. Emily is killing me!!! 🙂 I don’t know how she is done it as I have a better FICO score & yet my success rate is 50% on my AORs at best … congratulations on successful AOR & happy new year to all!

  14. I really like your disclosure policies and how you do not feature inferior affiliate offers. And giving a pass to RTC is splendid!

    Ok now….she got the SP VIDA twice? Or is the second a MC? How does she slide through each time? 🙂

  15. If you apply for two Hilton Citi cards can you input different HHonors Account #s? I wanted to give HH Gold to someone else rather than just have it go to waste. Wasn’t sure if the name on the app had to match the name on the HHonors account or if it was just automatically xfered.

  16. Why did she apply for the priceline card, I mean it’s only worth 50 dollars???

  17. so Emily got the second Sapphire prf? if so jow long between thr cancellation of the first one and the second one?

  18. its not number of CC applied, but worry about the spend in 6 months, 14k, thats half of most people annual salary. do you think its possible to spend all that ?

  19. Hasn’t Emily had all of these cards before? You sure talked about all of them over the last year. Why don’t you let us know when she lasted applied for each of those cards and when and if she canceled them too. Happy New Year!

  20. I guess I should have read further. Seems you answered most of my question. Keep up the good work.

  21. I used the Barclays trick and got 3 cards approved “instantly.” Just had to go to application status and saw I was approved on all 3. Probably could do more to test, but not really worried about it. I got my 2nd US Airways card. Had first in March, cancelled in October. Got $200 NFL card and Lufthansa card. Not bad for 1 inquiry. Thanks!

    • @Bart I. Lapers – It was just her churn. I had mine in November.

      @Lou – They very rarely ask and I mention that it is to separate business and personal expenses. You could always cancel your earlier Hilton and American Airlines cards if you’re worried that you have a lot of outstanding credit with Citi before applying for the AA cards again.

      @Jeff – I’ve never been asked that, and even if they do pull your credit report again it would show inquiries reported to that credit bureau so it is unlikely to show all your recent applications unless you applied for cards all from the same bureau.

      @mike fein – Thanks for helping out!

      @Mike – In some cases (usually for mortgages), lenders will look at your actual credit report besides your credit score. I prefer taking as few risks as possible so would prioritize a home or student loan over a few credit card applications. That said, I did apply for cards before I took out a student loan for grad school, but that was before the financial crisis of 2008.

      @Preacher – You’re right that folks have got the bonus on the Visa version, cancelled it and got the MasterCard version to use at Sam’s Club and got the bonus again. Emily was approved for another Visa version, but hasn’t completed the minimum spending yet, so no news on the bonus. You won’t be able to have both the MC or Visa open at the same time, but you could apply for the MC and then ask the recon department to close your Visa to get the MC to use at Sam’s Club as an even trade.

      @Lively – 2 Hiltons in Jan and 2 AA cards in July should be fine. You could even close 1 of the Hilton cards before your AA applications in July to reduce the amount of available credit and increase likelihood of an instant approval.

      @Webaziod – We have recurring charges on all our Chase cards, but not on cards from other banks.

      @Candace P – Happy New Year to you too and thanks for using our link! Vending machines in Europe usually don’t accept American credit cards without a chip. And many vending machines have a problem with US cards with a chip. See this post for more details. I wouldn’t expect a US-issued card to work flawlessly in vending machines in Europe.

      @Linda T – It depends on the card and bank. Please email me for more details!

      @Cindy @Kendra – I haven’t checked the official credit report, but Credit Karma reports only 1 inquiry from Barclays.

      @Kalboz – Happy New Year to you and your family as well! It isn’t always easy and getting approved via reconsideration also depends on the mood of the phone rep and your negotiating skills.

      @TravelBloggerBuzz – Thanks! Now, will I get a pass for the last 3 installments in the trip report? 🙂 She got approved for the Visa for a 2nd time and I’ll update once she completes the minimum spending requirements. I know you can get bonus on Visa and MC…or vice versa…

      @Matt C – I really don’t know!

      @Max – To see if she could get approved for it and because I want to test-drive the card.

      @sam – She was approved for a 2nd one which she cancelled in May this year or ~7 months ago.

      @choi – It should be possible with Vanilla Reloads and other methods. See the links under “Credit Card Resources” in this post and also see this post.

      @Jack – Happy New Year to you too!

      @Josh – Glad it worked out and thanks for sharing!

      @Lynn – She actually applied for a new Explorer card and got the bonus, and then converted one of her oldest Chase United cards into the Explorer card (for the free bag benefit). That’s how she had 2 United Explorer cards. She didn’t get the bonus for converting the old United card into the Explorer card, but she did get it for the new Explorer card.

      @susan – That’s very good to know and thanks for sharing! I’m sure we have a lot of inquiries on our combined reports, but glad to know that you can get US Bank to reconsider an application.

      @gocong – I’ve read that too, but am looking to do some first-hand research into it!

  22. Thanks for doing the research to see if Emily can get the bonus on the 2nd Chase Sapphire Visa card! You said she also cancelled her 2nd chase United Explorer card to get approved. Did she also get the bonus a 2nd time on the Explorer card?

  23. I’m also wondering if the Barclay’s card got consolidated into one pull.

    Bold move, guys! Awesome.

  24. Hi Daraius & Emily. Just a comment on USBank. My partner and I applied (separately) for the Carlson card deal and had to call the reconsideration line. No, the first rep wasn’t helpful (and neither was the 2nd!), but I kept asking for a supervisor. I went up 2 layers before I got the right answer. My partner was turned down at first. I asked why. They said they are using an outside agency that is NOT a credit agency. It’s affiliated with visa and reports # of credit inquiries not only by ss# but also by household address. Well… they can’t do that! We are both using this address. Most households are going to have more than one person who could be applying for credit. They can’t penalize one person for a different person’s credit activity! So I kept asking for a supervisor on that one. When I got to the 3rd layer, she immediately said that she’d reroute his app for reconsideration because he does have a very good credit score. I think they are going to be in trouble considering the number of “household” inquiries. Go get em, Emily. btw… my partner’s app was approved in the reconsideration process.

  25. I would be surprised if Emily gets approved for the US Bank CC card. I do wish she will be approved for that card. According to people’s report on FT, US Bank does not like to see many inquiries within the past 6 months. Congrats on getting 3 Barclay cards.

  26. Darius- Two questions for you…
    1) I have the Chase Saphire Preferred Visa card as well as the Bold and Ink cards. Is the Mastercard a different product? If so, can I get that as an additional way of accumulating points?
    2) I got a Barclays US Air card 4 months ago. Do you think I can get a second? My first card is still open.

  27. I need to apply for the citi hilton for next churn in Feb, do I use two browser trick? and I still have the AA visa and AA amex from July, can we have these many Personal CC from City?

  28. “after closing her 2nd United Explorer card” Your discussion of this card from the Airline Credit Cards page says: “You only get the sign-up bonus once for Chase cards”. Did Emily get the sign up bonus twice? Is so, any tips on how to get a second one? Just cancel and reapply, or is there more to it?

    “I’ll keep you posted if she gets the 40,000 point sign-on bonus as well!” Again, I thought the CSP card was a one time only bonus. Usually when I call to activate a new card, I ask them to confirm the terms of my sign up. Did Emily ask them to confirm her qualifying for a {unmentioned that it would be her second} bonus? Or is she going to make a $3000 in 3 months minimum spend without knowing if they are going to give her a second bonus or not? Because once you allow for the time lag between card activation and arrival, and a possible delay in charges posting, she is looking at a minimum spend of over $10K in 2.5 months on this churn. Without counting the $3k for the Citi cards, but that 6 months to spend cuts into the next churns minimum spend….

    When applying for 2 identical Citi Hilton cards at the same time, how do you tell the reconsideration CSR which one you are calling about. You said you called about each one individually, but I’m unclear how to ask about just one at a time. Does Citi give you an app number to mention to the CSR?

    Emily got an instant approval for a 3rd Barclays US Air card? Because I seem to remember that she got a second one last spring, whereas you were denied for a second. Even the recon line denied me a second one on for “business use”. And I’m reading elsewhere about others reporting being denied for a second, even after having cancelled their first one. Maybe I could pay Emily to put in my apps for me? 😀

  29. so would you consider 7 months or longer between 1st Sapphire and 2nd churning to be safe to receive all the goods?

  30. Opps, I didn’t think to refresh before posting my questions. I see you have already answered the question about the 2 United cards. And apparently Emily is running an experiment for us all about a second CSP card. But I’m still wondering if Emily confirmed her bonus at activation, or if she is just waiting to find out. And if she actually got an instant approval on a 3rd US Air card.

  31. Hey guys – Just got my SWA card and approved and need to burn 2K in 3 months. BTW, I callled chase to pririty ship the card so I can get started on my shopping spree…

    Here is the question, even if I you buy gift cards, pay for your trusted friends, family and they paying them back, paying all the expenses with the cards, how do you burn through 14.5k in 6 months?

    Great forum and nice advices. Keep them coming.


  32. Hey, nice AOR. Let us know about the 40K bonus on the Sapphire card. I’m guessing she won’t get it. Chase has a habit of approving most cards but not giving bonus if you’ve had the card & bonus before. I canceled my Sapphire in March and would like to reapply this coming March. Fingers crossed for you.

  33. So, after reading your AppORama story, the title indicating you getting 355,000 points for your efforts, might not be totally accurate and it MAY only turn out to be only 230,000 points if you don’t get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Points (40k) or the US Bank Club Carlson card (85k)???
    Do I understand that correctly?

  34. @sree- amazon payments takes care of 6k in 6 months (7k is there are 7 different CALENDAR months in the 6 full months which there almost always will be unless you applied on the 1st of the month. Unless you have been hiding under a rock you might have heard of blue bird and vanilla reloads… that can take care of 5k per month at a cost of 3.95 per 500 in spend.

  35. @”everyone”- the rumor mill has it on very strong evidence that you can get the csp VISA bonus in short intervals but of course ymmv

  36. @ROBERT- heres the basic deal with the us airways.. if youre spending regularly on it then you can get a second one usually no more than 6 months without closing the first. if you just spent and got bonus then my advice is to close the first and wait 3 months and reapply for second etc etc etc.

  37. @Tim- your 1st question most certainly. your second question see my previous response

  38. @sree – Pay your rent or mortgage with vanilla reloads thru bluebird. Car payment too. Vanilla reloads go into bluebird and then bluebird can send checks to your collectors (in my case, my apt leasing office). 6 months rent + 6 months daily expenses (everything going on the card, I don’t pay for anything cash) = $14k easy. Not even including car payment.

  39. @mike fein That’s the information I’ve tried to get several places, to no avail… I was going to wait for my 10K annual renewal, but I can’t get an definite answer from US if that is still going to be honored. And I’d rather get 40K free miles, than pay a fee for 10K. So I’ll cancel and risk not getting approved for a new card next time. Thanks so much….

  40. Wow, Emily has some big bucks to spend in the next 6 months to qualify for all those bonuses! She must have a great high paying job with lots of vacation to afford both the $ and the travel time. How she is able to do it is the real “Million Mile Secret” ——

  41. As a follow-up to my previous blog: Emily needs to spend $11,250 in three months! That’s a lot of charging for the average individual —-

  42. @senorric, 11.3k is 2 months and 2 days of vanilla reloads. Nothing extraordinary in this day and age (until CVS stops selling them at least)

    • @Tim – Yes, the MasterCard is considered a different product and you should be able to get the bonus on that. However, Chase will let you have only 1 Sapphire Preferred open at a time, so you’ll have to cancel your existing version. You may be able to, but as always, your miles may vary.

      @adnan – You can apply for the Hilton cards in different browsers. At some point, you’ll bump against the maximum available credit from Citi, so it could help to cancel 1 of the 2 AA cards before applying.

      @Robert Hanson – With Chase, you get approved for a card and receive the card in the mail. But then comes a letter from Chase that you won’t get the bonus since it is your 2nd card. So the only sure way to know is to actually complete the minimum spending and see if the bonus posts. Folks have got the bonus on a Chase Sapphire Preferred MasterCard after cancelling a Visa, but I’m curious about the Visa.

      With the Citi cards, I copy the application reference number from the online application (if I’m not instantly approved) and give that to the telephone rep. I then call again and give the rep the 2nd reference number. If I don’t have the application reference, I give my social security number and if the rep doesn’t spot the 2nd application, I call back and repeat the process with my social security number.

      You have a good memory! Her 1st card didn’t get her many points because she got the lower card and only 10K points, and she got an instant approval for all Barclays cards including the US Air card.

      @sam – I think it is, but don’t know for sure until the minimum spending is complete and the points have posted!

      @sree @Senorric – What mike fein, Jake, & Miguel say. And you can always pay ~3% to pay your rent/mortgage/car/student loans with a credit card if you don’t want to use Bluebird. Paying a 3% fee is usually well worth it to get the sign-on bonus on many credit cards.

      @phil – That’s true for airline and hotel cards, but I haven’t read many cases of that happening with the Ultimate Rewards cards.

      @BillyBob – That’s correct. She applied for 8 cards which should get her 355K points in total, but we won’t know for a few weeks until the points posts.

  43. on the second Sapphire Emily received, is she getting 40k bonus as well?

  44. My husband was declined for the Ink Bold charge card and he called twice and was shut down. I had him call a 3rd time (he didn’t want to do it) and had him authorize me to speak with them and we finally got it approved 2 days ago. Thank you for sharing your experiences b/c I never would have known to keep calling the reconsideration line.

  45. please keep posted. thanks

  46. D&E Cheers and Happy New Year!!!! Before I head out to start my night I just want to say that this was one heck of a AOR. One big thing that I noticed is that from Sept to Now Emily’s Experian FAKO score (through CreditSesame) dropped 56 points from 770-721. The same thing happened to me in Oct as most of my inqs were on Experian and I (through sheer ignorance and excitement) applied for different cards on different days (lesson learned). Can you let us know which CBs got hit for her and how many hard inqs were recorded in total? That would be very helpful to me.

    I wish you two all the best in 2013!!!!

  47. Whoops. I meant 49 points. Sorry about that.

  48. The one thing I have going for me is I have a business so min spend is never an issue. I like that idea about two of the Hilton cards at once if she gets the bonus points. US bank is tight on credit but I have a biz and personal card with them. I may try the Barclays trick but I never had luck with them. I have one card with them Travelocity. They always seem hesitant to give a second card and I have very good history with them.

    • @sam – Will do!

      @Kryztofer – Happy New Year to you too! I’ll do a follow up post once the bonus posts with which credit bureaus were used and how many hard inquiries were recorded.

      @robertw – With Citi, you almost always get the sign on bonus if you’re approved for the cards and get them in the mail. It works with the Citi AA cards, Hilton Reserve, Thank You etc. Barclays is very ymmv…

  49. I just applied for the Citi HH (no annual fee) using two browsers and was approved…for two GOLD cards…ouch! Is there any bonus/benefit for having these cards? Currently I’ve got the AA AMEX/VISA/BIZ and a Citi HH card – the AMEX/VISA are the oldest and are approximately 9 months old. Any advice?

  50. Okay Two Questions.

    1. How was she able to sign up for two Citi Hilton Cards at Once?

    2. I am still confused by a certain aspect of churning that no one seems to mention. So I sign up for the Chase Ink Plus. Meet my spend, get my points and tranfer them to whatever. 11 months later I cancel the card to avoid paying the fee…..okay so how long must I wait to reopen the card to get the points again?

  51. Do let us know what happens with Club Carlson (USBank). My husband has a credit karma score of 780 and applied for the card a couple of weeks ago, he called that same day and was told he was declined for to many recent inq. and to many apps. at our address. He was given another number to call and they said nothing they could do, so he gave up trying, maybe we should of keep calling. Let us know if you have any success. This is the first card he has not been able to get.

  52. @MMS, thank you for the quick response & for sure your negotiation skills top mine. I spent 20 minutes with BoA credit “analyst” trying to get the miserly 35K Hawaiian miles card to no avail. I don’t have any problem getting approved by the big players (Citi, Chase, & AMEX), it is the minor ones (Barclays, US Bank, BoA, BoH, etc.) that are killing me with the hard pull without any credit return … Oh well, I guess as with everything in life, YMMV 🙂

    Moving on … another item I heard at the FTULAX is that you cannot apply to more than one Chase card at a time, and that there should be 91 days hiatus between applications the various Chase cards products. And yet, as you can see in the above Emily’s AOR that she got approved for both Ink & Sapphire cards which are both issued by Chase. Can I apply for & get – say – Marriott & PC cards from Chase at the time? Can you shed some light on this please? Thank you!

  53. @Kalboz The Ink is a Business card, Saphire is a personal card. You can do one personal and one business, just not two of the same type.

  54. FWIW, I emailed CS at Dividend Miles, asking if they were going to honor the 10K bonus miles on annual renewal for the US Air card that was part of the offer when I applied, but is not mentioned anymore. New Years Eve, I got a USPS letter from them to “re-disclose”, whatever that means, the benefits of the card.

    NO renewal bonus is mentioned ! Just this: “Earn 10,000 miles towards your preferred status, when you spend $25,000 during the calendar year”. Oh, and it also gives you “zone 2 boarding”. Be still my heart…

    Yes, they “re-disclosed” to me that I needed to have spent $25K in a calendar year, on the LAST DAY OF THAT YEAR ! Which would not have gotten me any bonus miles, simply 10K closer to the 25K required to qualify for Silver status with US Air. Which, since I don’t have any flown miles with them this year, would not have benefited me in any way.

    Also, “as long as you make one purchase a month with your card, your miles will never expire”. Hardly a great benefit, since one purchase every 18 months thru the Dividend Miles portal, with any card, will put miles in your account, keeping them from expiring. Saving you the $89 annual fee…

    So that makes everything clear. I’m going to take Mike Fein’s advice, cancel and reapply for another first year fee-free card next spring. In the meantime, I’ll be focusing on racking up more miles with AA and UA, plus UR and SPG. All of whom seem to really want my cc business. 😀

  55. @Kalboz I should have mentioned that the three month rule, while maybe good advice, is not a “rule” at all. I have gotten Chase personal cards a month apart, mostly when excellent sign-up deals were about to expire and I didn’t want to miss out on them by waiting.

  56. Fantastic results, Darauis and congrats to Emily. I personally limit myself by 6 cards at a time, but I probably must consider moving on to bigger and better things:)

    • @de – With Citi you usually get the full sign-on bonus regardless of the version of the card you’re approved for. But confirm the sign-on bonus when you call to activate the card.

      @Danny – By applying for them one after the other. It really varies by card to card. Email me if you have a specific card in mind. This post may help as well.

      @Tammy – I’ll keep you posted. I’ll be surprised if it is automatically approved based on everyone else’s experience!

      @Kalboz – Sometimes it is best to hang up and call again and get a friendlier representative then try to convince someone to approve you. I’d try calling the BOA reconsideration line again. You usually can get 1 business and 1 personal card from Chase at the same time, but will have to call the reconsideration line. See this post for more info. 91 days is the recommended interval, but I’ve applied within 91 days and got approved for that as well.

      @Robert Hanson – The Barclays CS are clueless as to whether the points will post or not, so I wouldn’t rely on them. It depends on whether you signed up using the Chairman’s Preferred link or the regular link. If you used the Chairman’s Preferred link, you should get the 10K bonus, but your miles may vary. That said, it perhaps is better to cancel the card and try again for 40K than to pay a fee for a potential 10K miles (which may not post).

      @Andy Shuman – We usually do 5 or 6, but wanted to see if we could get additional Barlcays cards. I won’t be doing 8 cards again anytime soon.

  57. Hi. Any word on the status of the US Bank Club Carlson card? I also applied recently and received a status pending and we will mail you response.

  58. Darauis, you mentioned Emily converted one of her oldest Chase United cards into the Explorer card for the free bag benefit, do they have a no fee version of the Explorer card or she has to pay the annual fee for the free bag benefit?

  59. Wow nice churn!
    My husband downgraded his sapphire preferred to just the sapphire card to avoid the annual fee but also not lose the credit line. If we have to apply for another SP card (visa or MC) then we’d have to cancel the sapphire right?

    • @Maury – No news so far.

      @Pan – I don’t believe there is a publicly available version of the no-fee United card, but there were older fee free United cards which some folks still have. That said, it doesn’t hurt to call Chase and ask!

      – You may be able to keep the Sapphire and get the Sapphire Preferred as well. Or you can keep the Sapphire and just reapply for the Sapphire Preferred.

  60. It turns out my letter from US Air, not mentioning the 10K renewal bonus included in my app, was not in response to my email to their CS. I got this emailed response today:

    “Dear Mr. Hanson

    Thank you for contacting US Airways.

    Due to the nature of your concern, we contacted our Barclays Bank liaison on your behalf. In response to our inquiry the bank confirmed yes, your account terms reflect the 10,000 Anniversary bonuses so as long as you pay your $89 annual fee every year you will receive a 10,000 mile bonus.

    Anniversary Bonus Miles: Beginning with the first anniversary of Account opening and every anniversary thereafter, Card members will be awarded 10,000 Anniversary Miles. Anniversary miles will be reflected on the billing statement following payment of your Annual Fee, if applicable.

    Thank you for being a member of our Dividend Miles program. We look forward to assisting you with any future needs.”

    If anyone is planning to renew their Barclays US Air card for the renewal bonus miles, I’d email them to get your own promise to use in case they don’t post automatically. Note especially the phrase “every anniversary thereafter”.

  61. I cancelled my sapphire card around 4-5 months ago. When do you think I can apply for it again to get the bonus?

  62. @Robert. Im not sure why youd pay the 89 for a 10k mile bump when you can get another 40 k for free by cancelling and getting a new one with first year fee waived

  63. @Susan – I just got off the phone with U.S. Bank and had the same experience — they denied me due to too many recent apps. I didn’t think to elevate, but maybe I should. Let us know what happens.

  64. @Mike Fein I don’t intend to keep the card, but since I had posted apparently incorrect info from the generic letter they sent me, I thought I should update with the email confirming that the renewal bonus is still being honored. Thanks again for your advice.

  65. @Kalboz
    FWIW, In November my wife and I did our first AOR. I have a personal credit score of 800+, my wife’s only card history was as an AU. None of us had a previous relationship with Chase or Barclay’s.

    I did PC club,Marriott & MP Xplorer. (Chase) Also, US Airways 40K (Barclay’s)
    None approved instantly. Called, all Chase approved on same call. Barclay’s denied.

    Wife did PC club, MP Xplorer. Also, US Airways 40K. All approved instantly

    All bonuses have posted except wife’s PC club points and my MR points.
    Now we’re ready to start on Citi !!

  66. I did a similar AOR and Credit Karma showed myscore dropping for 768 to 712 – could you give us an update on the current Credit Karma score? It takes a few days for all of them to hit… thanks!

  67. Great chun;) But you should have headlined this post with that picture of Emily in the bikini holding all the cards. Bling!

  68. Congratulations on your/Emily’s recent 8-card churn! I do not want to be picky but in my opinion there is an error in the total of minimum spending requirement. Since they differ depending on a credit card it’s not $14,250.00 to be spent in 6 months. In fact to be more specific, you’d need to spend $11,250.00 in 3 months (2 Chases, 1 Barclays plus 1 US Bank) and then another $3,000.00 in the remaining 3 months (2 Citi plastics). Correct me if I am wrong but that’s quite a lot of running for the Vanilla Reloads :))

    ps. was a 2 browser method sufficient enough or did you need a third one or so? There were 3 cards from Barclays so can you have 2 tabs in one browser?

  69. Yes, I’m curious as to how Emily’s KreditKarma fares over the next 60 days. I applied for new credit last summer, score was fine until about 45 days later when it fell by about 25 points over a couple weeks. No other difference in credit usage, loans, etc.

    Thanks, Moneypyts

  70. I noticed Emily applied for and received two Citi Hilton Reserve cards during her September churn.

    Was this ever brought during your call to the Citi reconsideration line for the Citi Hilton cards? They are essentially the same card but the Hilton Reserve offers higher bonuses for spends. Did they ask why you wanted this lower level card as well? If they didn’t ask, how would you have responded if they did?

    Thank you.

    • @Robert – You’re right that the spending is more nuanced by month and there is more required in the first few months, but there’s no shortage of Vanilla Reloads where we live! For the Barclays cards, we applied for one after the other in the same browser.

      @Moneypyts – Will keep everyone posted.

      @Andrew – They didn’t ask. If asked, we would probably had said to earn more Hilton points. The reps don’t seem to be too bothered about the multiple cards – be it with Hilton or with the American Airlines cards.

  71. I was wondering what happens with the prospective card holders who do not have any account with Hilton, etc. and they apply for 2 or more cards from the same or different banks. Will multiple accounts be set up automatically or will the system put it all together under one ‘number’???

  72. So I may be buying a house in 2 years. My wife and I have been churning credit cards over the past 2 years. Could I continue to apply for cards in my wife’s name, and get a loan in my name with no harm to our loan since the loan would just be in my name. Just investigating if we can continue playing the CC game without compromising our future loan?

  73. @MMS for the Hilton card. it noted”If you do not meet our criteria for the Visa Signature Card, your application may be processed for the Visa® Gold Card” Is there any different and would we still get the same sign up bonus?

  74. For your information, I applied for the US Airways and Frontier cards within 20-30 minutes of one another. Two separate inquiries were reported by Credit Karma. I’m not sure if it was caused by the lag time between the two applications (same day).

    • @Robert – I believe separate accounts will be opened if you don’t put in an account number on the application.

      – I’d go easy on the credit card application in the run up to a mortgage since both of you will likely be on the mortgage. That said, 1 or 2 cards in the year before the mortgage should be fine, but I wouldn’t apply for cards in the 6 to 9 months before your mortgage.

      @Tommy – With Citi you get the same bonus regardless of which version you get approved for.

      – Thanks for letting me know! I’ll pull the actual credit report and see what was reported.

  75. Thank Daraius. So one could even get 3 or whatever accounts. Can it be merged or smth?

  76. Hi. My wife and I were approved for the US Bank Club Carlson cards and we churn 3-5 cards each every 3 mos.

  77. I applied for the Club Carlson card on Jan 7. Now when I log into US Bank, I see an additional account listed in addition to the Flexperks card which I already have, so I think I was approved for the card. I don’t see a credit limit, nor does it say whether I got the Premier or the Rewards (60,000 points) card.

  78. I wanted to add that I was approved for both the US Airways and Frontier cards instantly when I applied for one after the other. Just wanted to warn everyone that you may be hit with multiple inquiries on TU if you apply for Barclaycards one after another.

  79. Just got approved for my third US Airways Mastercard for another 40k miles!

  80. Did Emily have any luck with the Club Carlson card?

  81. Daraius, once again congratulations and thank you for all the tips and ideas I found on your blog. Here’s in short a story with our first, my wife’s to be more specific, multi-cc applications. After a few weeks of a thorough research I applied for Amex HHonors, Barclay’s US Airways, BofAm Hawaiian, Chase Sapphire and Ink Bold as well as 2 Citi HHonors.
    At this point, I’d say we had some 75% success rate and it’s not because we may have received 6 cards or so. In fact my dear wife was approved for all of them! Yes all of them!!! There were 3 immediate positive responses and 5 were supposed to come in the mail, thus our reconsideration phone calls. I hope my wife will forgive me one day this weird conversation she had to go through, as if it was a criminal background check, with Chase business lending department:) So now we’ll have to confirm the amount of bonus points we’re supposed to get and make sure the minimum spending requirements are met. The latter one, however, became all of a sudden this 25% of our success rate. As it turns out, we cannot completely rely on Vanilla re-loadable cards only! Yesterday I spent some 3 hours driving in downtown Brooklyn from one CVS to another. Here’s a problem, Vanillas are scare but if one finds a shelf with 2 or 22 cards they do not accept a credit card as a form of payment. In some places I almost managed to finalize the transaction but there came a manager and the story went over and over again “this is a store policy”, “only up to $100” or “less than $75” or “cannot pay with this gift card”. Shoot! Why did I buy $3K Amex gift card in a first place last week?!!?
    I guess I am lucky working for a small construction company where there are filing fees to be paid almost every 3-4 days.

    • @Robert – Ha! Your wife should forgive you once take her on a trip! You may have better luck by going to the pharmacy counter (as opposed to the regular counter) at CVS and trying to buy the Vanilla Reloads. Also look at Amazon Payments and perhaps paying the rent or mortgage using WilliamPaid or ChargeSmart just to meet the minimum spending requirement. Good luck and safe travels!

  82. Daraius, I’d say if we can use Vanillas to load BlueBird than it’s not necessary to use William to pay rent since we have to pay it anyway:) This was a fee will be avoided.
    As for the Amazon Payments, can one user have ONLY one transaction, i.e. making or receiving payment? Or can I pay my Dear Wife, who’ll pay her sister thereafter who’ll finally pay me? That makes two transactions for each party involved 🙂

  83. Which makes it one payment of $1K, just to make a long story short.

  84. ….with a credit card “Important Message: We’re sorry. You have exceeded your monthly send limit for transactions funded by credit cards.”

  85. @#!&∫! Sneaky Fees!


    Only been reading you about a month now… and really can’t get enough. YOU are doing many a great service, ignore the complainers.

    My question is about the referral links. I’d like to get in on that action… if it doesn’t mean writing a mammoth blog each day (as you do).

    If there a quick and easy way to come up with a referral linkage – even if it only brings in a few miles – I’d tack ’em up on FB page and hope for a hit now and then.

    As always, should any of your MMS crew should be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow getting a free upgrade to business class and a $3 iTunes card.

    This message will self destruct if I posted it in the wrong place, it’s something you’d rather not answer publicly or I’ve somehow typed it in Swahili.

    Good Luck.

    • @#!&∫! Sneaky Fees! – Email me and I’ll share more information on how to get your affiliate links, but you would need to have a blog or website with traffic to be considered. Otherwise wait for AMEX to reintroduce their referral links which will earn you some miles or points.

  86. My mail to you may be in you spam folder.

    (Please delete this comment)

  87. Hi Daraius, didn’t see the follow-up above–was Emily able to get the Saphire bonus a second time? Thanks.

  88. currently I have two freedoms(many years), one british(applied last May), one United card(applied last Oct) from Chase, Do you think that I can apply Chase Saphire prefered, Priority club and Marriott at the same time(never applied those card before)? My credit score is about 780.
    Learned so much from your blog, really appreciate!

    • @Sw D – Thanks for reading! I wouldn’t do 3 Chase personal cards at the same time, perhaps 1 personal and 1 business or 2 personal and call the reconsideration line or offer to close the card to get approved for the new ones. Good luck!

  89. I applied for the US Air and was instantly approved. I then applied for the Frontier but it was not instantly approved. Should I call the recon line or wait it out?

  90. Can you get Vanilla reloads to do the following scenario:

    Purchase $2500 with US Bank Club Carlson= spending requirement met for 85,000 Points
    Purchase $1500 with Citi Hilton = spending requirement met for 50,000 Points
    Purchase $1000 with Frontier = spending requirement met for 35,000 miles

    Pay off US Bank Club Carlson with $2500 from Citi and Frontier
    Pay off Citi and Frontier with $2500 from US Bank

    Balances on credit cards=just the $3.95 fees from each Bluebird you buy

    Get Vanilla reloads with the other cards that you applied for and use them for other expenses so that you are not just using your Bluebird account to meet spending requirements

  91. Good Call! I received an email this morning stating that I was approved for the card. Took almost two weeks, but worth the wait for my card with penguins on it!

    Now on to calling US Bank.

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  93. I just applied for Amex Gold+Delta, Barlcays US(2 options), Citi AA Amex and a business version with 50K as well as US Bank Carlson (both available) to begin with.
    The results are: both Amex approved (though Delta over the phone), US Bank takes time and no response yet, Citi Amex approved over the phone with 2K credit limit, though the business version needs a week or so?! Now Barclays regular was OK right away, however, a version for ‘business’ was declined due to number of recent applications. Indeed, I checked CreditKarma that shows me 8 recent inquiries/hard pulls.
    Would you have any comment on the Barclays bus. as well as Carlsons’ cases???
    ps. US Bank just sent me email letting me know that my bussiness application was declined….

  94. Daraius,
    Did Emily’s application for club carlson get approved after initial denial? i applied for the US airways card and club carlson card at the same time. I got approved for the US airways card but denied for club carlson. I’m still waiting the letter from them


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