Emily’s 4 Cards. 140,000 Miles, 60,000 Points + $600 in Statement Credits!

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Emily & I have been thinking of getting our 1st house, so we haven’t applied for many credit cards in the past year.  I applied for 3 cards at the end of January for 100,000 miles and $890 in statement credits and Emily decided if I could apply for new cards, she could too!  So she recently applied for 4 cards.

Emilys 4 Cards 140,000 Miles 600 In Statement Credits

Emily Added 4 More Credit Cards to Her Credit Card “Fan”

Read This Before Applying!

Your credit score usually decreases by 3 to 8 points per credit card application temporarily.  However, your score should bounce back or even increase because you’ll have a lower debt utilization ratio with the new credit.

I do NOT recommend applying for credit cards if you plan on taking out a major loan within the next 1 to 2 years.

We pay our credit cards off every month.  Carrying a balance on your card and paying interest usually isn’t worth the miles and points you’ll get if paying interest charges.

Please read the 5 Dangers of Credit Cards before applying for a card.

Emilys 4 Cards 140,000 Miles 600 In Statement Credits

Don’t Apply for Credit Cards If You Can’t Pay the Balance in Full!

Note:  You should NOT apply for multiple cards because I or other bloggers do.  You should do what’s comfortable for you!  There are lots of ways to meet the minimum spending requirements.  It’s okay to apply for just 1 or 2 cards at a time.

If you’re applying for a big loan, you should wait until you get your loan.  You should do everything possible to get a low interest rate on the big loan first, and then apply for credit cards.  You also shouldn’t apply for many cards in the 2 years before a mortgage or refinance.

Set Travel Goals

Emily and I set travel goals and then collect miles and points to reach those goals.  We want to have enough miles and points to travel coach within the US to visit friends, to visit family in Michigan and Ohio, and to have weekend getaways.

We also want to travel internationally 2 to 3 times a year – in Business or First Class, but we’ll fly in coach if it means less connections and more time at our destination.

We also need hotel points because 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.

Having mile and points with different airlines, hotels and cash back cards gives us lots of options when we book our trips!

Credit Card Resources

Here are a few resources which list the best miles and points deals and tips on meeting the minimum spending.

4 Cards From 4 Different Banks

Every 3 to 4 months, we usually apply for credit cards from different banks, so we don’t have credit inquiries (which usually happens every time you apply for credit) hitting only 1 credit bureau.

I 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.  However, applying for 1 or 2 cards at a time shouldn’t have much impact.

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

1.   Barclaycard US Airways

Link:   Barclaycard US Airways Card

Link:   My Review of the Barclaycard US Airways Card

Emily applied for the US Airways card 1st because Barclaycard doesn’t like a lot of credit inquiries on your credit report.  If you already have a Barclaycard such as the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, they like to see you using it.

 

Emily wanted to get the Barclaycard US Airways card because you get 40,000 miles after your 1st purchase and paying the $89 annual fee.  These miles will eventually become American Airline miles which we use for international travel.

She got instantly approved for the card with a very generous $15,000 credit limit!

2.   Chase Ink Bold

Update:   The Chase Ink Bold card is no longer available for new sign-ups.

Link:   Chase Ink Bold Card

Link:   My Review of the Chase Ink Bold Card

Emily had the earlier MasterCard version of the Chase Ink Bold card which she had closed earlier.  That’s because she preferred using the Chase Ink Plus for all her business expenses.

However, the Chase Ink Bold is now issued as a Visa card.  So she applied again to get the 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards point sign-up bonus, the no set spending limit, and the Visa benefits.  The Visa versions get you additional discounts in the Visa Savings Edge program.

She anticipates spending more on the business card and would like the flexibility of the no set spending limit on the Chase Ink Bold.  However, the Chase Ink Bold is a charge card so you have to pay your balance in full each month (which you should do!)

We love the Chase Ink Bold & Chase Ink Plus cards because:

  • You earn 5X points on cable/internet/telecom purchases and at office supply stores
  • You earn 2X points on gas & hotel purchases
  • There are NO foreign transaction fees
  • Points never expire and can be transferred to United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Hyatt, Marriott, Priority Club,Ritz-Carlton, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, and Amtrak
  • The Chase Ink Plus is a credit card while the Chase Ink Bold is a charge card.  You have to pay the balance on your Chase Ink Bold in full (which you should always do), but can carry a balance on the Chase Ink Plus (not recommended because of the high interest fees)

We’ve used Chase Ultimate Rewards points to have lots of Big Travel with Small Money to Paris, Maui, ItalyKauai, and Switzerland.

Emilys 4 Cards 140,000 Miles 600 In Statement Credits

Emily at the Duomo in Milan With the Help of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

She was not instantly approved for the Chase Ink Bold.  We’ll wait this one out, because Chase is very busy processing applications because the 60,000 point offer ends on June 1, 2014!

3.   Citi American Airlines Executive Card

Link:   Citi American Airlines Executive Card

Link:   My Review of the American Airlines Executive Card

You earn 100,000 American Airlines miles and a $200 statement credit after spending $10,000 within 3 months.

This card has a $450 annual fee, but you get a $200 statement credit after spending $200 or more on the card.  So you’re effectively paying $250 for 100,000 American Airlines miles and American Airlines lounge membership.

This is one of the best deals which I’ve seen in the last year.

We love American Airline miles because they’re easy to use for domestic US travel and for First Class international travel.  Here’s my series on how to redeem your American Airlines miles.

Emilys 4 Cards 140,000 Miles 600 In Statement Credits

American Airlines Flagship First Class – Chicago to London – Emily Toasting The Start of Our Trans-Atlantic Journey!

You also get 1 free checked bag and priority check-in and boarding with the card.  You can apply for the Citi Executive card even if you already have another Citi American Airlines card.  But you should wait ~8 days between personal Citi applications and don’t apply for more than 2 cards within ~65 days.

Emily had to call 800-695-5171 to get approved for the card.  The representative asked a few questions then transferred credit from an existing Citi card and she was approved!

4.   US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards

Link:   US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Card

Link:   My Review of the US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Card

This card isn’t from Chase, American Express, or Citi, so Emily didn’t have to worry about maxing out applications from those banks.

Emily applied for the US Bank FlexPerks card to get points to redeem easily with no restrictions or blackout dates, which is great for tickets within the US, especially if you don’t have the Southwest Companion Pass.  You will also earn elite qualifying miles on the ticket, which may be important to some folks (not us!).

 

You also get 3X points on charitable donations which will come in handy when Emily makes donations to Casa de Orientación y Desarrollo Real (CODR).

Emily can choose to earn 2X points on gas, groceries or air travel.  We’ll likely choose groceries because you can often buy gift cards in grocery stores.

She was not instantly approved for the US Bank Flexperks Travel Rewards card.  US Bank takes their own time to approve applications, so we’ll wait this out.  We’ve both frozen our IDA and ARS reports, because there are lots of reports of inaccuracies on those reports.

Emilys 4 Cards 140,000 Miles 600 In Statement Credits

Instant Approval for the US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Card Didn’t Happen for Emily

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 to fly domestically and internationally and spend time with friends and family.  The minimum spending may seem high, but there are lots of ways to meet the minimum spending requirement creatively!

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.  And don’t apply for credit cards if you will be applying for a big loan in the next 1 to 2 years.

Before you apply for a credit card, you should read The 5 Dangers of Credit Cards.

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26 responses to “Emily’s 4 Cards. 140,000 Miles, 60,000 Points + $600 in Statement Credits!

  1. What has your experience been with redeeming the FlexPerks? I got that card a few months ago as part of the Olympics promotion but haven’t gotten the signup bonus yet. I have about a week left and am cutting it a little closer than I’d like 😀

    Thanks though for the tip on the 3x charitable donations – I may just donate some to Kiva to make sure I meet the spending target

  2. Why would you get her to apply for the 40k US airways offer when there is a perfectly good 30k + 10k offer that has the annual fee waived? You’re paying $89 upfront for 10k points, makes no sense.

    Also she really should’ve waited for one of the regular FlexPerks promos to get an extra 10k points, unless she plans on downgrading it to the cash+ card for high spend in a particular category.

  3. @William,
    He used his own links. Pretty much negates the $89 fee.

  4. Since you say “waiting this one out” for the Chase Bold card, did they say for you to call in or it literally says they will let you know? I have never applied for a business card before and dont know what to expect…

    Thanks

  5. What small business did Emily use for the Ink Bold? I just applied and could not convince the Chase reps that my eBay business was worthy of a charge card, even though I have a ton of personal credit with them.

  6. One thing that might help to get people to apply would be if you specified the credit bureau that each card pulled an inquiry from, and your geographical area. If someone could say to themselves that Citi pulls Equifax and Chase from Transunion in the Chicago area, that might help convince them. I know if I were in that area, it would have me applying for more cards.

  7. I understand the advice to not applying before a big loan for 1-2 years but that shouldn’t scare people away. Really, as long as your credit score is kept above 750 you will get the same good interest rate as someone who has an 810 score. As long as your utilization is good and you account for the extra hard credit pull it really should not be a big deal. In my mind if you score is low 700s you shouldn’t be applying for cards anyway until you can get it back up above closer to 750

  8. Say Daraius, bit unlike you to have a banner headline so at odds with the content of the post. You breathless headline: “140,000 Miles + $600 in Statement Credits!” Your math is usually far better than that?

    First, on the miles, I count 220,000 from the cards you list. (40+ 60+100+20).

    As for the $600 in statement credits, that’s correct in one sense, but obviously misleading. That would be $600 in credits, less $539 in non-waived up front fees — for a paltry $61. (not worth mentioning, much less putting in a banner headline)

    and then there’s the matter of the near 19,000 in spending in four months to get these points….. Have a hunch you’re not even close to being candid here with how you and Emily are running up your spending this high. (esp. since you’re not mentioning bluebird and VRC’s — which do still work with CC’s — but just not at CVS) No doubt you’ve become a master at the manufactured spending game…. but aren’t yet ready to be candid about that here. Curious.

  9. Hi Daraius! Thanks for sharing Emily’s experience with her most recent AOR! I would like your opinion on an AOR that I want to do. I’ve been putting off applying for the Ink Bold for as long as possible. The reason is the last time I did an AOR was March 10 so it hasn’t been 3 months yet. My question is, should I go ahead and do an AOR now or should I only apply for the Ink Bold and call it a day?

    I would like to apply for: Chase Hyatt, Ink Bold, Citi Hilton Reserve, and possibly a second US Airways (last time I applied for a US Airways/Arrival card was Oct. 2013). I don’t need the US Airways cc right now since I still have one. I can always do that later.

    And possibly this for my husband: Chase Hyatt, Ink Bold, second Citi Executive card.

    What do you think? We are looking at doing the diamond challenge since we will be staying for 14+ nights in Hawaii later this year. Thanks!

  10. re: Citi American Airlines Executive Card and Priority check-in:

    Can one use priority check-in on an award ticket that has not been paid for with a different cit card?

    I am asking this question because my Citi AA Platinum card give me 10% of the miles used back but no priority check in whereas the City AA Executive does not give the 10% miles back but gives priority check-in. I would, if possible, like to get both benefits and look forward to your input.

  11. I found this in the small print for the Executive card. I currently have a Citi AA Platinum MC.
    This seems to say that I won’t get the bonus for the Executive card:

    This Citi® / AAdvantage® card offer is only valid for new applicants for a Citi® / AAdvantage® account applied for by May 31, 2014, pursuant to this offer and is not available to existing cardmembers or recent applicants for a Citi® / AAdvantage® credit card.

    What do you think?

  12. re: Citi American Airlines Executive Card and Priority check-in:

    Can one use priority check-in on an award ticket that has not been paid for with the executive card?

    I am asking this question because my Citi AA Platinum card give me
    10% of the miles used back but no priority check in whereas the City AA

  13. Any reason why Emily didn’t call Chase to help expedite the process? I thought you usually recommend that. I have the same situation as Emily: current Ink Plus that I use a lot, Ink Bold Mastercard that I cancelled a year ago, applied for Ink Bold Visa today. Got “under review” message, not instant approval. I wonder if I should try calling or just wait.

  14. Did Emily use a different business tax ID for Chase Ink Bold Visa from what she used for the Mastercard version, which she previously had closed?

  15. I have a question about paying your monthly balance off each billing cycle. Do you mean you pay off the full balance shown on your account at the closing date of your statement? The reason I ask is that sometimes there are charges made close to the end of the billing cycle but with the benefit of no interest (a balance “carries” over because it was a recent charge). Thanks for helping me understand.

    • @Points with a Crew – It is our 1st FlexPerks card, so we’ll soon find out!

      @William Charles – Because 1) we’d rather get the miles upfront 2) It is uncertain if you’d get the 10K miles once the cards convert to Barclays American Airlines cards (which they will within the next 1 year) and 3) We may not keep the card if it has the exact same benefits as the Citi American Airlines card in 1 year.

      For FlexPerks, we didn’t want to wait for the next Olympics for the extra points!

      @Nick – It says that they will let us know. Usually we call, but since Chase is slammed with applications, we’ll wait until they contact us.

      @ Andrew – She used the blog as the business.

      @ Will – I agree that it is confusing, but the table clearly spells out the fees etc. I broke out the miles and points, which made it confusing. With the credits etc., there is virtually no fee to be paid for the miles/points.

      @Ang – You could just apply for the Ink cards now (before it expires) and the other cards later on.

      @CG – Because they are slammed with applications, so I’d just wait a bit. Usually, we do call, though.

      @ Emily – Same business, though you can get the card with a different business as well.

      @ Sue – I mean paying the full balance shown on the statement.

      @ Mike – They added that in recently, but could be worth a try.

  16. Ken,
    Last year I bought a ticket on American but even though I had an AA card, I used a non-American credit card to pay for it. I still got priority boarding and free baggage. At least as of last year, you just had to have an AA credit card to get the benefits, you didn’t have to use it to purchase the ticket.

  17. Mike,
    Many thanks – much appreciated. BTW that’s the way I read the benefit for the executive card as well but didn’t want to get caught out by a priority check-in ‘dragon’.

    Thanks again for your input.

  18. Thanks so much Daraius!

  19. @ William Charles or anyone else – Do you have a link for the USAir 30k + 10k, af waived for first year offer? I can’t find it!

  20. what’s the chance of me getting approved for the “Citi American Airlines Executive” card, with 100,000 miles, if i currently have the Citibank AmEx card.

  21. 1) Is there a Chase card offering a 60k bonus for personal accounts?

    2) Any cards give you hotel status (w/o a major spend?). I have a Hilton AMEX that I’ve hit the 20k spend on so I have status with them thru the end of the year, but looking for other hotel options since the major devaluation.

    • @Thomas – Pretty good based on our personal experience.

      @MQ – No personal card with that bonus besides the potential IHG Rewards card. For hotel status, the IHG Rewards gives you platinum status, the Hyatt card gets you gold status, and the Hilton Reserve gets you gold status.

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