3 Cards. 100,000 Miles and 105,000 Points!

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Update:  A credit card offer in this post may no longer be available, but check the Hot Deals for the latest offers!

I applied for 3 cards at the end of January for 100,000 miles and $890 in statement credits/cash back.  And Emily applied for 4 cards in May for 140,000 miles and $600 in statement credits, but some offers are just too good to pass up.

3 Cards Got Me 100,000 American Airlines Miles & 105,000 Points!

So I applied for 3 more cards!

Read This Before Applying!

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

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

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

Before applying for a card, you should read the 5 Dangers of Credit Cards.

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.  It’s okay to apply for just 1 or 2 cards at a time.  If you do decide to apply for more than 2 cards at a time, there are ways to meet the minimum spending requirements.  You should always do what’s comfortable for you!

If you’re applying for a big loan, you should wait until you get your loan.  You should try to get a low interest rate on the big loan 1st, and then apply for credit cards.  And you 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 collect miles and points to reach those goals.  We want to have enough miles and points to travel coach in the US to visit friends, to visit family, and to have weekend getaways.

We also want to travel internationally 2 to 3 times a year – in Business or First Class, but we also fly in coach to reduce connections and spend more time at our destination.

Because we have to stay somewhere, we need hotel points.  We don’t care which airline we fly or hotel we stay in if we can save money while traveling.

So 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 the best miles and points deals and tips for meeting the minimum spending:

3 Cards From 3 Different Banks

We usually apply for credit cards from different banks every 3 or 4 months, so we don’t have credit inquiries (which 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.  Although, applying for 1 or 2 cards at a time shouldn’t have much impact.

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

1.   Chase Freedom Card

Link:   Chase Freedom Card

Link:   My Review of the Chase Freedom Card

Although the Chase Freedom is 1 of my favorite cards to keep for a long time because it has no annual fee, I don’t actually have one.  We use Emily’s Chase Freedom card so I thought it was time to get my own.

Having a no annual fee card lets you build a long relationship with Chase (which has the best miles and points cards) and build your credit score.

You can earn 30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points or $300 cash back a year (7,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per quarter X 4 quarters in a year) IF you spend $1,500 in each quarterly bonus category.

This quarter’s (until June 30, 2014) bonus categories are restaurants and Lowe’s home improvement stores.  You can activate next quarter’s bonus categories of gas stations and Kohl’s department stores.

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, (no longer offered) Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus cards and from there to certain airline or hotel partners such as Hyatt, British Airways, Southwest, or United Airlines.

Here are step-by-step instructions on transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Freedom to a card which allows you to transfer them to partner hotels and airlines!

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

Hyatt Regency Maui

At the Hyatt Regency Maui Thanks to Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

I was instantly approved for the Chase Freedom.

2.   Citi American Airlines Executive Card

Link:   Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard  

Link:   My Review of the American Airlines Executive Card

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

There is a $450 annual fee, but you get a $200 statement credit after spending $200 on the card.  So you’re really paying $250 for 100,000 American Airlines miles and access to the American Airlines lounges at airports.

This is 1 of the best deals which I’ve seen in the last year.

Emily and I love American Airline miles because they are 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.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

We Used American Airlines Miles to Fly First Class on Cathay Pacific

You also get priority check-in and 1 free checked bag 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.

I had to call 800-695-5171 to get approved for the card.  The representative transferred credit from an existing Citi card and I was approved!

3.   Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card

Link:   Club Carlson Premier Rewards Card

You get 50,000 Club Carlson points after your 1st purchase!  And you earn another 35,000 Club Carlson points after spending $2,500 in 3 months.

The $75 annual fee is not waived the 1st year.  But I don’t mind paying the annual fee because I’ll be taking advantage of the 1 free award night benefit.

When you redeem Club Carlson points for an award stay of 2 nights or more, you get 1 free award night.  Emily and I are excited to try out the 1 free award night benefit of this card!

Emily and I Want to Use the Free Night Benefit While in Scandinavia.  Maybe We’ll Stay at the Radisson Blu Strand Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden.

You get free Club Carlson Gold elite status or a 15 night credit towards Club Carlson Concierge elite status, if you already have Club Carlson Gold elite status.

You also get 40,000 Club Carlson points each year when you renew your card.

I was not instantly approved for the Club Carlson card. US Bank takes their time to approve applications, so I’ll have to wait this out.

I Have to Be Patient and Wait to Hear From Club Carlson

Emily and I froze our IDA and ARS reports (2 other credit report bureaus used by US Bank), because lots of folks are saying there are inaccuracies on those reports.  Folks say that when you freeze these reports, US Bank, who issues the Club Carlson credit card, approves cards instantly.  Although, that didn’t happen with me.

Bottom Line

Emily and I get Big Travel with Small Money because of credit card sign-up bonuses.

We use our miles and points to fly domestically and internationally and enjoy time with friends and family.  The amount of money you have to spend to earn the bonus points may seem like a lot, but there are many 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 each month.  And don’t apply for credit cards if you’re 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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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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16 responses to “3 Cards. 100,000 Miles and 105,000 Points!

  1. That’s great! I just received the US Airways 40k miles and my 100k AA is on its way. 140k miles! Thank you for all your info! I’ve been able accumulate a lot of miles/ points from you!

  2. you always show success with approvals, but have you ever been denied with any ? if you have, could you go over strategies and tips from being denied. Thanks

  3. US Bank’s Club Carlson card was by far the most frustrating card I’ve had yet, in terms of actually getting it. It is worse than Barclay’s. I was instantly approved for a Barclay’s Arrival card because I had applied for it early before going on an application free-fall. The US Bank card I applied for was denied twice due to recent inquiries (even after freezing up IDA and ARS). You really just cannot have lots of recent inquiries. As a data point, first time applied, denied after pending decision. Too many recent inquiries. Froze ARS and IDA and applied two months later. Instantly approved but still sent to underwriter for manual approval – denied. I had also applied for SPG personal and business cards at the same time – bad move. Waited three more months and no more inquiries. Applied for personal and business CC cards, instantly approved. Finally got my cards and have booked over $2k in travel at 4-5 star hotels across Europe this October.

  4. I dont have a Carlton card but I played around with their redemption site in the past and was left confused. So are you saying if I get this card and book a 2 night stay I get one of those nights free? For a completely random sample I see 2 nights at Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Orlando Universal, FL will be 28K Gold Pts a night and 56K Pts total… if I had this card it would allow me to book this stay for 28K points?


  5. I posted on the other thread but haven’t get any response from you yet, while I am ready to use your affiliate links but I cannot do so until I get the confirmation from you on my question below:

    Hi Daraius, I want to apply Lufthansa and SPG cards using your affiliate link…….but before that, please tell me how do I meet the minimum spending to get the sign up bonus since we cannot load Vanilla gift cards into BB at WM anymore. I checked around my area and all the Office Depot and Staples are out of the $200 fixed about Visa gift card, only the $100 one available but I don’t want to buy a lot of $100 visa gc because it’s a hassle to load them one by one at WM (besides amazon payment and evolve, since I want to pay my credit card bill with bluebird)……please advise how to do MS using gift cards now so I can use your link to apply before the offer expires.

  6. @neodub – Yes, it would say 56k points, but when you checkout it will recognize you being a cardholder and reduce the price to 28k points for a two night stay on points. This only workds for award redemptions. It does not work for points+cash or straight cash. So sometimes it is better to buy points because the redemption to some hotels comes out ahead. For instance, I booked four nights at the art’otel in Amsterdam which is 70k points a night. The nights in question would be $450 a night. Total cash would be $900 for two nights plus tax. You could buy 70k points for a lot less.

    I have the business and personal cards, which lets me book two nights on one and two nights on the other for the four nights.

    @David – there is a whole post dedicated to how to meet minimum spend. Have you read it?? He even has a link in this post! lol

  7. I usually have to call to get my cc approvals, but Club Carlson instantly approved me 3 weeks ago. Go figure.

    So, is this your first Citi Executive 100K card or have you gotten multiples like everyone else?

  8. @david, not to steal daraius’s thunder, but staples.com sells the $200 visa debit gift cards from metabank. they are reloadable onto bluebird at walmart. i buy them with my chase ink bold card and receive 5x rewards for office supply stores, so can really maximize my earnings. free shipping too. nice and convenient. so that would probably be your best bet, but without that extra earnings potential you’d have to decide on what will work best for you. those $200 cards have a $6.95 activation fee each, FYI.

  9. Hi Daraius,
    Can you confirm the 100,000 offer from American Airlines Executive Card? @thepointsguy is indicating it is not available anymore.

  10. @david. It’s dead I believe. When you click a link it says no longer available. I’ve read a few articles saying it’s gone.

  11. Thanks for all the great info. Applying for cards is easy, but you never mention what you do to close them out. Close an account which is opened for less than 3 years will affect your credit score. $250 for 100,000 American Airline miles is a great deal, but if you need to hold the card for 3 years, that is $1,150 which is no longer a great deal. So what are some of the strategies to get rid of cards? Once you close an account, how long do you need to wait before applying again?

  12. Daraius, I have a different kind of question. I’ve been reading and following you for a couple of years, now have most of the big cards (both SPGs, AA, United, US Air and just got two Chase Inks). I have no problem with the spend because I have a advertising business and pay my client’s bills. I am having trouble organizing everything… I’ve created an excel spreadsheet but it’s very complicated. Basically, I want to be able to have a sheet that summarizes the perks of each card, additional spending needed for elite/yr, annual fees and renewals, and most importantly… highlights which category of spending I need to use each card for. Is there any software program or links you have that can help me organize all of this into a page or two?

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