Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
My referral links are not the best offers for the Citi Thank You Premier and the Chase Hyatt so I’ve not included them in this post, but have included better offers for those cards.
I applied for 6 credit cards in March and 1 credit card in April in my 1st App-O-Rama of the year. Last year, I earned over 1 million miles and points, but I don’t expect to do that again this year.
I eventually got approved for all the cards except for a 2nd Barclay’s US Air card. In case you’re wondering, I have a 12+ year credit history and a credit score above 700.
As I wrote earlier, Emily got approved for a 2nd US Air card. The rep just closed her existing account and opened a new US Air card for her. I wasn’t so lucky and wasn’t able to convince Barclays to issue me a 2nd US Air card.
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 apply for 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 10 different cards with a 50,000 mile/point sign-up bonus
- Reconsideration phone numbers which has 171 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
7 cards from 5 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 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.
1. Chase Sapphire Preferred – 50,000 points (now 40,000 points). I still hadn’t got the Chase Sapphire Preferred so I applied for the card since I knew that the sign-up bonus would be reducing by 10,000 points.
My last Chase application was the Chase Southwest card in November 2011. I called the reconsideration line immediately after applying, but they couldn’t process my application.
I called back later that day and the next day and finally got a rep who could process my application on my 4th call.
He asked me questions about my job and income and approved me for the card. I still get a thrill after being approved for a new card – especially a Chase card!
2. Chase Hyatt Visa – 2 Free Nights. The Chase Visa offers 2 free nights in ANY Hyatt, and those 2 free nights are in a suite if you’re a Hyatt Diamond elite member. Since I’m not sure if I’ll be a Hyatt Diamond member next year, I wanted to get those 2 free suite nights as soon as possible.
I didn’t apply for this on the same day as the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Instead, I waited to get approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and then applied for the Chase Hyatt Visa card a few days later. I called the reconsideration line and spoke to a nice lady who approved my application after answering a few questions.
I also had her close my Chase British Airways card because the annual fee was coming due and transferred some of the existing credit on that card to my Chase Hyatt card. I now have 4 Chase personal credit cards and 1 Chase business credit card.
3. Barclays US Air MasterCard – 40,000 points. Emily and some Million Mile Secrets readers have been approved for another US Air MasterCard despite already having the card.
So I thought it would be easy to get another card. But, as I wrote earlier, I wasn’t able to get approved for another US Air MasterCard. I’ve cancelled my existing US Air MasterCard and will apply again in a few months to see if things have changed.
4. Bank of America Virgin Atlantic 50,000 points (Transferred to 100,000 Hilton Points). I applied for this card in November 2011 and still had the card open when I applied for another one. I was curious to see if Bank of America would approve me for another card despite already having the card.
My experience was similar to Emily’s experience a few months ago.
I called the reconsideration line and verified personal and income information on the application. The telephone representative approved me for another Bank of America Virgin Atlantic credit without even mentioning that I had an existing card.
I like this card, 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 usually transfer my Virgin Atlantic miles to Hilton points in 1:2 ratio by calling the Virgin Atlantic service center.
Please note that my experience may not be your experience if you apply for the Bank of America Virgin Atlantic card again.
5. Citi Thank You Premier – 50,000 Points I applied for the Citi Thank You Premier Visa in November 2011, and I wanted to see if I would get approved for the Thank You Premier MasterCard.
My application was pending, and when I called the reconsideration line, I was told that my application was denied because of too many recent inquiries. So I wrote a letter to the Citi Executive offices with a copy of my credit report which I was able to get for free because my application was declined.
I got a call from a nice lady at the Citi Executive office who approved my application on the phone. In my experience, Citi has a terrible telephone reconsideration experience, but is quite helpful if you write them a letter.
I like the Citi Thank You Premier because the 50,000 point sign-up bonus gets me $665 worth of air travel without any restrictions. This is great for those flights where I don’t have much flexibility with my schedule or to airports which don’t have much award availability. Keep in mind that Citi usually allows only 2 personal card applications within a 65 day period.
Note that my experience may not be your experience if you apply for the Citi Thank You Premier card again.
6. American Express Hilton – 50,000 Points. I’ve never had this card, but I wanted it for 2 reasons. Firstly, it is a no-fee card, so I don’t have to worry about cancelling the card and I want to show American Express that I can keep at least 1 card for a long time!
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 I applied for this card.
However, American Express wanted to see my tax returns (again), so I asked the IRS to send American Express the tax returns. I got approved for the card last week, and it should be in my hands very shortly!
7. Chase Ink Bold – 50,000 Points. I applied for this card in April, about 3 weeks after applying for the cards above. I knew that the minimum spending required to get the full 50,000 points was going to increase from $5,000 within 3 months to $10,000 within 3 months. So I applied for my 3rd Chase card within 3 weeks. I figured that in the worst case, I’d get denied. And in the best case, I’d have to spend $5,000 less to get the full 50,000 points.
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.
I 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 I wasn’t approved instantly. So I called the Chase business reconsideration line and after answering questions about Million Mile Secrets, I was approved.
Credit Score Impact
These credit scores are not official FICO credit scores which lenders usually use, but substitute scores or “FAKO” (as in fake) scores.
But they are good substitutes for me because I don’t want to spend money to get my official credit score.
My Credit Sesame score is 725, but the official Experian FICO score on my initial denial letter from Bank of America was 736. Credit Sesame gives a substitute of my Experian score.
My Credit Karma score is 737, but my official FICO credit score when I received my Citi Thank You Premier is 752. Credit Karma gives me a substitute of my 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 Citi Thank You Premier 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.