4 Cards. 110,000 Points, 75,000 Miles, & Something Unexpected!

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4 Cards.  110,000 Points, 75,000 Miles, & Something Unexpected!

Million Mile Secrets4 Cards.  110,000 Points, 75,000 Miles, & Something Unexpected!Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

I was recently approved for a 2nd certain hotel credit card while still having my 1st one open!  But the hotel did something odd…I’ll show you later!

It’s been a while since I applied for new credit cards.

I really wanted to get in on the 50,000 mile limited-time Barclaycard US Airways sign-up bonus and a few others, so last month I applied for 5 cards and was approved for 4 (I’m still waiting to hear back on #5)!

4 Cards 110,000 Points 75,000 Miles Something Unexpected
I Applied for 5 Cards in December…Guess Which Ones?

Read This Before Applying!

In the short term, signing-up for credit cards will reduce your credit score by 3 to 8 points per application.  But your score should go back to what it used to be or even increase.  That’s because you’ll have a lower debt utilization ratio when you get more credit.

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

Emily and I pay our credit cards off every month.  Carrying balances on your cards and paying interest usually negates any savings you get with miles and points.

If you are new to this, please read the 5 Dangers of Credit Cards before applying for a card.

4 Cards 110,000 Points 75,000 Miles Something Unexpected
Don’t Apply for Lots of Cards Just Because I Do!

Note:  You should NOT apply for multiple cards just because I or other bloggers do.  As always, do what feels right for you!

And be sure you can meet the minimum spending requirements.  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.  It’s much better, in my opinion, to do everything possible to get a low interest rate on the big loan 1st, 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.

Set Travel Goals

Emily and I set travel goals and then we collect the miles and points we’re going to use.

Although some folks prefer to apply for the best credit card sign-up bonuses whenever they occur!

Our goals are 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 or 3 times a year.  We prefer Business or First Class, but we’ll choose a flight in coach if it means fewer connections and more time at our destination.

4 Cards 110,000 Points 75,000 Miles Something Unexpected
Our Travel Goals Include Visiting Family and Friends and Taking International Trips a Couple of Times a Year

We also need hotel points because we have to stay somewhere.  We’re not picky about the airline we fly or hotel we stay in, as long as we can save money while traveling.

So having points spread among different airline, hotel, and cash back cards gives us lots of options when it’s time to book our trips!

Credit Card Resources

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

4 Cards From 4 Different Banks

Emily and I 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 with each of the credit bureaus.  Because banks don’t like seeing a lot of inquiries (especially in the last 6 to 12 months) on your credit report.  Applying for 1 or 2 cards at a time shouldn’t have much impact.

4 Cards 110,000 Points 75,000 Miles Something Unexpected
Banks Will Pull Your Credit Report When You Apply for a New Card

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.   Barclaycard US Airways

Link:   Barclaycard US Airways

Link:   My Review of the Barclaycard US Airways Card

I applied for the Barclaycard US Airways card 1st, because Barclaycard doesn’t like seeing a lot of inquiries on your credit report.  I wanted to get this card again because for a limited time, the sign-up bonus is 50,000 miles after you pay the annual fee and make a purchase.

US Airways miles will soon become American Airlines miles.  And this card won’t be around for much longer.  Although existing cardholders will be converted to the new Barclaycard Aviator cards, which won’t be open to new applicants.

If you already have a Barclaycard, like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard, they like to see you using it!  And they don’t generally approve folks for more than 1 or 2 cards per year.

I was instantly approved for the card with a $12,500 credit limit!

2.   American Express Starwood Preferred Guest (Business)

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Link:   My Series on How to Use Starwood Points

American Express has limited sign-up bonuses on their personal cards.  Now, you can only get the bonus ONCE per personal card, per lifetime.

But that’s not true of their business cards!  I’ve held this card in the past, but because it’s been more than 12 months since I’ve had the card, I qualified for the bonus again!

As sometimes happens with American Express business card applications, they needed more information from me before they would approve the card.

So I called, gave them the details they needed, and was approved!

3.   Bank of America Alaska Airlines

Link:   Bank of America Alaska Airlines

Link:   My Review of the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Card

The Bank of America Alaska Airlines card gets you 25,000 Alaska Airlines miles after approval and payment of the $75 annual fee.

I’ve had this card before, too.  I like Alaska Airlines miles because you can use them for award tickets on other airlines, like American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Emirates.

4 Cards 110,000 Points 75,000 Miles Something Unexpected
You Can Use Miles for Flights on Alaska Airlines or Partner Airlines

I didn’t get instantly approved for this card, either.

4 Cards 110,000 Points 75,000 Miles Something Unexpected
You Won’t Always Be Instantly Approved for a Card, but It’s No Big Deal – Sometimes You Have to Wait!

But after a few days, Bank of America let me know that they had approved my application!  Phew!

4.   US Bank Club Carlson

Link:   US Bank Club Carlson Premier Rewards

I took a chance applying for the US Bank Club Carlson card, because I actually applied for (and got) this card in June 2014.   So I wasn’t sure if they would approve me for a 2nd one.

One of my favorite things about this card (other than the 85,000 point sign-up bonus) is that you get your last night free on award stays of 2 nights or more.  So on a 2-night stay, you’re basically getting 2 nights for the price of one!

I applied using my existing Club Carlson membership number.  And I was approved instantly!

4 Cards 110,000 Points 75,000 Miles Something Unexpected
Instant Approval! Thanks, US Bank!

Here’s something strange…Even though I applied using my existing Club Carlson account number, they created a new account for me when they issued the card!

So now I have 2 different Club Carlson accounts!  I wonder if they’ll let me merge them?

4 Cards 110,000 Points 75,000 Miles Something Unexpected
They Created a New Club Carlson Account for Me, Even Though I Gave Them My Old Account Number!

Bottom Line

Many of the miles and points Emily and I use to get Big Travel with Small Money come from credit card sign-up bonuses.

Sometimes you can have 2 of the same card open.  In this case, I was able to get a 2nd Club Carlson card.

The amount of money you have to spend to earn the bonus points may seem like a lot, but there are lots of ways to meet the minimum spending requirements!

Credit card sign-up bonuses are 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, or if you’re applying for a big loan in the next 1 to 2 years.

And before applying, you should read The 5 Dangers of Credit Cards.

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Will I be eligible for the 50k Amex premier gold gold if I had it 4 years back? And the Amex Business gold. Does the 12 mths starts from the last application or closing? Canceled mine last May. Thanks!

Only 1 Alaska card? Sheesh. I did 4 last week! All approved

@TJ

I always assumed when you close the card, banks will send final statement with all of remaining amount due. I have zero percent on two citi cards which I am planning to close before next renewal. I would love to hear otherwise.

I have had the Alaska Airlines card for a year and was recently charged the $75 annual fee. I did a balance transfer 6 months ago with 0% interest until November 2015. If I close this account now will I receive a refund of the annual fee? Will I be able to maintain the 0% interest on my remaining balance until November??

I just got the 50k with $1000min Amex premier gold, and i always chat with them after i signup to make sure the promotion was loaded correctly. While making small talk with him, i mentioned I pay rent from time to time, and he told me that paying rent would not be a “qualifying” purchase. i asked really? and he showed me the list, which really didnt say i couldnt. Have you ever run into this with AMEX? should i ask another CS rep?

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