APP-O-RAMA Mixed Success – $3,230 Worth of Points in 5 Applications, 4 Approvals, 1 Denial
More than 90 days have passed since my last credit card application in late February, and I was anxious to do my next one! Initially, I thought that I had reached the bottom of the barrel to some extent on cards that I haven’t already applied for at least once, but I was able to find enough new cards to keep going. I picked each card with a reasonably specific redemption purpose in mind, as I never want to throw away an inquiry for something I can’t use. These were the five cards I applied for (spread across five issuing banks), the purpose for the application and the result:
Citi ThankYou Premier Card – Citibank – 50k points after 3k spending. $95 annual fee waived the first year. I applied for this card since the signup bonus is the highest it has ever been and I can pool the points with those earned from my Citi Prestige card. We plan to burn these points to offset the purchase price of AA flights. Since the Prestige card makes points used for purchase of AA tickets equal to 1.6 cents per points, this makes the roughly 55k of points I will get from this signup after meeting the min spend equal to $880. That’s well worth the credit inquiry in my book! Status: Approved!
Hilton Surpass – American Express – 60k Hilton points after 3k spending. Includes Gold status with Hilton and annual fee of $75 waived the first year. This card was simply to pad my pool of Hilton points and to possibly extend my gold status a bit. I don’t like earning Hilton points with paid stays over IHG or Club Carlson, and the only way I care to earn them is through signup bonuses. Our specifically planned redemption for these points is a trip to Egypt in hopefully the fall of next year, where Hilton has hotels and resorts in all the key destinations for between 5k-10k per night. After meeting the minimum spend on this card, we will end up with between 6 to 13 nights (or even more if we stay in one place for 5 nights, since the 5th night is zero points). I would conservatively value those nights at $50-$100 each so that’s around $600 in value. Also, it will extend my gold status until then so hopefully we can get some free upgrades. Status: Approved!
Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature Card – Barclay Bank – 45k points = 3 free nights at any Wyndham property after 1k spend and $65 annual fee. I have not been interested in Wyndham points until recently when they changed their points program to have all hotel redemptions fixed at 15k points per night. This made even their best hotels relatively affordable in terms of points. Since our strategy is quantity over quality when it comes to hotel points redemptions, this was a nice little upgrade. Wyndham has a decent global presence and will come in handy next year when we plan to travel overseas more. I value these three free nights at roughly $150 each since I plan to redeem them in otherwise expensive cities, so this singup was worth $450 to me. Status: Approved!
Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard – Bank of America – up to 75k miles after 12k spend and $90 annual fee. I have no interest in flying on Virgin Atlantic due to the expensive redemption rates for flights. However, my plan is use the fact that virgin points transfer to Hilton hotels at the rate of 1:1.5. After I meet a spend of 12k in 6 months and adding Elisa as an authorized user, I will receive signup bonuses of 70k, plus 2.5k for Elisa, plus $12k times 1.5 points/$ = 18k points. That’s a total of 90.5k virgin points, which I can transform into 135k Hilton points. As I mentioned before, Hilton properties in Egypt are only 5k-10k points per night, so that is alot of free nights! I would calculate the value of this card for me at around $1,300. My application was not immediately approved, and since I did not have any other cards from the Bank of America I decided to wait it out rather than call into the reconsideration line immediately. A few days later I received notification of my approval via mail. Status: Approved!
Sapphire Preferred – Chase – 40k points after 4k spend. I have had the Sapphire on my list for a long time. In addition, Elisa can get 5k points for referring me, which she was happy to do! The total haul would have come in at around 48k Chase Ultimate points. While I don’t have a specific redemption in mind for more Ultimate points, I find that I have many reasons to use them – especially for Southwest and United flights. My average value here is 3.3 cents/point, so doing the math I value this card application at a whopping $1,569! Unfortunately, all good things must eventually come to an end (or hopefully just slow down), and the golden goose that is Chase has finally stopped feeling good about giving me more cards. Since February of 2014 I have applied for and received 6 Chase personal cards and 1 business card. UPDATE – I didn’t know this at time of application, but now there is alot of recent talk about Chase denials – check out this update on Dr Of Credit. Looks like I can possibly apply for non-Ultimate reward earning cards but not UR like the Sapphire.. Status: Denied for too many newly opened Chase cards.
Overall I am a bit surprised that I am able to get as many new credit cards as I did. If I add the value of all the points I will accumulate for this application round I am at $3,230. That value is specific to me and represents the value I receive compared to the alternative of paying cash for a hotel or flight. For instance, there are some Wyndham properties that go for $300/night in New York and Miami, but I personally would never spend that much to stay there and it is much more likely that I will end up using those points in some location where the hotels average about $150/night, which is at the upper end of what I would be willing to pay for a place to sleep anyway..
I am counting this application round as a qualified success. I am very happy to have received a total of 22 cards from 6 different “apps” roughly every 90 days since I started this adventure in February 2014. I will be doing another application round sometime in early September, spreading it out across various banks again. I plan to give Chase a rest for a good long while, and unless some incredible offer comes up that means probably the middle of next year. I have yet to churn a card but that will probably start to be my goal soon.