As I’ve discussed throughout this blog, I apply for credit cards 3 or 4 times a year. And in each cycle, I apply for 2-4 cards at a time. The reason I do this is to minimize the credit inquires each bank sees with any given application. When I apply for several at time, the inquiries of each application is not yet on my credit report and thus, not seen by the other banks. So, last Friday was my latest round. This time I chose 4 separate cards to apply for and I’ll go through them in detail here.
Back in August of 2010, I was very new to the concept that applying for credit cards can garner you thousands of miles that would take years for one to accumulate should they not be a road warrior at their day job. Upon perusing my favorite frequent flyer forum, I came upon a thread discussing a new credit card offering 75,000 American Airlines miles. At about this time, we were asking our Argentinean friends to join our extended family trip to Disney World in early 2011. I quickly realized that if my sister and I both applied for the cards and got the miles, we’d have enough miles to fly his family of four to Florida to join us. And that’s what we did. What I didn’t know at that time was that if you applied for both the personal Visa and personal American Express card at the same time and met the spending requirements, you’d get both bonuses, resulting in 150,000 miles. I’m still bummed that I missed the chance at that additional 75,000 miles, but I chalk it up to a rookie mistake.
So, fast forward to last Friday (the 13th!)… It had been approximately 20 months since opening my last American Airlines credit card and through reading others experiences, I knew I should have a pretty good chance of getting the cards with the bonuses again. Citibank has since decreased the sign up bonus to 50,000 per card, but with two cards, you can get 100,000 miles which can take my family pretty far, especially when factoring in the North American gateway stopover. So, I applied and was approved instantly for the Visa. After applying for the American Express, I got a pending response, but a chat window opened immediately and after verifying a few pieces of information, the American Express was approved too! Yipee!
The next on my list was the Hyatt Visa issued by Chase. I’ve mentioned in the past that you are only able to get one card a time when applying for cards issued by Chase. This is as bummer since it seems almost all the great offers are with Chase right now. I chose the Hyatt card as next winter our family will be travelling to Kauai, Hawaii for a week of relaxation and adventure in one of our favorite spots on earth. The Grand Hyatt in Kauai is one of the nicest hotels on the island – we fell in love with the location and accommodations when we visited for our 2nd honeymoon in early 2008. The Hyatt visa offers you 2 free nights, at any Hyatt in the world along with other benefits like one night free at a category 1 – 4 hotel on your anniversary and a $75 statement credit which offsets the annual fee for the first year.
Hyatt has some great hotels, some running you up to $1000 per night so two free nights at any Hyatt is a great benefit. As an existing Hyatt Diamond member (I got Diamond membership by asking Hyatt to match my Priority Club platinum status which I got just for getting the Priority Club Visa card last fall), I will get my two nights in a suite. But I digress… I currently have 5 Chase credit cards open and knew that getting another one was going to be a challenge. After submitting my application, I got an “application pending” response. So, after waiting for a few days, I called Chase’s “reconsideration” department at 1-888-245-0625. I love this department as a real person answers instead of an automation service. I verified a few pieces of information with the customer service agent and was approved for my 6th Chase card! Yippee! Kauai, here we come!
Last fall I signed up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus personal credit card. I was instantly approved and got my 50,000 miles after making one purchase. This, by far, is the best domestic credit card out there if you are within shooting distance of an airport serviced by Southwest (and soon, Air Tran). At the time, we didn’t have any domestic travel on the docket, so I used 20,000 of these miles to purchase myself a Kindle Fire from Amazon. Shortly thereafter, we decided to spend Thanksgiving at Disney World and lo and behold, an airport nearby has a direct flight to Orlando. Perfect! But 30,000 miles isn’t enough to get my family of four to Mickey’s house… Therefore, I needed to add to my balance and decided to give the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Business card a go.
First, a little background. You do need a business to apply for a business credit card. However, that business can be a “sole proprietorship” which means that if you sell items on ebay on the side or if you have a rental home among many other pursuits, you qualify. The application is based primarily on your personal information. And based on all that I’ve read, most of the time, Chase does not instantly approve business card applications. So, I was prepared that I would have to call the business “reconsideration” department (1-800-453-9719) to provide additional information. Another thing I would like to note, although this is another Chase issued card, Chase generally will approve a business and personal card at the same time (but not two personal or two business).
I applied, providing all applicable personal and business information (I used info applicable to the rental of our second home) and got the decision “pending” response. Again, I waited a few days and called the business “reconsideration” department. They were super friendly, asked several questions about the nature of our business, revenue, etc. and after about 5 minutes, I was approved! All I need to do with this card is make one purchase and an additional 50,000 miles will be coming our way!
In sum, this time around I applied for 4 cards and was approved for all 4! Once we complete the minimum spending requirements ($6,000 in 4 months) and pay the applicable annual fees ($75 for the Hyatt offset by the $75 statement credit and $69 for the Southwest card NOT waived), we’ll be receiving 100,000 American Airlines miles, 2 nights in a Hyatt Suite (to be used in Kauai), and 50,000 Southwest Airlines miles. Pretty good return for a minimal amount of time invested!