This past week I applied for 6 new credit cards that I have been coveting for some time. The cards I chose were: Citibank Thank You Premier Visa, Citibank Thank You Premier Mastercard, Hilton Honors American Express, United Airlines Explorer Card, Chase Ink Bold Visa, and the US Airways Mastercard. In short, I went 5 for 6. The one card I did not get approved for was the US Airways Mastercard because I already have one of these cards open. The reason why I wanted this card again was that I’ve come to learn how valuable US Airways miles are given their relatively low award redemption rates and the flexibility offered given that US Airways agents really don’t have much of a clue so you can get away with pushing the limits of the award rules. This card comes with 40,000 US Airways miles upon first use. But, I was not approved. In the end, no big deal, but it was worth a shot! For the record, this is the first credit card that I have not been approved for since signing up for credit cards every 3-4 months for the past 2 years.
The other cards I pursued included two Citibank Thank You Premier cards. I like these cards because you can do the two browser trick where you sign up for both the Visa and the Mastercard at the same time and can get approved for both. Remember, in order to get both, you must do both applications at the same time. This card gives you $665 towards travel once you meet the minimum spending requirement ($2,500 in 3 months for each) and the annual fee is waived for the first year. This program is slightly different than a traditional mileage card because it does not give you miles, but gives you points that can be redeemed through their Thank You Rewards portal. Their rates are the same as you would find on sites like Expedia or Travelocity, but by redeeming Thank You points, you get a slight discount. We are using New York City as our stopover city of choice for several upcoming trips and need to get from NYC to our final destination in New England. These points work perfectly for that as you are able to book any ticket without award availability restrictions. By applying for both the Visa and Mastercard, we now have $1,330 to use to book regular revenue tickets.
The two cards I chose that were issued by Chase were the United Explorer personal card and the Ink Bold business card. The United Explorer card gives 50,000 miles after spending $1,000 in 3 months with the annual fee waived for the first year. It also gives an additional 5,000 miles for adding an authorized user. I did not share an application link as in order to get this card, you must sign up using the link provided once you sign into your United Mileage Plus account with at least 1 mile in the account. The Ink Bold Visa is a card that I’ve been wanting for quite some time. There have been much better sign up bonuses in the past, but I’ve heard that there might be a new Ink Bold card on the market in the near future and wanted to get in on the bonus for this card and the next card, instead of just qualifying for the new card when it hits the streets. The card I signed up for gives 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards (my favorite mileage currency as they transfer 1:1 to partners like United and Hyatt, among many others) upon first use and then an additional 25,000 after spending $10,000 in 3 months. There is no way I’m going to meet this minimum spend requirement, but I’ll take the 25,000 Ultimate Rewards and hope that there may be a public offer in the next three months that is better than what I got and will ask Chase to retroactively match it. The annual fee for this card is also waived for the first year.
The last card I got was the Hilton Honors American Express card. This card comes with 50,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $750 in 3 months and does not have an annual fee. I’m working towards building up my Hilton balance in order to enjoy a week at the Conrad Maldives in 2014. Surprisingly, compiling Hilton points isn’t as difficult as one might think, as I explained here. Hilton Honors has several associated cards from American Express and Citibank. I wasn’t in the market for more Citibank cards given that I was signing up for the two Thank You cards, so I went with American Express. The other Hilton American Express card out there is the Surpass card which comes with Gold status for a year as a bonus in addition to other benefits. But, I’m not planning on staying at a Hilton until 2014 so I’m holding off on applying for that card until a year before travel so I can get free breakfast and internet (Gold benefits) when I stay there.
So, there you have it. To summarize, once I meet the minimum spend requirement ($6,750 in 3 months, not including the Ink Bold requirement which I know I won’t achieve), I’ll receive $1,330 in Thank You Rewards (100,000 rewards), 50,000 United miles, 50,000 Hilton Honors points, and 25,000 Ultimate Rewards with no annual fees for the first year. I pursued this round of credit card applications quite aggressively as our furnace recently gave out and we have a large bill to pay for replacing it. I would have only applied for cards with minimum spend requirements that we could achieve through our normal spending if we did not have this big bill. Keep that in mind when ascertaining what cards you might like to pursue. And as always, please don’t hesitate to ask if you have a travel goal in mind and don’t know how to use credit card sign ups to achieve it!