1. I think inquiries that are older than 90 days are no longer considered “recent inquiries” which can lead to denials.
2. I do them on the same day so the other cards issuers may not see the competing inquires made on the same day which could negatively affect their decisions.
3. I waited until today to apply, the 21st, so a couple of inquiries fell off our reports.
The system has worked for me for years and I see no reason to change it, other than a BIG card offer with a limited time to apply that does not fall into my 90 day rotation. It does happen. It happened to me this spring when a big offer came out (I think it was the Capital One card) just after I had applied for 6 cards two weeks previous. I was dumb enough to apply anyway and got the “too many recent inquiries” denial. Ugh.
I’m starting this post about 10 days in advance of the 21st as I’m looking at my options and needs. Here is what I’m faced with:
1. As always, insufficient hotel points.I very seldom pay for hotel rooms actually booked through the hotel program website. I’m using Priceline, Expedia Best Price Guarantee or award stays from my SPG spend (I have 120K right now)
2. The United vouchers I earned with My Thank You points years ago are gone and I’m running out of United bump and customer service vouchers. I’m going to have to start paying for my tickets again or travel on awards.
I have most of the airline credit cards (I suppose I could do the Alaska Airlines card again?) (or maybe a Delta Gold Business card). But if I do, I’m earning more airlines miles.
I have SPG Gold status locked up based on my credit card spend every year, promotions and referrals have almost secured Priority Club Platinum for another year and I just am finishing three stays using my Visa Signature card and the Hilton Gold status promo until March 2013. So I’ve got mid tier hotel status through spring of 2013. It is impossible for me to get top tier with anyone, as I just won’t pay for that many qualifying stays.
With all this background information in mind, I’m looking at bonus category cards that give me points redeemable for travel were I actually earn miles when flying on those flights and gift cards for hotels. The two primary programs are the Citi Thank You points program and the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. The two cards in the forefront are the Chase Sapphire Preferred card which I already have, and the Citi Premier card under their limited time 50,000 point bonus through the end of the month.
I used the Chase Sapphire℠ Preferred Card in Europe and will use it again next week in China because of the no foreign transaction fee feature. The points do add up but are really only worth 1 cent each plus the bonus you get for using them on travel tickets so 1.25 cents.
I’m really tempted to get the Citi ThankYouSM Premier Card – 50,000 points – enough for $665 in airfare again at the 50K bonus for both Katy and me. We each have Thank You points from the good old days and if there are not any better options we’ll probably each take one of those today.
What I really want are the Citi Preferred card which pays 5 points for one year on gas, groceries and drugs and the Citi Forward card which has paid 5 points on dining an entertainment for the first year of card ownership. Unfortunately, the sign up bonuses are awful as I write this and unless they change, it is certainly not worth both of us doing these cards for the sign ups they offer. We may just split then with Katy getting the Premier card, me getting the Forward card and her popping off the Preferred card. Citi could make this application process much easier if they will offer a decent signup bonus on these last two cards. (PS One later appeared)
The Ritz Carlton card is just not for me. I’m a three star kinda guy and don’t have much interest in that offering. Although we have never gotten the Pen Fed travel credit card, we have been members for years. That may qualify as the next one for us.
I’ll keep updating this post as time gets closer.
It is now the 18th of June and things have changed. I did find an offer for 26K on the Citi ThankYou℠ Preffered Card – 26,000 Points – $250 in Gift Cards but it does not appear to offer the bonus points for gas grocery and drugs, and Lucky posted a note about 40K on an Alaska Airlines card. I also got word of a 50K offer for Virgin Atlantic from a reader, and Katy’s scores are through the roof. This may be a great option for us. I’m thinking that we should do a deal for every bank out there for each one of us. Maybe I should pick the best offer from each of the current card issuers and let that be the deal this time.
It is now the 19th and here is my hit list for the 21st As of this moment, we are applying for the following cards:
American Express: We will each do the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express OPEN for 25K each and no annual fee first year. We have never had this one and need two additional card holders. We’ll be on each others and add a youngster as well. No minimum spend.
Bank of America: Alaska Airlines 40,000 mile offer We each got this card in February. Annual fee $75. Points awarded on first purchase.
Barclays: This is the weakest offer but the Airtran Signature Visa card is one card that will soon be gone with the merger. Sixteen (16) credits on Airtran for a $59 annual fee is a round trip ticket. $750 spend. We don’t live in a SW city and Airtran does not service our area either, but it makes good trade bait for $118 (both of us) if we need to.
Chase: Priority Club 60,000 points offer Although the app link doesn’t show the 60K, it is clearly on the offers page of the website. No first year fee. First purchase earns the bonus. We’ll each take this one and I’ll send a secure message to Chase to see if they will Bump the Bonus up to the 80K targeted offer.
Citi We will split up here. I’ll take the Citi ThankYouSM Premier Card – 50,000 points – enough for $665 in airfare for the flight miles bonus and 50K sign up bonus with $125 application fee. Katy will take the Citi ThankYou℠ Preferred Card – 26,000 Points – $250 in Gift Cards If it gives 5 points on gas grocery on drugs. (still checking) . One offer suggests the bonus categories and one other does not. Damn. After we get the cards, I’ll have Katy (with the higher score) apply for the Citi Forward card for our dining and entertainment spend. I’m not sure how Citi will respond to two apps on the same day from the same person for Thank You points cards, so we’ll take the better offers first to be sure.
Pentagon Federal Credit Union: The Travel Rewards card offers 20,000 point sign up bonus with $650 of initial spend and bonus categories of airfare, dining and hotel purchases through August 31st. There is no annual fee. We’ll each get this one.
The take is not fantastic but the annual fees are minimal ($393) and the minimum spends are really reasonable. Our take if 100% successful will be:
50,000 Delta miles
80,000 Alaska miles
2 Roundtrips on Airtran or Southwest Airlines
120,000 Priority Club points
76,000 Thank You points
40,000 Pen Fed points worth two domestic revenue tickets.
No monster offers in here for us this time, but we should get these all approved based on our scores and inquiries.
I’ll keep you updated on our progress.
Now June 20th and I’m wavering. Do I really want to waste an inquiry on an Airtran card when they don’t even come to my home airports? The Delta Gold Business card only offers 25,000 points and I have plenty of Delta miles? Is it worth an inquiry on my credit report? The same holds true for the Pen Fed card. Do I want 20,000 points when I already have the bonus categories covered with the Citi Thank You Points cards?
Decisions.Decisions Decisions. An inquiry on my report is worth at least $500 to me. I may blow off the three lowest offers.
Application Day July 21st
I cut it back to the Chase Priority Club card for each of us. I know those points are only worth .6 cents each but am confident I will find a Pointsbreak night or two to increase my return to well over a $500 value for my application.Update: Both Instantly Approved
We are taking a swing on Alaska Airlines cards at 40K each with a $75 annual fee. The companion cert and flexibility with Alaska redemption partners is just too good to pass up. We got this card in February.
Update Delayed Decision on Both
And we are taking the Citi ThankYouSM Premier Card – 50,000 points – enough for $665 in airfare Note This is a last minute shift. I could not find a link that would give me both the 26K sign up bonus and 5 points per dollar on the Preferred Card. We are each taking the Premier card.
Update Delayed Decision on Both
And Katy will also take a swing at the Citi 75K Business Visa card listed on Flyertalk in the Milebuzz forum post #2 in the Citi 75K thread.
Update: Winner Winner Chicken Dinner It took a follow up phone call but she is approved and 75K confirmed
In the long run I think sanity prevailed. My credit is too valuable an asset to use on inferior offers. The market now calls for close to $500 in value before even pulling the trigger. The Airtran card and Pen Fed cards didn’t meet that test. In addition, at the last minute I added ending up picking up the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express OPEN (Instant Approval) as I will be flying Delta more often. I was hesitant, as I really think we will see another big offer from Amex in the near future.
So my monster series of applications of a little ago as two days is now just a switch to cards that will provide me value and the Thank You points I need for hotel gift cards and revenue airline tickets.
Am I over thinking this application day? I don’t think so. I want the miles and points but truly believe what I tell you all almost everyday: Your credit is one of your most important assets.