Philemer, the moderator of the credit card forums on Flyertalk, asked me to write a post he could refer to when he receives questions from new members regarding my application schedule .I get asked all the time how often and how many credit cards I apply for. Here is my simple equation, which has worked successfully for the past three years.I know that, in the short run, card issuers will allow you more frequent applications IE (Chase allows one per month). But I’m interested in a long-term strategy.I apply for cards every 90 days plus one day, and do the applications for the next batch all on the same day. My reasoning is:By waiting 90 days between applications, I have never been denied for “too many recent inquiries.” That time break between applications seems sufficient to alleviate that denial.I do the applications all on the same day so that, hopefully, all of the card issuers are pulling their credit reports on that same day and they can’t see the others being done on the same day.I am a fan of one personal card application per card issuer in each time and, if available, one business card per issuer if there are sufficiently good offers. The main players are Citi, Chase, American Express, Bank of America, and Barclays. A perfect application process would be five personal and five business cards if there were enough good offers.
Each card is new and different. Most card issuers now only allow one sign-up bonus per individual card type. Some cards have been known to give the sign-up bonus over and over again. I love the state of Alaska;)
Once a credit card has been closed for two years, American Express considers a new application, a new card applicant, eligible for another sign-up bonus for the same card type.
Of course, the system tends to go haywire when we see a big limited-time offer like a British Airways 100,000 miles offer. But barring that happening too often, the above system has been extremely successful for me. In the event of a monster offer, I just break my plan and try for the biggie, then revert back to my 90-day schedule.