- Experian – Credit Sesame. I log in every week or so to see if anything changes. How Credit Sesame works. I also use Quizzle.com (free score / report every six months).
- TransUnion – Credit Karma. Same as Credit Sesame for me. Check it every week and update. I like that it charts my credit score.
- Equifax – My Credit Union (DCU.org). One of the best financial decisions I’ve ever made is keeping them my primary financial institution. I get a score on the last Friday of each month. Sara has accounts here, too, so we both get free scores.
Even if you can’t get Equifax for free, all of us can get two out of three for free!
Happy with our scores, I started the applications. I did mine first:
- American Express Business Platinum – Approved instantly. An excellent start, but it was all work from there.
- Chase Ink Bold – Delayed notification. I was to hear within 10 business days. I’m impatient so I decided I would give Chase a call. I called the reconsideration line. This is also a business card, so I had to call the business application line to find out why I wasn’t approved instantly. These are the people who can do approvals on the spot. After a brief discussion I was approved. The Ink Bold card doesn’t have a traditional credit limit structure. They awarded me an initial limit of $10k based on an estimated $1700 monthly spend. However, they review card utilization and if they see higher utilization, they dynamically increase the spending limit. That said, when they do this they also don’t have to do a hard inquiry. It is an internal change / process. Something to consider for those looking to start small and grow.
- Citi Thank You Premier – Delayed notification. Again, I needed to call. I have to say, I think Citi may have some of the most polite people working for them that I have ever met. A lot of “please,” “thank you,” and “my apologies” (whenever I was placed on hold). Just a pleasant experience. I currently have three open accounts with Citi with, in my opinion, an excess of credit. This excess did well for me, however. The agent I spoke with thanked me for my continued loyalty and business with Citi. He indicated that he could approve me right now if I were comfortable with moving $6700 of credit from one of my cards to this new one. I indicated that I was OK with that and he approved me on the spot.
I had gone three for three, but it required a little work. One of the things that made me exceptionally happy with these applications is that now I have an American Express, Visa, and MasterCard that I can use internationally without any foreign transaction fees. I like flexibility and this gives me that little bit more.
Sara’s applications were virtually identical:
- American Express Delta Reserve – Approved instantly. This was the card she wanted most. While it does have a hefty annual fee, we get our return on it.
- Chase Ink Bold – Delayed notification. We called up together, and after a few minutes she was approved.
- Citi Thank You Premier – Delayed notification. We called up together and after talking with a super-friendly agent and shifting around a little credit, she was approved.
Another three for three — six in total. We probably could have applied for another card each without issue, but I was concerned with meeting minimum spend requirements while maintaining spend on other cards on which I need to rack up points.
Here’s our bounty once we meet our minimum spend:
- 100,000 American Express Membership Rewards points ($10k in spend by June 8, 2012)
- 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($5k in spend within three months for each of us)
- 100,000 Citi Thank You points ($2k in spend within three months for each of us)
- 30,000 Delta SkyMiles and 10,000 Delta MQM for Sara ($500 in spend within three months)
I’m very excited that we’re able to bump up our accounts here. We’ve never had any Membership Rewards points, and adding to Chase / Citi is excellent for us as we get to further diversify our point portfolio.
Anyone else planning a round of applications? If you’ve got any questions, please don’t hesitate to email Rick (firstname.lastname@example.org) or myself (email@example.com). We’re here to help.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49