- 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 (email@example.com) or myself (firstname.lastname@example.org). We’re here to help.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Annual Fee: $95 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The Sapphire Preferred offers 2x points on dining and travel, and no foreign transaction fees, making this the go-to card for travelers.
This card accumulates Ultimate Rewards points, which are very valuable for transfer to United and Hyatt. Overall, this card is a great choice for maximizing earnings on dining, travel, and every day spend.
- Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
- 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value — that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
- 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
- Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95