Some readers may be familiar with the term run the table from the world of “pool” It means sinking all the balls on the table in one turn with the cue stick. I may be there with credit card applications.
I’ve been in the world of credit since college. I started by financing automobiles then handling mobile home foreclosures, financing homes, and counseling people on their credit for the local VA office. I’ve seen thousands of credit reports and had the privilege of personally approving thousands of home loans for individuals as a mortgage company owner and underwriter. I have also been involved in the sad state of affairs when a home must be foreclosed on for lack of payment. It is no fun for the lender nor the customer. Let’s just say I’ve been around the block a few times in this field.
As far as applying for credit cards, I’ve always done it, but became fascinated by a series of posts and topics on Fatwallet about 5 years ago where it became clear by properly managing your credit you could actually make money doing 0% balance transfers in the days when there were no fees for such and we had a decent interest spread between savings accounts and the 0% no fees offered. I read for six months before pulling the trigger on my first app-o-rama. I used techniques like reallocation of credit lines, re-consolidation of lines, reconsideration letters, using the no cost or low cost cash advance features on some of the cards, to actually put a 5 figure income in my pocket, just by knowing the game and using my knowledge to my benefit.
We are all at various stages of this game and I hear from readers everyday that are somewhere along the path to free travel. I’ve recently read emails from others that have been in the “play” as long as I have and are in the same boat. There are also many in midstream of applying, and millions that have not a clue what we do or the benefits to be derived. To those in the middle or just starting out, you have many free trips in front of you, if you protect your credit and don’t go crazy with an undisciplined approach. I’ll help you any way I can, as the old timers helped me when I first jumped on FlyerTalk 11 years ago. But you are dealing with your credit, one of your most important assets. You must be careful.
As the story goes, I applied for three cards several weeks ago with some reservations. The one I really wanted was the Mercedes Benz Amex Platinum card and I knew I would be approved and my points post. Research and the history of others told me so. I was instantly approved and have already met my minimum spend. 50K MR points will soon be in my account.
The other two cards I applied for were the US Airways MasterCard. This was my second one and the first is still open. When a card issuer asked “Why two” I answer honestly, “I categorize my spending by credit card” I only use the Citi Forward® Card for dining, the Chase Sapphire PreferredSM for travel and your cards will be used one for the kids expenses, and one for our expenses That is usually explanation enough. As of this writing I still don’t have an answer on this card and will wait it out by mail instead of calling. You may be able to guess why?
My third card was the Bank of America Virgin Atlantic card tassojunior suggested. It made sense although I’ll probably never fly Virgin Atlantic, I can transfer the points 1 to 2 to Hilton Honors. No or limited first year fee, I can’t remember, and I’ve got the credit to get the approval.
They denied me
I’ve received denials before. Most of us in the travel niche have and reconsideration is the way to go. I don’t need to reallocate with B of A. I only have one other card with them and a small limit at that. So it is reconsideration time again. Here is my latest letter:
Bank of America
Reference number 123456789
I was surprised by your denial of my recent request for the Bank of America Virgin Atlantic American Express card.
Let me address individually your reasons for denial in hopes of a positive reconsideration.
1. Length of time accounts have been established. My credit file has over 94 entries within the last ten years (my SPG Amex card is 9 years old alone).
2. Too many inquiries in the last twelve months is not relevant when you have a credit utilization of under 5% and a credit score in the EXCELLENT category across all three credit reporting agencies. Yes, I closely monitor my credit and know I HAVE NEVER BEEN LATE on a payment. In fact I recently had a perfect score from truecredit.com on the Vantagescore scale of 990. I’m sure you are approving scores far lower than perfect.
3. Time is most recent account opening is too short. Again I respond with my excellent score and my judicious use of credit.
4. Lack of recent installment loan information is the most ludicrous of all reasons to deny a credit card. What better credit risks than someone who owns not only both their cars free and clear but also their home?
My wife and I have been customers of Bank of America for the last 7 or 8 years and never had issue before with your service or products, nor been late with a payment.
I am asking you to reconsider my card application in light of the above information. Your decision may affect our ongoing relationship with Bank of America.
My strategy has been to apply in bunches. For me, at this stage of the game, that may change now to only the biggie offers when they show up. I’m reevaluating now. But for you newer to the game, I still recommend in bunches and then wait 90 days plus before applying again.
I’ll let you know how this one goes.
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