I apply for credit cards on a minimum 91 day cycle for two reasons:
- (and my primary reason) I have never been turned down with the reason “too many recent inquiries”. Occasional card applicants may be able to get one here and another one there in the next 30 days, but in the long run, you will be denied for “too many recent inquires” and that is a a tough denial reason to beat.
- It takes time and effort meet minimum spends.
Below are the steps involved each time:
- Review my past card holdings to determine if they have been closed a sufficient length of time. If I closed an American Express card more than two years ago, I feel safe reapplying for the exact same card again and can anticipate getting the new reward bonus again. For Chase I use two years as well and Citi AA cards I use 18 months. These are not hard and fast rules but guidelines to help me determine what I may have available again. Bank of America and Barclays I use 6 months between account closings and reapplying.
- I review the current card offerings looking for the one best personal and one best business card from each of the card issuers. This information is then combined with the info I’ve obtained from step 1 and this information can change up to application day.
- Recheck my credit score and number of inquiries with each bureau. I’m looking for 5 points in score over 700 for every card I plan on applying for. Example, if I’m applying for four cards I want an absolute minimum score of 720; I’m not going below 700.
- Once my decisions are in order and at least 91 days have passed, I have my Application Day and I start my 91 day clock running again. I prefer Tuesday or Wednesday mornings out of superstition and habit. (I want all the weekend backlog of apps by others gone in hopes my credit inquiries will all be done on the same day)
- Things can change actually during the application process. If I get an unexpected denial I may rethink the balance of my applications.
- I print a copy of each offer I’m applying for and the online response to my application
- The cards arrive and I activate them as they arrive. They don’t all come on the same day but I try to activate as soon as I get each one. I record on the thick paper the cards come attached to; the person I talk to during activation and verify the terms of the bonus. The call is recorded for later reference if there is a dispute. Recording the date and time may also be helpful
- Begin meeting the minimum spends. This can be time consuming and confusing if doing multiple cards. I look for creative ways to meet the spend. Many of them have been highlighted in previous posts. For cards with first purchase only minimum spends, out of habit, I attach the receipt from that first spend to my activation note and offer. I now have a file, so to speak, on each of my current cards I’m working on.
- Watch for the spending to post and wait for the first statement. I out of habit try to meet the minimum spend on each card during the first billing cycle. Remember I have another set of applications coming up shortly, and I don’t need to get them mixed up.
- I pay the bills in full when the first months statement arrives. I seldom pay them early and double check that first statement to assure the sign up bonus is credited on the statement. If not, it is phone call time to the card issuer for follow up.
- I double check that the points are posted to the correct frequent flier program in the proper amount. Even now I can’t consider the application a success as on some applications I will be transferring the points earned to another program. Example is the Virgin Atlantic card and their points which I transfer to Hilton. Only after the points have transferred to Hilton and show in the proper account, do I consider a card application completed.
This all takes time. I did my last round of applications on June 14th and now almost 2 1/2 months later I am still working on having the points post and transfer to their ultimate locations.
The rewards are huge but don’t consider this process a simple one nor one for everybody. I takes a solid credit scores, attention to detail, and constant follow up to be successful time after time. Remember you are dealing with: Your credit is one of your most important assets.
Deal of the Day
For today’s Deal of the Day American Airlines AAdvantage® has provided 2500 AAdvantage® miles for the best deals, fares, promotions, anything related to American Airlines, their oneworld partners or AAdvantage® partners. Add it to the comments section of this post or this afternoon’s Deal of the Day post (with your first name, last initial, and home airport) to be eligible to win.