‘Tis the season…for credit card applications! Every year I like to do a holiday app-o-rama and this year I struck a bit early. Last year was quite exciting, finally getting re-approved for two Citi AAdvantage cards after 34 months of rejections! This year lacked the same excitement, but obtaining 270,000 miles in less than 24 hours is still pretty fun. OK, here we go:
Some Data Points
- Make sure to check your scores before applying. Get your free Experian score from Credit Sesame and your free TransUnion score from CreditKarma.
- Worried about your credit? Check out this three part interview series for Credit Card App Advice from a Senior VP of Credit Approval & Risk.
Chase Ink Plus® Business – Why? Last December I was issued the standard at the time which was a MasterCard. Now, there were rumblings in early September that the Ink Plus as well as the Ink Bold were being issued as Visas…very exciting news! A Visa is actually a lot more useful for me due to my travel patterns so I went ahead and applied. After speaking with Chase and foregoing my current Ink Plus MasterCard, I was approved – 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months, annual fee waived for the first year. I’ve personally found it easier to obtain approval for the Chase Ink Plus cards, as they are credit cards as opposed to the Chase Ink Bold which is a charge card. A credit card allows you to pay part of your bill each month while a charge card requires you to pay your balance in full. Issuers tend to look for higher credit scores for charge cards.
Citi Business MasterCard – Why? It’s been well over the recommend (and required) 65 day wait between applying for a personal Citi AAdvantage card and a business version and why not get another 40,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $3,000 within three months. Annual fee waived for the first year.
Chase Freedom® – $200 Bonus Cash Back – Why? Two reasons really. For a limited time, Chase has doubled the offer on the card from 10,000 points to 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points, after spending $500 within three months with no annual fee! Additionally, like the Ink Plus above, I had a MasterCard version of this card, which is now mostly issued as a Visa. No longer available for increased bonus.
The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® – Limited Time Increased Offer!
With the pending AA/US merger this card is a must as these miles will one day become AAdvantage miles. This card will eventually go away, leaving behind the harder to obtain AA Citi Cards. While Barclays is one of the tougher banks in terms of approval for your first card, they have a reputation lately as being easy to obtain additional cards. This one was very important to me. After receiving the sign-up bonus and then an additional 15K bonus on my last US card, I wanted to apply for another non business version of the card. Automated APPROVAL! Here’s hoping the 15K additional bonus now returns for this card as well. Current best offer (updated 4/30/14). 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee. That’s
30,000 40,000 more AAdvantage miles for me (or perhaps a fuel surcharge free BA ticket)! See Building Up US Miles for the AA Merger – Time to Take AAdvantage, Full List of Offers!
30K after your first purchase, annual fee of $89, up to an additional 10k when you transfer a balance within 90 days (1 mile per $). Full landing page and promo details.
- Earn 40,000 bonus miles after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee*
- First checked bag free on eligible bags for you and up to four companions on domestic US Airways operated flights
- One companion certificate good for up to 2 guests to travel with you on a US Airways operated flight at $99 each, plus taxes and fees
- Priority boarding Zone 2 on US Airways operated flights
- Redeem miles for award travel on US Airways and American Airlines booked through usairways.com or US Airways Reservations
- Earn miles on every purchase with 2 miles for every $1 you spend on US Airways purchases and 1 mile for every $1 on purchases everywhere else
- Please see terms and conditions for complete details
Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card – Up to 85,000 points (50K after the fist purchase and 35K more after spending $2,500 within 90 days). You’ll also receive complimentary Gold status and the awesome benefit that makes the second night of any award stay free! I didn’t jump on this card when it first came out (just b/c I was busy traveling), but it was certainly nice to have another non Chase / AMEX card to apply for! Auto approved (note I did this card first due to US Bank’s intense credit review followed directly by the Barclays app for Lufthansa).
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® – I sat out on the hype over this card when it was first released and I’m still not sure why everyone is going so crazy over it. I understand the benefits -double points on all purchases / no worrying about category spend, waived annual fee first year, free subscription to TripIt, and a free copy of your FICO score. More importantly, no worrying about award availability as you are actually buying a ticket with your points. The points are valued at 1.1 cents per mile when redeemed for travel and you receive a statement credit for their value. Since you are buying the ticket, you’ll actually be earning miles on your award ticket. That’s all great but I sign up for these cards to fly in business / first to international destinations, quite difficult to achieve when my points are only worth 1.1 cents. So why did I apply? Incidental travel costs, positioning flights for mileage runs, and some potential domestic trips that I don’t want to burn my valuable airline miles on. Little known fact, you can actually redeem the miles for anything labeled “travel” on your statement and so that means they are great for seat upgrades, rental cars, club memberships, etc. When you apply you’ll receive 40,000 points (which equals $440 when redeemed for travel).
Not bad for a day of holiday fun, my holiday gift…270,000 points!
PS – you may also want to consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred which also has a limited time sign-up bonus. See Chase Sapphire Preferred Limited Time Point Offer Increase!