A Breakdown of Our Recent Apps & Overall Strategy
Over the past few weeks I have covered a number of very good credit card deals. Of course as many of you know, I don’t just cover the great deals, but I also participate. In previous posts I covered how my wife and then I both were able to get two American Express cards in the same day. That is great because American Express generally combines credit inquiries from the same day.
Today I thought it would be a good time to look back at our entire haul and look back at the strategy that got us there. In total, my wife and I applied for 5 cards and were approved for all 5. This is a far cry from a Grand Slam app-o-rama, but that is alright for us. We are now focusing on great offers and try not to pick up cards which are not part of our greater plan.
5 Cards – 295,000 Points/Miles after $19,500 Spend
Here are the cards we picked up along with the bonuses and our method of approval:
- Amex SPG Personal 30K – I was instantly approved for this card and will receive the bonus after $3K in spend.
- Amex SPG Business 30K – My wife was instantly approved and will receive the bonus after $5K in spend.
- Amex Business Gold 75K – My wife was instantly approved and will receive the bonus after $5K in spend.
- Amex Platinum 100K – I was approved automatically the morning after I applied. I will receive the bonus after $3K in spend.
- Citi ThankYou Premier 60K – My wife’s application went to pending. This has happened with all of our Citi applications over the past two years. She waited about five days and no approval came so she called in. She was told they could approve her for only $2K, however she was able to move over credit from another card for a higher credit limit. (It is a good idea to have a higher limit for future retention offers.) She will receive the bonus after $3.5K spend.
Highest Offers Possible
What do all of those offers have in common? They are at or close to being the highest bonuses ever on those cards. For cards like the ThankYou Premier, Amex Platinum and SPG Personal, it is important to maximize your bonus. With the personal Amex cards you can only get the bonus once and it takes 18 months at the least to get a bonus on the Citi card again.
In the past couple of weeks I have spoken to a number of people who missed out on one or more of these offers because they had too many recent applications. While some of these people had great strategies, others were just applying for whatever they could. In other words, make sure that an application for a throwaway card doesn’t keep you from getting a truly great bonus.
100K Amex Platinum Bonus Missed
My current strategy has evolved based on a painful experience. A couple of years ago there was a widely available Amex Platinum 100K offer through CardMatch. Unfortunately I had recently done a huge application round and didn’t feel I could get approved. It was a terrible experience, however I learned two things. The first lesson is simple. Dont over apply. The second lesson is more feel good. If you miss a great offer, it will probably eventually come back around. (Evidenced by this 100K Platinum offer!)
All three of these points currencies are relatively valuable. As a ballpark, I would say these bonuses have the potential to be worth close to $5,000. Even at $.01 per point (which significantly undervalues these currencies), the bonuses would be worth $2,950. That is a pretty amazing haul from 5 cards and only 3 inquiries. Also, four of those cards are Amex, so with AUs, we picked up many new Amex Offer opportunities, Amex Checkout credits and will have fun on Small Business Saturday.
I know I have been sort of advocating the slow approach lately and perhaps that isn’t everyone’s favorite. Every person has different goals and credit history, so there is no one right answer. The truth is using caution and a slow & steady approach does pay off. In this case it was $3-$5K worth of bonuses from only 3 credit inquiries. It doesn’t get better than that!