My Application Plans For The 1st Quarter Of 2021, A Lot Of Moving Parts

This post may contain affiliate links; please read our advertiser disclosure for more information.
Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Links in this post may provide us with a commission.

My Application Plans For The 1st Quarter Of 2021, A Lot Of Moving Parts

I am mainly writing this out to help me work through some stuff. But I hope you also find it entertaining and informational.  I wanted to take some time to break down my application plans for the 1st quarter of 2021.  Usually, I have a loosely designed plan and leave some wiggle room for when increased offers pop up. That is mostly what I want to do here but there are some mental hurdles I need to get through too. I will break it down by bank and share my thoughts on each. This will include applications for myself and my wife. So, let’s dive in then!

Application Plans For The 1st Quarter


First up is Chase. My wife is currently at 5/24 and will have two cards fall off on 1/4 and 1/7.  I had originally planned on waiting until February to do anything about it since common knowledge was the cards wouldn’t drop off her 5/24 count until the following month.  But, with the recent realization that you may no longer need to wait till the next month that has changed my thought process a bit.  Chase also recently announced the offer end date for the Freedom Flex and you can see where I am going here.

Another Freedom Card?

The awesome offer on the Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited ends a few days after she drops under 5/24.  So my thinking is to have her apply for the Freedom Flex before it ends and hope it has been long enough for the cards to drop off.

There is another problem though, she already has 7 personal cards.  I don’t really want to go for number 8 with how Chase has shut people down in the past.  This would also be her 4th Chase personal application in the last 12 months, not great.

Which Card Should I Close?

I could close an account before applying to increase my odds. The card that is ripe for closure is her World of Hyatt card because she is eligible to get the offer again. The problem with that is her $15K spend category 1-4 free night hasn’t posted yet.  We finished the required spend before the December statement cut but there has been no email or award posted.  In the past it only took a few days to happen but it appears it is going to be taking longer this time around.

The other option is her IHG Mastercard, which is no longer available for new accounts. It also comes with a valuable $49 anniversary night.  The anniversary nights are not what they used to be but can still be used most everywhere, at least for the time being.  And there are some solid choices overall so there is still really good value there.  Add in the fact I would hate to close something that I can no longer get and I am hesitant to go this route.

Decisions, Decisions

So that leaves me between a rock and a hard place.  If the World of Hyatt free night posts over the next week I still may have an easy way out of this.  If not, then I think I will just ride it out and let the Freedom Flex offer expire on me.  As much as it hurts I don’t think it is worth pushing my luck any further.

Once that expires I could try to grab on of the increased Ink Cash or Ink Unlimited increased offers. It seems like sole proprietor applications are having better luck these days and it may be worth a try.  I could also go with the close and reopen the World of Hyatt card plan.  The last one I had my eye on was the increased offer on the United Explorer card that would come in handy for some international travel.  It is likely that one, or two, of these options will be slotted in once the dust settles.

Application Plans For The 1st Quarter


I have been patiently waiting for another shot at the Citi Premier card.  If you remember, I had a well laid out plan that Citi blew up with its new application rule.  I should drop under their new 3/6 rule (3 hard inquiries or less in the last 6 months) in February.  There is an Amex Green Business card mixed in there but since Citi bases it on hard pulls, and Amex doesn’t do hard pulls for current members, it shouldn’t factor in.  Only worrying about hard inquiries is a different process from what we are used to with things like Chase 5/24 etc.

My wife is also past the 24 month clock from when she last closed her Citi Premier card.  It seems likely that we both may become the newest Citi Premier card holders. What is that saying? Couples that Citi Premier together, stay together?  Something like that 😂.

Application Plans For The 1st Quarter

American Express

My wife recently picked up the Hilton Business card that puts her right at the 4 credit card limit.  She has a couple of cards that we will have to decide on long term.  The Everyday Preferred becomes somewhat redundant with her Amex Gold and Blue Business Plus so that could be an account we close to free up a spot.  She still has the Aspire card as well but we can’t do anything with that for another 10 months after her recent retention offer. But I think she will stand pat and see if anything interesting from Amex comes out.

For myself, I only have 3 credit cards right now.  I have been wanting to get the Delta Reserve card when the increased offers come back around.  With the Delta MQM rollover this year I am focusing more on that part of the offer.  The MQM spending bonuses and spend waiver play a big part in it as well.  With those things combined, plus my current and past flights, I should be able to get some Delta status. The fact that I currently have the Charles Schwab Platinum means there will be some lounge access overlap, which isn’t ideal. Because of that I may hold off on this one for a bit.  If the increased offer for the Delta Reserve comes around early in the year, as it often does, then I may need to pull the trigger.

Application Plans For The 1st Quarter

Bank of America

My wife only has one Bank of America card at this point so it may be time to adjust that.  She is once again eligible for the Premium Rewards card so that is the option I will most likely have her grab. We all know the Virgin Atlantic card is out.  This would be after we work out our Chase decisions and she crosses over the Chase 5/24 threshold again.  It could end up being as early as late in the first quarter.

Final Thoughts

I know this was a little bit like a livestream of my consciousness but it is what has been rolling around in my brain the last few weeks.  Hopefully you found it interesting and informative. I like to paint a fuzzy picture that has a loose game plan but I am usually open for adjustments along the way.

Let me know what you think of my application plans for the 1st quarter of 2021. Would you do anything differently?  What is your game plan for the first part of 2021?  Let me know in the comments below.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

More Like This


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. I’m in a similar situation with Chase. I have 6 personal and 4 business cards so even though I’m 1/24, I’m edgy about getting eyes on my accounts. Any thoughts or insights?

    • I would imagine you would have to be bumping up against their max credit allotment too. I wouldn’t get anything new until you close a few. Anything that has been 24 months or more that you would be eligible for again?

    • Wow, 10 Chase cards. I was worried about my 8 (3 biz and 5 personal); looks like I can get a couple more before issues arises.

      I do lower credit limit on cards to $5K; the only exception is the $15K on CSR

  2. Hey Mark do you see the $89 IHG Premier as a keeper or a one year card. Are all free night certificate cards keepers regardless?

    • I think if you know you can use the cert then it is probably worthwhile. I know I can get a $150 room pretty easily for the $89 so it is a decent deal. Now if you are struggling to use it every year and just burn it to burn it then it isn’t a keeper.

  3. I have sort of the same conundrum as you with regard to Amex. I have the Delta Reserve and have really been wanting the Schwab Plat, but really the only big benefit to me (statement credits aside) is the access to the Centurion Lounge when not flying Delta. Considering I almost exclusively fly Delta (and have a Citi Prestige for Priority Pass), the limited times I would benefit from the Plat Lounge access is minimal. Being able to convert Membership Rewards points to cash is my 2nd reason for wanting the Schwab card, but I just keep waffling back and forth on whether or not I’m really going to convert points to cash in enough quantity to be able to justify it…. Decisions, decisions. I just can’t make up my mind…

    • Do you use the Reserve to rack up MQMs etc. or just for the lounge access? If you do the spend every year then it is probably better to just keep it. If just lounge than the Platinum will probably be better overall.

      You could always wait till you are ready to cash out the MR points. Then sign up for that year. The 60K offer will more than offset the annual fee. Then cash out what you want for the next 12 months and then ditch it if you don’t think it is worth it at the end of the year.

      • Does the sign up bonus ever flex on the Schwab platinum? In looking online it does look like in August 2019 it went to 100K points. Any way to push in to 100K for this card?

        • I think there has been a targeted offer for it once or twice but it has always been 60K publicly AFAIK.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


  • MtM recommended tool to track & organize credit cards
  • Best card offers personalized for you
  • Track bonus deadlines, fee dates & 5/24 status
  • Full Travel Freely overview

Free Sign-Up

  • MtM recommended tool to track & organize credit cards
  • Best card offers personalized for you
  • Track bonus deadlines, fee dates & 5/24 status
  • Full Travel Freely overview

Free Sign-Up

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join thousands of MtM readers who are subscribed to receive a once daily email with all of our posts. Never miss out!

You have Successfully Subscribed!