New Credit Cards
Last week, my wife and I applied for several new cards over a single day. While we don’t hold a round of applications as much recently, there comes a time for one every year or so. Similar to prior versions, we ended up with some approvals, a denial, and other nuanced decisions. The approvals came at a great time for us. We’re just now finishing up our last existing welcome offer, and we need more to earn rewards at high rates. Here are the new credit cards we just picked up, in addition to a few other outcomes worth noting.
Bank of America Premium Rewards Visa Signature
After a few years away, we’ve enjoyed Bank of America again since early 2021. Bank of America’s application rules aren’t terrible, particularly if one holds a bank account with them. My wife was eligible for one more card, and we had previously planned on the Virgin Atlantic card once a worthy welcome offer came around.
But that’s changed. We simply didn’t want to wait for something which may not occur and burn valuable time along the way. Instead, my wife went after the Bank of America Premium Rewards Visa. While we aren’t in the Preferred Rewards game, we simply saw this card as a basic cash play. My wife earns 50k points after $3k spend in the first three months. After incorporating the $95 annual fee, that’s just over $400 cash in addition to $200 total in airline credits ($100 each for 2022 and 2023). We won’t be putting spend on this card beyond the welcome offer, but that alone made the card worth it.
Application Outcome: Approved
Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature
The welcome offer on this card is currently 60k miles and a $100 statement credit after $3k spend within the first three months. That’s the best offer we’ve seen on this card in some time, especially at a relatively low minimum spend of $3k. I’ve got a good chunk of Alaska miles already, but I’m happily adding to it at a high rate here. We don’t have any use for the card’s annual $99 Companion Fare perk, but that’s fine. More than wiping out the $75 annual fee with the $100 statement credit while earning 60k miles is a no-brainer for us. I’ll close this card once year two begins.
Application Outcome: Approved
PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Visa Signature
We’ve been PenFed members for a few years and gotten solid value out of their cash back card, the PenFed Power Cash Visa. However, we never got around to the Pathfinder for a few reasons. First, the card was unavailable for an extended period as it evolved from Amex to Visa. Second, we’ve been busy enough obtaining welcome offers from other card issuers, Amex primarily.
The time was finally right for us to pursue the Pathfinder, though. Indeed, we doubled down – my wife and I each applied for the solid welcome offer. PenFed provides a 50k points after $3k spend in three months, in addition to an annual $100 airline fee credit. As PenFed Honors Advantage members, the annual fee is waived, and we earn an elevated 4x in the travel spend category. One can easily obtain PenFed Honors Advantage status by maintaining a $500 checking account balance. Points are worth ~0.8 cents, but that’s enough for us.
Application Outcomes: Approved x2
Best Western Rewards Premium Mastercard
This card has eluded me for years. I have an affinity for hotel cards which Mark doesn’t understand. This was my third time trying to obtain this card. The first time, I experienced a wacky outcome, and I was straight-up denied the second time. The card’s elevated welcome offer is 80k points with $3k spend in the first three billing cycles, plus 40k more points each year with $5k annual spend. That’s enough for me to absorb the $89 annual fee, at least for the first year. The third time wasn’t the charm, though. I think I’m done with First National Bank of Omaha for the foreseeable future.
Application Outcome: Pending, Then Denied
Amex Hilton Surpass
From my perspective, the current Amex Hilton Surpass welcome offer is its best for a big consumer segment. Right now, a new Surpass cardholder can receive 130k points and a free night certificate with just $2k spend in the first three months. For those who have a near term free night certificate redemption in mind, this offer’s outstanding. Those individuals are effectively receiving a 200k welcome offer on $2k spend if they redeem for at least a 70k points per night property. And many hotels require significantly more for a standard room.
Putting this welcome offer together with the outstanding card benefits, we were ready to pursue it. My wife closed an Amex credit card a month or so ago, bringing her count down from five to four. We’ve noticed that Amex has been slow to remove cards, though, when considering new applications. Instead, what we’ve previously seen happen with Amex is an initial denial, followed by calling in for reconsideration, then a subsequent approval.
My wife and I took a step back. We’ll be busy enough with the other four new cards, and this new Surpass welcome offer is fairly new. It should be around for a while longer. And we’d rather not go through the above denial/call/approval exercise unnecessarily. My wife decided to pull the brake on applying.
Application Outcome: To Be Determined
New Credit Cards – Conclusion
Taking each approved card into account, that’s 150k points and 60k miles in welcome offers and a handful of airline credits for $190 in annual fees. And that’s before incorporating the everyday rewards earned on the $12k in required welcome offer spend. My wife and I are satisfied with this haul from two mid-tier card issuers. I look forward to pursuing other solid, if not outstanding, welcome offers from other banks beyond the big three issuers (Amex, Chase, and Citi). We’ll be back having fun with Amex welcome offers soon enough, but we’ve found mid-tier issuers entertaining in the meantime. What new credit cards have you obtained recently with issuers not named Amex, Chase, or Citi?