Update: The Chase Freedom card no longer offers a bonus of 10% on all purchases plus a 10 point per transaction bonus. Instead, both of those benefits have been replaced with a 10% annual bonus at the end of the year on all purchases. The sign-up bonus is currently 10,000 points with $500 spend within the first 3 months.
There’s no beating around the bush that Chase is the king of credit card offers at the moment. They are investing heavily to get market share in the credit card marketplace and in order to get new customers, they are offering extremely generous sign-up bonuses. But for the past couple years there have been a lot of rumors floating around about the rules of Chase applications, including:
1) You can only get one card every 6 months
2) You can only get one card every month
3) You can’t get two cards in one day
4) You can’t get a sign-up bonus twice for two cards in the same family
I debunked #1 a long time ago, but never personally tested 2,3 and 4 up until recently. On March 6 I was approved for the Hyatt Visa and on April 4th a 60,000 point Ink Bold offer comes out (which is now dead, by the way), which was the best I had ever seen for that card so I decided to apply. I already have an “old” Ink Bold that I got back in November before they rolled out the new card with the 5x spend categories,which include office supply stores, cable and wireless service, and landline communications. Even though it wasn’t a full month since my last approval, I decided to pull the trigger.
I had also been eying the Freedom card, which also has rotating 5x spend categories and since I am also a Chase checking customer, I’d get a 10% bonus and 10 points per transaction. And since I have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Bold cards, those Freedom points, which normally can only be used as cash-back, can be transferred to the Ultimate Rewards transfer partners (United, British Airways, Southwest, Korean, Hyatt, Marriott, Priority Club and Amtrak). So I decided to apply for the Freedom on the same day as the Ink Bold and I got “pending decision” notices for both applications, which wasn’t surprising.
Anyway, I decided to start with the Freedom card, because I legitimately have a second business and thus I felt my argument was stronger to get approved for the Ink Bold. Upon calling, I was asked why I needed the Freedom card and I stated that I was a fan of rewards (understatement of the century) and I wanted to take advantage of the 5x spend categories and I would move spend from other card issuers if I got this card. That seemed sufficient for the rep and she put me on hold for two minutes. When she came back she asked if I would be comfortable moving around my credit line from other cards. I currently have a $30,000 line on my British Airways Visa which comes in handy as I finish up the $30,000 in spend to get the super valuable Companion Ticket, but I was more than comfortable taking $10,000 from it and putting that towards the Freedom card. The rep liked that idea and approved me on the spot for the Freedom card. Score.
Next up was the business reconsideration line and they were friendly as well. While business credit cards sit on your business credit line (they don’t show up on personal credit reports), they do pull your personal credit score when determining your creditworthiness. Business credit cards are secured by your personal line of credit, so if you fail to pay they will come after you personally. The rep asked me about my recent applications and why I needed so much credit with Chase. I simply explained that I am a small business owner and like to maximize my rewards and went through each card and why it makes sense to me. They actually seemed impressed with my knowledge and saw that I paid my bills in advance every month in full and that I am also a Chase personal and business checking and auto loan customer. I put a significant amount of spend on Chase cards, so I’m pretty comfortable asking Chase for some favors (approvals) since I give them a lot of my business. And lo and behold I got approved for my second Ink Bold card- another 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points in the bank!
So now I feel complete: I will be raking in the points left and right with my lineup of cards:
Freedom: 5x spend categories, which are currently grocery stores and movie theaters. . Current bonus: 10,000 points.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: 2x travel and dining. Current bonus: 40,000 points
New Ink Bold: 5x points on office supply stores, cable and wireless service, and landline communications. Current bonus: 50,000 points.
Old Ink Bold: 20% bonus plus bonuses at $25,000, $50,000 and $100,000 in spend
British Airways: 1.25 miles on all spend, plus a Travel Together ticket at $30,000. Current bonus: 50,000 Avios.
Hyatt: 3 Hyatt points per dollar spent at Hyatt. Free category 1-4 night per year, which more than pays for the $75 annual fee. Current sign-up bonus: 2 free nights (in a suite for Diamond members and 2 suite upgrade certificates for Platinum members).
Bottom line: There are no formal rules towards applying for credit with Chase. The only thing you should worry about is maintaining a strong credit score and not running huge balances on your cards. Yes, your credit score will get dinged 2-5 points per hard inquiry, but if you are paying off your accounts in full and on time your score will rebound and possibly even increase. To me, the sign-up bonuses and spend category bonuses are well worth it, though you should consider what the best cards are for your needs and put together a sustainable application strategy.
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