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Update: Some of the offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express, Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express
It’s been a solid 3 months since my last credit card application round, so I figured the Starwood 30,000 point offers were good enough of a reason to get a couple more cards and replenish my accounts. I checked my credit scores with Experian and Equifax and had a 749 and a 762 with Transunion, so I felt confident going into this round- especially since I pay off all my balances and have a good relationship with the credit card companies. If needed, I could close some of my older cards or move around my already large lines of credit.
Since I’d be applying for Amex, I decided to also submit my Chase and Citi applications as well to maximize my return since credit inquiries are only reported once a day, which means none of the companies would know that I was applying cards with the other credit card companies, thus increasing my chance of getting approved with each. Since several of these cards have hefty minimum spends, I didn’t want to go crazy with the number of cards I’d be getting so I decided to stick with the four best offers for my needs:
Starwood Amex Personal: Update: The bonus is now 25,000 points after $5,000 spent within 6 months. 30,000 points after $5,000 spent within 6 months. $65 annual fee, waived the first year. Key benefits: valuable hotel redemptions, 5 nights/2 stays towards elite status.For the record I’ve never had a Starwood personal card. U
Starwood Amex Business: Update: The bonus is now 25,000 points after $5,000 spent within 6 months. 30,000 points after $5,000 spent within 6 months. $65 annual fee, waived the first year. Key benefits: valuable hotel redemptions, receive up to 5 Starpoints for every dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with Starwood Hotels & Resorts – that’s 2 Starpoints per dollar spent on the Card in addition to the Starpoints you get as a Starwood Preferred Guest member. For the record I’ve never had a Starwood business card.
Chase Ink Plus: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after $10,000 spent within 3 months. $95 annual fee, waived the first year. For the record, I currently have two Ink Bolds- the old Business Exclusives card and the new Ink Bold With Ultimate Rewards (each under a separate LLC). I applied for the Ink Plus using the EIN from the LLC that has the Ink Bold With Ultimate Rewards, which is the same product, but a charge card instead of a credit card. I want to keep the old Business Exclusives Ink Bold open, because they no longer offer the card and the point-earning benefits are amazing. If needed, I’ll cancel the Ink Bold With Ultimate Rewards since its basically the same thing as the Ink Plus.
Citi Hilton Reserve Card: 2 free Hilton weekend nights after $2,500 spend within 4 months. Diamond status after $40,000 spent. $95 annual fee. Details. I have few Citi cards- two AAdvantage cards that I want to close anyway, so I am more than ready to shift credit lines or cancel cards in order to get approved for the Hilton Reserve card.
That’s a total of $10,000 spend within 3 months, $2,5000 in the fourth month and then $10,000 in months 5 and 6. Luckily I have a lot of business expenses that I run on my credit cards so I should be able to hit the minimum spends without having to stress too much. If necessary, I’ll just have to plan a couple big dinners out with friends and then mandate they pay me in cash!
I applied for the Personal Starwood Amex first and was told my application was pending.
I then applied for the Business Starwood Amex and was told my application was pending.
I then applied for the Chase Ink Plus and told my application was pending.
I then applied for the Citi Hilton Reserve card and was told my application was pending.
Kind of annoying! But I wasn’t worried.
I gave it 15 minutes and then checked this site for the status of my Amex applications and saw that my personal application was in fact approved and the business application was pending. Makes sense- I know that Amex’ systems will automatically flag a second application as an error and put it in a hold. I called Amex’ reconsidation line and spoke to a friendly rep who confirmed what I knew- that the personal application was approved, but the business application was put in a holding queue and would be released in 3-4 business days and unfortunately there was nothing I could do to expedite it. Okay, a pending review is better than a decline!
Then I rang the Chase Business Reconsideration line. The rep was so incredibly friendly and apologetic that the application wasn’t immediately approved. I explained I needed the Ink Plus in case I ever needed to run a balance, which is the main feature of the card. He agreed it was smart to have both a charge and credit card and approved it with a $15,000 credit line after a 5 minute hold. I was surprised I got approved without having to make me shift around credit lines or close any other cards. Pretty awesome- he also confirmed I’m eligible for the 50,000 point sign-up bonus. Score.
Citi took the longest- I originally called to check the status of my application and once I verified the information, they told me it needed to be reviewed further and gave me the credit line in South Dakotaand a reference number. Once I called there, I got a rep who confirmed my information and passed me along to another rep. The friendly man verified my information again and put me on hold about 6 times- each for 2-3 minutes. I actually thought it was a Saturday Night Live skit- he kept coming back telling me I had to be put on hold for one more piece of verification- six times! I just kept being as friendly as possible because I want those free Hilton nights and Diamond status! 19 minutes and 40 seconds later, I finally I got the words I was waiting for: congratulations you’ve been approved with a $20,000 credit line!
In the end, this round of applications will net me 60,000 valuable Starpoints, 50,000 valuable Ultimate Rewards points and 2 nights at top Hiltons around the world- not bad for $95 and a temporary ~10 point hit in my credit score! Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.