My August Credit Card Applications & Status Update

by on August 7, 2012 · 67 comments

in American Express, Chase, Citi, Credit Cards

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Update: The offers mentioned below for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards from American Express has expired. View the current offers here – personal, business.

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.

Spend Requirements
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.

                                                                                         The first good sign from Amex

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!

Disclaimer: The responses below 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.

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  • Homjm

    hi, if you have already had a citi card, i thought that you couldn’t be eligible for the bonus as it’s for “first time CMs only”. At least that is what they have in their TCs.

  • thepointsguy

    Just proves their T&Cs are wrong. That rule is for the same exact card, but even then you can usually get the same card after 18+ months.

  • Homjm

    do you know if it works that way for the Chase United Mileage plus card? I was solicited thru direct mail. I think its a non pre-approved offer, up to 65k miles. But I cancelled the card about 8 months ago. It clearly states that its for first time CMs only. I would like to know if I’m eligible for the bonus because if so, I will apply today. Is there anyway to verify before applying? Thanks!

  • thepointsguy

    It sounds like you had the old United card from pre-July 2011 so you should be eligible for the targeted 65k offer. I’d call Chase and ask to be sure.

  • Jason

    I just cancelled my SPG Business Amex a couple months ago (before the annual fee was due).. I currently still have my personal SPG Amex, that I’ve had for about 2yrs now. What do you think are my chances of picking up the SPG Business Amex if I apply during this promo??

  • leeschneider

    @thepointsguy I’m surprised you didn’t already have the Starwood Amex cards. Did you have at one time and close them?

  • Mindray

    So it is my understanding that Amex backdates new credit accounts to the year that you first opened an account with them. I first opened a personal SPG Amex with them in 2008.

    I’m now thinking about opening an SPG Amex Business card to get the 30K points. I was also thinking about opening a Blue Cash card as I want to have a no-fee Amex card that I can keep forever to increase the average age of my accounts should I ever need to cancel something.

    That being said, can I apply for both the SPG Amex Business and Blue Cash Amex on the same day? with only 1 pull? Will both of them be backdated to 2008? If so, then the average age of all my accounts would increase by .75 years which would be pretty awesome.

    The SPG Business card I would need to apply for using my own SSN since I do not have a business. Would that affect my chances of getting them both approved?

    Appreciate any feedback.

  • thepointsguy

    I’m surprised too. I meant to get them last August, but had just gotten in on the Amex Premier Rewards 75k bonanza and didn’t want to push my luck with too many credit inquiries (was buying a condo) so I waited a year for this day!

  • thepointsguy

    Amex has been pretty clear that you can’t have the product within the last 12 months. One possibility is if you don’t put your SPG number and have them create a new account so they don’t cross reference that you’ve already had the bonus. Otherwise, I’d say probably not.

  • Mindray

    Can you refer yourself to get an SPG Amex if you already the other SPG Amex?

  • Grant Thomas

    Dang, you need to spend $22,500 within the next 6 months, that’s a lot more than I can handle, even if I run the tricks 24/7, good luck Brian

  • Matt

    I was considering apply for the Amex Gold Business Card (got a $2k spend, no first year fee, 75k pts targeted offer) and the SPG personal. Would it make sense to send the biz app first, and then follow with the personal app, just so it’s more likely the biz app gets approved without the spanish inquisition, or are they going to want to ask questions about my business (doesn’t make much money, selling electronic hobby projects) regardless, so I might as well submit the personal first?

    Also, is it a guarantee that I’m going to get 2 hard credit hits?

  • thepointsguy

    I’m very fortunate that I can run big expenses and get reimbursed for them. Plus a few tricks on the side help make it all happen!

  • thepointsguy

    I think the referral is only for that exact card type, so I don’t think so

  • thepointsguy

    I’d personally go for the gold (pun intended) and apply for Amex business gold since thats the better bonus- then apply for personal Starwood card. That’s what I’d do.

  • Grant Thomas

    Must be nice… (sigh). Someday I hope to live like you :)

  • Grant Thomas

    Must be nice… (sigh). Someday I hope to live like you :)

  • Johnny Cakes

    How much solid insight can you provide on how a CC provider determines your credit line on a card? Your approvals above show some pretty high cred lines. In my experience, I’m in my late 20s, been playing this hobby for about 3 yrs, hold 4-5 cards at any one time, 725 cred score, perfect history, and I never get a card approved for more than $5k. I’m dedicating as much monthly spend as possible to cards, paying in full each month. Is it mostly based on your annual income and how much spend you historically put on cards?

  • John

    Hi PointsGuy, how much do you pay altogether with annual fees? When is the right time to cancel a credit card to avoid paying the fee after you’ve received the sign-up bonuses?

  • John

    to clarify, how long should you wait before canceling, can it be as soon as say 3 months?

  • Drsifu77

    I think credit inquiries are seen almost immediately. I applied for several BofA cards and by the time I got around to my Chase apps (1 hr later), they saw my application for the BofA cards. Didn’t hurt me, but credit inquiries can be seen even if all your applications are done the same day.

  • thepointsguy

    I’d wait at least 6 months

  • thepointsguy
  • Zz

    Ahhhh. that’s sweet.

  • AP

    what service did you use to check all 3 credit scores?

  • unmasked

    About a week or so ago I applied for the SPG card and 2 other hotel cards (before the new bonus offer was posted). I just received the SPG card wonder if amex can give me the better offer when I call to activate the card, and if not, can I decline and reapply?

  • thepointsguy

    Id call and ask them to give you the 30k promo. Unfortunately you can’t unapply and reapply to get it

  • Matt

    But still go on the same day right?

    Will I get 2 credit hits no matter what?

  • BlkMustng

    Any idea when or even IF Amex Premier Rewards will run another 75k offer? I missed it last year and i’ve been waiting a year for it!! I need that valuable card, but also want more than the 25k being offered….what would you do points guy?

  • Will

    Your my idol with regards to racking up points haha

  • PJ

    I got SPG referral bonus to apply SPG cards for my daughter and my wife. of course with their consents. the 5K referal bonus is still on. Before I call up AMex, can anybody tell me if people who apply on referral links can also get the 30K signon bonus ?

    I also referred SPG to my classmate and tried to gift away 5K Sapphire UR points in return for the 5K starwood points. She insisted no UR points from me. Nevertheless Chase Sapphire makes the points so exchangeable . If you have a trusted caring friend who has the Platinum Elite status: this trick works well: I transfer 65K UR points into his Mileage Plus account and book a Far East trip WITH CHANGE/QUICK ticketing FEES WAIVED ALL THE TIME.

  • Travis

    I saw your video about closing account and I agree the account should be kept open as long as possible even if not using it, but I figure you will get to the point where you have to close some of them at some point to qualify for new promotions that comes up on the same type of card. So my question is do you close a card wait a few month and open it again for new signup bonus? If you do close cards, do you wait 6 month or 1 year before you close it? Thanks!

  • Steven

    @thepointsguy I just did my first churn on June 30th. I got two cards from AmEx, 2 from Citi and a Chase. I’m keen to get in on the SPG cards, but most bloggers recommend waiting at least 3 months between applications.

    Is it worth applying, or will I just be denied?

    Obviously I would prefer to get both cards, but I wouldn’t be crushed just getting the personal one. I haven’t tried getting a business card yet, so I don’t know how that would go either.

    Any advice is appreciated!

  • Tom

    “I applied for the Ink Plus using the EIN from the LLC”

    Can this be done?

  • scwam

    Yes, they do back date to the same year your first card was opened. The key is to make sure your average age of accounts is < = the age of the original Amex. Then it will increase that average age. However, they didn't always put it in the same month as the original Amex for me.

  • Skyskers248

    Does the reserve theory work too….i.e. cancelling multiple cards on the same day?

  • Greg

    @Tom – Absolutely it can be done – it is a business card, so you are using the tax ID number from your business. (Even if your employer identification number is only for you as a single-member LLC.)

  • Peter

    @thepointsguy – Just like you, my SPG personal was accepted right away and my SPG business was put in pending status. Does that mean that they will run 2 credit inquiries against my credit score? Or just 1 since I applied on the same day?

  • Jason

    Ok, good idea. Thanks for responding, TPG. I might just let this one pass, as it’s probably not in the cards. Btw, your blog is amazing and I turn people onto it every day – keep up the good work!!

  • Tom

    Thanks, I will give it a try. Does it work for Amex? Or just Chase?

  • Fanfoot

    Hey TPG. Great post as always. Still a little confused about the whole when to cancel thing. Okay, so I’ve got about 10 cards right now, some older ones I’ll probably keep for the long haul. Some recent adds like Chase Sapphire I’ll keep as well. Some others I’ll downgrade to no annual fee cards. But if I keep applying for 3-5 credit cards every 4 months (or however many I can handle the spend on), seems to me I’m going to end up with way too many cards at some point. How many would you reasonably keep open? 20? 30? 50? 100?

    Maybe there will come some quarters in a year or two where there isn’t any obvious new cards to get. Maybe. Seems like that’s a ways off (Ink Bold, Ink Plus, BofA cards, Hilton VISA Signature, blah blah blah) though. And if I only cancel a single card at a time as you recommend, I’ll end up with rather a lot of credit cards at some point.

    Obviously if I can’t get out of the annual fees or convert the card to a no annual fee card or get some kind of bonus to compensate or whatever, I’m going to be canceling some of these cards (Citi AA, United VISA, BA VISA…) since I don’t want to pay all these annual fees. Right?

  • Uly

    “credit inquiries are only reported once a day”

    Is this why you call the recon lines on the same day rather than waiting a few days?

    Also, does calling the recon line generally yield better results than just waiting for them to get back to you?

  • thepointsguy

    I believe just one and they’ll use the score from the day you applied. Will let you know what happens to me

  • thepointsguy

    Cancel the cards that no longer provide value.

  • Emptiness

    i applied for both personal & spg biz with 2bm, the personal got pending but biz got instant approval. so then i closed the browser to apply for another cards like citi TY and boa virgin atlantic. I called amex to find out what happened about my spg personal app and they had ZERO info on that app, says there is not one. online status check shows nothing other than approval for spg biz. no email about approval, review or anything. I applied last night and it it 6 am in morning. I am worried. if i reapply for it, it might be another hardpull?

  • Rob

    Congrats on the new cards!

  • Windycityf

    I tried to follow your advice. I applied for the Chase Sapphire First and then the SPG in a different browser. Got pending review for the Sapphire and immediate approval for the SPG. I had feeling Chase would be a problem. Like you mentioned in a previous post, I think I’ve hit my credit limit with them on my MP Visa. I called the reconsideration line and they said I could move some of my credit line to get the Sapphire. I said no just close out my application. Apparently my business credit card also effected my application. So I guess no more playing the game with Chase for me. I will have to keep my eye out for Amex or Citi promos.

  • thepointsguy

    Why wouldn’t you want to move your credit over to Sapphire? Might as well bank the United miles and then move it back to United if you really need it on that card. Seems like a waste to take a credit hit and get no points for it

  • Vasamreddy

    Applied for only two cards.

    SPG Amex Personal – instant approval.
    United MileagePlus Explorer – called re-consideration line for approval.

    Interesting find, probably needs to be added a caveat to the Chase Myths post, is that the rep explained that my application was automatically declined due to my Chase Sapphire Preferred card (I got it in Feb 2012). It was just a few days short of 6 months, but still they automatically declined the application.

    Had a good experience on the recon call. The rep did not even bring up moving the credit lines around. Approved with an extra $7K.

  • Rob

    Yes and yes. They will probably ask why you want the card. Don’t say “for the bonus.”

  • Windycityf

    Your are right, bad move. Just called back to Chase and asked for the application to be reopened. I am good to go. Now I just need to work on planning some travel for all these rewards! Thanks.

  • Cgriffiths

    I’m very sad. I had no luck with Citibank and I’m a Hilton Diamond member so I was looking forward to this Hilton visa card. They told me my credit score is great, but that there have been too many inquiries on my credit history lately, possibly since I just refinanced my two cars? In any case, I’m frustrated as I have two other cards with them and even tried to transfer one of the credit lines to this one and cancel the Citi AA that I don’t use, but that didn’t work either. The lady I talked to just told me to try again in a couple of months:(

  • Jason

    I applied for Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink for business today. Got pending status for both. Called the reconsideration line(once) and got approved for both cards. Thank you SPG!!

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  • Start in San Diego

    What does this mean, exactly? I just got a new AMEX card and the tool bar says a valued customer for 24 years! Does that mean that the new card won’t show up as “new” on my credit report?

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  • GaryKPSU

    Just applied for and got approved for both the Citi Visa and Amex cards with the 50k AAdvantage miles promotions on both! :)

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  • meric taser

    just applied for hh reserve and hh visa signature from Citi, two browser trick worked and got approved instantly.

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