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Can You Play the Credit Card Game Forever?

by on March 16, 2014 · 22 comments

in Chase, Citi, Credit Cards, Sunday Reader Questions, Video Blog Post

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One of my best friends, Mike, follows my lead and plays the credit card game for mileage bonuses. (In fact, he just flew business class for almost nothing to meet up with me here in Dublin for a vacation.) Having read that I got four new credit cards and 230,000 points last week, he asked me a question soon after he arrived:

“At what point does the credit card game stop? Should I just keep going?”

I told him that if he’s savvy about doing his research and careful about which credit cards he holds onto and which he lets go, then yes – he can absolutely keep collecting credit card mileage bonuses!

Some credit card companies are starting to catch on to people getting multiple cards and bonuses, but you can still take advantage of exceptions if you have good credit. For example, while you can no longer get two Citi cards in one day, Citi is still good about giving multiple bonuses. Recently, despite the fact that I still had a Citi Executive AAdvantage World MasterCard open, I was able to get the same exact card at the current 100,000-mile bonus.

Likewise, I already have the Ink Plus and Ink Bold from Chase, but I applied for and was approved for another Ink Plus card again and its 50,000-point bonus again because I applied for it for another business I have.

Nothing like getting yet another card and yet another 100,000-mile bonus

Nothing like getting yet another 100,000-mile bonus, like the one offered by the Citi Executive AAdvantage World MasterCard

American Express is getting stricter about their customers getting bonuses on the same card over and over again. The issuer explicitly states on their applications that if you’ve previously held that particular card, you must have closed it for at least six months before re-applying. Keep in mind, though, that while Amex occasionally comes up with new restrictions – like the one rumored to be coming in May, allowing only one bonus per card per lifetime – savvy cardholders have always found ways to work within them and keep scoring bonuses.

Even when you have a lot of credit cards open, you can usually get the business version of each one, and those cards’ bonuses, as well.  With so many cards out there, so many issuers and new products coming out all the time – for instance, the two new American Express EveryDay cards are coming out in April -  there are plenty of exciting new bonuses to apply for, as well as cards you can get over and over again. And remember: if your spouse or partner also gets in the game, that will double the amount of points and miles bonuses you could earn.

I don’t know exactly what will happen in the future, but while the credit card landscape remains particularly lenient, I’d say to strike while the iron is hot. If you don’t get approved for a particular card right away but you really want its mileage bonus, don’t be afraid to try talking your way into an approval. There will probably always be exceptions and ways in which you can push the limits, so be sure you do your own research on forums and blogs like this one, and see what other people are doing to get a credit card’s bonus numerous times!

Start keeping yourself informed about the credit card bonus game by taking a look at the following posts:

Let me know if you have any other questions by messaging me on FacebookTweeting me or emailing me at [email protected]

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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  • Travis Sherry

    Brian, how were you able to get the Citi Executive AA card, and the 100k bonus, after already having the same card open? I’m interested in hearing how you pulled that off…quite the coup.

  • Tom

    Not that interesting… you just apply for it.

  • Pumpkin_Pie

    What do you say if/when they ask you why you want a second card? Have you been successful getting a second one if you only used the first for the sign up bonus?

  • HMC

    Im all kool with opening new cards with new big up bonus. But here is what Im a bit worried about, the annual fees piling up. Most of the these cards with high bonuses come with Annual Fees. I got the Citi Exec (100k bonus) and a Citi AA Amex (Got 40K), Citi AA visa (Got 40K), SPG Amex (30k). Im looking at about $650 of fees annually now. So I dunno for how long can u continue taking these bonuses yet piling up the Annual Fees. And if you close a card, sometimes it may hit your Credit Score. You may get 10 cards in future, but you are prolly looking at $2000 in Annual Fees then. What do you do about these Annual fees piling up one after another ?

  • Michelle

    Would like to hear more input on canadian cards….

  • clamshack

    As far as your credit score you should “leap frog”. This is applying for a new card before you close one. That way you maintain around the same available credit. You also need to look at the annual fees as the cost of the miles. So in your case with AA it sounds like you got 180,000 miles and one year of Admirals Club access for $550. I’m not sure how anybody could not think that that was a phenomenal deal. Nice work by the way.

  • Mary

    My husband and I would each like to apply for the SPG amex cards (have business ones now) but also the new AMEX cards coming out. Should we do both at the same time or do the SPG card now and the new ones later in the year?

  • HMC

    Thanks for the advise on closing credit cards. Will do that before closing any account. But doesnt the Credit Score hit remain when u close a card which had a long credit history, even though ur keeping credit line intact with the new credit card ?

  • clamshack

    I wouldn’t close cards you’ve had for a long time. However, take for example the AA card with a $450 annual fee. Closing that card next year will have little impact on your average age of accounts provided the average age is greater than 1 year.

  • SeaBee3

    Amex has already implemented it on several cards – including the platinum card. It says that you cannot get the bonus if you have ever had a platinum card before. Their systems are getting a lot better at tracking that, especially since their year of huge fines and fees they had to pay. Even recently, if you got a card within the 12 month mark they mention, applying just before that 12 month mark prevented the bonus from coming through.

  • momo1943

    to Brian and everyone who thinks they may be able to answer my question (Thanks in advance!)

    I recently asked Citi to “upgrade” my aadvantage amex cc to the new “executive” aadvantage cc. I travel frequently (99% of the time on american airlines) and decided that the benefits are worth the $450 annual fee (at least for me, given how often I use AA).

    Since they upgraded my account (in essence they converted my aadvantage amex to the aadvantage mastercard) it was not considered a new application. GOOD: no credit report was requested (no credit inquiry, hard pull or anything) BAD: I missed the 75,000 miles offer from american airlines (or the now new 100,000 bonus mile offer).

    I have excellent credit score and history, and would have applied for the aadvantage executive, if I knew that I wasn’t going to get the bonus miles by upgrading (or converting) from one aadvantage card to another.

    In this article you mentioned that you had the aadvantage executive (and that while you still had it active and current) applied for another and were approved for the bonus. Could you please elaborate and/or confirm? did Citi ask any questions? did you close one of them? which one?

    can you apply for a credit card you already have (active and current?) Thanks in advance to all of you for your feedback!

    ***In case anyone is interested… I would like to apply for another aadvantage executive (for the bonus) and once I have received the bonus, close one of the two and keep the other indefinitely. Thanks!***

  • Raul

    Travis, I have the same question for Brian. Also, Brian have you been awarded the 100,000 points. Sometimes they can be a little tricky.

  • Raul

    Brian, thank you for sharing. Have you been awarded the 100,000 points yet? Credit cards companies can be very tricky at times and don’t tell you until after you have used the card that you don’t qualify. Thank you for your guidance.

  • BCOCC

    Sometimes (esp. with Citi), you can transfer the credit line to another CC with no annual fee (like a World Mastercard or something). This wont hurt your credit score. And closing cards and opening another, assuming your net credit limit stays similar, has very little impact on your score.

  • Travis Sherry

    Tom- I’ve never had much luck with Citi allowing me to have a card OPEN and then getting the bonus again for the exact same card. Am I missing something? Maybe 18+ months you have to wait?

  • J

    Hope it dont but me being a store own cringe when someone uses most of these cards. They raise our rates based on the card used, using your bank card might charge me 3% using your delta might cost me 6%, if my customers start using more of these rewards ill raise the prices in my store 7% to make up for it, so tech your be paying for your miles this way

  • clvus

    I got the Chase Ink w50k points 10months ago it was the Mastercard. I applied again a few months ago and got the Ink Visa w/50k pts. My question, should I close the older one before the yearly fee or keep it and close the newer Ink Visa because Chase is no longer offering the InkMastercard?

  • peterathome

    canadian cards: the Amex canada gold card gives 25,000 points after a $500 spend and 10,000 points for a referral. There is a BMO card with 30,000 points on sign up. both of these are free for the first year.

  • Billy Goat
  • Oliver

    I received a signup offer for the Delta Amex Gold card the other day, and the fine print stated in clear terms: “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product. ” I guess they are already starting to implement the once in a lifetime policy you hinted at for May…:(

  • Holly

    When I attempted to follow the links on this site for the Mercedes Benz Platinum and SPG card respectively, I was informed that I was not eligible for a bonus because I’m already an Amex cardholder. The only Amex product I have and have ever had is the Delta Gold Amex – is anyone else having this issue? It seems foolish on Amex’s part to discourage current Amex customers from getting additional Amex products – in that case, I’ll just sign up for Citi and Chase’s products instead….

  • clvus

    If your card processor is charging you 6% of a transaction you need to find someone else, it should not ever be over 3%, even with AmEx, have you tried the fixed rate gizmos from Square or Cap1 or PayPal?

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