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It's Credit Card Application Time

Feb. 06, 2012
6 min read
It's Credit Card Application Time
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Just like many others in the miles and points community, my family is one a 3-4 month cycle with applying for new credit cards. What that basically means is that every 3-4 months, we look for the best available rewards credit card sign-up bonuses, and apply for a new card or two. Some in the community apply for way more than one or two cards every few months, but we are relatively conservative with our approach. Anyway, our last round of applications was in November, so now roughly three months later, it was time to go after another card or two.

Before I get into what cards we selected and why, I want to give a warning that getting new cards this frequently does have a small-ish negative effect on your credit report. I also don't recommend playing this game if you have a substantial loan (such as a mortgage) on the horizon, or if you think you would be tempted to run up a mountain of debt on your new cards. Since neither of those caveats apply to my family, this time I went for two credit cards. As always, I keep an eye on my credit scores, especially right before submitting new credit card applications. Here are my scores from Credit Karma and from Citi Identity Monitor. As you can see, the two sites don't give exactly the same score, but they give me a general idea of where I stand. My credit scores aren't as high as they were before I started getting multiple rewards credit cards, but as you can see, they are certainly not bad scores.

After I checked my scores, the first card I applied for was one that I was targeted for, the The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN. The targeted offer I received was for 50,000 bonus Membership Reward points after spending $5000 on the card within the first three months. I also like that this card comes with 3x points on airfare - that will really help my family out since we seem to be purchasing more and more airline tickets these days...which is a great problem to have. ;) It also comes with 2x points on advertising on select media in the US, gas in stand alone gas stations, and shipping.

Another reason that I wanted this card was because there is a chance I may cancel my American Express Platinum card in the next few weeks as it is up for renewal. I really like that card, but if I cancel it, I want to still be able to earn and redeem Membership Rewards points. They aren't quite as valuable as they used to be before they lost some transfer partners, like Continental, but they still do run some pretty great transfer bonuses from time to time, so I don't want to miss out. This was a business application, so it asked some basic questions about my business, such as type of business, number of employees, years in business, and annual revenue. This was my first Amex business card and I was instantly approved.

I do have two other personal Amex cards: the personal Starwood Preferred Guest Amex and the Amex Platinum, so this marks my third Amex card in about a year. Overall, I am very happy with the instant approval I received, and I look forward to getting my 50,000 Membership Reward points after I meet the spending requirement. Just as a side note, unless you are targeted for this card with a decent sign-up bonus, I would think twice before applying right now. It may be worth it if you have a ton of airline spending that will pay out at 3x points, but otherwise I would hold-off and see if a better sign-up bonus comes along.

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For me, that card was the easy decision. The harder decision was whether or not to go for a Chase credit card. Chase can be pretty stingy about granting personal credit cards after about your third card, and since I already had three personal cards, I just wasn't sure if I was up for going for a fourth personal Chase card. However, given that my Continental OnePass Plus card will likely convert to a United MileagePlus Explorer card in the near future, I wanted to apply for the Explorer card before I potentially lost my chance for that sign-up bonus. I was able to get targeted for the 60,000 mile sign-up offer by moving one mile into my MileagePlus Explorer account, so I went for it. You can transfer miles for free from a Continental OnePass account or you can transfer miles in for free (in increments of 1,000) from your Ultimate Rewards account. You can also make a purchase from United MileagePlus shopping to earn a few miles if neither of the previous options work for you. There is no guarantee this will work to trigger the 60,000 mile sign-up bonus, but it is worth a shot.

It was not a surprise when I didn't receive an instant approval for that card. It has just been one full business day since I applied, so it may still be a little while before I know whether that card will eventually get approval without my intervention.

I don't know the exact date that the Continental OnePass Plus card will no longer be available, but with the Continental and United merger inching closer to completion, I would bet it won't be long. If you don't have that card yet, I would strongly consider going for it in the near future. Or, if you already have it, but like me don't want to close your Continental Chase account, then consider applying for the United MileagePlus Explorer card in the very near future before your Continental card converts.

So, there you have it. I was 1 for 2 with instant approvals, and I have credit scores that are still in the good-excellent range even after getting multiple rewards credit cards in the past 12 months. Just like I did last time, I will keep you posted about what happens to my credit scores after these two inquiries hit my credit report. I will also let you know what happens with my Chase application. I am keeping my fingers crossed for that one!

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