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I applied for 3 new credit cards and my credit score increased

July 20, 2022
7 min read
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Credit card sign-up bonuses are one of the easiest ways to rack up a lot of points and miles within just a matter of months, depending on how quickly you can meet the minimum spending requirement. I keep a close eye on the latest and best credit card welcome offers, so every few months, when I’m ready for a new card (or a few new cards), I tend to already know what I want and can proceed to apply.

For my most recent round of credit card applications, I decided to target three new cards. If successful, these bonuses would boost my points, miles and free night awards, with a resulting net value of more than 450,000 points and miles.

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Establishing my credit card strategy

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

I have spent the past few years focusing on business credit cards to help stay under Chase’s 5/24 rule. I didn’t completely stop applying for personal cards, as I’ve mixed in a few over the past two years, putting me at 4/24 at the time of my most recent applications this summer.

I typically apply for new cards every three to four months. Basically, as soon as I complete the minimum spending on my most recent card or cards, I’m ready for more. Depending on the current welcome offers, sometimes I apply for one new card; other times, I apply for multiple new cards all on the same day.

I only recommend applying for multiple cards at once if you can manage the minimum spending requirements. A great time to apply is when you know you have large expenses coming up. I plan to spend the required amount over the course of three months, so there’s no need to rush and meet all the spending requirements right away.

Related: How to access and build your credit card portfolio

Applying for 3 new cards

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

The first card I applied for was the American Express® Business Gold Card. This card has a $295 annual fee (see rates and fees), but I find great value in Amex Membership Rewards for the ability to transfer them to numerous airline and hotel programs. Amex points are one of my most frequently used currencies, so I’m regularly looking for ways to increase my points balance.

Amex has a once-per-lifetime bonus policy, but I had never had the Business Gold before, so I was fairly confident in my chances of approval. I had heard reports of targeted offers through referrals for up to 130,000 points for spending $10,000 within the first three months of opening, so I asked a few friends if anyone had that specific offer and received a link from a friend. I had to apply in a browser using a private window, but I was able to pull up the targeted offer and was immediately approved. According to TPG valuations, those Amex points are worth a whopping $2,600.

Next, I applied for the AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard, which currently offers an elevated welcome offer of 80,000 miles and a $95 statement credit when you spend $2,000 in the first three months. The card has a $95 annual fee, but the statement credit that’s part of the welcome bonus essentially makes the first year free. As a frequent traveler from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), AAdvantage miles are one of my primary mileage currencies. I often use them for Web Special award fares and partner awards, such as Qsuites.

The information for the AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

I’ve had some difficulty with Barclays credit card applications in the past couple of years — some have gone to pending and then approved; others went to pending and then were denied. So, I was not confident I’d be approved for this card. And like my previous few Barclays applications, this one went to pending. I checked my application status online later that day and was happy to find a notification that I’d been approved. I was happy I did not have to call in for reconsideration or need to speak to a representative to get my application approved.

And lastly, I applied for Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, which at the time was offering five free nights (each worth up to 50,000 points) after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. (The current offer is for three free nights — each up to 50,000 points — after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.) This card has a $95 annual fee. Although free night certificates are not my favorite reward since they expire within one year, I couldn’t deny that a bonus equivalent to 250,000 points is a fantastic offer. According to TPG valuations, 250,000 Bonvoy points are worth $2,100. I was immediately approved for this card.

Effect on my credit score

(Screenshot from Credit Karma)

I applied for these three credit cards, one right after another, within the span of about one hour. I received email notifications from my credit monitoring services, such as Chase Credit Journey and Credit Karma, of the new credit inquiries within minutes after applying. The benefit of applying for these cards on the same day is that the inquiries will fall off my report at the same time in two years.

A common misconception is that applying for new credit cards lowers your credit score, but I have found the opposite to be true. Adding a new line of credit that is paid off on time every month improves my score, though my experience may not be the same for everyone. It normally takes time to see the effect on my score, so I was surprised to receive a notification from Credit Karma that my score had gone up just about a week after applying for my new credit cards, with my score pushing 800.

Related: How to check your credit score for absolutely free

Bottom line

I was met with successful approvals for my most recent round of credit card applications, receiving three new cards. Once I complete the minimum spending requirements, I’ll have close to the equivalent of half a million points (including the value of five free night certificates from the Boundless card). And my credit score improved after applying.

Applying for a new card (or a few new cards) every few months is a great strategy to quickly replenish your points and miles balances. And if you’re concerned about lowering your credit score, that’s not necessarily the case — and it’s possible for new credit cards to help improve your score over time.

For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold Card, click here.

Featured image by (Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Rewards

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The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases