420,000 miles closer to Necker Island

Today I applied for four identical Virgin Atlantic credit cards.  The cards are advertised as if they have a 90,000 mile signup bonus, but I think that’s misleading.  15,000 of the 90,000 miles are from the annual anniversary bonus for spending $25,000 in one year on the card.  And, this bonus is available to all cardholders – it is not tied to this signup offer.  I prefer to think of this offer as a 75,000 miles signup bonus with a very high spend requirement ($12K).  You can find my full analysis of this offer here.

VirginAtlantic90Koffer4_16_2015

Still, despite the offer being less than advertised and despite the heavy spend requirement, I decided to go for it.  For background, remember that I pondered recently whether to try to earn 1.2 million Virgin Atlantic miles for a week on Richard Branson’s Necker Island.  And, yesterday I declared that, despite all common sense to the contrary, I would go for it but that I was waiting for the Virgin Atlantic offer to reappear.  While the e-ink was still drying on that blog post, the 90K-ish offer reappeared!

Going Big

Please keep in mind that things I do are not recommendations for others.  I do some crazy things because I can.  Today, the crazy thing I did was to apply for four Virgin Atlantic cards at once.  In retrospect, the “at once” part wasn’t really necessary, but my hope was to get 4 auto-approvals at once.  Here’s what I did and what happened…

1. I opened four different browsers, each in private / incognito browsing mode.

This was to prevent the chance of cookies from past applications from negatively affecting these applications.

Screenshot 2015-04-16 09.42.53

2. I found the application links on my Best Offers page

I used the URL shortcut bestoffers.frequentmiler.net and jumped to the Bank of America section:

Screenshot 2015-04-16 09.43.59

Sadly this is not an affiliate link.

3. I clicked through to the application pages and began filling out the application on each page

For each screen transition / button, I clicked each one as quickly as I could after each preceding one.  This was really unnecessary until the final “submit application” button, but I did it anyway.

Screenshot 2015-04-16 09.44.15

The app:

Screenshot 2015-04-16 09.44.25

4. I submitted the applications

I raced to click each “submit application” button as quickly as possible after the preceding one:

Screenshot 2015-04-16 09.57.38

Then I had a short wait:

Screenshot 2015-04-16 09.57.56

After a short wait, only one of the four windows showed an instant approval.  The other three said that I would be notified within 30 days.  The instant approval was from the first browser in which I submitted the application.  I guess my subsequent clicks weren’t fast enough.

5. I checked the application statuses

A quick Google search told me that you can check on your Bank of America credit card application status here: www.bankofamerica.com/credit-cards/application-status/app-status-form.go.  As expected, I found one approval and three “under review”:

VirginAtlantic_4BM_AppStatus

6. I called to expedite the process

I called BOA to see if my application reviews could be expedited. I spoke with a wonderfully friendly woman who didn’t bat an eye (as far as I could tell over the phone) when I told her that I was hoping to get approved for four of these cards.

I’m not sure what I would have told her if she asked why I wanted four cards.  I considered the old “I want to keep my budgets separate”, but was leaning towards a more truthful “I want to go to Necker Island”.  I’m glad it didn’t come up.

After reviewing my account, she saw that one of the four applications had been closed as a duplicate.  She re-opened it.  She then told me that the auto-approved card was given a $20K credit limit and that she could give me a $5K limit on each of the 3 other cards.  I happen to have a BOA Better Balance Rewards card with a $17.5K limit so I asked her if she could distribute $15K of that limit across the 3 cards.  No problem.  Now I’ll have one card with a $20K limit and three with $10K limits.  Success!

How this may add up to 420,000 miles

Each card is worth 93,000 miles within 6 months, as follows:

  • 20K bonus after first purchase
  • 5K bonus for adding two authorized users
  • 50K bonus after $12K spend in 6 months
  • 18K mile earnings from $12K spend (this card earns 1.5 miles per dollar)
  • Total: 93,000 miles

I could also work towards the annual bonus of 7,500 miles after $15K spend.  The cards also offer another 7,500 mile bonus upon reaching $25K annual spend, but I don’t think it is worth it to spend $10K more per card for that small of an extra bonus.  So, I would earn:

  • 7.5K bonus
  • 4.5K mile earnings from additional $3K spend (above the $12K spent anyway)
  • Total: 12,000 miles

Overall total: 105,000 miles per card x 4 = 420,000 miles

Why 4 cards in one day?

First, I was hoping for automatic approval.  Even without that, though, doing multiple applications in one day makes sense.  Often, when a person applies for multiple credit cards from the same bank on the same day, credit bureaus will combine the credit inquiries into one.  So, by applying for multiple BOA cards in one day, the negative effect of four hard inquires on my credit should be minimalized.

Please note that this trick won’t work with most other banks.  Most banks would prevent you from getting more than one of the same card at the same time.

Why not more than 4?

Remember that $12K spend requirement per card?  Yeah, that’s why.

Plus, even though I’ll likely end up with only one hard credit inquiry from the four applications, I will have four new accounts on my credit report. This can negatively affect my credit score going forward.  I didn’t want to push it with more.

Should you do it too?

Probably not.  Keep in mind that Virgin Atlantic miles are not particularly valuable compared to most other airline miles.  For example, most would agree that the BOA Alaska 25K offer is a much better deal than this one.  And, as I expounded at length in my prior post about Necker Island, there are far better things you can do with your points and miles.

Hat Tip: Rapid Travel Chai

My friend Stefan, author of Rapid Travel Chai, seems to be all-knowing when it comes to the ins and outs of applying for rewards credit cards. He speaks often about topics like these at Frequent Traveler University events and Chicago Seminars.  To figure out how best to take advantage of this Virgin Atlantic offer, I consulted with him directly and he was a huge help!

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

Pingbacks

  1. […] 420,000 miles closer to Necker Island by Frequent Miler. I love when FM does crazy stuff like this. A lot of people will say it’s a waste of time/miles for a one week trip, but he is having fun and at the end of the day that’s what this hobby and life is all about. If that post gets you interested in applying for multiple cards in the same day, this handy list will let you know which credit card issuers have their inquiries combined. […]

  2. […] This credit card periodically comes around with a 50,000 miles bonus. And when it comes back, I do plan on getting a few. The Alaska card is with Bank of America and is going to fall under the same overly generous rules that Frequent Miler experienced with the Virgin card. See this post for more details. […]

  3. […] This credit card periodically comes around with a 50,000 miles bonus. And when it comes back, I do plan on getting a few. The Alaska card is with Bank of America and is going to fall under the same overly generous rules that Frequent Miler experienced with the Virgin card. See this post for more details. […]

Comments

  1. @Greg: Nicely done! How many BofA cards did you have open prior to this? I have two Alaska cards, not planning on getting four Virgin cards, but getting a couple of each would be nice on my next round of applications.

    @Trevor: I know a few people are well on their way. Sir Richard might need a bigger island.

      • Note that you might have to hang-up-call-back with this number. The first rep I got wasn’t able to review the application and kept trying to transfer me to the application status line. And on the application status line, every time I asked him if he could review the pending application, he said “no sir.”

        The second rep was able to get me approved for all three cards that I applied for.

  2. Thanks for another very informative post. While your plan may indeed be a little crazy, we all benefit from what you learn along the way.

  3. I’m sure you’ve considered it, but…
    The 7.5k bonus for spending 15k is nice, but I believe you have to wait AND PAY the AF prior to getting it (maybe I’m wrong and you get the bonus as soon as you hit 15k). This alone may not make too big of a difference to you…but what about the effect of having 4 open cards for a year during which this offer (or better ones) may come along?

    • You may have to pay the annual fee, but I’m sure it would be refunded if the card is cancelled within 60 days afterwards. That said, you’re right. I might decide to cancel some of the cards much sooner than 12 months in. I haven’t really thought that through yet.

  4. Did you get multiple personal and/or business cards in the same name? I didn’t realize that was possible with BoA.

  5. I love your enthusiasm in heading towards a goal which you yourself decried in your first post. Following with excitement.

  6. Wonderful to hear! I don’t think I’d be that aggressive, but I think I’ll try two plus an Alaska one next time. Amazing, actually.

  7. I am waiting to see others try this and have to answer the question of what they are doing 😛
    I’d love to see the answers, and the reaction from the CSR

  8. This is freakin hilarious:) I love the having to call in part and no eyes were batted.

    My husband had to call citi hhonors expedite line once and the rep says, “I see you have quite a few cards with us already, and we’re ok with that!” I think he has 8+ !!!!

  9. “most would agree that the BOA Alaska 25K offer is a much better deal than this one”

    Can you expand on this? Is it because of the high spending requirement for the VA card, plus the high fuel surcharges?

  10. Did the phone rep confirm that you will be eligible for the bonuses on each card? Getting multiple cards is one thing, getting multiple bonuses is sometimes another. I hope you get them all.

  11. FYI, I tried to apply for 3 BoA Alaska Personal cards at the same time with incognito windows. Used two different machines for 2 apps and one was on the same. One of the apps on the same machine threw an error the second I hit submit. The two on different machines went through fine. I got approved after a few days without calling on one, however I received a letter in the mail on the other saying “Thank you for your recent application for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card. Our records indicate that this is a duplicate request, so it will not be processed. If your intent was to submit multiple applications for review, please write to us at the address listed below.”

    So that is annoying.. I’m going to call about it instead of writing. Anyone else had issues like this?

  12. Called and got approved. No mention of the Business card I got approved for on same day, or the other cards i’ve been approved for the past 6mo ha.

  13. How many days did you wait before calling and getting the approval?

    I tried calling the a few hours after submitting the application and the next day but 3 reps I spoke to are all saying that they can’t make changes to the application and I have to wait.

  14. Hi Greg,

    Did you literally use four different browsers (IE, Chrome, Firefox, etc. on multiple computers) or did you have multiple tabs in incognito mode under one browser?

    TIA…Cheers!

    • I did literally use four different browsers: IE, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. That said, there’s no reason to other than the spectacle of it. There’s no reason to even use multiple tabs. It would end up the same to do one application at a time in one browser tab

  15. FYI – Applied for 3 Alaska Airlines card today with $100,25k points offer. Instant approval on first, approval on second after calling the phone number. Got denied for third one as per the new BoFA policy of 2 credit card applications in 90 days.

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