Chasing 395,000 points. Final results.

Late last week, my wife and I received thin letters from Chase. Both were application denials that listed the reason as “Too many requests for credit or opened accounts with us”. My wife’s denial was for the Marriott Business card. My denial was for the Ink Plus. So, as any good credit card signer-upper would do, we called recon.

My wife’s reconsideration call was easy. After a few questions about my wife’s business, the agent asked if it would be OK if he moved credit from my wife’s Ink Plus card to this new card. “You bet!” Approved!

My reconsideration experience wasn’t as smooth. The first agent I spoke with didn’t waste any time. After I verified my identity, she said “We see you have opened 2 other cards with Chase within the past 30 days. We want to see how you do with those cards before we’ll consider others.” And, that was it.

In the past, I’ve had luck calling more than once, so I tried again. The next agent was very nice. She asked lots of questions about my rental property business and was generally very friendly. I was sure she was going to approve my application until she said “I will now review your info; How many cards you have with us; All of that type of info.” Uh oh.

After a few minutes on hold, she came back just to let me know that she was still working on it. Did I detect slightly less friendliness in her voice that time? Perhaps…

Finally she returned to the line. Somewhat abruptly, she said “We couldn’t come to an approval at this time.” Since she seemed to be in my corner a few minutes ago, I asked her if there was any way to reverse the decision. Ultimately she just repeated what the first agent had said. “You opened two other cards with Chase within the past 30 days. We want to see how you do with those cards before we’ll consider others.”

What Chase didn’t say (no 5/24 rule yet)

It’s worth noting that all three Chase agents we spoke with stressed that we had opened many Chase accounts recently. I don’t think it was my imagination that each agent stressed the word “Chase”.

Chase has infamously instituted its “5/24” rule for some of its cards. The rule is that they will not approve a new application if you have opened 5 or more accounts in the past 24 months with any bank. None of the agents mentioned the number of accounts we had opened overall (each well over 5). It was clear that our denials were not due to the 5/24 rule. This means that the 5/24 rule was not yet in place for either business cards (Ink Plus) or co-branded cards (Marriott Business). This is consistent with Doctor of Credit’s recent report: Is 5/24 In-Effect Yet on INK and Co-brands?

Why I tried 3 apps

On March 9th, my wife applied for two Chase cards and I applied for three. The goal was to get a bunch of signup bonuses before Chase’s 5/24 rule kicked in (see the original post, “Chasing 395,000 points” for details). And, by applying for multiple Chase cards in one day, I knew that the credit inquiries would combine. You can read more about the combining of Chase credit pulls in last week’s post: Chasing 395,000 points interim update: Check status online? Did inquiries combine? And, read about monitoring credit inquiries here: Monitor credit inquiries for free from all three bureaus.

In the past year or so, I’ve often heard that Chase will limit approvals to two per month. In fact, I wrote the following in the Chase App Tips section of my Best Offers page: “Usual max 2 new cards per month (but rule seems to vary).” But, I didn’t know if that rule applied to business cards. So, as an experiment, I applied for one personal card and two business cards. And the businesses were different: one is my blog business and the other is rental property I own. Almost exactly three years ago, I tried the exact same thing (three Chase cards and two business cards, each from a different business) and all three were approved after recon calls. So, it seemed at least possible that it would work this time. It didn’t.

Result Summary

The following card offers were ultimately approved:

  • Marriott Rewards Premier (me): 87.5K after $3K spend and adding an authorized user (our son)
  • Marriott Rewards Premier (wife): 87.5K after $3K spend and adding an authorized user (our son)
  • Marriott Rewards Business (me) : 80K after $3K spend
  • Marriott Rewards Business (wife): 80Kafter $3K spend

And, my Ink application was denied:

  • Ink Plus (me): 60K after $5K spend

Woops. I probably should have done this differently…

I don’t regret testing the boundaries of Chase’s 2 card per month rule, but in retrospect I should have done it differently. If I had to choose between the Marriott Business 80K offer and the Ink Plus 60K offer, I would pick the Ink Plus every time. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are far more valuable than Marriott Rewards.

On the day I had applied for three Chase cards, all of my applications were pending (e.g. none were automatically approved). I called that day to push through both Marriott applications, but I waited for resolution with the Ink Plus. I’ve argued in the past that there seems to be a better chance of approval with Ink cards when you wait (see: How to get approved for the Chase Ink 60K offer). That is still (probably) good advice, but in my specific situation I should have called to try to push through the Ink Plus before the Marriott Business card. That way, if the third card was not approved it would have been the less valuable Marriott card.

What we’ll do with 347,000 Marriott Rewards points

After meeting the $3K spend requirements, we should earn a total of 347,000 Marriott Rewards points. I also have 25K points already banked. My hope is to spend those points on a high category 5 night travel package. With Marriott’s travel packages, you pay a set number of points in exchange for a 5 or 7 nights at a Marriott property plus a set number of airline miles of your choice. For details, please see: Analysis of Marriott Travel Packages: 5 Night vs. 7 Night.

5 night packages are intended to be only for Marriott Vacation (timeshare) owners, but some people have had luck calling to book them anyway. Others, though, have been told that that Marriott no longer allows exceptions. If I’m able to book a 5 night package, I’ll have enough points to choose from any package:

AA, Delta, Alaska, … 5 Nights + 50K miles 5 Nights + 70K miles 5 Nights + 100K miles 5 Nights + 120K miles
Category 1-5 165 185 215 235
Category 6 180 200 230 250
Category 7 200 220 250 270
Category 8 230 250 280 300
Category 9 275 295 325 345

The numbers above, in green, are the number of Marriott Rewards points, in thousands, required for each package. For example, on the bottom-right, the Category 9 package which offers 5 Nights + 120,000 airline miles, costs 345,000 Marriott Rewards points.

Fortunately, Marriott allows people to combine points when purchasing an award, so even though points will be distributed across my and my wife’s accounts, we will be able to use all of our points for a travel package.

If Marriott doesn’t allow us to get a 5 night package, we can get a 7 night package instead. The following chart shows (in green) that the 347K points earned from the credit cards will be enough for all but 3 packages; and by adding in my current stash of 25K points (shown in yellow), we’ll have enough for all but one package:

AA, Delta, Alaska, … 7 Nights + 50K miles 7 Nights + 70K miles 7 Nights + 100K miles 7 Nights + 120K miles
Category 1-5 200 220 250 270
Category 6 230 250 280 300
Category 7 260 280 310 330
Category 8 290 310 340 360
Category 9 320 340 370 390

In general, the best value deals with the Marriott Travel Packages are on the right side of the chart. The more airline miles you get, the better the deal because, generally, airline miles are worth a lot more than Marriott Rewards points. So, if we decided we wanted to get the Category 9, 7 night package, we would either transfer the extra 18K points required from Ultimate Rewards in order to get the 7 Night + 120K mile package or we would get the 7 Night + 100K mile package with points on-hand. Most likely, we would do the latter unless we had a specific near term use in mind for the extra 20K miles. I’d rather keep points in the form of Ultimate Rewards until I know exactly what I intend to do with them.

I don’t yet know what we’ll use all of those miles for, nor do I know where we’ll use our 5 or 7 night stay. If readers have suggestions, please let me know!

Maybe we’ll stay at the JW Marriott Phuket:

JW Marriott Phuket

Or the Kaua’i Marriott Resort:

Kaua'i Marriott Resort

Or, closer to home, it might be nice to spend a week on Hilton Head Island at the Grand Ocean resort:

Marriott Grande Ocean

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 »

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Comments

  1. Did they probe you about the nature of your businesses? They sure did with me. Waste 30min of my time on the phone questioning what I do and how much I make, then denied me for having too many open accounts in last 12 months.

    I would have loved to hear your chat
    Chase: “So Mr FM what’s the nature of your blog”
    FM: “I blog about tips and tricks to game your approval system to get more bonus points and MS that maximizes bonus categories”

    LOL

  2. I had similar recent results for myself and wife. We are both waaaay over 5/24.

    In January, signed up for Hyatt for each of us. 32 days later, signed up for IHG and Ink Plus for each of us. 32 days later signed up for pesonal Marriott for each of us.

    My Hyatt got instant approval; hers went pending and was quickly approved with a follow up call.

    Both IHGs got instant approval. Both Inks were ultimately denied. Mine was approved on recon. We gave recon 2 attempts on hers (one by phone, one by SM), but both were unsuccessful.

    Both Marriotts went pending and were approved within a few days (no follow up).

    I think we’re done with Chase for a very long time now.

  3. If you have united silver or higher status you can also use the packages to transfer the United miles to another airline when you top up your Marriott account and at the same time save your UR points.

    • That’s a great point! I forgot about that option. I could actually use it to grow my United balance if I wanted to.

      For others, here’s how it works: Thanks to Marriott & United’s “RewardsPlus” partnership, United elites can transfer United miles to Marriott Rewards points 1 to 1 (up to 50K per year). And, when you pick United miles for your Marriott travel package, you get 10% more miles. So, if you are short the Marriott points needed for a travel package, but you have United miles and status, you can do the following:

      1. Convert United miles to Marriott points 1 to 1
      2. Optionally select United as the airline miles you want

      In my case, I said that I was 18K points short of the 7 night, Category 9 120K/132K travel package, so I said I would probably pick the 100K package instead. However, if I move 18K United miles into my Marriott account, that would result in 20K more airline miles of miles of my choice (over the 100K option) and even more if I choose United miles.

  4. Do you already have the Southwest Companion Pass? That’s what I save my Marriott points up for: to do the flight & hotel package with Southwest and then I have enough points for the CP. UR points transfer to Southwest don’t count toward CP but a transfer from Marriott does.

    • The Southwest Companion Pass option is almost certainly the best value option for anyone who regularly travels Southwest with a companion. In my case, though, I rarely fly Southwest so I’m not ready to commit to that path unless I have reason to believe that will change.

  5. We used 7 day on big island Hawaii at A-Bay, awesome property. They also have a Marriott on Maui that overlooks Ulua beach (a favorite) in the Wailea area. When using in Hawaii 5 days is just a tease, go for 7. Marriott in Grand Cayman looks like a nice setup, we stayed next door at comfort suites?? on points once and I stopped in. Problem is most of the good ones have been bumped up in category recently. I have points to do it again, even ritz style, but will probably return to big island…it was that nice,

  6. If I operate a rental business as a person (without any organizational structure), can I still apply for a business credit card?

  7. Hi,

    I would like to share One data point… After seeing this post I tried to combine Bus and Personal inquires by applying 1 Bus card (United) and 2 personal cards(Freedom unlimited & IHG) on the same day.
    final result : got approved for 1Bus Card & 1 personal (IHG) card…
    Hard inquires: two hard pulls on Equifax. (not sure about Experian).

    • That’s surprising. Are you sure the hard pulls didn’t get combined later? Often there will be multiple hard pulls in one day, but then the bureau will later combine them. Or, maybe it works differently with Equifax (I’ve never had Chase pull Equifax). Is Chase listed differently for the 2 different pulls?

      • Yes, I am seeing two hard pulls from chase for the same date. I applied for these cards on April 8th, my credikarma report got refreshed yesterday, I am seeing two hard pulls from Chase on April8th…. both of them are listed as “CHASE BANK USA, N.A”.

        one more point, last month I have applied for two chase personal cards, at that time it was one hard pull, thinking personal and Bus pulls are treated separate for GA residents.

        • That’s very interesting. So, just to be clear, you see 2 hard Equifax pulls, but only 1 Experian pull? Or, you don’t know how many Experian pulls?

          You could be right about the business vs. personal card thing, or it could simply be that Equifax doesn’t combine the seemingly duplicate inquiries the way the other bureaus do.

  8. Datapoint. Way over 5/24. Have applied for Hyatt in last 6mo. Was Approved right away. Applied for Marriott last mo. Approved after one phone call with recon. Applied for ink plus early this month and was approved but only after calling and answering several questions about business income. I was pleasantly shocked to be approved for ink. Thinking about IHG next but its not high priority

  9. I own a business so easy for me to get biz cards. I heard it was easy in past to get biz card if you didn’t really have a business but now seems much tougher. What’s best way for my wife to get business CC? Thanks.

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