My end of year App-No-Rama application spree. 147K and counting.

On Tuesday, while my wife lazily applied for just one card (and will ultimately net over 120,000 points), I went on a crazy App-No-Rama application spree.  The idea behind an App-No-Rama is to apply for multiple cards in one day from a single issuer.  By doing so, in many cases, multiple hard credit inquiries will be combined into one.  In this way, it’s possible to sign up for many cards with very little negative credit score impact.  Yes, your score will be impacted negatively because new cards will reduce your average age of credit, but that should be countered by the positive impact of larger combined credit lines on your report.

In some cases, there is no impact whatsoever to your credit report (other than the one hard inquiry).  When you sign up for business cards from certain banks, the new accounts are not added to your credit report.  These banks include: American Express (except for Canadian Amex), Bank of America, Chase, Citi, US Bank, and Wells Fargo.  See “Flying under 5/24” for more details.

In my case, there were a few personal Bank of America cards that I had my eye on, so I decided not to stick only with business cards.  In particular, I believe that the Amtrak 30K offer will be going away after December 31.  And, both the Amtrak card and the Virgin Atlantic card are currently on my Unbiased Top 10 Signup Bonuses list.  If you go one past the top 10, to number 11, you’ll also find the BOA issued Merrill+ 50K offer.

To get started, I visited my own Best Offers page, and jumped to the BOA (Bank of America) section.  I reviewed the BOA App Tips, then started the process…

best-offers-boa-sectionAmtrak 30K after $1K spend

All-righty then!  With my vague plan of signing up for as many BOA cards as possible, I began with the 30K Amtrak offer.  Instantly approved!

anr-boa-amtrak-30k-approved

Virgin Atlantic 75K after $12K spend + 2 authorized users

Next, I went for the Virgin Atlantic 75K offer.  Instantly approved!

anr-boa-vs-90k-approved

Merrill+ 50K after $3K spend

Rolling the dice… Can we make it three in a row for instant approval?  Doh!  Nope.  Application pending.  Hmm.  Maybe BOA has a limit of 2 instant approvals per day for personal card applications?

anr-boa-merrill-pending

Alaska 30K + $100 statement credit after $1K spend

I tried the Alaska card and it too went pending.  This appeared to be more evidence of a 2 card limit for instant approvals:

anr-boa-alaska-30k-pending

Amtrak 12K after $1K spend

Next I went for the no-fee Amtrak card.  The 15K offer had recently died, so I went for the 12K point offer.  Instantly approved!  I threw my “max 2 personal card instant approval” theory out the window.

anr-boa-amtrak-12k-approved

Alaska Business 30K after $1K spend

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, adding business cards to my application spree should have no negative impact on my credit, so I decided to add a few  I started with the Alaska 30K offer.  Instant approval!

anr-boa-alaska-biz-30k-approved

Travel Rewards for Business 25K after $1K spend

Encouraged by the Alaska business card instant approval, I figured I’d get at least one more instant business card approval.  Nope.  The Travel Rewards Business card application went pending:

anr-boa-travel-rewards-biz-pending

Cash Rewards for Business $200 after $500 spend

The same happened with the Cash Rewards for Business card.  Pending:

anr-boa-cash-rewards-biz-pending

Amtrak 30K and Virgin 75K

I decided to circle back to a couple of the personal cards that were previously instantly approved.  I applied again for the Amtrak 30K offer and the Virgin Atlantic 75K offer.  Would these be approved too?  Nope.  Both went pending.

anr-boa-vs-pending

Approved: 147K

In total, four cards were instantly approved:

  • Amtrak 30K after $1K spend
  • Virgin Atlantic 75K after $12K spend + add 2 authorized users
  • Amtrak 12K after $1K spend
  • Alaska Business card 30K after $1K spend

The instant approvals sum to 147,000 bonus points after $15K combined spend.

Pending: 210K + $300

I have six applications still pending:

  • Merrill+ 50K after $3K spend
  • Alaska personal card 30K + $100 after $1K spend
  • Travel Rewards for Business 25K after $1K spend
  • Cash Rewards for Business $200 after $500 spend
  • Amtrak 30K after $1K spend
  • Virgin Atlantic 75K after $12K spend + add 2 authorized users

My plan is to simply wait for decisions on all of these cards.  I’m sure some will be denied (most likely the second Amtrak and Virgin Atlantic cards).  If I’m feeling up to it, I’ll then call to try to reverse the decision.

And one more card…

I applied for one more card.  I purposely broke from the one-bank-only App-No-Rama process, and applied for a Chase card.  Why did I do it?  Which card did I apply for?  What was the outcome?

That story is for a future post…

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.

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  1. […] Another card I wanted was the Amtrak 30K offer which is set to expire on December 31st.  The bonus for that card is usually 20K, and so I wanted to get in on it before the offer dropped back down.  We actually travel on Amtrak now and then, so we know the points will be useful.  Points are worth up to 2.9 cents each, so we could theoretically get up to $870 worth of travel with the 30K bonus points.  One can argue that points are worth a bit less than 2.9 cents each because the point price is based on the full price of a ticket rather than a discounted AAA or student price.  On the other hand, the credit card automatically gives card holders a 5% rebate on points, so that partially makes up the difference.  Of course, while applying for the Amtrak card, I went ahead and added a few more Bank of America cards to my arsenal.  Read the story here: My end of year App-No-Rama application spree. 147K and counting. […]

Comments

      • Meh I don’t think it’s the same. He tried the same card twice, the rest are all different. It is likely the apps will all go to different departments. People have been abusing BoA cards for years.

        • i agree with you. I am not telling people are not abusing BOA cards. But articles like this which publicize abusing BOA cards and encouraging others to do same will kill the deal.

  1. I did the Alaska Airlines Biz and Personal along with the Merrill a week or so ago. Did Alaska Biz first and that went pending. Did Alaska Personal next and that was auto approved. Did the Merrill 3rd and went pending.

    Decided to call on the Merrill one and get a very unfriendly rep that denied me and wouldn’t give me a straight answer as to why. Left the Biz alone and it looks like it was approved.

  2. Why are you concerned about your credit score? That is never going to be an issue. Seems to me other banks now basing applications on how many new accounts in a certain period of time, etc. I get the one hard pull but that doesn’t seem to even be an issue for anyone.

  3. Relatively speaking, that’s a lot of spending for the Virgin Atlantic miles. Do you have sweet spots in mind that make them worth so much? Hope you’ll keep us posted on your spending-liquidating. Which Chase cards did you already have when the 5/24 axe fell, by the way?

  4. Beautiful, the more I scrolled down, and kept seeing more applications, the closer to the ground my jaw got. Well done, sir.

    Can I ask, does the order in which you applied indicate your valuation of the cards? If so, how was the Merrill w/ $3k spend behind the Amtrak 30k offer and the Virgin Atlantic offer w/ $12k spend needed?
    Or did the order have more to do with thinking some cards would be easier to get after others?

  5. FYI, it appears based on this:

    http://www.doctorofcredit.com/bank-america-credit-card-approvals-without-hard-pull/

    That BofA basically opens a 30 day window for new applications without a new hard pull once you do your first application. Back in late November I went for the Alaska personal and Merrill+ cards on the same day, but couldn’t find the link for the 30K Amtrak card and gave up. Then I read the DoC post above, and found the 30K Amtrak link around 12/15, applied, approved with no new hard pull. Reading your post reminded that there is another Amtrak card, so just now applied for that one also, and approved again, no hard pull. So thanks for reminding me, and thanks to DoC for publicizing the 30 day BofA period.

    Another FYI, here is a link for the Amtrak Platinum card (the no annual fee one) with a 15K bonus. This is from a reddit link dump about a month ago, where someone queried all the BofA link combinations.

    https://secure.bankofamerica.com/applynow/initialize-workflow.go?requesttype=C&campaignid=4013689&productoffercode=T2

    https://www.reddit.com/r/churning/comments/5bqp2l/just_parsed_through_350_available_boa_application/

      • Sorry, know this is an old post. Wouldn’t this mean it makes more sense to sign up for a BoA card, then any other credit cards from other issuers and then finish your App-o-Rama with BoA (since subsequent BoA apps will use the original credit pull)? The idea being you’re more likely to get approved for the second bank’s cc’s.

        • I don’t think it would make a difference either way if BOA ends up using one hard pull for all of the applications. The approved new accounts won’t show on your credit report at least for a couple of weeks, sometimes it can be a month or more, it varies. In simpler terms, the next bank isn’t going to know whether you opened four Bank of America cards or one Bank of America card based on the single Bank of America hard pull. However, I think Bank of America has tightened up quite a bit on this and would be very unlikely to approve this many cards in one day now. Also worth noting, I once applied for a Bank of America personal and business card in the same day. They pulled one bureau for the personal card and a different bureau for the business card in my case. I don’t know as though that’s common, but it’s a reminder that YMMV.

  6. Having been approved for 3 cards last week by BOA. @FM Do you know if I apply for the Amtrak now, I would still avoid another hard pull?

    • Yes, you can! The data from Doctor of Credit supports the idea of a 30 days period where BofA looks back to your original hard pull.

  7. So inspiring! What’s your min spend strategy these days? Visa GCs + money orders? Any chance you could share which banks to avoid with MOs?

    • I’ve been mostly doing things that can be done from home if you’re willing to float the money a while and don’t mind paying some fees or incurring risk:
      1) pre-pay IRS taxes
      2) pay bills via Plastiq
      3) contribute to Kiva loans
      4) fund Kickfurther offers
      5) buy visa gcs from giftcards.com or giftcardmall.com after going through portal.

      Only the last one involves liquidating thru money orders. With banks, I recommend any that you don’t bank with otherwise. Credit unions are good. Make sure they don’t offer any good credit cards because you don’t want to burn bridges.

  8. How do you intend to meet all the required spending to get the bonuses? I have little trouble getting cards, but meeting the minimum spend is the problem.

    Also, aren’t you paying a lot in annual fees?

  9. When you canceled your boa cards how did you do it ? Did you have to call in ? Can you do it online ? Just asking because right now I have 3 Alaska airlines cards …. Thanks

  10. Hi Greg! I also got approved for the Alaska card immediately and went to pending on the Merrill card. I got a decline letter today, but can’t seem to find a working reconsideration phone number and got bounced around for about an hour without ever getting to the right department when I called 877-721-9405. Various threads have said 888-221-6262 and 866-458-8805 are good numbers, but both of them seem to be dead. Any intel on a correct number to call? Thanks as always!

  11. Can we get an update on the cards that went to pending? I’m guessing you may have been approved for some and declined for others. So, I’m really curious. Thanks in advance.

    • I logged on this morning and saw the Alaska personal card, and the Travel Rewards for Business listed in my account, so obviously those were approved. I’ll update others when I get home from vacation and go through my mail.

  12. The Alaska Business card (and many other BoA business cards) are managed by FIA. This is an entirely different creditor than BoA. FIA also consistently pulls from a different bureau than BoA. It is impossible for credit inquiries from BoA and FIA to be combined.

    Please check your credit report and correct your post to reflect the number of credit inquiries that resulted from these applications. Were the FIA inquiries from your business cards applications combined into a single pull with FIA listed as the creditor?

    • That’s not right — at least not for me.
      BOA has always pulled from two bureau’s for me (transunion and experian) regardless of whether I’ve applied for only personal cards or a mix of personal and business. And they’ve never issued more than 1 inquiry per bureau. This time was no different. I have a transunion inquiry listed as bank of america and an experian inquiry listed as bank of america.

      • I applied for the Amtrak 30k offer and received 1x Experian pull from “Bank of America”. Then I applied for the Alaska Business 30k offer and received 1x Equifax inquiry from “FIA/CS”.

        I’ve applied for at least 3 separate BoA Alaska business cards while residing in 2 different states over the years and those applications have always resulted in inquiries from FIA and not BoA.

        Is no one else seeing “FIA/CS” as the credit puller for Alaska Business apps?

  13. Do your personal BoA card approvals count towards Chase 5/24 soyou’re now prohibited from any more Chase approvals for awhile?

  14. Way to go toolbag – now boa has implemented limits. Apparently there is no such thing as slow, steady, and consistent. You’d rather redline and burn down the entire system for everyone. Hey but at least you got yours right?

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