Results of my end of year application spree

BOA cards

A couple of weeks ago I reported my end of year application spree.  With a single card issuer, I started with one application, then did another, and another, etc.  In total, I applied for all of the following cards:

Instantly 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

And I had 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 (this was an attempt to get a second identical card)
  • Virgin Atlantic 75K after $12K spend + add 2 authorized users (this was an attempt to get a second identical card)

As I reported before, rather than call, I decided to wait to see if any of the pending applications were approved…

Interim Results

All four of the instantly approved cards were shipped and received within a week of applying.  Of the six pending applications, I received six letters as follows:

  • Merrill+: Denied
  • Second Amtrak application: Closed as duplicate (“We received your recent application for the Amtrak World MasterCard card.  Our records indicate that this is a duplicate request, so it will not be processed”).
  • Second Virgin Atlantic application: Closed as duplicate.
  • Three letters announced “Congratulations, your request for credit from Bank of America has been approved.”  None said which card I was approved for, but by process of elimination (and the fact that the cards have now appeared on my online account), I know that I was approved for:
    • Alaska personal card
    • Travel Rewards for Business
    • Cash Rewards for Business


I was fine letting the two duplicate applications go, but I did want the no-fee Merrill+ card.  After all, the 50K bonus is worth up to $1,000 in flights.  So, I pulled up my Best Offers page, navigated to the BOA App Tips section, and called the reconsideration number listed there.

The analyst was happy to review my application.  He first asked for explicit permission to re-open the application, and I agreed.  The review did not result in a new credit inquiry.  After reviewing my application, he told me that the application had been denied due to having too much credit with Bank of America.  I asked if he could move credit from another card in order to approve me, and he said yes.  I asked him to move half of my new Amtrak World MasterCard credit to the new card.  He agreed, but said that he would have to “elevate” my application for final approval.  He promised to call me back within 24 hours with the final decision.  I was pretty confident that I’d be approved.

Unfortunately, slightly more than 24 hours later, I got the call.  My application was not approved upon reconsideration.  The reason was that I had “opened 3 cards within a month’s time”.

Final Results

My 10 applications resulted in 7 approvals.  The only cards not approved were the Merrill+ card, and the two in which I tried to apply for the exact same card twice.

While its not particularly meaningful to add up different types of points (since they each have very different redemption values), I’ll do it anyway.  My final-ish final results are:

  • 7 Approved Cards
  • $319 in first year fees
  • $17,500 spend required for full bonuses
  • Expect 23,000 points from spend
  • Expect 202,000 bonus points after meeting spend requirements
  • Expect $305 cash rewards from spend and bonuses

To simplify:

  • $17,500 spend required for full bonuses
  • Expect total of 225,000 points
  • Expect $14 in out of pocket cost ($319 – $306).  This does not include any fees incurred to manufacture $17,500 in spend.

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. Congrats, Greg! Can you explain in a subsequent post your rationale for applying for some of these cards and their benefits? That would be very helpful to those of us who aren’t familiar with some of these cards.

    Thanks for a great blog!

  2. Ok you now have to spend let’s say 20 grand
    How do you get rid of the gift cards or spend it with cc
    Money orders are dead in post office ,it’s harder to cash out gc
    Please explain

  3. Congrats Greg! Inspired by this blog, I did my own mini-application spree with BOA at the end of the year and was approved for Amtrak, Merrill + and an Alaska personal card.

    I’m a bit torn as to whether to throw a Virgin Atlantic card into the mix while I’m still in my 30 day pull window. What are you going to use those miles for? I don’t like paying steep fuel surcharges and I was wondering if you had some interesting utilization ideas (IHG transfer, partner bookings)? Thanks!

  4. All: I’ll follow up with a couple of posts explaining:
    1) How I plan to meet the spend requirements; and
    2) Why I chose those particular cards and how I plan to spend the points

    I had cancelled most of my BOA cards a few months ago in preparation for this. I only had the Better Balance Rewards card still open when I did this app-no-rama

  5. Hi Greg, great post and thanks for keeping everyone updated on the details. Looking forward to your future posts. With the reason for rejection on the Merrill listed as opening up 3 cards in a month, have you heard of this as a hard stop before?

  6. I am considering reapplying for the Alaska Visa Signature card (cancelled it last year) – are they lenient in approving a new account for previous holders?

  7. Hi, I applied for 2 BOA business cards and i see 2 inquiries on my report. Does it no longer treat as 1 inquiry for multiple apps?

    • When did you see the inquiries? Was it immediately after you applied? If so, check back later to see if they get combined. Also, can you tell us more? What cards did you apply for? What info is associated with the inquiries? e.g. are they clearly from the same exact bank? Bank of America?

  8. DP: I applied for 3 personal and 3 biz over 4 days. One Inquiry for the personal on Experian and one inquiry for the biz on Equifax. I’m in Oregon. Exp popped up same day, Eq showed the next day.

      • Based on your update about getting denied for Merrill due to 3 cards opened in a month, I wasn’t sure it that was BOA or in general. So I thought I would try for the Merrill on day 1 with no other cards. Right away a pull from EXP hit. Three days later the Merrill card showed up in my BOA account so I went to town on the others. I only had one additional pull listed as FIA on EQ. I’ve read that BOA biz sometimes pulls as FIA. No other pulls listed as BOA showed up. I’m somewhat making a guess at this but it seems right.

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