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

Reconsideration

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.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

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29 Comments on "Results of my end of year application spree"

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Brandon
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Congrats! Did you have any duplicates already (eg, an Alaska personal already opened)?

Mike
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It would be illuminating if you walk us through meeting that MS in Ann Arbor and what the costs total.

Scottman
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Yes, curious how many currently open and previously approved AS cards you have.

Christian
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+1

Mary
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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!

David
Guest

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

paul
Guest

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!

DW
Guest

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?

P
Guest

So are all the Bank of America cr fit inquiries combined for this app o Rama?

P
Guest

*credit inquiries*

MS
Guest

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?

Nicole Ni
Guest

I was just approved for a second and never canceled my first so I don’t see why not.

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[…] through credit card signups.  The ~75K miles after $12K spend offer continues to hang around, and I jumped on it recently.  If I decide to get the same card again in a few months, I’ll give up on my thought of […]

Reddy
Guest

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?

DW
Guest

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.

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[…] Results of my end of year application spree – An over the top round of applications yielded great results. […]

DW
Guest

Greg, were you affected by the recent reports of BOA shutting accounts down? Seems like they are cutting people to 4.

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[…] the stupidly obvious fix is to not approve people for seven cards in one application spree (FrequentMiler link), since they are the lone issuer that rewards people for super aggressive credit seeking at […]