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 »

Leave a Reply

38 Comments on "A credit card plan for a well informed newbie"

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Dan
Guest

We find ourselves in a somewhat similar situation. I am at 3/24 and wife is at 1/24. I am going under the assumption that chase business cards don’t count towards 5:24, so my strategy is to get approved for as many business cards with chase until they deny me.

I have read about 3 is the max chase may do but we shall see.

We also had the luxury of signing up for two 100,000 point reserve cards. For the Ink preferred, I referred my wife recently for 20k points and with her 80k points, we will get yet another 100k points combined from Chase. Life is good.

We usually meet a 5k minimum spend in two months, but we don’t msp or use plastic.

If I were Ben, I would go the max out business card strategy to stay under 5/24 as long as possible. Right now I just finished an Amex biz platinum spend that also won’t count towards 5/24.

Justin
Guest

Not sure how anyone who lives in the US can not be interested in flying SW (especially given the current offers which give you auto-CP). But to each his own. Good luck Ben

James
Guest

You could live in the Midwest, like me, near a tiny airport which doesn’t necessarily have a dedicated airline hub at it…
Delta & American fly in & out of my small airport, but only to select cities. Therefore it would either cost more to fly in to a bigger city & switch airlines to fly Southwest, or I would have to drive 3 hrs N, E, or W to a bigger city to catch a Southwest flight.
I would love to apply for the high bonus Southwest cards, but it doesn’t seem to feasible for me. “Ben” may be in the same boat.

Nick Reyes
Editor

I love the Companion Pass. But Ben’s a single retiree. The value in the companion pass is when 2 people regularly travel together. Sure, you can change the companion — but as a single retiree, I’d bet that Ben enjoys more flexibility than some of the people who would otherwise travel with him. So I could see where the CP might not appeal to him (even though it’s perfect for me and I love it).

Additionally, Greg didn’t say what Ben’s travel goals were beyond cherry-picking awards. Maybe Ben wants to travel to Asia, Africa, Europe, etc. Southwest points can’t help him do that, but a combination of Ultimate Rewards and MileagePlus miles can.

The only thing Ben gives up by not going for the Southwest cards is the companion pass. The Ultimate Rewards points can still transfer to Southwest so you can still take advantage of their airfare sales for cheap domestic awards and the flexibility of being able to cancel and get your Southwest points back just a few hours before departure. The only thing Ben loses in ignoring the Southwest cards is the Companion Pass — and that might be something that doesn’t fit his lifestyle.

I agree that the Southwest Companion Pass is the best deal in domestic travel, but not everyone travels in pairs and not everyone focuses on domestic travel. In fact, the first year I had the companion pass, I didn’t even use it — I was abroad for four months and didn’t do any travel in the US. I didn’t regret getting it — I used it a bunch the following year. I had also gotten it via the shopping portal rather than the credit cards, and I knew when I made those purchases that I wasn’t going to make use of the pass that first year. But I wouldn’t have signed up for the credit cards knowing I wasn’t going to use the pass in year 1.

As you said, to each his own.

Rich G
Guest

Easy enough to not need SW – live in an area like I do (Wyoming) that isn’t served by them, with my sole commuter being tied to United via Denver – I haven’t flown SW in over a decade, although I would certainly prefer them over UA.

Mike
Guest

What Chase counts when it’s counting cards is of interest to me for sure. But I believe a miracle will be involved if Ben’s FICO doesn’t slip downhill after applying for new credit every 30 days for four or five consecutive months. The screenshots show his utilization is already zeroed. Anyway, FICO is an asset, like money in a bank account. You can hoard it and gain nothing except some quirky bragging rights. Or you can spend it wisely and enjoy it. It grows back, after all.

Mark O
Guest

I agree not wanting to take advantage of SW and the companion pass is a huge mistake imo. I would say get the ink, CSP, 2 southwest cards….wait a while build your UR points and then get the CSR like a year later hoping they increase the offer sometime and right around the time you would downgrade the CSP to one of the freedom cards.

Steven
Guest

Yep a few months ago Plastiq and Chase would have been the perfect combination for Ben, all those choices of VISA cards with great initial bonuses and with his rental properties spend would have been easy. Now his situation isn’t as clear, that $5000 a month spend he has for rental properties I assume are mortgage payments. With the new NO VISA rule at Plastiq he could go more with AMEX and lose a little money to meet his spend requirements and make it up with the bonuses. Just not like paying 2.5% and getting 3% with the CSR. Things have really changed in the last 3 days.

Stannis
Guest

It does not make sense to apply for cards which have offers well below their historical peak (CSR 100K, UA 70K, Marriott 100K) since it’s fairly certain they will be higher at some point than they are today.

Barry
Guest

I agree with Stannis. I would stay below 5/24 and wait for an increased offer on CSR. In the meantime, I would apply for the AMEX Delta Business cards while the bonus is increased. There likely won’t be a better offer on these cards, and the business version won’t count against 5/24.
Going for the Ink Preferred, Sapphire Preferred, and Ink Cash early on is a sound strategy. Not sure why Ben isn’t interested in Southwest, but earning a companion pass would be my number one priority.

Nick Reyes
Editor

This really depends on your spending patterns. If you regularly spend a lot on a card’s bonus categories, you have to consider the opportunity cost of not being able to use that card for said purchases while you wait for an increase that may or may not happen. In the case of UA, many people currently have a targeted 70K offer (plus 5K for an AU). In the case of the CSR, I expect we’ll see an increase again at some point, but I doubt it’ll be 100K — more likely would be 60-80K. If that happens within 90 days of application, Chase is usually good about matching it. If it takes more than 90 days for the bonus to increase, your opportunity cost of waiting increases — both in terms of lost opportunity for more points on category bonuses and in terms of waiting longer on other card bonus opportunities (to remain under 5/24 so you can take advantage of the increased offer). It’s smart to consider historical offers (and why we keep previous better offers in the data on our Best Offers page), but I’d disagree with a blanket statement that it doesn’t make sense to apply for a card that is below it’s historical peak. Whether or not it makes sense depends on your spending patterns and long-term goals.

Sam
Guest

Can you now transfer UR points to travel partners using Ink cash? I heard mixed responses from chase agents…

Nick Reyes
Editor

I’ve not heard of this. You can, of course, transfer first to a premium card (CSP, CSR, Ink Plus) and then transfer to partners. I’ve not heard of a change that makes it possible to transfer from from Ink Cash directly to partners. That would be interesting.

Sam
Guest

That’s what I thought…otherwise the only diff between Ink cash and Ink plus/preferred is $95, no foreign transaction fee and some 3x categories. My AF is due on Ink plus. If UR points are transferable with Ink Cash, then I can PC to Ink cash. Looks like that’s incorrect.

joE
Guest

The main reason to keep INK Plus and not PC to INK Cash is you have a 50k x5 office supply limit as oppose to 25k x5 limit. That’s for each individual to decide if it’s worth the $95 a year for an additional possible 125k UR points.

Jerry Mandel
Guest

Airline cards.Concentrate on which airlines provide the most service where you are. For example, American and Southwest have hubs in Dallas/Fort Worth. United and Delta provide little service and you have to change planes to go almost anywhere. Atlanta, clearly, is a Delta hub.

UAPhil
Guest

Data point showing that Chase business cards do not count toward 5/24.

-When CSR came out, I was at 5/24 with personal cards, 6/24 counting Chase biz. Application declined.
-A few months later, I dropped to 4/24 with personal cards, 5/24 counting Chase biz. CSR application approved.

Miles Hustler
Guest

In general, I recommend grouping up to 2 Chase biz apps or personal card apps for the same day–so long as they can meet the spend (at $5k per month, should not be hard). That way you get the benefit of one credit hit, and can address any issues with reconsideration (e.g. moving credit between cards) all at once if not instantly approved for either card.

Don
Guest

Question about Chase’s 5/24. Let’s say I’ve opened 5 cards in the past two years, the oldest one being opened on 6/15/2015. When should I be good to apply for a Chase card? 6/16/2017, 7/1/2017, 7/16/2017, or something entirely?

Lauren
Guest

I’m new to this whole thing and shocked to find out that an authorized user is seen on a credit report. How is that possible if I didn’t give them my authorized user social security number?
If my husband already has maxed out his 5/24 this year, is there a reason why I wouldn’t get my 5/24 and add him as an authorized user (to get extra points) on everything? Technically then he’ll have received 10 cards this year, but does it matter?

toomanybooks
Guest

>Those who want to use points to stay in B&B’s will do best with pay with points cards.

Airbnb sells GCs at supermarkets.

Eric
Guest

Hey Greg, I’m at 4/24 so I applied for ink business as staggered but I have 4 businesses. When I finish 5k spend on 1 biz, should I apply again for another biz to get 80k points. Will I keep getting 80k

Eric
Guest

My mistake. I meant that I am at 1/24

trackback

[…] bit over a week ago I published “A credit card plan for a well informed newbie.”  There I detailed a plan for this retiree to quickly rack up huge numbers of points […]

trackback

[…] you remember our informed newbie, Ben?  First, we helped him form a credit card plan.  Next, he successfully signed up for three cards at once.  Intentionally, all three were […]

trackback

[…] time to check in again with our informed newbie named Ben.  Previously, we helped him form a credit card plan.  Next, he successfully signed up for three cards at once.  Intentionally, all three were […]

trackback

[…] time to check in again with our informed newbie Ben. Previously, we helped him form a credit card plan.  Next, he successfully signed up for three cards at once.  Intentionally, all three were […]