319,000 points after $33K spend

UPDATE 10/1/2015: Please note that the 30K SPG offers described in this post have expired.

Yesterday, my wife applied for 8 new credit cards and was instantly approved for 5 of them.  At the time of this writing, the other 3 are pending.  Here’s the story…

I realized yesterday that my wife had never signed up for SPG cards (yes, major lapse on my part!).  So, with the current 30K SPG offers, it was time.  And, I figured that she might as well throw in a few other applications as well.  Here are the cards she applied for:

  • Bank of America Virgin Atlantic: 75K bonus after $12K spend
  • Bank of America Virgin Atlantic: 75K bonus after $12K spend (2nd application)319,000 points
  • Bank of America Alaska Business: 25K bonus upon approval
  • Citi ThankYou Premier: 50K after $3K spend
  • CitiBusiness AA: 50K after $3K spend
  • Amex Business Gold: 75K after $10K spend
  • Amex SPG Business: 30K after $5K spend
  • Amex SPG Personal: 30K after $3K spend

Caution

I do not recommend signing up for this many cards at once.  Only sign up for cards if you know that you’ll be able to pay off the balances in full each month, and that you can meet the minimum spend requirements.

Bank of America

Soon after I successfully signed up for 4 Virgin Atlantic cards in one day, I started hearing that BOA had changed their approval process.  I experienced the new process myself when I tried again in July (see: New BOA approval process and a stumble on my way to Necker Island).  My wife, though, hasn’t applied for any cards in a while so I knew she could easily get at least one card, and hopefully two.  My theory was that she could get one personal card and one business card in one day.  Not wanting to leave any points on the table, though, I thought it made sense for my wife to at least try to get two of the same cards as well.

She applied first for a Virgin Atlantic card and was instantly approved.  An hour later she applied again for the same card.  As expected, the application went to pending status.  Finally, she applied for the Alaska business card.  Since many banks handle their personal and business cards separately, I thought she had a chance of an automatic approval.  No luck.  That application is now pending as well.

If I was applying for cards for myself, I would call to see if I could encourage approval of the pending applications.  My wife hates to make calls like that, though, so we’ll just wait and see how it turns out.

Result: 1 card approved; 2 pending (and likely to be denied)

Citi

People will tell you that Citibank has the following credit card application rules:

  • After applying for a card, you must wait at least 8 days before applying for another
  • You can apply for no more than two cards within a 65 day period

As far as I know, those rules are true, but the 8 day rule does not apply when mixing personal and business cards.

My wife signed up for the Citi Premier card first and was instantly approved.  A few hours later she applied for the CitiBusiness AA card and was instantly approved.  Awesome.

Result: 2 cards approved

American Express

My son keeps getting offers in the mail from American Express, thanks to having setup a web domain (see: How to (maybe) receive targeted Amex business card offers). Previously, the offers were unexciting, but he finally got a decent one: 75,000 points after $10K spend for the Amex Business Gold card.  The offer came with a single-use offer code.  I (on behalf of my wife) entered the code online and changed the business name on the application from our son’s domain name to her business name (which happens to also be her own name).  After filling out the application, the web page said that the application was pending, but in reality she received a congratulations email immediately.  Let’s call that an instant approval.

Next, she signed up for the SPG Business card which may actually come in handy not just for the points but for Sheraton lounge access as well (see: New SPG card benefits: Do they work for award stays? Authorized users?).  She was instantly approved (no need to look for an email this time).

Finally, she signed up for the personal SPG card.  This one went to pending.  The web page suggested that she call, but I decided we would just wait it out to see what happens.  After a few hours, she got this via email:

We are excited that you’ve decided to apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card, and we’re reviewing your application now. We promise to let you know when we’re finished, or if we need more information.

While we’re reviewing your application, please don’t apply for another Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card. Thank you for your interest in American Express.

I’m pretty sure this application will be be approved.

Result: 2 approved, 1 pending (but likely to be approved)

Totals: 319,000 points after $33K spend

Without considering the 3 pending applications, here are the approved cards and the expected rewards from each:

  • Bank of America Virgin Atlantic: 75K bonus after $12K spend (at 1.5 miles per dollar) results in 93K miles
  • Citi ThankYou Premier: 50K after $3K spend (at 1 point per dollar) results in 53K points
  • CitiBusiness AA: 50K after $3K spend (at 1 mile per dollar) results in 53K miles
  • Amex Business Gold: 75K after $10K spend (at 1 point per dollar) results in 85K
  • Amex SPG Business 30K after $5K spend (at 1 point per dollar) results in 35K

Total points/miles: 319,000

Total spend required: $33K

How we’ll meet the minimum spend requirements

For most people, $33,000 in spend would be a huge challenge.  However, I’m used to manufacturing more spend than that every month.  Some of the spend may be accomplished by paying bills (see: How to increase credit card spend from your couch, (almost) fee-free).  The rest will likely be accomplished by buying gift cards and loading them to REDbird (see: Managing multiples: Bluebird, REDbird, Serve).

Last updated on October 1st, 2015

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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J. Grant
Guest
J. Grant

Wait a second, this is all amateur stuff unless you applied for 5 BofA cards at once.

J/K.

This is pro stuff here. What’s the plan for all the miles & points? 🙂

Kenny
Guest

Questions about Citi and Amex regarding meeting the high min spends via GCs.

I’ve heard that Citi may treat GC purchases as cash advance, is this true?

I’ve also heard that Amex may not count GC purchases toward the min spend requirement or they may not issue the category bonus for GC purchases (ie supermarket bonus on the Everyday preferred). Have you come across this for Amex cards?

Kent C
Guest
Kent C

Sounds like my marriage. She lets me do the work and she enjoys the vacations.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Me too. It’s like pulling teeth to get her to call to fish for retention offers or cancel a card. Somehow she forgets about the benefits of playing this game whenever that comes up.

Pretty much everything thing else, paying bills, asking for points when things don’t post properly, cancelling some cards etc., I can now do through SM or email which makes it easier.

David
Guest
David

Sorry to post a content not really related. Plastiq is truly a big mess for me. They canceled my payment and not yet refund the card after 5 days. Moreover, they made a DEBIT from the payee checking account the exact amount she/he would receive from my canceled payment.
FM, could you please check with them what they are really doing? Thanks!

Bryan
Guest
Bryan

What does a person’s credit score look like before and after such a feat?

J. Grant
Guest
J. Grant

It’s usually a 4-5 point deduction per inquiry. Given that perhaps half of those have been combined by the banks, it’s most likely no more than a 20 point hit. Not a big deal at all – the increase in credit limit will offset the decrease, which will most likely fall off within a few months anyways.

So, to put into numbers, if her credit score was 780, then it may fall to 760. The increase in credit may add a few points, so it increases to 770 in a month or so.

Last but not least, this is a smart round of applications. Kudos, and hope they’re all approved!

Bryan
Guest
Bryan

If you have very low credit utilization (ex. pay all your balances before statements come due), how much does adding new credit line actually benefit your credit score? I currently have almost $100,000 in available credit card lines, but around 2% utilization. Will that part actually help my credit? Also, when talking about the 4-5 point hit, is that the inquiry only, or factoring in what may happen to your average age of accounts as well? Do you guys generally cancel a lot of these new cards as well to keep your AAOA down?

J. Grant
Guest
J. Grant

I’ve seen a small increase after adding new credit lines – couple of points. But, I don’t know if there’s any rule. What I wrote above were generalizations from my own experiences and from what I’ve read.

The inquiry hit is separate from average age of accounts. That’s a whole another beast. My average age of accounts dropped since I started applying for cards, and that, too, has an impact on the credit score. 3 years, 20+ credit cards later, and my credit score is the SAME as it was when I got into this hobby. It fluctuated, but the fact that it’s back up to ~790fico has me thinking that this hobby doesn’t have much of a bad impact on the credit score, and the only reason one shouldn’t get involved is if they’re planning on getting a mortgage.

Ken
Guest
Ken

I’ve even heard people claim that they had no problem getting a mortgage with a bunch of inquiries since they had all their other ducks in a row. Low debt, down payment, no late payments, no collections, etc. If you can explain to your bank why you have a bunch of inquiries a lot of them should be fine with it provided everything else is kosher.

Tracie
Guest
Tracie

Keep in mind that each bank uses one reporting agency. I got several cards this spring and noticed fewer inquiries than expected because of the split…

AMEX – experian
Barclay – transunion
Chase – equifax
Citi – equifax

Also, my understanding is that inquiries count in pairs. If you have 1 active inquiry, a second shouldn’t affect your score. My score actually went up because my utilization went down

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

This is incorrect. It doesn’t vary by bank, it varies by geographical area. When I lived in Florida, most banks pulled EQ. Now that I live in PA, they all pull TU. Some also use 1 bureau for hard pulls if you’re a new customer and a different bureau if you’re seeking a product change or CLI. And of course, Cap1 pulls all 3.

Tracie
Guest
Tracie

Your experience is different than mine. I live in NC and all 3 were used (as noted) this spring.

mark reinoso
Guest

Im kinda thinking of doing this churn stuff. I just have a hard time cancelling my cards haha…I just got my 3rd business AMEX with the 75k offer. I own 3 businesses, so It makes sense.

I also got the SPG AMEX for 30k bonus, and Im thinking of getting the CITI thank you card.

I dont need to manufacture spend, about 35k a month goes onto my cards for parts and gas for my businesses. Maybe thats why Im not in a huge rush to churn?

Diamond Vargas
Guest
Diamond Vargas

I’ve applied for that B of A Alaska business card 5 times in the last couple of years. Each time the online application said it was pending, but when I called in soon after it had already been approved — I think it’s just a quirk of the website and / or process. I haven’t bothered to call the last couple of times because it was always the same story and not a tough approval. The cards showed up a week or so later. I think you can be a bit more optimistic about that one.

P
Guest
P

I have also received two citi cards in one day. You’re the first I’ve seen to say as much on the web. Hadn’t put two and two together yet, though, that I had applied for both a business and personal card. My wife also hates talking to reconsideration lines. I’ve never had any trouble calling in, handing the phone to her for her approval to have me discuss her ap with them and then having her hand me the phone back. Only minor issue was the time a very sweet Indian csr for Amex (who happened to share my wife’s birthday) just didn’t want to let her get off the phone!

Dee
Guest
Dee

We have role reversal in our house. I’m the points and miles junkie. Hubby will reluctantly make calls to reconsideration lines, to move credit limits, close cards, ask for AFs to be refunded, etc. He just wants me to spell out what he is supposed to do – no background details or understanding why he is doing what he’s doing. It helps if he puts the call on speaker and I can ask questions or make suggestions he wouldn’t think of.

Tim
Guest
Tim

I have a question about the min spend on the SPG card. If I get a SPG biz card and get my wife a card as an authorized user, and we each spend $1,000 per month on our Serve accounts with our individual cards, will both card’s activity count towards the min spend? So $1,000 x 3 months X 2cards would get us to the $5,000 correct?

DW
Guest
DW

@Tim, When you say you spend $1000 per month, are you talking about a direct load from AMEX SPG to Serve. I’ve heard that counts on a min spend but you dont get the points from AMEX

PedroNY
Guest
PedroNY

She will get approved for BofA business card. It is always “pending” but approved shortly there after.

Cheers,

PedroNY

Sophia
Guest
Sophia

Does your wife have an actual business or is she listing herself as a sole proprietor to be approved for the business cards.

Darren
Guest
Darren

Where did you get the 50,000 CitiBusiness AA offer? I couldn’t find and couldn’t get when talking to a representative on the phone.

Najib
Guest
Najib

Question: Why do you get the personal and business version of the same card? Aside from raking in the sign up bonus on each, are there OTHER advantages to this?? These cards have annual fees and sure some of them are waived the first year,,,Just trying to understand the value of having both…(Do you close one of them to avoid the annual fee when its time to pay it?) thanks.

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

Is there a limit to the number of Amex cards you can apply for and get approved in a short time period? mark reinoso commented above that he got his 3rd business Amex, but what about the no more than 1 charge card rule?

Dustin
Guest

So I’ve read that Amex only gives on signup bonus per person in order to avoid churning. Is this true and if so, if I have a personal Amex card will this affect my ability to earn a bonus for a business card? Bonus for SPG card?

Sophia
Guest
Sophia

It’s only one bonus per person in a lifetime for the AMEX personal card. However, the business card you can apply for multiple times and earn a bonus each time.

Dustin
Guest

Gotcha, thanks for clarifying. What about the SPG personal card? Sounds like I can earn that bonus too, even for a personal card. Can I earn the SPG bonus more than once?

Sophia
Guest
Sophia

SPG is AMEX so only once per lifetime for personal cards

Ken
Guest
Ken

Amex Biz cards are 12 months since you closed the previous card.

Ken
Guest
Ken

Gregg, are you going to update this page or do another post with final results from the AOR?

naveen medisetti
Guest
naveen medisetti

Hi, I am completely new to this, What if i don’t have any bills to pay?can i pay the amount back to my credit card using Red Bird. Also can you tell me if i can buy the gift cards with Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard? If not what are my options to Make minimum spend to get Rewards with out getting a cash advance mark on my card

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

Curious to know how you plan on utilizing the Virgin Atlantic miles.

JW
Guest
JW

Question: How safe is it to apply for both personal and biz BOA Alaska cards on the same day? I only have 1 BOA credit card. I had 2 hard pulls in the past 3 months but 6 in the past 12 months. Thanks.

credit
Guest
credit

@David vargas

For BofA business card did you cancel the current card to apply for a new one or did you just keep the old one and apply for a new one?

Do you have a legit business with substantial credit card needs, i.e your business really did need 5 cards on paper at least.

How long did you wait afree canceling card to apply for new one?

Thanks

Tracie
Guest
Tracie

I understand you mfr spend so it’s less of a concern but 33k seems high to me as a newbie. I managed to hit 217k for 13k spend when I started this spring. Was that beginners luck?

LACLONGQUAN50
Guest
LACLONGQUAN50

LOADING REDBIRD CARD:

I have not tries to load RedBird card in the last 3 weeks after failing to do that 4 times in 2 different Target stores using different gift cards/debit cards (Visa, Amex, Vanilla). These stores do not sell Red cards.
Their registers rejected my GC’s anytime I swiped GC.

Please advise.

LACLONGQUAN50
Guest
LACLONGQUAN50

EBay Gift Cards.

Please explain why somebody pays more than face value of some gif cards.
Any benefits to do that:
1. Get points/miles from credit card used to pay?
Chase Ink CD give 5 UR points/1$ for some vendors but it may not offset the extra cost
2. Get “credit history” from EBay for future when he/she sells to EBay?
3. What else?
4. I saw Sears Gift Card, say $100, for sale on EBay.
Some asks for $105/buy it now.
Some for bid.
Can everybody sell gift cards on EBay?
(Only qualified/registered travelers are allowed to sell Travel Gift Cards, Rooms …)

Please educate me.

Thank you.

LACLONGQUAN50
Guest
LACLONGQUAN50

MS.

I am impressed that somebody spends more than $30K in 3 months to get bonus.
I love to be able to do that.
Averagely, I pay less than 3 grants/month for mortgage & other expenditures.
In 3 months, I can spend $10K, at the max., on credit cards.
Is it a good idea to purchase $10K or even 20K Sears Gift cards (which gives large discount) or other hot GC when they are on sale and sell them on EBay or other online website?

More advice, please.

Kenny
Guest

Thinking about the SPG Biz card, but most likely would have to MS to meet min spend.

For Amex biz cards, have you ever been chosen for a financial review? I’m wondering if MSing with these cards makes one more susceptible to this less than fun activity …

WC
Guest
WC

HI there
Couple of quick questions regarding some apps I might do. 1) on the SPG cards can you combine the nights given from owning the card into the same account i.e. we know you get 5 nights and 2 stays each year toward SPG Elite status, if I have a card and wife has card can we combine those to the same SPG membership so that the account reflects 10 nights, 4 stays just for holding the cards ?

2) Chase ink bold on their website show 5% cash back but assume this can also be 5 UR points if sending moving them to a Ultimate Reward account like Sapphire Preferred similar to what you can do with Freedom ?

Thanks

WC
Guest
WC

Sorry in my previous comment I meant to say the Ink Cash, can that also be transferred to UR point i.e. the 5% they list can be 5x UR instead ?

Ken
Guest
Ken

Any update on the pending apps?

Its me
Guest
Its me

Was it 1 credit pull for the 2 Citi cards or 2? Wanna know if they pull separate for personal and business like chase. Or they don’t like Amex. Thanks

Ken
Guest
Ken

Do you know if any of the pulls from the same bank were merged? BOA, Amex, or Citi?

Anon
Guest
Anon

Dear FM:

You’ve been an invaluable resource and I hope you can provide me with some sage advice.

I attempted something similar for my wife and was put in pending status for all 8 applications despite an 800+ score. My wife has an exotic sounding name, so I am always able to call on her behalf and have never had a problem. I got 7 of the 8 cards immediately approved, but ran into problems with the Chase BA card.

I submitted the application and it said that it was being reviewed, but it didn’t give me an application number. I called the Chase personal reconsideration line and instead of seeing the BA app, they only saw another Chase business card app, which was one of the other 7 applications that she did that day. That application was immediately approved, but they did not see the BA app at all, so I did it again. This app was the only personal app she did that day that asked for an occupation. I put homemaker, even though I should have put the occupation that she applied for under the business card. I’m not sure why I did that – perhaps fatigue.

When I called the personal line back, they asked to confirm the occupation. I said homemaker, which is a pretty unusual occupation for a male sounding voice. I was told that they were going to provisionally approve it, but that they needed to run it by the supervisor and to call back later.

I called back later and it was denied because Chase wanted to confirm my wife’s identity. Fine, no problem. I waited for my denial letter and further instructions.

I got the denial letter from Chase Fraud Operations and there were 2 funny things with it:
1) It wasn’t addressed to my wife, it was addressed to me (the AU); and
2) The address was spelled wrong.

I called up the phone number on the letter and asked why the letter was addressed to the AU and notified them that the address was wrong. They interrogated me and over and over asked me to confirm my name. They finally asked me whether this is really MR. XYZ? This was the first time they asked me about my gender and I said yes, this is Mr. XYZ, because I know that gender isn’t part of a credit report. Frankly, with gender apparently being something that you can change nowadays, I’m not sure how they can really ask you this question.

I guess that it is possible that I accidentally put my name on the application with my wife’s SSN, but that doesn’t really make sense since when I called to check the app status the first time, they confirmed my identity and provided me information over the phone.

Chase is now asking for a photocopy of the social security card, proof of current physical address, and something showing a date of birth. If I send a birth certificate or a drivers license, they will be able to match up gender. I feel as though I pushed this far enough and I’m not sure what else I can submit that shows a date of birth without giving gender away, so I’m inclined to just let this expire and try again later.

What do you think? MUCH appreciated!

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[…] the post, “319,000 points after $33K spend” I wrote about my wife’s latest round of credit card aplications.  Unbeknownst to her, she […]

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DSc
Guest
DSc

I know that this is an old post, but I think it is the last post you did on AOR’s.

Since I trust your advice, I am wondering whether you can do a post (or a series) specifically on different churning strategies, i.e. 1 app every 30 days vs opportunistically whenever there is a good bonus vs multiple apps every 91 days (or even longer).

I had been following a 3-5 month churn schedule (started off with 2-3 cards and then went up to 9 with great results. However, I just did a 6 card AOR (4 months after the last AOR) and I was flat out denied for the TY Premier due to (i) too many inquiries AND (ii) I failed an internal algorithm (according to the CSR). My 800+ credit score and perfect history meant nothing, apparently. So now I’m wondering whether I am overdoing it or whether there is a better strategy out there.

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Austin
Guest
Austin

I am interested in doing 2 apps with citi for the AA Business and Citi Premier I have read that you cant do two apps in one day and you can do two apps in one day. Should I take the chance I really want both and it seems it went well for your wife? Should I do them back to back or wait a few hours?

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[…] according to The Frequent Miler, you can apply and get approved for a Citi personal and a Citi business credit card at the same […]

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[…] and business card on the same day or the same week and don’t have to wait 8 days in between (Frequentmiler and others). This can be the case even when applying for both with your SSN. Being the 8-day rule […]