Earlier this year, I suggested an alternative to App-O-Ramas for earning huge credit card signup bonuses. The alternative process, eventually named “App-No-Rama,” moves away from the idea of signing up for lots of cards in one day. Instead, the idea is to wait for an exceptional offer to appear and then pounce on not just that offer, but also other offers from the same bank on that same day. The reason? Often the hard inquiries get combined into one when they come from the same bank. In other words, once you decide to apply for one card from a given bank, there is very little downside to applying for 2 or more cards from that bank on that same day.
To be clear, this doesn’t work with every bank. For example, even though Citi will let you apply for both a personal and business card on the same day, the credit inquiries do not combine. And, as it turns out, Chase applications are unpredictable as to whether or not they combine.
So far, my success at this App-No-Rama process has been excellent from the point of view of earning points and miles, but far from perfect with regards to limiting hard inquiries. Let’s look at my experience so far…
March App-No-Rama: 3 Chase apps for me; 2 for my wife (187,500 points per person)
In March, I decided that my wife and I should jump on the increased Chase Marriott Rewards card offer (87,500 points after $3K spend plus adding an authorized user). The Marriott business card was still offering 80K points at the time (later it increased to 100K), so we applied for that too. And, just to see what would happen, I threw in a Chase Ink Plus application for myself.
- All 4 Marriott cards were approved. The Ink Plus was denied (they wouldn’t allow 3 new cards in one month). Details here.
- Credit inquiries were combined. We each incurred only one new Chase inquiry on our TransUnion and Experian reports.
- All expected points have been earned. Plus, 20K additional points were promised after we sent secure messages asking to be matched to the 100K Marriott business card offer.
- Final expected tally (not counting additional points earned for spend): 187,500 Marriott Rewards points per person.
May App-No-Rama: 2 Amex apps for my wife (125K)
In May, a 100K Amex Platinum card offer was temporarily available. I was surprised to find that my wife had never signed up for the regular Platinum card before, so we decided that she should go for it. She also threw in a 25K offer for the Amex Green card. Complete details can be found here: Just under the wire, my wife scores 125K in one day.
- Both cards were approved
- Credit inquiries were combined. She only incurred one new Amex inquiry on her Experian report.
- 25K points have been earned from the Green card. She has not yet received the 100K points from the Platinum card, but I expect she will get those points when her next statement closes.
- Final expected tally (not counting additional points earned for spend): 125,000 Membership Rewards points.
June 3rd App-No-Rama: 2 Chase apps for me (135K)
In early June, I jumped on a targeted 75K offer for the United Mileage Plus card. Since I expected the inquiries to combine, I tried again for the 60K Chase Ink Plus offer (this would be my second open Ink Plus card, but for a different business than my open card). Initial details of this App-No-Rama can be found here: United 75K approved, Ink Plus 60K pending. After a couple of denials with the Ink card, I was finally approved after my Chase banker submitted a Special Consideration Form on my behalf (details here).
- Both cards were eventually approved.
- As I reported here, Experian credit inquiries were combined. TransUnion inquiries were not combined.
- All 75K miles have been earned with the United card.
- Final expected tally (not counting additional points earned for spend): 135K
Once I complete the required $5K spend for the Ink Plus card, I’ll secure message Chase to see if they’ll match me to the 70K in-branch offer. So I’ll likely end up with 145K points from just two Chase cards!
June 20th App-No-Rama: 2 Amex apps for me (135K)
Later in June, I decided that I couldn’t pass up the enhanced offer for the Delta Platinum Business card. I was also targeted for a 75K Business Gold card, so I decided to apply for both. Full details can be found here: My painful pursuit of 135,000 miles.
- Both cards approved. My Delta application was initially declined but was then put forward for review and then was approved later that week.
- 2 Experian credit inquiries were not combined. The reason was that the Delta Platinum reconsideration led to Amex issuing a new hard inquiry a few days after my initial application.
- 75K Membership Rewards points have already been deposited into my account from the Business Gold card. And, thanks to the Delta Platinum card, I have also already earned 60K redeemable Delta SkyMiles, 10K MQMs (elite qualifying miles), and a $100 statement credit (The signup bonus offered a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase. I earned the credit simply by using the card to pay the $5.60 TSA fee when booking an award).
- Final tally (not counting additional points earned for spend): 135K points and miles + 10K MQMs + $100.
My last two App-No-Ramas were partially unsuccessful since the hard inquiries did not combine as I expected. That said, March and May App-No-Ramas worked as expected. And, across the board, mile earnings have been terrific (770,000 points and miles earned or expected). Had I been using the old App-O-Rama approach of signing up for a bunch of cards once every 91 days or so, it is very unlikely that we would have nabbed the 100K Platinum offer, the 75K Business Gold offer, or the 60K Delta offer.
Initially, I thought of this alternative process as an experiment that I would try out for a while. So far, so good! I plan to keep plowing ahead with this approach indefinitely. But, as I discussed in the original post on this topic, many readers have good reasons for liking and sticking with a more traditional App-O-Rama approach. You should always do whatever works best for you.