11 approved, 2 pending: why and how

My last-minute business trip to Shanghai happily disrupted life and blogging, back to the follow-up post on my recent 11 approved, 2 pending credit card churn.

In my post on Freezing you credit report, I noted that my Experian report is frozen, meaning that Amex and Citi were out of the picture, while Chase and some others either pull from Equifax or TransUnion or can be requested to do so via a reconsideration call.

Here is my process and reasoning, in order of application.

US Bank:

I have never had a US Bank card. Reports on the forums are that they can be strict and finicky, so I submitted applications for the new Radisson personal and business cards (85k each). Personal was auto-approved. Business I have not heard or received anything in 9 days. My personal phone on the applications I did not have on roam, China meddles with Google Voice, and the banks usually don’t leave voicemail, so I do not know if they tried to call.

The personal card is primarily for the annual Club Carlson gold status and the free second award night feature. Business was principally to see if I could get it.

On my international business travel I encounter a fair number of Radissons, but am forced to use my employer’s corporate card, so the spend features are of little use to me.

Bank of America:

One year ago I got the triple of BOA Hawaiian, BOH Hawaiian and BOA Virgin Atlantic. I still have those cards, planning to cancel this month when annual fees hit. I wasn’t comfortable trying for more of the same so soon, so looked for business cards.

The BOA Hawaiian business has the same 35k sign-up bonus as the personal. I also applied for BOA Alaska business to double up the applications and hopefully combine the credit inquiries. That only has a 25k sign-up bonus. I went for business instead of personal, even though never having had the personal, in the hope that a 40k bonus for the personal appears, though it has been a long time since one has floated around.

Both went to pending; I was called the following day and approved for both.

Barclays:

I wrote a detailed post on Barclays. I was curious how many I could serially get. I got 4 auto-approved, the 5th is pending and no info yet. I do not plan to call because the 5th was an experiment and I don’t care about the card.

  1. Priceline (5k bonus): 5x on Priceline Name Your Own Price transactions, which I use a lot for hotels and rental cars. Plus, William Shatner on the card.
  2. Choice Hotels (32k bonus): points for use in Australia/New Zealand, or maybe Europe.
  3. US Air (40k bonus + 10k each anniversary, offer now expired): a good all-around card.
  4. Virgin America (20k bonus, card no longer available): an award ticket from Hawaii to American Somoa.
  5. Best Western (10k bonus): terrible card, terrible bonus, just did it to see if the string could continue.

Chase:

Applied for the Ink Bold and Ink Plus 50k offers for $5k spend. I am not so enamored of Ultimate Rewards and many people, seems it takes a lot of work to make these pay off, so I have not yet had a card with Ultimate Rewards, instead building my portfolio of other Chase cards like the elite-status laden hotel cards. The only Ultimate Rewards transfer partner that interests me is British Airways, though I may dabble in United. Now that I can pay rent and other bills with Bluebird, the minimum spend is feasible.  Too many words have been spilled on these cards by others, no point in rambling.

With my Experian frozen I knew I would get sent to pending, which I understand happens to most everyone, so I called reconsideration and was quickly approved for both after they pulled TransUnion. I have never previously had any Chase business cards. I did move some of my personal banking to Chase 6 months ago to strengthen my relationship with them.

Citi:

Final step was to temporarily unfreeze my Experian report, waited an hour to be safe and then submitted 2-browser applications for the (now expired) ThankYou Preferred 40k offer. This was at the behest of a friend, I have no prior experience with ThankYou Points. Both said more processing was needed and I activated chat to push them through. It was fun chatting with two different agents, each looking at a different pre-existing card to move credit in order to get these approved. Both approved via chat.

Amex:

With my Experian pants down, so to speak, I could have gone for Amex but nothing from them interests me at the moment and I want to keep my card count low in case I am targeted for any great offers.

Conclusion:

Returning today from a week away I was greeted by quite the stack of mail!

In terms of credit inquiries, I use Citi Indentity Monitor and the following results:

12/11:

  • Bank of America, TransUnion, 1 merged pull for 2 business cards
  • Barclays, TransUnion, 1 merged pull for 4 auto-approved personal cards
  • Chase, Equifax, 1 pull for 1 business card
  • Chase, TransUnion, 1 pull for 1 business card, too, so it seems the agent manually pulled one each for Ink Bold and Ink Plus
  • Citi, Experian, 1 merged pull for 2 personal cards
  • US Bank, TransUnion, 1 merged pull for 1 personal and 1 business card

12/19:

  • Barclays, Equifax, 1 pull, I am guessing this is for my 5th card that went pending, since I have not heard anything yet. This means that the serial application approach can merge all pulls same-day but any that go to pending may be pulled at a later date.

Hopefully this is helpful to readers. Be smart and realize that taking on credit has risks that you should fully understand prior to application.

(sorry if not fully edited, my wife is making the throat-slitting motion, I will revise in the morning!)

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Comments

  1. Super useful post. I’m in New York City also, so it’s nice to see where the issuers pull credit from. I’m happy to let Barclay’s and US Bank hit Transunion.

  2. Quick clarifying question: did Barclays and US Bank automatically pull Transunion, or did they pull TU after you called the reconsideration line and told them to?

  3. Excellent detailed summary of your efforts. I am glad to see evidence of merged pulls on apps. What will be the combined spend to earn the bonuses on all these cards?

  4. When you say you spoke to Citi via chat, are you referring to over the computer? If so, how do you iniate that? Working with Citi has always been a struggle for me.

  5. How did you get 4 Barclays cards at the same time? Any advice on how to get instant approved for 4 cards? Also, any chance you can apply for multiple instances of the same card at one time (i.e. apply for 4 US Air Cards at the same time instead of those other ones you applied for)

  6. Kay – they automatically pulled TransUnion for me, I did not make any calls to them. Only one I had to call was Chase, and I already knew the Citi situation so unfroze Experian for that.

  7. @guera – The Bolds are 5k/3 months each, Radissons 2.5k/3 months each, Citi I have to check, I think it was 3k first 6 months, then another 3k second 6 months but not sure if can do 6k up front and get the bonus that way, Barclays all just first purchase, and BOA also both first purchase. It will take some work because of the Bolds, which is why I did them now, end of year charity time plus Bluebird working for bill pay.

  8. @Corridor! – I dread calling Citi, always issues dealing with them, in this case at the application pending screens there was a link to online chat and I tried that for both, using my application reference number, both processes worked well, the agents simultaneously offered to move credit from existing cards and good that they picked different existing cards to move from!

  9. @Charlie – you can find a lot of detail in my Barclays post that I linked to, but for multiple instances of the same card, someone did ask in that post, I don’t know and could not find an answer, so if you test it, let me know, it would be the best use for Barclays.

  10. @Kay – my address is NJ so you may have a different experience, for BOA, Barclays and US Bank. When I had a NY address I did not test those, but Amex/Chase/Citi always hit Experian like in NJ.

  11. Good write up.

    The late Barclay’s hit reinforces the point about doing a churn in the early hours so you have time in the day to call/chat/contact recon for all the issuers by the end of that day so if they do re-pull, it will get merged.

    @Charlie – Past experience says you can get 2 through at the same time, using the keep expenses separate methodology. I should have tried it myself but totally forgot. Off to make a note in my churn spreadsheet.

    If you don’t have a barclays card, you’re only going to get 1 or maybe 2 if you’re really lucky card the first time. You’ll beg plead and grovel on the recon line and they’ll say that they want to see how you handle the one card. Six months later, they’ll give you 5 at once. Just keep applying online until they say no. And then call recon. 😉

  12. Thanks for this! Good info on some cards that don’t get a lot of coverage, and it’s always useful and interesting to hear real-life application experiences. I’ll definitely grab one of your links when I do my next applications in the new year.

  13. This gives me an idea, that Priceline card looks awfully nice. 2% cash back on a Visa with no fee? I don’t use Priceline that often but 5% would be good too. The $50 signup bonus doesn’t look too great, but is it possible to downgrade from a US Airways MC to a Priceline Visa?

  14. @AK – US Air and Priceline are totally different products, I doubt you could downgrade, if you tried they may offer the cheaper US Air card which has less benefits.

    The Priceline Visa is a nice low hassle 2% cash back card, with the 5x sweetener for Priceline Name Your Own Price transactions. I wouldn’t do it as a standalone application, but I was happy to throw it in with the others.

  15. I just applied for a Chase card with Experian frozen … called Reconsideration 2x to ask if I could have it go through one of the other 2 bureaus but was told no. How were you able to get your Chase cards approved through TU?

  16. @Amol – interesting, I have never had pushback from them, no idea if they have had a policy change or something about your state or what. Each time when they have mentioned, I say something like, “Oh yes, I have that frozen while an error is being corrected, can you pull a different report?”

  17. @Elliot – none that I am aware of. It it needs to be pulled you can get a single-use pin or temporarily/permanently unfreeze. I have had it frozen for a year now and that score has slowly crept up.

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