7 New Credit Cards, 2 Denied, 1 Withdrawn

February 18th I did my first round of credit card applications in 4 months. Nothing much had stood out until the Citi AA Executive 100k offer came out. With that alluring offer I put together a group of applications to fill in some gaps in my portfolio, then 32 open card accounts.

My current residence is in New Jersey where Amex, Chase and Citi all use Experian. I keep my Experian frozen, so start with other banks, then un-freeze for Amex and Citi at the end. See my post on credit bureau freeze and developments with Chase. This approach goes in line with starting with the toughest approvals for me: Barclaycard, then US Bank.

1. Barclaycard:

I have not had an approval with Barclaycard since December 2012. I decided to try again for the Barclaycard Arrival and as I already have 2 personal US Airways credit cards and no business card, I tried for the business version to see if Barclaycard might be more flexibile with business applications.

Both applications went to pending. Immediately called and got the same tedious denials as recent attempts. Applying for a business card did not make any difference from personal. This time I really am going to wait at least 6 months, maybe 12, before trying again. See my post that goes into more detail on challenges with Barclaycard.

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2. US Bank:

Applied for both the personal and business FlexPerks Travel Rewards cards during the Olympics bonus offer, now expired.  Both took about a week to be approved. Personal experience and reports are that calling rarely helps so I did not bother. I don’t like the price bands for airfare redemptions, not a customer-friendly approach, but gave these a try.

Current offer for both is back down to typical 20,000; existing cardholders can refer-a-friend for a 5,000 bonus. Since US Bank approvals are widely reported to be tough, I do not recommend applying for these unless a new special offer appears. Club Carlson, both of which I have, and Avianca 40k, are better US Bank offers.

3. Chase:

I have never had a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Freedom so decided to go for both, plus the United MileagePlus Explorer Business card 50k offer. My Ink Bold and Ink Plus annual fees were due, retention offers were paltry (10k points for $5k spend) and I do not get much use of the bonus categories so had those cards to trade. I did not need to give up the Ink cards, credit reallocation was sufficient, however I closed both Inks anyway to get the annual fee refunded. Several prior calls to downgrade to Ink Cash or Ink Classic all failed.

I had Experian frozen so all went to pending and called in. First time, even after multiple tries, that no one at Chase would agree to pull a different report. Dan of Dan’s Deals says it can still work with lots of ‘hang up, call again.’ I only have so much HUCA in me so gave Chase single-use Experian pins. After a couple pins Experian would not release more so I paid to temporarily lift the freeze, which I was going to do for Amex and Citi anyway.

Links used:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: the Chase website is now listing a 40k bonus with $125 annual fee. Many bloggers still have links for 40k plus 5k for authorized user, and $95 annual fee. Pick one you like.
  • Chase Freedom: all the current offers I have found are $100 bonus with $500 spend. Sometimes it is $200. I put up the app to get started on quarterly bonuses. Send the business to a blogger or use the public link from the Chase website.
  • United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card: see this FlyerTalk thread for several ways to get the 50k offer. In my case it was as simple as logging in to my MileagePlus account, clicking on the business card screen, then when the 30k offer appeared I clicked the Club Card tab, then back to Explorer and the offer was 50k.

4. Citi:

Currently all reports are that Citi is only approving 1 account per day, the gap for next applications has varied by reports. I went for the 100k offer which is still live.

Application instructed me to call in. The agent agreed to approve for a low credit limit of $5k or to shift credit from an existing account to get more. Moved $5k from a Dividend card to get $10k to have room to spend the $10k for the bonus.

Reports of approvals for a second of this card have been coming in and I may try myself this week. This offer could vanish anytime.

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5. American Express:

Applied for the Mercedes-Benz Platinum 50k offer. Last year I missed out on the 100k personal Platinum offer though got a 100k Business Platinum. With the Business annual fee coming due, seemed time to switch to Personal. With recent reports that Amex may be limiting sign-up bonuses to once for each card, I might not have gone for a 50k offer. Approved the next business day.

Despite all experiences, mine included, that American Express is currently only allowing 4 credit cards (excludes charge cards) per person, I threw in an application for the SimplyCash Business. I called up, they stuck to the 4 credit card rule and offered to either close one of my accounts or withdraw the application with no credit pull. I have 2 Delta Platinum cards I work for the annual MQM Boosts, a Hilton card I periodically upgrade, and a SPG I just opened a few months ago. So I withdrew the application rather than dump SPG so soon.

Amex is rolling out some new personal cards as well, see FrequentMiler’s analysis.

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6. Others:

Nothing interested me so did not apply at any other banks.

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  • Mr. Cool

    so how many accounts do you have total? 32+7? thats pretty crazy

  • Robert

    @Mr. Cool–as long as you know how to keep a spreadsheet, nothing crazy about it at all.

  • @Mr. Cool – closed the Inks so have 37, I can do a post listing them and why I have them…when I have a long flight to type it out. These are mainly built up over 3-4 years. Many have multiples of that, and add in authorized users to the nth degree on Amex cards and you can get quite a pile to manage.

  • Travis

    How long after applying online for the temp credit freeze to be lifted does it take to go into effect?

  • @Travis – seems to be instant, I have typically given it 5-10 minutes and never had an issue.

  • My wife was just denied for an Arrival because of too many new accounts–she had no Barclays cards (had closed a USAir card about a year ago), but had opened four other cards a little over three months ago.

  • Kliff

    Just reporting that the Chase United Explorer Business Card trick worked for me! Will try freezing Experian (CA) for next round, my Equifax report basically has nothing on it =/

  • @Kliff – great news, that United Explorer Business Card gets little press but has some decent features and category bonuses.

  • Eric

    Do you have any experience if Wells Fargo is willing to pull another bureau if they hit a frozen one?

  • Eric – sorry, I have not seen any reports or tried myself, I scanned the major credit card forums and did not come up with anything.

  • I Can See for Miles

    My wife’s Experian is frozen when she applied for a WF card this evening, but WF wouldn’t pull from another agency.