My Week in Points: US Bank, More Cards and more

I love Citi ThankYou Points with the Citi Prestige card. They have funded cheap summer airfares weekend after weekend. We are just back from a lobster shuttle trip up to Maine, flying via Boston. I am embarrassed to admit it didn’t click with me that New Hampshire has Atlantic Coast when I was reading about lobster shacks. I need to bone up on my US geography. You wouldn’t know you are passing through NH on I-95 if not for all the liquor store signs.

I did a mini credit card churn following a dismal churn in July. I got another Citi Premier 30 or so days after the prior. Both times it took supervisor approval after several days from application to push it through because of the size of my Citi relationship. In the interim I had chopped all save my Prestige down to $5k credit limits, with no apparent effect.

I also got an Amex EveryDay. I didn’t want to take up a credit card slot with EveryDay though tired or juggling Platinums and Golds to keep my Membership Rewards points alive. That was an instant approval, putting me up to the limit of 4 credit (not charge) cards with Amex. Next was an SPG Business card, which went to pending and there it sits. Several calls have all said the 2nd app needs to wait 5 days to process, which is not the case I hear from others and I think only triggered when all 4 slots are already filled. I will call tomorrow, the 6th day. I will give up my no annual fee Hilton, which I only kept while upgrade-downgrade was working and because it was my only no annual fee Amex and tied for oldest Amex account.

It is always premature until cards are in hard, though by next week I may have BofA Better Balance Rewards cards #7 and #8.

I try not to complain often in my travels. I did complain to US Bank about the Club Carlson card changes. First I got 2,500 points for each card, then without further action, then sent another 5,000, and then a free night. My wife did not complain, I originally did not think 2,500 was worth strong-arming her to call, and she got nothing. Now she is game to try to demand equal treatment.

While in Minnesota I got a US Bank Gold Checking open. I had failed online because of frozen IDA and ARS credit reports.

Airlines:

Hotels:

Tracks and Wheels:

Credit Cards:

Blogging:

  • Why I Blog (Doctor Of Credit). Nice piece, predictable comments.
  • Dear Internet Trolls: I am not one of “You Bloggers”! (Miles to Memories). Ditto.
  • TravelBloggerBuzz came across this piece from BoredPanda on the proprietor of a site called OneStep4Ward, one of those lifestyle guru websites where users’ dreams fund the website owner’s lifestyle. At first glance there is not so much hard sell and more focus on the kind of extreme experiences that go viral. I don’t naturally gravitate to this kind of exhibition, that Minnesota/Scandinavia quiet reserve, which makes blogging an odd hobby. It would be nice to post once a month and be a millionaire.

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Pingbacks

  • Hi Stefan, thanks for linking to my US Bank 1 month approval process post. I also had issue with US Bank checking account (due to frozen ARS/IDA) which I wrote about here: http://travelwithgrant.boardingarea.com/2015/07/09/cannot-apply-for-us-bank-checking-account-online-with-frozen-arsida-credit-reports-must-apply-in-branch/

    Seems like these days instant approvals are harder to come by and solid recon calls are the way of the future.

  • Padd

    Question about BoA better balance card – I’ve called boa multiple times to try to convert my Alaska card to the better balance card, and keep getting told it’s not eligible to be converted b/c it’s a different “category” of rewards. Even went to a branch to try in person. Any advice?

  • PedroNY

    Thank you for your post. I hope your lobsters were delicious!

    You have a CiTi Premier link without 18 month language? Just wondering how you got another one so soon.

    Cheers,

    PedroNY

  • I got caught up in the Delta one-way booking bug. I was trying to book a one-way LMM (Las Mochis Mexico)-ATL. There is a connection in Mexico City and MEX-LMM is on AeroMexico. For once, I actually wanted to use money to book the ticket because I had a bump voucher. Astonishingly, I could get a price in miles, but not money.

    I called in and booked the ticket. I didn’t mind because I would have had to call anyway to apply the voucher to two tickets. The agent acted surprised that I couldn’t book it online. Surely reservations saw a surge in phone calls during this time?

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @PedroNY – I just used the public link. Getting the card is one thing, the bonus is another, so I will see and report back.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Grant – yes, I previously linked in earlier posts and should have stuck it back in here.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Padd – I have never found branches useful for things with credit cards except the occasional in-branch sign-up offer. This last time I had an excellent agent, he could not get his system to show Better Balance as an option, only Travel Rewards, so he manually wrote it in the comments and submitted. I got a call back from BofA the next day re-confirming that is what I wanted, and I am told it has gone through. Now I wait for the mail to confirm. I call the number on the back of the card, ask if there any are no annual fee downgrade options and take it from there.

  • Pingback: Update on US Bank's $125 Power Up Checking and $50 START Savings Account Bonus | Travel with Grant()

  • PedroNY

    Thanks for your clarification. Please do tell if your letter has the language of the bonus, usually that would be the sign. Good luck.

    Cheers,

    PedroNY

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @PedroNY – letter arrived today and does not mention the bonus. Letter last month did mention. Looks like I may never use the card.

  • Jason

    I would really like to get a BBR card via a conversion. I’ve called 7 times, not possible I’m told. Any recommendations on departments to call? I’ve tried the number on the back. Get shut down each time. They say to apply for a new account.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Jason – it seem the system no longer has the option, last week for my conversion on 2, which is still in process, the agent suggested that he write a manual note to convert to BBR in his notes section and it appears so far to be working. Convincing another agent may be hard, though it may be the only way.

  • Jason

    Thank you very much for the reply. Would you mind updating this comment thread once you know for sure it worked or not? I have a 14 yo card I’d rather convert than leave to do nothing. And also possibly how someone might suggest to an agent to go this “notes” route?

  • TJ

    love your blog, saw you at FTU DC last year – thanks so much! can I ask when you did the last round of apps, how many inquiries are on your credit reports? I’m at 11/12 within the last 2 years, and was wondering what the optimum amount for instant approvals is? obviously the lower the better, but is 11/12 too many, should I wait for until a few drop off for next app o rama?

  • john

    random question since you linked that United cheat sheet. Any idea why some routes are not loaded into award searches? Is it just a mistake or deliberate?
    My specific problem is GBE; Had to call United to book that Ethiopian Airlines flight. Had to call FlyingBlue to book the Air Kenya flight. Whats up with that?

    Also, I cannot seem to find an answer to it in writing, but it sounds like South African Express is distinct from South African Airways and not part of Star Alliance? Is that true? Thats why you cannot book any intra South Africa flights?

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @TJ – everything else being equal, it sounds like going over a dozen on a specific report starts to attract concern from issuers, at that point you are probably not getting instant very often and it is matter of how to negotiate on the phone. I used a credit freeze to keep my Experian down and divert inquiries over to Equifax and TransUnion to help. Only instant approvals I have gotten in past 1-2 years have been Amex. The inquiries are just one past, so if you really want some cards I wouldn’t let that be the determining factor. Some do more and have no issues, others are stymied. You’ll probably have more challenges with Barclaycard (unless all your accounts with them are closed), US Bank and peripheral ones like TD.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @john – I have had some of those as well, I wonder if it is some old database that pulled airports with published routes some years ago and was never bothered to update. My Africa MileagePlus trip on Ethiopian last year had some segments to nowhere. Now my issue, when I need to book some Ethiopian flights, is the United website has not been showing them for the a few weeks and calling is a hassle.

    I do see intra-South Africa routes available for booking on United.com that are operated by South African Express, such as JNB-BFN, which ones are you having issues? Often codeshares are on issue but I am not aware of an issue like the old Avianca Brazil.

  • Pingback: My Week in Points: Finally 75k BRG, Ethiopian Offline and more()

  • john

    OK, you are right. Its my mistake; I was in too much of a rush the last time I booked. The flights I had problems with are CPT-UTN but thats Airlink and not SAA express (even though I still booked it through flysaa.com).
    As for GBE-JNB, I am also reminded that it does show up on united.com, its just that for some strange reason SAA offers very few seats as awards even though those flights are never full or it pulls the award seats early (always seems to be no availability for 30 days and then its wide open).