This is part two of our two part series about my latest credit card App O Rama and how I netted 250,000 points and $200. Part 1 covered preparation and strategy for an App O Rama of this kind of magnitude and today we’ll talk about how the application process and spending works.
I ended up deciding to apply for four cards for my fiancee with four different banks. Here are the four cards I applied for for her:
US Airways Mastercard – 40,000 Points After First Purchase
I decided to add this card because it will no longer exist next year and it offered a nice 40k bonus without any spending requirement. Since it’s a Barclaycard you also want to do this first in any churn since Barclay tends to be the most strict when it comes to applications. The annual fee is $89 and it is NOT waived for the first year but I think it’s a pretty good deal for an easy 40k points.
I don’t ever fly US Airways but since US Airways and AA are merging next year, these points will be converted into AA points if I never use them. Additionally, there is a very good chance that she will be offered a bonus promotion of 15,000 points if she spends $1k for 3 consecutive months. I was offered this on my US Airways card last year which means that this deal could be worth up to 55k points.
I applied for my fiancee online and her application went pending but I got an e-mail saying she had been approved for a 10k credit limit just seconds later. You can also check the status of your application by going to myapplicationstatus.com
If you’re interested in using my referral link, you can sign up for this card here.
Starwood Preferred Guest Amex Card – 30,000 Bonus Points After $5 Spend in 6 Months
I added my fiancee as an authorized user a few years ago on my Amex Gold card but that was her only Amex card. Since I was going to finally have to pay the annual fee on the Gold card, I knew that I would be canceling it but I didn’t want her to lose that old credit line. The cool thing about Amex though is that they will let you backdate your new cards to your oldest Amex card. So all I had to do was apply for an Amex card for her in this round of applications, backdate her new card to her old card and then I could cancel her old card without losing that credit history.
I decided on the SPG Amex because I really value Starwood points. You can get up to 5 cents/point if you use the cash and points option at some of the nicest properties in the world. So that 30,000 point bonus could be worth up to $1,500 in hotel stays. Additionally, you can also do a 1:1 transfer to one of Starwood’s 32 airline partners and get a 25% bonus.
Related Article: How I Got $1,750 from one Amex SPG Card Offer
I applied for her online and was instantly approved. The offer I applied for was their old offer of only 25k points but once their new offer of 30k points came out a couple weeks later I called Amex to see if they would match the new offer. They told me they might be able to and that I should call back in once I reach the $5,000 in spending.
I ended up spending a couple thousand on this card and then buying $3,000 worth of AMEX gift cards for just $3.95 and I’ll slowly liquidate the gift cards over the next few months. Amex gift cards can be bought directly from Amex for a $3.95 fee and $8.95 shipping fee. I used a promo code that is now expired for free shipping but there is usually some type of code available that will either wave the gift card fee or waive the shipping. Additionally, be sure to go through a cash back site like BeFrugal and you’ll get a 3% rebate on Amex Prepaid Card purchases.
It’s normally pretty easy to spend $5k in 6 months using regular spending habits but I had to do it in two months so that I could get AMEX to match their 30k offer which expired on June 30.
Another great reason why I chose the Amex SPG Personal card for her is because I already have the business version of this card. So during my next App O Rama I can send myself a referral link from my fiancee’s account and she’ll get an additional 5k points if/when I’m approved. Conversely, during her next round of applications I can send her a referral link for the Amex SPG Business card and I’ll get an additional 5k points if/when she’s approved.
If you’re interested in signing up for this card and supporting the site, send me an e-mail and I can send you a referral link.
Chase Ink Bold Mastercard – 60k Points After $5k Spend in 6 Months
I would have applied for this card for my fiancee even if the bonus was only 50k but seeing 60k made this deal even sweeter. Most people don’t venture into business credit cards but that’s because they don’t often realize that the definition of a business is very loose when it comes to applying for credit cards. Just remember that anything you do, whether it’s selling baseball cards on eBay or blogging online can be a business and make you eligible for a business card.
Since I have my fiancee help out with blogging stuff from time to time, I put that down as her business and used appropriate income and expense numbers. I’ve seen people get approved with as little as $0 in income and I’ve also seen people get denied with tens of thousands of dollars of income. But the general trend is the more you put down for expenses and profit the better your chances are of getting approved. If your business has had gross revenue in the $10k+ range for 3 years or more, and expenses in the $5k+ range for 3 years you should be just fine in getting approved.
I applied for this card online and her application went pending. I immediately called into the reconsideration line and talked to a nice rep who took down some more information and put me on hold for a while. The things they may ask you about are:
- When did your business start?
- What was your gross income and revenue for each of the last three years?
- What is your total income?
- Do you have another job (ie day job)?
Once the rep came back, she went over some things and ended up denying me for the card! I talked to her for a while and asked her if there was anything I could do but she seemed pretty firm in her decision. I hung up and called right back though; this is a little trick that us card churners do because often times certain reps are more willing to help than others. I employ this strategy all the time when I’m trying to get fees refunded or seeing if I can get a discount or anything like that.
When you hang up and call a recon line, it actually opens up a brand new review of your application. The second time around I got a new rep and I told her that I wanted to double check the numbers I put down on my application since I did them off the top of my head. Sure enough, when she read them aloud, they were ‘a lot less’ than the actual numbers. So I gave her the ‘real revenue and expense information’ and she put me on hold again.
Related Article: The Best Card for Beginner Churners: Chase Sapphire Preferred
But when the rep finally came back, she too denied me! I wasn’t done yet though since there is a little trick you can use when applying for a business or personal card with Chase (or any credit card company for that matter). She gave me two reasons for denying my application, the first was that the business did not have enough history yet and the second was that they could not extend any more credit due to personal limit being reached. When I heard that second part, a light went off in my head and I immediately offered to move 5k over from my fiancee’s CSP card to open up credit for this card.
I think the rep could tell that there was no way I was going to give up and so she finally obliged. This just goes to show you that just because you are denied once (or even twice like in this case) that doesn’t mean you should give up. Get creative and figure out a way to get approved through the recon line.
I ended up meeting the minimum spending through a combination of normal spending and buying Visa Prepaid Gift Cards at Staples. Staples has rebate deals on Visa gift cards from time to time and the Ink Plus card gets you 5% back at office supply stores. So you can buy $200 Visa Prepaid cards for $206.95 and you get 1035 in Chase Ultimate Rewards Points which is worth anywhere from $10-$20. That means that you’re actually making money on this deal. And if you sign up for Visa Savings Edge you’ll get an additional 1% rebate back on your purchases via a statement credit.
You can unload the cards via Walmart and Bluebird, Amazon Payments or via normal spend at your leisure. One thing to watch out for is if you apply for multiple Ink cards and go to the recon line, Chase reps have been known to look at your spending on previous Ink cards. So it might be best to spread out some of your purchase since it would be pretty suspicious to have $5,000 in charges at Staples and no other merchants.
Citi AA Executive Card – 100k Points, $200 Statement Credit and Admirals Club Access After $10k Spend in 3 Months
I was going to apply for the 50k version of this card for my fiancee but then I decided to give Loyal3 a shot and use it to meet the extremely high spend requirement on this much higher bonus card. 100k bonus points is the highest offer I’ve ever seen and it’s also the highest offer I’ve ever applied for. I actually already have one of these cards myself but I thought it would be good to boost up my fiancee’s AA points balance too. These types of offers don’t come around too often and it turns out that if you can spend the $10,000 quickly, you can actually cancel the card, get the annual fee re-imbursed and keep the points.
The card has a pretty hefty annual fee of $450 but it also comes with a $200 statement credit after your first purchase and Admirals Club (AC) Access for you and a guest for as long as you have the card. So if you can spend $10k in 3 months you’re essentially paying $250 (not including AC access) for 100,000 points and that’s a pretty good deal in my book. You can book a round trip off peak ticket from North America to Europe in business class for 100,000 points just to give you an idea of what the points are worth.
I applied for this card last and the application went pending. All I had to do was call the recon line though and provide a cell phone number and I was approved for a 13k limit. The card comes in this big fancy box (I guess that’s how they justify the annual fee) but it’s really not worth it to pay the annual fee once the first year is up.
I used a combination of Amazon Payments, normal spend and mainly Loyal3 to spend the $10,000 in just under 2 months. I was able to cancel the card within 37 days of the annual fee posting and I ended up making $200 and getting 110,00 points from this deal 🙂
This was the most money I’ve ever had to spend and I doubt anyone could truly spend this much in 3 months. Instead, you’ll have to resort to manufactured spending or MS. Right now the easiest ways are Amazon Payments and buying prepaid Visa cards and unloading them at your leisure or via Walmart/Bluebird. There are some techniques that involve Evolve (a service that pays your bills) and if you don’t mind paying a fee you could use Paypal or Google Wallet to send money to your spouse and spend that way. Again, you have to be careful doing it all at once though since a $10k paypal payment might draw some suspicion from someone.
So there you have it, only four cards this time around but after spend and sign-up bonuses I netted 250,000 points and $200 cash. This was the most I’ve ever spent in such a short time but it really wasn’t all that much work. I don’t have any immediate redemptions in mind but we are thinking about taking a trip to Peru next Winter and of course I’m sure we’ll be back to Hawaii this year or next.
Readers, what do you think about my fiancee’s latest churn? Do you think all the research and planning that went into this effort was worth it?
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-Harry @ PF Pro