Planning for My First Credit Card App O Rama

Part 1: Planning for My First Credit Card App O Rama

Part 2: Which Cards to Apply For In My First Credit Card App O Rama

Part 3: Applying for Credit Cards and My Spending Plan For My First App O Rama

Planning for My First Credit Card App O Rama

This is the first part of a three part series on My First Credit Card App O Rama.  5 cards to apply for, $13,000 to spend and the potential to receive 250,000 points, $200 in statement credit and 8 airport lounge passes!

Anyone who reads my blog or knows me personally knows that I love free stuff.  In fact, the less I have to work and the more I can get, the better.  For the past couple years, I’ve been using Slickdeals to keep my eye out for the best credit card sign-up bonuses and there have been some great ones that came along.  I rarely applied for more than one card every few months but my credit score was doing well and I was getting approved for every single card I applied for.  Most of these cards came with $400-$500 sign up bonuses in cash or gift cards and best of all they were all tax free.

I was pretty content with the little operation I was running, I was averaging a couple thousand dollars a year in extra income for about an hours worth of work(per year).  I never bit off more than I could chew and since I tend to spend about $1,000 a month on my credit card, it was pretty easy to meet all of the spend requirements.  That all changed one day though, when I discovered FlyerTalk.  Flyertalk is the largest travel community on the web and you can get advice on everything from travel help to credit card sign up offers to information on loyalty programs.  I was literally in heaven since I discovered a whole world of like minded people who made what I’d been doing look like child’s play

Basics of a Credit Card App O Rama

On Flyertalk, I learned about the term App O Rama(or AOR), a strategy of applying for multiple credit cards in one day in order to maximize the likelihood of getting approved for all of your applications.  Since it often takes some time for an inquiry to be reported to the credit bureaus, by doing all your applications in one day you increase your chances for getting approved since each credit card company won’t see the other inquiries until you’ve already been approved.

I’d never done a true credit card AOR until a few months ago but I can say that it was definitely pretty exhilarating.  Most people will wait 90 days in-between AOR’s since that’s when inquiries tend to fall off your report but I suggest spacing them out a little further to start.

Preparing Your Credit Score

I don’t think people believe me when I tell them I have 21 credit cards, a 763 credit score(Credit Karma) and I’ve never been declined for a card, but it’s true.  Just like with any good thing in life, the key with credit card applications is to apply in moderation.  I only apply for the best and most rewarding offers and I always do my research.  I make sure that my credit score and report are in the best possible shape before I apply.

Contrary to popular belief, opening a large number of credit cards is not that bad for your score.  Initially, you’ll see a small drop(2-8pts) per card for the hard credit inquiry and the lowering of your average age of accounts(AAOA) but it’s only temporary.  Hard inquiries will be removed from your credit report after 2 years(or less) and since there are three credit bureaus(Experian, Equifax and TransUnion), not every credit card company will pull from all three bureaus when you apply.  So for example, if Citi only pulls Experian reports and Amex only pulls Equifax reports then when you apply for a new card they would not see the other company’s inquiries.

When you open a new card, that obviously lowers the AAOA, but over time, as the card gets older, your AAOA will go back up.  That’s why using the Authorized User trick can be a huge advantage to your score.  Remember, you always want to keep your oldest cards open as long as possible.  That way, when you open a new card, your AAOA won’t be affected as much.

Free Scores and Free Reports

I use Credit Karma and Credit Sesame to check my credit score.  Although they don’t give you the exact credit score that the credit card companies will pull, it’s a very good approximation and should give you a good idea of where your credit stands.  A 700+ score is required for many of the top offers but there are still quite a few cards that you can apply for and be approved for with a 600+ score.

I like to stagger my three free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com so that I get one every four months.  Since that’s about when I do my AOR’s, it works out perfectly.  I’ll take a look and see how many inquiries I have and determine which cards I’ll have the best chance at being approved for.  Certain companies are much more strict than others when it comes to inquiries so you need to plan accordingly(another great resource is the forum at creditboards.com).

In part 2 of the series on My First Credit Card App O Rama, I’ll discuss which cards I decided to apply for and why.  I’ll take a look at things like which cards I already have, the annual fees and of course the sign-up bonuses offered by each card.  Stay tuned!

Track All Your Accounts With Personal Capital

Personal CapitalPersonal Capital lets you see all of your accounts in one convenient place.  Sign up now for free.

-Harry @ PF Pro

The following two tabs change content below.
Hi, I'm Harry, the owner and head writer for Your PF Pro. I started this site back in 2011 in order to create a place where young professionals could come and get all of their financial questions answered. On the site, you'll find articles on everything from asset allocation for retirement to saving money at Chipotle! So enjoy..

Comments

  1. says

    Great article looking forward to the next part. I was like you just doing credit card apps here and there. Actually got enough for a couple of round trip 1st class tickets from east to west coast. But I know I can get much more so I’m planning my first AOR in a few months since I got some cards recently. Looking forward to your results!

    • says

      Thanks Syed, I thought I was pretty knowledgeable on the subject until I started reading all the numerous blogs and threads on flyertalk and it made me feel like a total noob haha.

      The upside from credit cards is too huge to pass up in my opinion. I just booked a 5 day/4 night stay in Kauai and got free hotel rooms and flights from my points so I’d say it’s worth it.

  2. says

    Great links! I’m checking out Slickdeals and Flyertalk right now.

    I’m curious, do you ever close credit cards (that don’t have annual fees)?

    Unfortunately, I’ve been using one card for 5 years now and it has an annual fee. It was worth it b/c I was raking in tons of miles with American Airlines, and the first 3 years I was able to get out of the annual fee. Now I can’t, so I just closed it instead of paying $150. Did I do the right thing??
    Todd @ Fearless Dollar recently posted…Why Women Need to be Fearless with Their DollarMy Profile

    • says

      I never close credit cards that don’t have annual fees because the more old cards you have the less hit you’ll take on your average age of accounts(AAOA) when you open a new card. You can also use older cards as a negotiating chip sometimes if you go pending/get denied(always call the reconsideration line – more on that to come in the final part of the series) for a new card.

      I would have done the same thing as you although you will see a drop from losing that account and your AAOA will go down. But it’s a good idea to always have a couple no fee cards that you keep around forever, at least that’s what I do and it’s worked well for me.

  3. Chris says

    This was an excellent read, I also read your article about Amex backdating (nice!!!!). I totally agree with you in regards to having a bunch of credit cards and a great credit score (via the free credit karma)!! Currently, I am trying to maximize on the Amex Starwood SPG card. I’ve been going through forums, flyer talk, etc. I still have a lot to learn. I’m currently hold 17 credit cards.

    • says

      Nice, 17 wow, that’s a lot haha. I actually just got the AMEX SPG business card(30k points) so I’m excited to start learning about it too. First SPG card so don’t know much about it but I know the points are very valuable, usually in the 3-4 cents per point redemption range.

      • says

        I’m also hearing that if you get the business and personal card, you can get 60k and 4stay/10 nights (oppose to the 2stay/5night) towards elite status! I don’t stay in Starwood hotels very often so I’m not sure if I’ll make it to gold status (10 stays or 25 nights is needed). Additionally, people are saying the best way to use the SPG points are to use the cash & points combination redemption options. Keep me posted if you find any cool ideas or strategies with the card.

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Current day month ye@r *

CommentLuv badge