I recently applied for a few credit cards and wanted to share my results. On this application round, I decided to mix things up a bit and focused on some points/miles currencies I previously ignored.
For the past three years, I have been solely focused on applying for credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points, American miles, United miles, Starpoints, British Avios (in this order). With my recent round of credit cards applications, I earned miles with a new airline and finally started collecting Membership Rewards. I did not apply for all 4 cards on the same day but did apply within a span of about a month.
Following are the 4 cards I recently applied for and my results. There are no affiliate links in this post.
1) American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card
Sign Up Bonus: 50,000 Membership Rewards points spending $1,000 in 3 months. Annual fee waived the first year.
Results: Approved immediately.
Strategy: I’ve had my eye on Amex Premier Rewards card for a while but waited to get the 50,000 sign up bonus instead of the official 25,000 bonus. This is actually my first credit card ever that earns Membership Rewards. I don’t find most Membership Rewards transfer partners useful to me except for Singapore Airlines and British Airways. I still value Ultimate Rewards much more than Membership Rewards but I wanted to diversify my miles/points portfolio.
2) AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard
Sign Up Bonus: 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in 3 months. Annual fee waived the first year.
Results: Got message to call in for more information. I called in and was approved after a two minute conversation (only question asked was if I was OK with a certain credit limit).
Strategy: I was thinking about other credit cards to apply for and wondered if I could be approved for the AAdvantage Platinum Select® World MasterCard (I already have both the Visa and Amex versions which are no longer offered). I don’t have an immediate need for American miles and I have a high balance now that AA’s mileage program merged with US Airways. I will likely reapply and churn the MasterCard version if still possible. I plan to keep the AA Visa and AA Amex versions as long as Citi keeps giving me a credit for the annual fee. I would like to have at least one AA card for the 10% rebate on award redemptions.
3) Platinum Card from American Express for Ameriprise Financial
Sign Up Bonus: 25,000 point bonus after $3,000 in spending during the first 3 months. Annual fee waived the first year.
Results: Decision pending. Did not call and was approved about two weeks later.
Strategy: Applying for this card was more of a spur of the moment decision. A few weeks after I applied for the Amex Premier, I saw that the Ameriprise Financial Amex Platinum was available for no annual fee and offered 25,000 sign up bonus (usually there is no sign up bonus). The Ameriprise version of the Amex Platinum offers the same benefits as the regular Amex Platinum card without the $450 annual fee and $175 fee for additional users. At this point, I probably wouldn’t pay $450 for the regular version unless targeted for a super high sign up bonus.
The Amex Platinum has many benefits including $100 statement credit for Global Entry, $200 a calendar year in statement credits for airline fees and lounge access to The Centurion Lounges and Priority Pass Select lounges. I did not sign up for the benefits since lounge access isn’t that important to me. I figured since I am starting to collect Membership Rewards points, I might as well earn more and enjoy the benefits of this card. I already have Global Entry so I won’t be able to take advantage of the credit for that. I will be able to take advantage of the $200 statement credit for airline fees for both 2015 and 2016 for a total of $400 in airline credit.
I prefer to avoid high annual fees, so I don’t see myself applying for the regular Platinum anytime soon. My understanding is that if I change my mind I can still earn the sign up bonus on the regular Platinum card in the future because it is a different version.
4) Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card
Sign Up Bonus: 25,000 miles at sign up, $75 annual fee, $100 statement credit after spending $1000 in first three months.
Results: Decision pending. Did not call and was approved about two weeks later. Still waiting for my card in the mail.
Strategy: I had no miles with Alaska Airlines and have never flown them but when I heard about the sign up bonus including a $100 statement credit I jumped at the chance to apply. Alaska Airlines miles can be used for various partner awards that I have my eye on for the future. Specifically, I am hoping to keep churning this credit card to build up my balance and use miles for Cathay Pacific and/or Emirates first class flights. Even if I am unable to use Alaska miles for a partner redemption, I still earn a $25 dollar profit and could always use my Alaskan miles for a flight in the US.
While many people applied for more than one card at the same time using the double browser trick, I decided against it. This card is churnable so I plan to apply for one at a time in future application rounds to build up my Alaska miles balance.
All in all, this was a successful application round for me. I will earn 150,000 points/miles with no annual fees the first year. In fact, I will earn a $425 profit ($25 statement credit from my Alaska card and $400 airline credits from my Amex Platinum card). Unless I receive a retention offer, I will probably cancel all 4 of these cards at the first year mark. I need to spend $8,000 in three months to meet my minimum requirements and will accomplish this primarily with manufactured spending. In addition to the points and miles I will earn, I am expanding my miles/ points portfolio so that I have more options when searching for awards.