This is the continuation of my post from yesterday about my most recent credit card churn.
The order of applying:
Having decided on the five cards I wanted to apply for, it was time to decide the order in which I wanted to apply for them. There’s definitely some strategy to this for me, and in the past I’ve even gone so far as to “abort” a few planned applications after not getting instant approvals on several cards in a row. If you don’t get instant approval and the card issuer doesn’t have a phone number where you can contact them to seek approval on the spot, it can often take one to two weeks for a decision to be made, and it’s possible that the inquiries from the previous applications are on your report by then, which may not be a good thing.
So I usually decide on the order for which I want to apply for cards in reverse order, and I think these five cards are a perfect example of my strategy.
Here’s the order I applied for the cards in reverse:
This was my “wild card” option, and it was also the card I was least concerned about getting. I decided that if I didn’t get an instant decision on any of my first four applications, I’d just let this one go till sometime in the future.
My reasoning for applying for this card towards the end is the same as the Chase Hyatt Visa, so read about that below. I have two Chase Ink Bold cards (two versions of the same card, given that they changed the benefits around last November). I was hoping to close the original Chase Ink Bold card I had in favor of the new Chase Ink Plus card, and figured that shouldn’t be too tough of a “sell” for me to one of the analysts at the reconsideration line.
Chase is simultaneously the most strict and most generous bank for approvals, in my experience. It can be tough to get new credit with them, though if you already have credit with them they’re usually more than happy to switch around credit lines. In other words, if you have an existing Chase card with a $15,000 credit line, they’re usually happy to transfer some of that credit line over to a new card, or at worst close the existing account in favor of a new one. The best part is that they have a great reconsideration phone number, so if you’re not instantly approved you can call that immediately and be approved over the phone.
I happen to have the British Airways Chase Visa card that I planned on canceling, so as far as I was concerned the Chase Hyatt Visa was a near guarantee for approval, so I saved this for close to the end of my application cycle.
I wanted to apply for this card towards the beginning because I have a bit of an inconsistent history with Citi, and if you’re not instantly approved I find it to be a pain to find a “human” at Citi that’s willing to reconsider your application.
I was fairly certain I’d get instantly approved for this card given that I have a legitimate business and only have one business credit card from American Express, which I’ve been using responsibly and also got instantly approved for at the time. This is also the card I wanted the most, given the increased sign-up bonus and also the two elite qualifying stays and five elite qualifying nights that come with the card, which would push me over the edge for Platinum renewal.
With the above strategy in mind, here are the results (in the order that I applied):
1. Starwood American Express Business Card — APPROVED with $10,000 credit line
I applied for the business card online, and upon completing the application received a strange error message saying to call American Express OPEN as my application hadn’t been received. I assume it was some sort of a technical glitch. The agent read back to me some of the key details of my application, and then congratulated me on being approved with a $10,000 credit line. She asked how soon I needed the card, and I told her there was no rush and that normal delivery would be fine. I guess she wasn’t listening, because she said “okay, we will have that overnighted to you then.” Works for me! I activated the card today, and the two elite qualifying stays and five elite qualifying nights towards Starwood Preferred Guest status already posted to my account. Talk about instant gratification!
2. Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa Card — APPROVED with $30,000 credit line
This one was really straightforward. I applied online and was instantly approved for the card with an outrageously high credit line of $30,000.
3. Chase Hyatt Visa Card — APPROVED with $10,000 credit line
I also applied for this one online and received the dreaded “decision pending” message. I immediately phoned up the Chase personal reconsideration line (888-245-0625) and spoke to a pleasant agent who asked to place me on hold for a few minutes as she reviewed my application. She asked about my employment status, income, housing situation, etc. She then noted the other Chase credit cards that I presently have, and I proactively mentioned that I was looking to close the Chase British Airways Visa, so asked if she could just switch over the credit line from that card to the new one. She placed me on hold and came back a couple of minutes later and said “you don’t even have to close the British Airways one, we approved you for a $10,000 limit on this card.” Awesome!
She asked if I wanted to close my British Airways Visa card anyway and said she could do that for me, though I was thinking one step ahead and told her I’d rather hang on to it as I still value some benefits of the card. My logic was that I can use it as leverage with my next Chase credit card application, and then have them close the British Airways card in favor of the new one.
4. Ink Plus® Business Card — APPROVED with $5,000 credit line
I also got the dreaded “decision pending” prompt after applying for the Ink Plus, though that was hardly a surprise as I already have two Chase business cards. I called up the Chase business reconsideration line (800-453-9719), and the agent also requested to place me on hold for a few minutes. He came back and said that he needed to transfer me over to a personal agent, since I had applied for a personal card. I explained to him that I had applied for both a personal and business credit card, at which point he put me back on hold.
He came back and asked me for my business’ income over the past three years, including both revenue and profit. He then asked me how much I was planning on spending on the card every month. I told him at least $2,000-3,000. He proceeded to mention that I already had two Chase business cards, and asked why I wanted this one. I said that the other two were charge cards, and that I really wanted a credit card instead of a charge card since I might want to finance some purchases in the future (hey, it’s what he wanted to hear — that’s how credit cards make money, not that I’m dumb enough to finance something at 13%+ APR).
I then told him I was actually interested in closing one of my two Chase Ink Bold cards since I no longer use it, and asked if there’s anyway he could close one of them in favor of the new card. He said he wouldn’t be able to. It never occurred to me until that point that because the Ink Bold cards are charge cards and not credit cards, they don’t have credit lines. Therefore there’s no credit line that could be transferred to the new card. Instead he asked if I would be receptive to transferring some of the credit line from my personal Chase British Airways card to this card, which worked great for me. In the end I had a net reduction in credit — I had a $15,000 credit line on the Chase British Airways Visa, and he offered to give me a $5,000 credit line on the Chase British Airways Visa and $5,000 credit line on the Chase Ink Plus). Again, I couldn’t care less. It’s all about the approval!
5. Bank of America Virgin Atlantic American Express Card — APPROVED with $10,000 credit line
Given that I was four for four, my “wild card” was a “go,” and I decided to apply for it as well. I got instantly approved with a $10,000 credit line!
Once all is said and done I’ll have earned 30,000 Starpoints, 100,000 Hilton HHonors points, 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points (plus another ~50,000 Ultimate Rewards points for completing the minimum spend), two free nights at any Hyatt in the world, and two free nights at any Hilton in the world. Not bad for a handful of credit card applications!
I’ve had a lot of credit inquiries lately (not just from credit card applications but otherwise as well), and this just comes to show you that as long as you pay your bills on-time and have a reasonably low credit utilization you can be approved for just about anything. A credit inquiry will only hit your score a couple of points, while new credit cards with a high credit line and low utilization can help you a lot more than that.
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