My wife and I added five new credit cards to our collection this past month. I’ll breakdown the application process and why we chose to apply for each card.
I’ll start out with the three cards that I applied for at the end of August.
Bank of America Merrill Plus (Pending/Approved)
It was rumored that this card was going to be discontinued in September (sure enough it was). I wanted to grab it before it went away. I had applied for this card earlier this year and got denied. This card had a sign up bonus of 50k points, which is effectively worth $1,000 in travel.
The only way to apply was over the phone so I called in and applied. Side rant: Applying for credit cards over the phone is kind of a pain since they have to read out all the terms and conditions. It takes forever. Anyway, after applying the phone rep told me that my application needed further review. He did say that it was prompting him to ask if I was interested in a balance transfer, which seemed like a good sign.
I checked the application status online and it stated it was pending review. I checked about an hour and a half later and the application had been approved! I received a letter in the mail later that they had taken some credit from one of my current Alaska cards to approve this one. I obviously don’t really need large credit lines, but I found it interesting that Bank of America could do that without my approval.
Bank of America Alaska Signature (Pending/Approved)
After I saw that I was approved for the Merrill Plus, I went ahead and applied for another Alaska credit card. I love Alaska miles and also the $0 companion fare code is a pretty sweet deal. Also, if you make a dummy booking there’s a way to get a $100 credit as well. Overall, this credit card application gets me 30k Alaska miles, $0 companion fare code, and $100 (minus the $75 annual fee). That’s not too bad.
Bank of America combines hard pulls for credit cards that you apply for in the same day so it really doesn’t hurt to throw in another application. Of course this application went pending as well.
I checked a couple hours later and they approved me with a $18k credit line. I’ll never understand the formulas banks use to determine your credit line.
Barclay AAdvantage Aviator (Pending/Approved)
Next I threw in an application for the Barclay AAdvantage Aviator card. The signup bonus was 60k American Airline miles. I have been slowly collecting AA miles in order to fly down to Peru next year and hike the Inca Trail.
You earn the 60k miles after your first purchase. The annual fee isn’t waived for the first year so you effectively pay $95 for 60k miles, which isn’t bad at all. This application went pending as well and was approved about 4 days later.
Chase Southwest Plus (Pending/Approved)
These next two applications were for my wife. I have been keeping her under 5/24 so that she could re-qualify us for the Southwest Companion Pass. The signup bonuses were at 60k for both of the Southwest cards, which means earning both bonuses qualifies you for the Companion Pass. The signup bonuses were rumored to go away on October 1st so I applied at the end of September.
Now the trick here is you want to meet the minimum spends in 2018. This effectively earns you the companion pass for two years. All of 2018 and all of 2019. Anyway, timing is key in all of this.
My wife applied for the Southwest Plus first and her application went pending. We waited about 15 mins and then called the Chase reconsideration line. They asked some security questions, reviewed the application, and then the rep put us on a brief hold. The rep came back and stated that my wife already had the maximum amount of credit that Chase was comfortable extending to her. She then gave us the option of moving some credit line from an existing card in order to get approved. My wife agreed to move $2k of credit line from her ridiculously high Chase Sapphire Reserve credit line.
The rep put us on hold again and then came back and said my wife had been approved. One down, one to go.
Chase Southwest Premier (Auto-Approved)
After hanging up with the Chase phone rep, we filled out the Chase Southwest Premier application. I was pretty much expecting it to go pending like the last one, but oddly enough it was auto-approved for a credit line of $2k. Like I said before, I’ll never understand how banks determine these credit limits.
We will meet both of these minimum spends at the beginning of January 2018 so that we can earn the Companion Pass for 2018-19. The Companion Pass has saved us over $4k the past two years.
It’s so nerve racking sometimes to press the submit button on a credit card application. However, nothing beats the satisfaction of getting approved and receiving that credit card in the mail. In total these five credit cards will earn us the following points/miles:
- $1,000 in travel
- 30,000 Alaska Airlines miles
- $0 Companion Fare code
- $100 cash credit
- 60,000 American Airlines miles
- 120,000 Southwest Airlines miles
- 2018-19 Southwest Companion Pass
I am so excited to see where all these points/miles will take us over the course of the next few years!