Reader Story: Part 1– Deciding on New Cards to Apply For

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I have a friend who, after about five months off from applying for any new cards, decided to give it another go recently. He is writing a series for MileValue on his experience. Below is Part 1, where he decides on a new round of credit cards: the Ink Plus and the British Airways Visa Signature by Chase, as well as the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature and Business credit cards by Bank of America. Take it away, buddy:

I travel often, and for me to keep my expenses down and maintain the lifestyle that I want, I sign up for credit cards that earn me a lot of rewards that I can cash in for basically free flights. I imagine many of you are like me, to some degree.

I tend to apply for credit cards in batches, all on the same day. This is because I subscribe to the school of thought that if I apply all at once, the banks won’t see what each other are doing as all of the credit inquiries are being processed at the same time. Whether I apply all on the same day or spread out over time, I know the affect on my credit score will be more or less the same. I choose to apply in batches because I think it improves my chances of being approved for multiple cards in a short span of time.

My last round of applications were done in this manner, all on Christmas Eve of 2015. What greater present could I give myself than a bunch of free travel? I applied for five different cards, and my credit score (expectedly) took a dip. This ain’t my first rodeo, so I didn’t panic.

One of the perks I really appreciate about my Citi Prestige® Card is that I can check my real FICO score,  so I monitored it on citi.com

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… and also expectedly, after a few months, my score bounced right back up.

So I started researching what cards would best suit my travel needs, considering what cards I had gotten before and what cards I currently have compared with the latest and best offers. Scott’s articles about issuing banks rules for approvals and new bonuses and the Top 10 Travel Credit Cards both really helped with the research.

I decided to set my sights on:

  • the Ink Plus by Chase
  • the British Airways Visa Signature by Chase
  • the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card by Bank of America
  • the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card by Bank of America

How did I reach that conclusion?

Thoughts on The Current State of Chase Credit Cards

Unless you stumbled upon this blog post by accident, there’s a good chance you already know what the Chase 5/24 rule is. In a nutshell, the rule is that if you have opened any five credit cards, not just Chase cards, within the last 24 months, then your Chase application will be denied.

About a year ago, Chase started enforcing this dreaded rule to the purely Chase-branded personal cards, i.e. the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Slate. Then there were rumors that in March of this year, this 5/24 rule would also start applying to Chase’s Ink cards, and in April, to the remainder of the personal and business co-branded cards.

chase screenshot

I was really bummed about that news since I have certainly opened more than five cards in the last two years, and the Chase cards offer some of the best sign-up bonuses and perks out of any of the travel cards out there.

I looked on FlyerTalk to see if the rumors were true. The reports I read on this FlyerTalk thread about applying for Chase cards were mixed– many denials but still some approvals. What was clear was that the longer I waited, the less chance I would have of getting any Chase cards as more people (with five or more cards opened in the last two years) were seeing more denials as time passed. I saw my options as either:

A) Apply now and risk the denials to see if I can slip in before the 5/24 rule solidifies

B) Go two years without any new card applications, and then go after the Chase cards I want

Option B was not appealing in the least as I travel often and burn through miles pretty steadily. I decided the risk of a denial was worth the possibility of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards and 50,000 Avios.

My spending power isn’t greater than the $7,000 in three months required to unlock the sign-up bonuses on the Ink Plus and British Airways Visa Signature (assuming I am approved), so in my mind that left only two more options for this round of applications: the Alaska Airlines cards, personal and business versions.

Thoughts on the Current State of Alaska Airlines Credit Cards

The Alaska Airlines cards are known in the miles community as an easy way to keep a stream of valuable miles coming in without any serious spending required.

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Prior to May 2016, the public offer for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card did not require any spending whatsoever– you received the 25,000 mile bonus after simply signing up and paying the $75 annual fee. The Alaska Airlines Visa Business card has always (and still does) require just one purchase to earn the 25,000 mile bonus, and also has a $75 annual fee.

Now the public offer for the personal card is a sign-up bonus of 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 within three months of opening the account, which is still quite a low spending requirement, but I didn’t want to add even $1,000 to the $7,000 I would need to spend to earn the bonuses on the Chase cards as a I don’t think I’ll have that kind of spending capacity. So I looked to FlyerTalk in hopes of finding an old link with the 25,000 mile bonus in exchange for the $75 annual fee. I found one here at the top of this thread that is still active: Alaska Airlines card offers, Personal & Business, 25K and up.

I already have two Alaska cards, one personal and one business card, but all evidence I read still points to the Alaska Airlines credit cards as being churnable. I decided to proceed with applying for two more (one each of the personal and business cards).

Preparing for My Applications

I learned from reading Scott’s primer about the Alaska cards that calling into Bank of America to lower the credit limits on my existing Alaska cards would smoothen the process of applying for two more. The logic behind that makes sense to me– it reduces Bank of America’s exposure to risk– so I called customer service (1.800.732.9194) to complete the process. The representatives didn’t ask many questions, just did as they were told.

As for the Chase cards, I had no preparations to make. After waiting a week to make sure the credit limit decreases on my existing Alaska cards were official, I was ready to start the application process.

Final Words by Scott

Stay tuned for more follow up posts to see how his applications turn out.

If you want to apply for the British Airways Visa Signature,  Alaska Airlines Visa Signature, or the Ink Plus (all mentioned in this post) please consider doing so through the links below. I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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