My September App-o-Rama Recap
After the debacle that was my last App-o-Rama, my hopes for this AoR were a little subdued.
Fortunately, the horrors of last AoR are now a distant memory, as this time went much smoother.
So, how’d it shake out?
Cards I Applied For
After debating between a number of cards and getting some great opinions from readers, I settled on 7 different cards.
- Chase Hyatt Visa
- Chase United MileagePlus Explorer business
- US Bank Club Carlson business
- Bank of America Alaskan Airlines
- Citi Hilton Reserve
- Amex Hilton Surpass
- Barclays USAirways business
My Initial Thoughts
- Before applying, the only one I was fairly confident I would get was the Amex Hilton Surpass. I have a good relationship with Amex, and not too many cards with them.
- Bank of America usually smiles pretty favorably on me, so I figured this would most likely get approved for the Alaskan Airlines card.
- I also assumed that I’d have a good shot at the Chase cards, since we have always been friendly, but that I’d probably have to close a card or two to open these two new ones.
- I didn’t know what to expect at all from Citi, and gave it a 50/50 chance.
- I was almost sure I wouldn’t get approved by US Bank, since they are really tight with people who have many cards open, regardless of their score. And their reconsideration process is basically nonexistent.
- And Barclays…where to start? I’ve tried to get a card with Barclays my last three AoR’s and I’ve been denied each time. They are the only lender that won’t give me another card, no matter how many times I call reconsideration. I just figured I’d give it another try, because, well, why not?
So, let’s start with the good news.
Amex Hilton Surpass
This card was approved instantly.
Instead of applying for a new card with the 60k bonus, I decided to save a hard pull and simply upgrade my existing Amex Hilton card and get a 50k bonus.
Now, I’ll get the 50k sign up bonus and be bumped from Hilton Silver to Hilton Gold (free internet and breakfast).
Only downside is that I’ll be paying a $75 annual fee, but it’s worth it.
Easy, easy, easy.
Chase United MileagePlus Explorer business
I was able to get a targeted offer for 50k miles instead of the public offer of 30k.
To see if you qualify for the targeted offer, follow the steps on this Flyertalk thread.
I made sure to take screenshots throughout the process just to be sure.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t instantly approved, and so I called the reconsideration line right away.
I was told that I had been denied for having too many business cards with Chase in such a short time. The exact words were “why would a 3 year old company need 4 business cards with us?”
The rep was definitely a tough nut to crack, and about 10 minutes in, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to get approved.
However, I dug deep and using all 6 of my tricks to crush your reconsideration call, finally was able to get her to approve me.
But first, I’d have to close TWO of my other business accounts; my Chase Ink Bold and my Southwest Business card.
I didn’t mind getting rid of either, and it actually saves me $164 in annual fees ($95 for Ink, $69 for SW).
I had planned on closing them anyway, but this is a perfect example of why I tell you to only close accounts when opening new ones so that you have collateral.
I never would have gotten the United business card had I not had other accounts to close.
And while it wasn’t easy, I came out of the 20 minute conversation with a new Chase United business card and a smile on my face.
Since I was on a roll with Chase, I called them right back to try to open the Hyatt card, since that was also not instantly approved.
This time, the process was much simpler, and I was actually given the option of moving some of my Ink Plus credit line to open the Hyatt card or to close my United Explorer personal card.
Normally, I’d suggest taking credit line from one instead of closing one, but in this situation, closing the United Explorer made more sense.
I was able to save the $89 annual fee that is attached to the United Explorer, and since I just opened the business version, I had no need for the perks like free bags that it offered.
Also, I do most of my spending on my Ink Plus, and wanted to keep my credit line on that high.
5 minutes later, bye bye Chase United Explorer personal, hello Chase Hyatt.
Citi Hilton Reserve
I didn’t know what to expect when applying for this card, and it turned out weirder than I thought. After applying, I got an instant denial.
It didn’t even say “we’ll be reviewing your application.”
It just said “at this time, we cannot offer you this card.”
I immediately called up Citi and right away, the rep told me he could approve me as long as I moved some credit from another Citi card I had.
It was like I hadn’t even been denied. In fact, he didn’t even mention I had been denied.
He just said he could approve me if I moved credit line.
So that’s what I did, and without having to close any card, I was approved.
Strange, but I have to give Citi some major props. Their customer service used to be the thing of legends…bad legends!
They’d never reconsider you on the phone and you’d actually have to write a physical letter and mail it in to be reconsidered. It was like being stuck in the 90’s!
But now, their phone reps are super nice and obviously empowered to make decisions and approve you if they see fit.
Well done Citi, we applaud you!
US Bank Club Carlson business
I didn’t get an instant approval, which I figured was the end of the road. I was probably denied, and not many people get US Bank to reconsider their decisions.
I waited 4 days, called the reconsideration line (again, figuring I’d been denied), and to my surprise, was told I had already been approved for the card and that it was in the mail.
I made sure to ask that I was approved for the card with the 85k bonus, since the personal one I had been approved for last AoR was the lower level 60k one, and was told yes.
Nice, and highly unexpected.
What was also strange was that they gave me a miniscule credit line for the personal card that I got last AoR, and a massive one this time for the business card.
But hey, I’m not complaining. I’ll be getting even more buy 1 get 1 free nights at Radissons now!
Bank of America Alaskan Airlines
While I wasn’t too excited about the sign up bonus of 30k Alaskan Airlines miles, this was a “why the heck not” application.
And even though it’s just 30k miles, it was basically no hassles getting approved.
I wasn’t instantly approved, but when I called in 4 days later, I was told that I’d already been approved and that my card was in the mail.
The best part? The 30k miles are awarded to you after approval, meaning there is no minimum spend.
Always a huge plus when you’re in the middle of an AoR.
Barclays USAirways business card
Of course, stories can’t be perfect, and Barclays is once again where I strike out.
After calling reconsideration and telling her all the reasons I wanted the card and what I do as a business, she still wouldn’t approve me.
Her reasoning was twofold:
- 1. I didn’t use my USAirways personal cards enough. This is a valid point, and I probably should have used them a bit prior to applying, seeing as I’ve only made 1 purchase in the last year. A costly mistake on my part, for sure.
- 2. I have too many recent inquiries. Whether I had spent on the card or not, I still may not have been approved.
It’s now been 4 AoR’s in a row that I’ve been denied a Barclays card, and each time, they say its because I have too many recent inquiries.
The reasoning of “well, I’d like to shift my business to Barclays, but all the banks continue to give me more cards and treat me nicer” also doesn’t work (fyi).
You think, maybe, just maybe, I’ve learned my lesson with Barclays.
Is next AoR the one I finally stop trying with them?
Meeting the Minimum Spend
Between the six cards I got approved for, I’ll have to spend $8,500 in the first 3 months, then an additional $2,500 in the 4 month.
While this may be cake for some people, my natural spending patterns do not have me spending that much that quickly.
So what do I do?
I use Amazon Payments to help me spend $1,000 every month and also, when needed, buy gift cards.
With these two strategies, I can now easily hit the minimum spends and collect my bonuses.
Overall, this AoR turned out really well. The Barclays card was probably only 6th on my priority list anyway, so getting denied that doesn’t sting so much.
And other than that one lengthy conversation regarding the Chase United Explorer business card, everything else went really smooth.
And remember, the most important part of getting all these miles and points is using them!
I plan on rolling the 50k United miles in to my ever growing balance for an epic RTW trip some time in the near future.
If I can’t pull that off, I’ll most likely spoil Heather with a business class trip to Europe, using stopovers and open jaws to visit 3 places for the price of 1.
Speaking of spoiling, I’ll be using my 2 free Hyatt nights for Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris, Heather’s #1 destination request. I’ll be a a king for 2 days!
Both the Hilton points from the Amex Surpass and the 2 free nights from the Citi Hilton Reserve will be used in conjunction with my already accumulated stash to visit either Bora Bora or the Maldives.
We’re open to suggestions about which people prefer, although I’m guessing you can’t go wrong with either.
Lastly, I’ll be combining the 30k Alaskan Airlines with my 45k that I already have and most likely trying to use them on a partner.
Maybe AA or LAN to South America at some point?
The possibilities are endless…and the joys of using miles innumerable.
Every day, I count myself lucky that I’m able to have these rich travel experiences without you know, actually being rich!
Have you just done an AoR? If so, what miles did you get and how are you going to use them?
Or, what is next up for you? What cards are you looking to get?
(photo courtesy of bobsfever)