My April 2013 App-o-Rama Recap: The Best Laid Plans…(Part 1)

Posted By Trav

Lego plans

[If you don’t know what an App-o-Rama is, check out this post first.]

Well, that didn’t go exactly as I expected.

And while I knew that this App-o-Rama might be a little tricky, even I was thrown for a loop by some of the decisions, both positive and negative.

Through it all, I’ve learned some valuable lessons, which I’ll share with you as well as telling you how it actually shook out.

So, how’d it go?

Since this AoR was such a doozy, I split it in to two parts.  You can read Part 2 here.

Cards I Applied For

After debating between a number of cards (you can read all the merits and arguments for each one here), I finally settled on 5 different cards.

The lucky winners were:

  • US Bank Club Carlson personal card
  • Chase AirTran Airways A+ Rewards card
  • Citi AAdvantage American Airlines Visa personal card
  • Bank of America Virgin Atlantic American Express card
  • American Express Business Rewards Gold card
  • Barclays Arrival World Mastercard

My Initial Thoughts

Before applying, I thought the following about each card:

  • The US Bank Club Carlson would be very hard to get because US Bank has been really strict with people who have applied for multiple credit cards recently (like me)!
  • I’d probably be able to get the Chase AirTran card, but I’d have to call reconsideration and offer to close my Chase United Explorer card.
  • I might have an issue getting the Citi/AAdvantage Visa because I’ve had it before.  While some people are able to get it again after waiting 18 months, others aren’t, so I was a bit iffy.
  • The BoA Virgin Atlantic shouldn’t be a problem, since I haven’t had trouble with them before.
  • The American Express Business Gold should also be pretty easy, since I’ve always gotten instant approval from Amex.
  • The Barclays Arrival might be a bit touchy, but I figured I’d offer to close one of my USAirways cards and that I’d get approved through the reconsideration line.

Boy, was I wrong on almost all accounts.

Since I’m an optimist, I’ll give you the good news today, and post the bad news in Part 2 tomorrow.

Chase AirTran Airways A+ Rewards card


Would you believe, that after having 10+ Chase cards in a year and a half, I got INSTANT APPROVAL for the AirTran card.  No phone calls, nothing.

Just a “You’ve been approved, we’ll send you the card” message.

Never in a million years did I think that Chase would give me another card without me having to call them up and close a card, but hey, I’ll take it.

Status: Instant approval

Lesson learned:  Sometimes good things happen, and Chase continues to be hands down my favorite lender.

Total haul: 32 AirTran credits (good for 2 roundtrip tickets)

BoA Virgin Atlantic

This is the only card that went as planned.  I didn’t get instant approval, but when I called in 3 days later to check the status of my application, it had already been approved.


Not much else to report, other than that I’ll most likely transfer the 50k Virgin Atlantic miles to 100k Hilton points, which will help my quest to head to Bora Bora.

Status: Approved with no begging

Lesson learned:  Bank of America seems to be pretty easy to deal with for me.

Total haul: 50k Virgin Atlantic miles —> 100k Hilton points

Citi AAdvantage American Airlines Visa Signature

I was a bit nervous about this one, since it was probably the card I wanted most out of the group.

Luckily, when I called up 3 days later to check my application status, the Citi representative was super nice and told me that all I’d need to do to get approved was transfer $4,000 from one of my Citi Hilton cards.

Done and done!

Amazingly, it seems like Citi has really stepped up their game in the reconsideration department, as this was completely painless.  The rep was the one who actually suggested it, and it seems that they now have the power to approve you over the phone.

Guess it’s time to modify all those nasty things I said about them in my 6 Rules to Crush Your Reconsideration Phone Call post.

Status:  Approved by moving credit limits around

Lesson learned:  Citi’s reconsideration department has changed dramatically, and for the better.

Total haul:  50k American Airlines miles

US Bank Club Carlson Premier Visa Signature

There are a lot of horror stories out there about people getting denied and that once that happens, you have no chance with the reconsideration department.

Because of that, I decided to go only for the personal card and not both the personal and the business, but I wasn’t too optimistic.

Luckily, I was wrong.  I was approved without ever having to call in!

One caveat though:  I was approved for the Club Carlson Visa Platinum, the lower level version of the Premier Visa Signature I had applied for.

The biggest downside to this is that I received a 60k sign up bonus for the Platinum as opposed to the 85k offered by the Premier card.

I called in to reconsideration to try and plead my case for the Premier card and the better sign up bonus, but was turned down.

And while I was pretty bummed about losing out on the bigger sign up bonus, I was definitely happy to get approved at all, since US Bank is a tough nut to crack and this version still gives me the “buy 1 get 1” benefits.

Status:  Approved, but for a lower version and smaller sign up bonus.

Lesson learned:  US Bank’s reconsideration line can’t make any changes.  What you get is what you get.

Total haul:  60k Club Carlson points.

Ok, so far so good, but… to hear the ugly side of this AoR, head over to Part 2.

(photos courtesy of cross-stitch ninja and boeke)


  1. Matthew says:

    With over 10 Chase cards in 1.5 years, are you concerned that Chase would one day close your accounts for something like perk abuse?

    1. Trav says:

      @Matthew- Believe it or not, I’m not too worried about it. That’s because I know many other people with even more cards than me AND I also try to be a good consumer for Chase. I try to use all my Chase cards here and there and I use my Ink Plus and Chase Sapphire Preferred as my everyday spending cards, so I do a decent amount of business with them.

      Anything can happen, but I do really appreciate Chase and their business model, so I think that by being a good customer of theirs, I’ve built some loyalty.

    2. Travel Bug says:

      It would stink to get shut down for perk abuse. I supposed it could happen to me. But if it did, I’d just use my other credit cards. I have relationships with 6 issuers, there’ll always be credit. The worst thing that would happen is that the gravy train will slow down. Well, I’d rather have the gravy now than later.

      1. Trav says:

        @Travel Bug- Agreed, let’s hope it continues. I think the important thing is to establish a relationship with lenders, make yourself a good customer, and just be confident and clear when you state your case for why you need a new card.

  2. Smay says:

    Did you apply for the Citi Visa and MasterCard gold as you intended? Did you get both approved or did u just go for the 50K visa?

    1. Trav says:

      @Smay- I actually got gun shy after all the other stuff going on (which you’ll read about in Part 2) and only applied for the Citi Visa. I figured that I wouldn’t push my luck and would go for the Citi Mastercard during my next App-o-Rama. Hope it wasn’t a mistake!

      1. Smay says:

        Ok, i’ll take a look tomorrow. I have an AOR coming up in June and doing the Citi 2 step there was on my radar. I last applied and got the 75K Visa and Amex versions 8/11 and was wondering if enough time had passed. I saw your time frame was similar at 7/11 so i’m hopeful! of course mmmv!

        1. Trav says:

          @Smay- Yeah, that should be enough time. As always, YMMV, but I was successful.

      2. Glenn says:

        Well, I thought that the general guidance was that you wanted to wait 18 months between ANY Citi AA applications which was why you wanted to do two simultaneously or back-to-back as the new application method suggests. However, like you I’ve just applied for and received a Citi AA VISA without waiting 18 months (I’m doing the 60K AA 30 Anniversary with $10K spend). And didn’t go for a Mastercard at the same time as I’d just cancelled it the month before. Will be very interested to see if you get the Mastercard…

        1. Trav says:

          @Glenn- I think you are right, and for whatever reason, I had a brain cramp about it. Not exactly sure how I forgot that, but looks like I could have cost myself 30k AA miles. I guess it doesn’t hurt to apply for the Mastercard next time, but yeah, I doubt it will get approved.

  3. Jeremy says:

    Ha clearly you got denied for the Arrival card just like I recently did. Screw Barclays if they don’t want my business. I was prepared to make that card my new go to card for everything aside from 5x bonus categories and 2X that I get on CSP (and when not meeting min spends) but nooo they didn’t want my business because I’ve opened too many accounts recently. I’ll try again in several months.

    1. Trav says:

      @Jeremy- I feel the same way. Barclays is stepping it up with making better offers, but is really tightening up on people who apply for a lot of cards, even if they have great credit and always pay off their bills in time. I was also ready to move some of my spending to them, but I guess not. Or at least not for now!

    2. Travel Bug says:

      I haven’t run into the Barclays or US Bank cold shoulder yet myself. I’ve had 3 US Air cards, the Flex Perks personal (Olympic offer) and FlexPerks Biz (to round out the Olympic offer). I plan on applying for 2 Barclays and one US in the next few weeks. Rapid Travel Chai once applied for 5 or 6 Barclays cards for the heck of it and got most of them. I’m not sure what it is with the denial reports. I haven’t paid enough attention to the rumors, but my theory is that there’s a specific aspect of the application (income? credit score?) that triggers the denials.

      1. Trav says:

        @Travel Bug- It’s weird, because every single time I’ve gotten denied by Barclays, the only reasoning they’ve told me is that I have too many recent inquiries. Maybe if I made a TON of money, they might overlook that, but…I make a regular income, have a good credit score, and haven’t run in to any problems with any other lenders other than Barclays. And like I said, they just keep saying it’s too many recent inquiries in the last year, so who knows.

        3 USAirways cards? Is that all open at the same time? Or did you close one first and then get the 3rd?

        1. Travel Bug says:

          The first two cards were concurrent. I convinced the agent to split the credit lines to get approved for card #2. I closed card #1 before applying for #3, and was approved for #3 automatically. Card #2 only had 50% of my credit eligibility with Barclays at that point. I’ve cancelled #2 and plan on going for both #4 and the Arrival card in two weeks. We’ll see how it goes.

  4. Pete says:

    Has your club carlson status posted yet? I activated and used it 3 or 4 days ago and it hasn’t shown up yet. Maybe I’m just spoiled by how fast Hyatt’s posted.

    1. Trav says:

      @Pete- No, actually mine hasn’t yet, and it’s been 3 weeks. Hmmm, hadn’t checked before, but now that you mention it, I better call in and make sure. They might be using a different number for me because I had problems putting my number in when applying for the card.

      1. Pete says:

        Did you call them? Mine still hasn’t posted. I have 4 bookings to make for this summer and don’t want to do it before the gold status posts since I’d be wasting 8,000 points.

  5. Ryan from MA says:

    did you wait 18 months for the Citi?

    1. Trav says:

      @Ryan from MA- I waited about 20 months.

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