My “February” App-o-Rama Update

Posted By Trav

Waaaaaay back when I first started this blog, I wrote a post presenting all the candidates for my next App-o-rama, breaking down the pros and cons of 13 different credit cards.

It still remains one my most popular posts, and while I’d like to think that is attributed to the great writing, the real reason probably lies more with the fact that the information presented was very thorough and that people LOVE talking about App-o-Ramas (a bonanza of free miles and points, yipppeee)!

The planned App-o-Rama was supposed to happen around February 7th, 91 days after my last AoR in November 2011.


Almost two full months later, on April 3rd, I finally pulled the trigger on a 4 card AoR.  The delay can be attributed to two factors:

1.  During the Nov. 2011 AoR I was denied the Citi/AAdvantage Visa biz card (a little foreshadowing) for “too many recent credit inquiries”.  When they finally reconsidered my application after a letter to the Executive headquarters (calling Citi reconsideration gets you NOWHERE), they also pulled another credit report on December 23rd.  It mattered not, as they once again denied my application.

So even though my Nov. AoR was 90 days in the past when February 7th rolled around, I decided to play it safe and wait until the second Citi pull was also 90 days old.  This moved the timeframe to early March.

2.  On March 15th I left on a two-week Southeast Asia jaunt.  Being unsure how much time I’d have to blog and follow up with credit card companies, I decided I didn’t want pull off an AoR right before I left in case I needed to deal with calling for reconsideration or other issues.  So, I decided to put it off until I returned.

Ironically enough, after putting it off for 2 months, I finally did my AOR on April 3rd, mere hours before all hell broke loose at Chase and they started giving away signup bonuses like candy!  If you missed what happened, this post will catch you up quickly.

Obviously, had I known that the Chase Ink Bold would have been bumped to 60k and the Freedom to 35k, my AoR plans would have been much different.  Sometimes you win…and sometimes you win just a little less (you didn’t think I’d call getting free miles losing, did you?).

So, what did I end up applying for?

Interestingly enough, even 2 months later, my actual plan stayed pretty true to my projected plan from the original post.  Unfortunately, none of them were instantly approved, so I’ll be holding my breath this next week as I wait to hear back.

Barclays USAirways Mastercard

Since this is reported by most people as being successfully churned, I feel fairly comfortable about my chances of getting this card and the 40k bonus again, even though I also received it in November of last year and haven’t closed the card.

The one mistake I made is that I haven’t put any charges on it since I originally used it in November.  If I had been smarter, I would have pulled it out my wallet and given it a little love before applying for it again.  Maybe it won’t matter, but it can’t hurt for Barclays to see you using it.

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Business

I also considered the Chase Ink Bold as my “Chase business card” in this AoR but didn’t feel like dealing with the $5,000 spend in 3 months.  Had I known that the next day Chase would briefly bump the Ink Bold up an additional 10k to 60k, that would have been enough for me to have bitten on the Ink Bold over the SW biz, but nonetheless, I’m happy with $833 of Southwest fares and being halfway towards the Companion Pass if this gets approved.

Chase United Explorer 

Determining which card I should apply for as my personal Chase card was the most difficult decision of all.  I was torn between the Chase Priority Club, Chase Southwest personal card, or the Chase United Explorer.  Since I was able to get the 60k “targeted” offer (because I have United miles in my account), I decided that the 50k I’ll get from that deal trumps the Priority Club and the SW personal.

Citi/AAdvantage Visa Business 

Maybe I’m just a masochist, but once again I decided to try my luck with this card.  As I said above, I got denied in November for “too many credit inquiries” and then denied again after reconsideration in December for the same reason.

I was told that I could reapply in 60 days, but even decided to play it safe and wait a whole 90+ days.

What did I get for my troubles?  An email two days later denying me once again for “too many recent credit inquiries”!  What the deuce?  I hadn’t applied for a card in over 90 days, have great credit, and have never been denied any other credit card, and yet I’ve now been denied for this card THREE SEPARATE TIMES!

Geoff over at Noob Traveler has reported having the exact same problem, which doesn’t give me much solace but does make me wonder what the heck is Citi thinking.  Not only are their signup bonuses worse than Chase’s and their customer service infinitely worse than Chase’s, but now their cards are much harder to get ?  Seems like a recipe for disaster if you ask me.

The only decision I have to make about this one is if I even venture down the path of reconsideration with Citi yet again.  It would mean writing another letter (not a huge pain, but annoying nonetheless) and potentially wasting another credit pull (a huge downside) for what could amount to squat.

I’d really like the 50k AA miles, but at some point, maybe you have to cut your losses?

As I hear about the final decision on each cards, I’ll keep you updated and also let you know what I decide about the Citi reconsideration.  Until then, let me when your next AoR is planned for and what sweet deals you are eyeing!

If you want to apply for any of the cards discussed above and find the information I provided helpful, you can use the links below.  I’ll receive a small referral for the Chase United Explorer and the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards which will help support the site and you’ll receive the best deal available.



  1. Michael H says:

    If you’re aiming for companion pass, applying for the SW personal card might have been the way to go (instead of the United card). You could still do it later in the year of course. Also, some energy companies give SW points as sign-up bonuses. One of them is Energy Plus. Lots of nightmare stories about that company jacking up rates once you’re signed up but it worked out well for me in Maryland. I got companion pass in March and it’s already come in very handy. Will have it for the rest of this year and all of 2013. Great deal.

    1. Trav says:

      @Michael H- I toyed with the idea of getting the SW personal and the SW biz this App-o-rama but in the near future I’ll be doing more international travel than US domestic travel, so the United card seemed to fit better for the moment. My plan is to throw the SW personal card in my next AoR since I’ll be returning to the States at that time and then find a way to get the extra 10k and the companion pass. T

      hanks for the heads-up on the energy companies, I’ll give a look in to it. I’m looking for easy ways to get the extra 10k without paying for the miles, but if push comes to shove, I’d definitely pay for the miles to get the pass. Having it for the whole next year (2013) is such a sweet deal.

      Have you ever encountered any problems using it, either on award tickets or paid tickets? How many flights have you used it for?

      1. Michael H says:

        It’s been trouble free so far. Used it for two flights. For both of those I used points for my booking. One was made last minute so having companion pass saved my girlfriend quite a few dollars/points!

        1. Trav says:

          @Michael H- Awesome! Holding out hope that the 50k SW personal deal is still alive come June so I can snag the companion pass as well!

  2. SR says:

    i am starting to dislike citi….i have been in the same boat. denied thrice for excessive inquiries. Applied spread out over a 1 year period. during the same time period year was able to obtain/churn 4 chase cards, 4-5 amex cards, a discover card and two BoA cards. so been wondering what their criteria is like, that’s so much different than amex and chase. frustrating….

    1. Trav says:

      @SR- I couldn’t agree more, and unfortunately, I’m not sure anyone has an answer to why Citi is like that or what to do about it. I guess we just have to be thankful that the other lenders aren’t like that, especially Chase, which has the best offers.

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