Anecdotally, the easiest “real” cards to get approved for…

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Update: This offer for The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is expired, but there’s currently an opportunity to earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Learn more about the special offer here.

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I do my best to collect as many (admittedly unscientific) data points as possible for credit card approvals and denials. After all, there are cards out there that are easier to be approved for than others, and not everyone has a credit history of 10 years and a credit score over 800. Heck, I don’t have either of those.

Along the same lines, as someone that’s young and only got into credit cards about five years ago, I’m very interested in which credit cards are the easiest to get approved for when getting started. When I first wanted to get into this hobby I picked up a student credit card with no income requirements, spent small amounts on it for six months (making sure I kept my credit utilization low and made my payments on time), and then started applying for the exciting cards that offered real bonuses.

Based on my experiences and the experiences of many I’ve given suggestions to, I’ve found the single easiest “rewarding” personal card to be approved for to be the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card, and the single easiest business card to be approved to be the American Express Business Gold Rewards Card. Now, this is hardly scientific, but I don’t think there’s a single other rewarding personal or business card out there that I’ve had more people tell me they were instantly approved for.

Why is this? Probably because they’re both not credit cards, but rather charge cards. This means you have to pay off the balance in full each month and can’t carry a balance, which means these cards are less risky to the credit card companies. While there are lots of other charge cards out there, I haven’t found them to be quite as easy to be approved for (for example, Chase has the Ink Bold® Business Charge Card, which is a charge card, and the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card, which is a credit card, though I haven’t found the Ink Bold to be all that much easier to be approved for than the Ink Plus)

Has anyone had experiences with other cards that are especially easy to be approved for?

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Comments

  1. I agree about the Rewards Gold card. It was my second card. When I turned 18 I opened a Citi student card and used that for 2 years before applying for the gold card. I didn’t wait two years on purpose; I just wasn’t interested in credit cards for point earning for two more years.

  2. Lucky I think Amex in general are one of the easiest because they look at your history with them as well as your credit score. So once you are in with them, getting further approvals tends to be quite easy. Even the Plat cards are pretty easy once you are in the door

  3. Yes for biz golf, I have so many cards now I normally always have to call the credit analysts, but auto approved on the biz gold this year.

  4. @milesabound agreed. It was not too terribly long after I had the gold card that I called them up and changed over to the platinum personal one.

  5. for the biz card there is also a 75k point offer for $10k spend, no?
    Lucky, have you ever written an analysis whether the 75/10 or 50/5 card is better for churners?
    thank you.

  6. @ Lantean — I don’t believe there’s such a bonus available now, though we’ve definitely seen it in the past.

    As far as comparing the bonuses go, you’re basically getting an extra 25,000 points for $5,000 of spend, which is five points per dollar. I think it’s a no brainer assuming you’re not stretched for spend.

  7. @Lucky

    you’re right that offer is gone now… at least I don’t have to think too hard for my next churn. 😉

  8. The best place to go for credit card info without question is here: http://creditboards.com/forums/index.php

    They have a “CreditPulls” database that gives lots of info on what FICO scores you need for approvals and if you need to repair your credit, the website is the go-to place for learning. Your eyes will bleed from all the information you need to know and how to maximize your scores. It has been around a long time and I highly recommend it.

    I wish Lucky would add this site to his website as a great resource for all things credit related.

  9. I do not have any AE card,except from Citi Bank which is not a genuine AE card. It is not widely accepted because its bank fees charged to merchants are twice as much compared to others. I was approved by both Barclays and US Bank on the first try. I don’t plan to have more than eight cards at anytime. I will apply for an AE card if the sign up bonus is higher than 50K points.

  10. My first “real” card is Amex Blue Student. And the second is Citi something student I think …

  11. Pardon, but what’s the threshold bonus for the AMEX Business Rewards Gold card? Never seen that. Thanks.

  12. Definitely agree on BRG. My 19 year old brother has never had his own credit card but is an AU on several of our parents cards. I told him to apply for a Freedom card for his first card and he was rejected and told to build a history first. So I called reconsideration line and was a no go…guess Chase wants college students to be someone else’s guinea pig. Anyway he recently received an offer for the BRG card in the mail offering 25K points. I said don’t do it as you can get a better one so he recently applied for and got approved for a Discover It student card. But I thought it was interesting he got a targeted Amex offer which must mean its pretty easy for the reason you stated.

  13. Ben,

    Not sure if you’re aware and perhaps AMEX isn’t advertising this but a couple of months ago, when I called AMEX to apply for the AMEX Platinum Business Card, they informed me of a soon-to-launch Gold Business Card promo offering 75,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first two months. Seemed a like a no brainer to me to so I got it. It was much better than the 100,000 points for spending $10,000 in 3 months that the Platinum Card was offering at the time. Now that i’ve received the 75k points, I’m going to exchange the Gold Card for the Platinum Card, since I wanted the amenities that card offered anyway.

    Cheers.

  14. FWIW there was a 50k offer for the PRG just back in January, so I’d be hesitant to apply for the lesser offer and lose out on 25k MR points.

  15. @ Ed — Sorry, meant to say category bonuses and not threshold bonuses. Went ahead and updated the post.

  16. There was a 75K MR bonus offer on the PRG card in February. 50K comes fairly regularly. 25K isn’t worth it unless you are a big churner at 2x.

    I grabbed the 75K PRG offer, put $30K spend on the card at grocery and rec’d another 75K MR. Then transferred to BA using the 35% transfer bonus. So 75K became > 200K Avios, which I use for short flights (like SFO-LIH for 25K r/t). Pretty hard to beat 8 r/ts to Hawaii for a card signup and a bit of churning.

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