My Latest Credit Card Applications

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It has been a while since I’ve done a round of credit card applications, though that changed yesterday when I applied for four credit cards. I applied for the following cards in the following order:

1. Ink Plus® Business Credit Card

Current offer: 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months
Annual fee: $95

Why I applied:
I currently have the Ink Bold® Business Charge Card and have had the Chase Ink Plus in the past, though Chase recently rebranded both the Ink Plus and Ink Bold as Visas rather than Mastercards. Visa cards offer different perks and benefits than Mastercards, so these are effectively both new products.

I find the Ink Cards to be the best business credit cards out there given that they offer 5x points on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services; 2x points on the first $50,000 spent annually at gas stations and on hotels. It’s worth noting that the Ink Plus is a credit card, while the Ink Bold is a charge card, though otherwise the cards offer the same benefits.

Approval process:
After submitting my application I received a “decision pending” message, so I called up Chase and after answering a few questions was approved on the spot.

2. Chase Freedom® Card

Current offer: 20,000 points after spending $500 within three months
Annual fee: none

Why I applied:
This is a card I’ve always wanted though never got around to signing up for. Chase has many of the best credit card sign-up offers, so I never really prioritized the Freedom card.

However, they finally doubled the sign-up bonus to 20,000 points, so between that and the ability to earn 5x points in rotating categories, I figured it was time to finally pick up the card. By not having the card I wasn’t just missing out on the sign-up bonus (which admittedly isn’t huge), but more importantly missing out on 24,000 bonus points per year in the rotating quarterly categories.

Besides, since it’s a no annual fee card it’s great to keep long term, as the age of your accounts is one of the things factored into your overall credit score.

Approval process:
I again received a “decision pending” after submitting my application, and when I called up Chase they switched a small portion of my Chase Sapphire Preferred credit line to the Chase Freedom, and approved me instantly.

3. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card

Current offer: 30,000 Mileage Plan miles upon account activation
Annual fee: $75

Why I applied:
While not a mega sign-up bonus by any stretch of the imagination, the Alaska Visa offers 30,000 miles upon account activation, and in my experience the miles post before you even receive the card. While the annual fee is $75 and isn’t waived the first year, I find the card really useful long term since you also get a $118 companion certificate.

As I live in Seattle and am an elite member with Alaska I fly them a ton already, and since the companion ticket is treated like any other revenue ticket in terms of upgrades and being able to earn miles, I value it immensely.

Approval process:
I was instantly approved online. This is actually my second “active” personal card, and I also have the business card. There doesn’t seem to be a need to cancel the previous card before applying for a new one.

4. US Airways Barclays Mastercard

Current offer: 35,000 Dividend Miles after the first purchase
Annual fee: $85, waived the first year

Why I applied:
It’s tough to beat 35,000 US Airways miles after the first purchase, and this is very much a “use it or lose it” offer, since the card will be going away after the merger.

Approval process:
When I applied I received an error message saying “due to technical issues” my application didn’t go through, which seems to be the norm when using this link. However, after calling they confirmed that the application was in fact received and approved instantly, and I also received an email a few minutes later confirming I had been approved

Overall, this round of applications wasn’t about the sign-up bonuses alone, but about planning for everyday spend and maximizing the available opportunities. Of the four cards the Ink Plus is the only product with a really impressive sign-up offer, but these are all cards I plan on keeping long-term, and each offer a specific value.

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  1. What are your reasons for wanting to keep US Airways and Alaska cards long-term? I get the length of credit history but the second year’s annual fee really decreases the value, no?

  2. @ Economiler — For the Alaska card it’s because you get an annual companion certificate which I value at most than the annual fee. As far as the US Airways card goes, Barclaycard has been offering a ton of huge spend bonuses which make the card worth keeping, in my opinion. For example, they recently offered up to 50% off award redemptions, and frequently offer 15K bonus miles for spending a certain amount over a few months.

  3. Hey Lucky…did you already have a US Air card (currently)? I am trying to determine if I should apply for another (as I already have one and have heard mixed results about being approved for a second one). Thanks!

  4. Lucky,

    I really like your strategy on the apps! I currently have all of the cards you mention above (sans Ink Plus…I have Ink Bold). I’m debating what to do about the US Airways MC as I have had it since April 2013. I’ve already earned the 35K signup bonus plus the 15K bonus for spending $750 in three consecutive months. There are rumors flying around that this card will be transferred into a Barclay’s Arrival card. I don’t want to nix my opportunity for a signup bonus. What would you do?!

  5. I also recently applied for the Alaska Airlines card – approved last month. Haven’t bothered to activate it yet, but the 30k miles have already posted. Interesting…

  6. If you get the ‘technical problems, apply again later’ message when applying for the US Air card, your app probably actually did go thru. If you then reapply, you will get a denial message, but that only applies to your send attempt. Before you try again, check your status here:

  7. @Ryan – I have had the US Airways card since 10/11; I applied for and was immediately approved for a second one earlier this month. My 10K annual bonus has just posted for the original card so I’ll be cancelling that one this week to avoid the annual fee (due 11/29).

  8. Two questions about the Ink Plus app…
    1. How long was the interval between when you cancelled your old Ink Plus card, and when you applied for the new one?
    2. Were these cards for the same business, or different businesses (based on business name/TIN/SSN as sole proprietorship)?

  9. Hi there! I currently have 2 businesses, and have an Ink Bold for one and an Ink Plus for the other. Any idea if I can get a another set of cards for them…get a Plus for the one that has the Bold and vice versa? I figure if they are different products, I might be able to!

  10. Kind of a snoozer round, eh? I feel the same way about my recent AOR. With the exception of the Ink Plus, there’s not much to write home about here. But the Ink cards now being Visas and effectively “new products” is news to me – have had both of these in the past so will keep them top of mind for my next batch.

  11. @lucky How long since you closed your previous Ink Plus card? I know that it’s a new product so technically doesn’t matter, but it’s good to have another data point.

  12. @ Kyle — If it does turn into the Arrival, you can always cancel it before the transition happens and apply for the Arrival card then.

  13. @ Arnold — They were for the same business and it has been several months since I cancelled the other card. That being said, since it’s considered a new product it really shouldn’t matter.

  14. @ Matt B — Yep, not all that exciting, though at the same time not complaining over 135,000 miles/points with little minimum spend. And I’m not much of a “churner” anyway, fairly mild in my application habits.

  15. Ben, do you have a redemption plan for the UR miles? I am thinking about goingfor the Ink Plus and try to get my miles b4 the Feb 1 devaluation. But maybe there’s not enough time to get that done.

  16. @ Mike — I might use them for some Hyatt stays before the devaluation, or otherwise a Korean Air award. If you complete the minimum spend fairly quickly you should absolutely be able to book before the devaluation with United.

  17. So if I already have the Ink Bold and Plus MCs, I could also apply for an Ink Bold and Plus Visa — having 4 Ink cards total for the same EIN? Or would it be better to replace one or both of the MCs with Visas?

  18. Interesting data point: I have 3 Chase cards, just applied for the new 50+5K bonus Sapphire Preferred. Even though my income and credit score are good enough to justify additional credit, Chase made me transfer credit line from an existing card to the new card. They told me the reasons for their decision were that I had not used my 3 existing Chase cards very much in the last year, and for having a larger total revolving credit line with Chase than with other banks. Bottom line – usage counts!! (I’m going to be blitzing the other cards soon to requalify for Southwest Companion Pass in early 2014 – we’ll see how that impacts their decision-making process.)

  19. @Lucky,
    before and after you applied, how many chase credit cards did/do you have now? Exceed 4 card limits or not?

  20. Gee, terrific! Chase allows you to hold 6 cards!

    My guess is Chase allows 4 personal cards plus some extra business cards. I will apply for the Ink Plus business card. I have 4 Chase cards right now. I am going to use your referral link to apply. You did great service to help us every day. I wish Chase could approve my application.

  21. Applied for second US Air MC this weekend without closing the first one (which I successfully waived the annual fee for this year) and got instantly approved. Applied for Sapphire too but called 4 times and each time was asked to wait for decision in the mail. Alaska instantly approved too but went with 25k offer and $100 statement credit.

  22. I have 9 personal cards and 1 business card with Chase, all under the same login. There’s definitely no limit of 4 personal cards with Chase.

    I had the same issue with the Barclays US Airways link error, and indeed realized I was approved a few minutes later when checking the application status.

  23. Daniel M., how did you get personal and business cards registered under the same login? I was told separate online accounts are required for personal and business.

  24. I figured that I would add in my experience on how many Chase cards you can hold. I currently have 6 personal cards and 3 business cards with them. Whenever I open a new one, it either gets approved, or I transfer part of the credit limit in order to make it work. Thanks.

  25. Lucky. I currently have Chase Sapphire, Freedom and Chase Ink Plus Business Card. My wife is just on the Chase Ink Plus card but was thinking about having her sign up for the Freedom. Do you know if she can still transfer those points to Miles or if not, can she transfer the points to my account so then I can covert to miles? Thanks

  26. When applying for a second Alaska Air card..

    Should you put your frequent flyer number down on the second application OR should you make sure NOT to put it down. Or does it not matter?

    I mean can you combine the 30K from each card into 60K miles?

  27. Lucky, I tried to use your link to apply for the USAirways card but the Barclays website keeps throwing an error. However, another link works fine. I’ll hold off applying since would rather have you get the cut.

  28. @ MT — That’s too kind. The US Airways offer above isn’t actually one of my affiliate links (my link is for a lesser offer so the link I have above is one for a better offer on which I don’t earn a commission), so I’m not sure why the page is down. If you see the same offer elsewhere, by all means apply there.

    Thanks for the support!

  29. Lucky – We are planning a trip to Frankfurt, Ger & Paris, Fr, in a year or so. We have Chase Freedom & Sapphire, 65k – SPG, 40k. Should we get United card, or try to build miles directly in one of partner airlines?

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