Results from my latest round of credit card applications

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It has been a while since my last round of credit card applications, so last week I decided to pull the trigger on applying for some cards I’ve been wanting to apply for. Now, in theory there’s diminishing marginal return in this hobby, in the sense that you apply for the best credit card offers first and are eventually just picking from the bottom of the barrel after you’ve exhausted all the good offers. Well, I have nearly two dozen credit cards, and I have to say that I didn’t feel like I was picking from the bottom of the barrel for any of the cards I applied for.

The best part of this round of applications is that I went five for five, and was approved for all cards (eventually). Here are the cards I applied for in the order I applied:

1. Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card

Sign-up bonus: 85,000 Club Carlson points after spending $2,500 within 90 days

Annual fee: $75

Approval process: I intentionally applied for this card first since I hear US Bank frowns down on those with lots of inquiries, so I was kind of shocked to be instantly approved for this card.

Why I applied: For me this is the hottest card out there right now that I don’t have. In this post I covered the benefits of this card. In addition to the sign-up bonus you get Gold status with Club Carlson for as long as you have the card, a 40,000 point anniversary bonus each year just for having the card, and the single most valuable benefit of the card is that every second night of an award redemption is free. Club Carlson charges 50,000 points per night for their highest category of hotels, meaning if you’re staying in two night intervals you’re basically paying 25,000 points per night, which is a steal. In this post I shared some of the properties I’d consider staying at. Thrilled to have this card and to start using the two for one redemptions while they last!

2. Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World Mastercard®

Sign-up bonus: 40,000 AAdvantage miles when you spend $3,000 within three months

Annual fee: $95, waived the first year

Approval process: When I applied I was informed I’d receive a decision in writing within a couple of weeks, though when I called the status line the next day I was informed that I had already been approved for the card.

Why I applied: I already have the Citi AAdvantage Visa card, and in the past even had the Citi AAdvantage Mastercard. However, it has been about three years since I’ve applied for it, so I had no issues being approved again. While Citi doesn’t seem to have a strict rule in regards to how long you have to wait between applications, waiting 18 months between applications (based on the time of approval, not the time the card is canceled) on a particular card seems to fairly consistently do the trick.

3. Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard®

Sign-up bonus: 40,000 miles when you spend $3,000 within first 90 days (basically $440 cash back towards travel)

Annual fee: $89, waived the first year

Approval process: I was instantly approved for the card.

Why I applied: This is one of the hottest new cards from Barclaycard. While it’s not a traditional mileage card, each mile basically gets you a cent towards the cost of travel, and on top of that you get a 10% refund when you redeem your points. That basically means the sign-up bonus gets you $440 worth of travel, which is pretty good for a card with the annual fee waived the first year.

And if you’re into accruing points that can be applied towards the cost of travel, this card is pretty tough to beat, given that it basically offers 2.2% cash back towards the cost of travel, as discussed in this post.

4. Alaska Airlines Signature Visa Card

Sign-up bonus: 30,000 Mileage Plan miles upon account approval

Annual fee: $75

Approval process: When I applied I was informed I’d receive a decision in writing within a couple of weeks, though when I called the status line the next day I was informed that I had already been approved for the card.

Why I applied: Alaska miles are becoming increasingly valuable to me, especially now that you can redeem them for travel on Emirates and can have a stopover on a one-way award. Beyond that, the card offers a $99+ companion certificate for every year you have the card. This is about as “no strings attached” as companion certificates get, given that the companion still earns miles, can upgrade, etc. So not only is the sign-up bonus on the card good, but I’ll get a huge amount of value for keeping this card long term.

The greatest thing about the card has to be that miles post once you’re approved, so in my case they posted a couple of days after I was approved and were backdated to the day I applied.


5. Alaska Airlines Business Visa Card

Sign-up bonus: 25,000 Mileage Plan miles after your first purchase

Annual fee: $50

Approval process: When I applied I was informed I’d receive a decision in writing within a couple of weeks. I called the reconsideration line a day later and was told it would take a few days to process my application. I called back late last week and they said they needed to verify my business address, so I faxed them documentation of it immediately. A day later I was approved.

Why I applied: Much like the personal Alaska Visa card, the business card also offers a companion certificate, so I figured the more of those I can rack up, the better. 25,000 miles isn’t bad either. I can already feel my next shower on the Emirates A380!


I consider this to be a pretty successful round of credit card applications, and in a way it makes me kind of excited about the future of the credit card industry. In the past I’d almost only apply for Chase and American Express credit cards (and don’t get me wrong, they both have awesome cards), though in this round I managed to pick up five great cards without touching either issuer.

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  1. “so I faxed them documentation”

    Did you do that during a Aerolíneas Argentinas flight? 😉

  2. good job, but i see you skipped Chase and AmEx… do you already have all their cards? 😉

  3. Thanks for the clarification on the Citi AAdvantage MC card … I was unsure about that. I cancelled my Citi AAdvantage Visa card last September (but had held the card for at least a couple of years) and thought I had to wait longer. In the meantime I have been getting ALOT of application mailers in the last couple of months. What’s interesting is being able to hold both the Visa and MC at the same time. No issues with receiving the bonus miles?

  4. @ Lantean — Hah, definitely don’t have *all* their cards, but figured I have enough Chase cards at the moment and I do have most of the American Express cards that interest me.

  5. @ LincolnPark — Correct, in your case you should have no issue being approved for both the Visa and Mastercard, though if you do apply for both you’ll want to space your applications out at least a couple of months.

  6. For approval, does Citi also factor in when I cancelled my card or is it solely based on when I last applied for the card? Also, I’m curious, how soon did you cancel your AAdvantage card after receiving the bonus?

  7. @ Philip — To the best of my knowledge they only factor in the date you opened the card. I believe I kept that particular AAdvantage card for about 11 months. I always try to keep cards for as long as I can without paying an annual fee. No point in canceling the card earlier.

  8. @ sam — My last “major” round of applications was actually late last year, so it has been a long while.

  9. Just purchased a home,credit is still great but ready to get back in the game. How long do you think I should wait to do my next churn ?

  10. @ Drew — No need to wait, I’d jump in ASAP and do a round of applications soon, assuming your credit score is good.

  11. Considering you need 90,000 (1 way) Alaska miles to fly Emirates first class to the Middle East and 100,000 (1 way) to fly to Asia, I find it almost impossible to get enough miles on Alaska to fly Emirates. Suggestions??

  12. I see that you can transfer 20k spg into Emirates, which would give you 25k Emirates, but even with that, couple with the other two cards, you only have 80k.

  13. Lucky,

    can you say a little more about a good strategy to get the rest of the Alaska miles you need to get an Emirates ticket?

  14. Hi Lucky,

    Why did you not go for the Citi AA Visa 50k. Right now you can apply for one every 33 days.

  15. @ mileswhore @ Jb — Well I’m fortunate to fly Alaska a good bit, so that helps in racking up the miles as well. But generally Alaska miles are tough to come by. You can transfer them from Starwood, apply for the credit cards (which are churnable), or when you buy an Alaska ticket you can choose to purchase 10,000 bonus miles for $190. That’s not a half bad value when you factor in what you can do with those miles…

  16. @ Carsten — Hmm, it’s not my understanding that you can get the card every 33 days. I may have to look into it more closely, but I was under the impression you generally had to wait longer than that.

  17. I have never “churned” the Citi AA or BofA AS, but I always have heard that the Alaska card is easy to do and after 18 months you can churn the Citi card.

    Is it possible to just re-apply without canceling the card first? I mean I doubt BofA would let you have 4 Alaska cards, although 120k miles sure would be nice.

    Anyone have experience on if you have to cancel the cards first before you reapply?

  18. @ the spider man — No need to cancel the card before reapplying. I know someone with seven active Alaska Visa cards, between personal and business.

  19. They wouldn’t match my Bank of America Visa (25,000) to your 30,000 link. They said I would have to have had applied through that same link previously. 🙁

  20. You only need to wait 8 days between applications right now to get 2 of the same 50k AA cards. Many recent data points in the FT thread.

  21. for the Alaska Airlines Business Visa Card… does any one have experience being approved if the business is just starting and has no employees or revenues? how much info do they ask for?
    thank you.

  22. Interesting reminder about the Alaska Business card. Hadn’t thought about that one.

    Reminder that there is STILL a Citi AA Amex card available that can be part of your churn/sequence. Not sure there’s anything better than 25,000 miles on offer for it, but hey, better than a sharp stick in the eye!

  23. @ sam — Alaska miles are valuable given that they can be redeemed on Emirates and Cathay Pacific, and they even allow stopovers on one-way awards. For example, San Francisco to Hong Kong to Johannesburg in Cathay Pacific first class costs just 70,0000 miles one-way, and you can have a stopover in Hong Kong for free.

    But as someone that frequently flies Alaska the annual companion certificate that comes with the card is valuable as well. For $99 a companion flies for free with you, and that’s valuable given that they still earn the same benefits as if they were on a revenue ticket.

  24. @ Lantean — I do have a business tax ID so hopefully someone else can chime in, but when I called in they didn’t ask me any questions about my business.

  25. @Lucky – The Citi AA card offerings have changed significantly in the last six months. The current AA 50k offer is freely churnable limited only by the standard Citi rules:

    1. Eight days between successive applications.
    2. At most two card in 65 days.

    Check out the latest in the Flyertalk thread.

  26. What are the limitations on the companion pass? I believe they limited it to coach a while back, but are their any destination limitations (e.g. Hawaii or Mexico)?

  27. @ Scott — There are no destination limitations, and as you note the only major limitation is that it’s now only for coach.

  28. The first two from my apps last month match yours.
    Club Carlson Business 85K
    AA World MC 40K
    Amex Platinum Delta Business 55K
    Lufthansa Miles & More 50K
    United MP Business 50K
    No picking from the bottom here either.


  30. Has anyone gotten denied for applying a second Alaska and/or Citi AA while still having the 1st card? Did you call the reconsideration line to get the second card approved? Did BOA/Citi ask you why you applied for the second card in a short amount of time? I’m curious to see what people say since I’ve never churned those two cards. Thanks!!

  31. just got a snail mail for the barclay for the same offer and saw they quoted you on the envelope for the 2.2%.

    but already applied through one of your links. (except i think the annual fee is $89 instead of $99 on your post)

  32. @ mike — Thanks for the heads up, fixed the annual fee. And happy to hear they’re putting that quote to good use. 😀

    Lastly, thanks for using my link, I appreciate it!

  33. Applied for the alaska card thru your link…approval pending. You mentioned that you called status line and was told you got approved. Did you have to talk to someone or was it an automatic system?

  34. @ Teri- I have the citi aa 50k mile platinum card (opened a few months ago) just applied for the same platinum card (while the other was still open) and got approved after online chat w/ agent. Also currently have a citi aa amex card.

  35. How to book Emirates with Alaska miles one way stopover online? Also isn’t it better to transfer SPG points directly to Emirates?

  36. Got a question for you Lucky – when you applied for the Alaska business card, did you use the same frequent flier number as your personal card?

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