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Just under three weeks ago I shared how I had failed my dad when it came to his credit card strategy. As is probably the case for many of us, my family relies on me to tell them what credit cards to get, what cards to put their spend on, etc. While it can be annoying at times, I certainly prefer that to them signing up for the wrong cards and not earning as many points as they can.
My dad was in a situation where he didn’t have a single new card application showing on his credit report in the past two years, which put him in an enviable situation (or perhaps unenviable, given all the opportunities he may have missed out on).
The credit cards my dad had when we started
At the beginning of March, my dad had the following cards:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Chase Freedom® Card
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
- Citi Platinum AAdvantage Business Card
- Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
The credit cards my dad has now
My goal with helping my dad optimize his credit card strategy was to get him some great new cards without overwhelming him. The last thing I want is for him to have so many cards that he can’t keep track of them, and forget which spend goes on which card. My dad is really old school and doesn’t use a computer, so he received credit card statements by mail, and makes payments by phone.
Given the 5/24 restriction on some Chase cards, the first order of business was upgrading his Chase card portfolio.
That’s a pretty enviable card portfolio, if you ask me. How did he go about this transition?
My dad applied for the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card on March 8, and got the “30 day” message, and then on March 12 the card came through with an automatic approval. Yay! He’ll earn the sign-up bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points on the card.
Then on March 18 I had him apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. There wasn’t necessarily any reason we waited on applying, but rather that’s just how things worked out. He once again got the “30 day” message.
However, later that day he logged into his Chase account and saw that he had been approved for the card. Yay! He’ll earn the sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points on the card.
I think it’s worth specifically pointing out that a lot of people worry that the 30 day message leads to a denial, but that’s not my experience. My dad got that message both times, and both times got automatically approved.
With the combination of these five awesome cards (three personal and two business) my dad will earn:
- 5x points in rotating quarterly categories, on up to $1,500 of spend per quarter (thanks to the Chase Freedom® Card)
- 5x points at office supply stores, and on internet, cable, and phone services, on the first $25,000 in combined purchases per cardmember year (thanks to the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card)
- 3x points on dining and travel (thanks to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®)
- 3x points on shipping purchases, internet, cable, phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines, on the first $150,000 in combined purchases per cardmember year (thanks to the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card)
- 1.5x points on everyday purchases (thanks to the Chase Freedom Unlimited®)
That’s an incredible card combination, and he’ll be able to redeem all those points for a minimum of 1.5 cents each towards a travel purchase, since he has the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
I feel like we’ve made the most important changes to my dad’s credit card portfolio, and like he’s now well equipped to maximize points on everyday spend. However, there are still some cards that he could get value out of, especially in terms fo the perks they offer. But I’m not 100% sure what to do now:
- My dad has a fair bit of minimum spend to complete in the next few months
- My dad only has one new card showing on his credit report in the past 24 months (Chase business cards don’t show up), so he could still apply for some more cards subjected to the 5/24 rule
Oddly I’m inclined to just tell him to chill for a bit, complete the spend, get used to his new cards, etc. On the other hand, I also feel like recommending that he get some of the following:
- The IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card, given the $49 annual fee (waived the first year) and anniversary free night certificate, which I consider to be one of the best credit card perks out there
- The Hyatt Credit Card, which has a reasonable $75 annual fee and offers an anniversary free night certificate that he’d get value out of
- The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Personal Card and/or Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card; he has never had either of these cards, and they have sign-up bonuses of 70,000 SkyMiles plus 10,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 within three months, plus a $100 statement credit when making a Delta purchase within that timeframe
- The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, which has a sign-up bonus of 50,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within three months, with the annual fee waived for the first year
- The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express, which offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent annually, making it the single most lucrative card for everyday, non-bonused spend; the card has no annual fee
I’m happy that my dad has gotten his Chase cards in order, and is now really set up to maximize his points. However, now I’m not sure what he should do. He’s in the enviable position of having just had two card applications in the past 24 months, so should he hold off and apply for other cards usually restricted by 5/24 in the future, or apply for any of the above (or other) cards? What would you do in his situation?