$3,000 Credit Card Application Spree

Posted by Madison on August 13, 2012

After finishing up my husband’s Credit Card Application Spree and redeeming all of the sign up bonuses, I’m ready to rinse and repeat and embark on my own application spree.

However, since the current free money opportunities change so quickly, I’m creating a new target list for my own spree that includes the most current offers to take advantage of. As always, my goal is to bunch the inquiries and apply all in one day and maximize the earnings.

Here is my list of credit card applications currently in progress. They are listed in priority order, mainly to make the most money in sign up bonuses, but also to spread the applications across different companies and pick up some cards I really want so I can answer some reader questions.

Credit Card Application List

  1. Chase Sapphire Preferred. I’m starting off with the $400 sign up bonus to see if I can recycle this offer. A reader, Maggie, wanted to know if we can take advantage of this offer twice, so it’s on the top of my list to find out. I had a Sapphire card awhile back, so we’ll see if this offer allows you to get the offer a second time.
  2. Starwood American Express. $300+ sign up bonus. Like some other readers, I’ve been waiting for this offer and the Starwood card is one of my target cards during this application spree to score the 30,000 points and convert it into over $300 in Amazon money. The annual fee is waived and the offer ends on Sept. 4.
  3. Starwood American Express business card. $300+ sign up bonus. Just like the personal Starwood card above, I’m going for the double dip for another 30,000 points! All the Amazon cash should give me a great head start on Christmas shopping this year!
  4. Capital One $100 Sign Up Bonus. The $100 sign up bonus on this card is really easy. In addition, the card earns cash back equivalent to 1.5%, so it’s one I’d like to have in my toolbox for the future in case some of the 2% cards ever get downgraded.
  5. US Bank FlexPerks. $150-$300 or more. You can redeem the sign up bonus of 15,000 FlexPoints for a $150 Statement Credit. However, right now, they’re running an Olympic bonus that could be worth over 30,000 points depending on the final medal count.
  6. Pen Fed Platinum VISA. $250 bonus. I already have the Penfed Platinum Cash Rewards, but got an email to switch to the PenFed Platinum Rewards card. They’re offering 25,000 points to make the switch from cash to points. The card still gives 5% cash back on gas purchases, so I’m thinking I’ll make the switch to get the cash back before they force it on me. If you have the old card and haven’t switched yet, search for an email titled “Accelerate your rewards with the PenFed Platinum Rewards Card” with the details. As long as I’m working with some credit changes at Penfed, I’ll probably pick up some of the Penfed auto loan money at 1.49%. At that rate, I’m happy to put a lien on my car to take some cheap money and put it to other uses!
  7. Barclay NFL card. $200 cash back after the first use is about as easy as it gets after you redeem the 20,000 sign up points. I have quite a few Barclay cards already, so I’m not sure if they’ll let me add this one or not.
  8. Citi Forward Card. $100 sign up bonus. Since you can combine this with other Thank You point accounts, it’s an easy redemption option for me. In addition, I want to test out if you can really get 5% cash back on all Amazon.com purchases.
  9. Citi Dividend. $100 sign up bonus and 5% rotating quarters. My rule of thumb is always to apply for two Citi cards since they seem to be the easiest to get approved. If the first two come back with immediate approvals, I’ll add this one in at the end just to see I can get 3 at once.
  10. American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card. $250 sign up bonus. Now that I squared away the Best Way to Maximize American Express Points, I’m signing up for this card to redeem for gift cards since the annual fee is waived for the first year. However, I’m not sure if American Express will allow me to signup for this card in addition to the Starwood cards above; worth a shot!
  11. Amazon Visa. The Amazon card is only a $30 sign up bonus, however, lately I’ve noticed some great deals and rebates on Amazon that you must use their credit card for. In preparation for holiday shopping, I think I might want to have this card available for any deals that might require it.
  12. US Bank Cash Plus. The newest card to offer 5% cash back categories with a twist: you get to pick the categories. One of the categories to choose from is bill pay. Earning 5% on paying bills is enough to make me want to check this card out! Stay tuned, as Kate will have more on this card in an upcoming article.
  13. Ink Bold with Ultimate Rewards. $500 bonus when you redeem the 50,000 bonus points with no annual fee for the first year. The rewards stretch a little further if you redeem for travel, but I’m in a cash mode. My target of this application spree is personal cards, but if I make it all the way through this list, I’ll probably circle back and add some additional business credit cards.

More on My Application Spree

Travel Cards. Again, I’m sticking to the cash cards right now and saving the travel cards for a future Travel Application Spree for Points and Miles.

0% Balance Transfers. An application spree wouldn’t be complete without throwing in some 0% balance transfer money. After I pick up all the cards with sign up bonuses that I want, I’ll tack on a few 0% cards at the end. Most likely the Slate from Chase since it has 0% for 15 months with no balance transfer fee.

Cards I Skipped. There are a couple of cards I eliminated including the Chase Freedom MasterCard. While there is a $100 sign up bonus, I already have 2 of these; I’m taking a wild guess that Chase won’t let me have another one, so I don’t want to waste the application when I can use it to pick up some other cards. In addition, I’m on the fence about the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express with a $100 sign up bonus. I already have the preferred version of this card, so I’m going to hold off on this one right now.

Overall Value

If I can qualify for all of the sign up bonuses, the income from the spree is: $2980. The total for Scott’s application spree was just over $1500 and my goal is to double that, so I might have to apply for the Discover Student More Card to get the $20 sign up bonus to make it an even $3,000!

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Comments to $3,000 Credit Card Application Spree

  1. Wouldn’t it be hard to be approved when applying for so many credit cards at one time?

    Mary Ann Pumilia

    • Hi Mary Ann,
      As long as the applications are spread over multiple issuers, there isn’t usually a problem with applying for them all in one day. Many of the card issuers have a limit of 2 at a time (see my discussion with Squeezer below), but as long as you have good credit, they usually don’t seem to have a problem with it.


  2. I got the CapitalOne card for everyday purchases when my Schwab card got canceled. Looking forward to the 50% bonus.


  3. What kind of rewards are on the ink bold? Thanks for trying the sapphire again 🙂 I might open it up after I hear about your status on rewards 🙂 Thanks, Maggie


    • Maggie,
      After the sign up bonus, the ink bold card has 5 points per dollar at office supply stores, cell phones, landline, internet, and cable. Then 2 points per dollar on gas and hotels. 1 point per dollar for the rest.

      I’ll let you know how the second run at the Sapphire goes!


      • no I mean what can i get with the points? gift cards?


      • Right, of course that’s what you meant! You can redeem for travel (miles or their own travel redemption option), gift cards (some have discounts, so watch for that, if you go that route) and the cash option (the one I’m planning to use) in the form of a statement credit or check.


  4. Hello,

    I recently discovered your website and find it immensely useful. These articles about credit card rewards are particularly interesting. However I do have a question, and please forgive my ignorance because I’ve only ever had two credit cards so don’t have a lot of experience with credit cards. My credit score is very good though.

    So basically what you’ve been doing is opening an account with all these credit cards, grabbing the reward, then closing the accounts? I personally don’t see any reason why somebody would want more than a few credit cards at a time so I’m assuming that’s what you’re doing?

    My other question would have been about how this affects your credit score but I saw you already answered that in the comments section of one of the related posts.

    So unless I’m missing anything else doing this kind of thing seems like a no-brainer if you already have a decent credit score and are willing to put the effort (which appears to be pretty minimal in itself) into it?

    Thanks so much.


    • Hi Paul,
      Welcome to the site! Glad you find it useful. As far as my adventures with credit cards, yes, I open the account to get the bonus. However, I don’t usually close the account (unless it has an annual fee that will kick in a year from now).

      I have lots of cards, many that I use on a rotating basis for cash back (Quarterly 2012 5% Rotating Cash Rewards Credit Cards), many of the others I use for other deals they send my way (like 0% balance transfers).

      Our credit score usually takes a slight dip for a month or so after an application spree, but doesn’t have much impact. Here’s more on that: How Much Do Credit Inquiries Really Matter?

      Yes you are right, I find it to be a no-brainer, it’s essentially free money just for playing with money.

      I will add that it does take some work to manage it all (but a detailed spreadsheet helps with that), and it’s not for everyone (my friends and family think I’m crazy!)

      Since it’s my hobby, I find it to be a very fulfilling way to spend my time while my kiddos are napping!


      • Hey Madison,

        Thanks for the information! As I alluded to I’ve only ever had two credit cards. There’s also only been one time in 20 years that I didn’t pay my balance on either of them at the end of the month, and in that case I paid it off the following month. So keeping it simple and only using my credit cards when I have the money in the bank to back it up has been the way I’ve done things.

        However I’m pretty organized so I think adding a few more credit card accounts (just a few though!) wouldn’t mess me up. So I may take advantage of a few of these. Thanks again! 🙂


  5. I doubt you will get approved for 3 Citi cards. They limit to 2 apps every 60 days.

    Squeezer @Personal Finance Success

    • Hi Squeezer,
      I figured the 3rd Citi card would be a stretch. However, since I’ve never tested it and always just applied for 2 at a time, I thought I’d give it a try… maybe I’ll hold off on the 3rd app for Citi and circle back in 60 days to pick it up!


  6. Thanks for the added comments on organizing all of this. When you first started out did you start with such a long list or did you start smaller?


    • Hi Martha,
      I looked back through all my notes from years ago. At some point, I started keeping all my notes in one file for future reference. The earliest application spree I could find in that file was from March of 2006. On that spree, I applied for 25 accounts. For my 2007 spree, I applied for 22 accounts.

      Over time, I’ve gotten much pickier about which accounts I want, so the list has actually gotten shorter!


  7. Madison i have done what you did but on a much more limited basis I currently use the Amex preferred in supermarkets and got the bonus cash 3 months ago. I am working on a Discover card program ($500.00 CB for spending $1500.00 per month for 5 months and Sept is the 5th month,) This was a targeted offer and I called them 3x to make sure it’s correct, plus all the CB rewards I get during their monthly specials, and they mail me $500.00 after Sept.!! I had the Sapphire and got the $625.00 check and then cancelled, I also used a BOA AAA card for 100.00 check for spending 300 in 90 days. Also got the pPenfedPlatinum rewards and got the $250.00 visa gift card. I also have 2 reward checking accts that pay 2.2 and 2.5 % but you have to use their CC 10x (on small purchases) I have a credit score of 740 and work fulltime and own a house with a Penfed Mtg. BUT, where do you spend the 3k in 90 days and all the other requirments to get the bonuses? I can not charge my Mtg payment but got a great rate. With all the high spending requirements are you buying items you don’t need? At the grocery store I get 6% back on the Amex preferred and did pay the $75.00 fee because I have 3 kids and spend tremendously on supermarkets.(mostly sales and coupons) So the 6% really adds up. For gas I use the Discover card thru 9/30 and will switch back to the penfed rewards (5%) all the time on gas after 9/30/12. I only use the Discover card to get the above mentioned 500.00. Here is something you may not know.— DISCOVER only pays .25% on all your purchases after you spend 3K for the year. ITs in very small print, but thats why I use my Amex preferred and Penfedplatinum for all other purchases(when my Discover program ends in Sept. They have the full 1%. Also I have the Citi Platinum Select which gives me 5% back at all drugstores thru 9/30. I buy tons of MIlk and my CVS’s in upstate NY are still charging $2.99/gallon. And Citi credits you the 5% on your next statement just like Pennfed does on their Cash card for gas.


    • Hi Barry,
      Here’s some of the tips I use to hit all the spending levels: How to Collect Multiple Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses.

      I don’t purchase anything we don’t need. If I have to spend more, I buy American Express Gift cards or Amazon gift cards. That way I can wait until I actually need to buy something in the future, but still be able to collect the bonuses.

      Thanks for the tip on the Discover card promo. I’m going to have to keep an eye on my mail from Discover for targeted offers like that!


  8. could you clarify something for me. doesn’t applying to multiple credit cards affect your credit rating??
    so in this article you are suggesting to apply for all of the credit cards to gain income from all of the bonuses? and you suggest that you can collect 3000$ + ???
    thanks for your time and thoughts.


    • Hi Cheryl,
      Applications do impact your credit. However, since I’m not planning to apply for a new mortgage in the near future, I have very little use for maintaining a credit report with zero inquiries. The inquiries also count for a very little portion of the overall credit score, so even with multiple inquiries, which will make my score go down slightly, it won’t be enough to harm me. Here’s more: How Much Do Credit Inquiries Really Matter?


  9. I recently went on a small credit card application spree myself. I applied for Chase Southwest card for two free flights (up to $800 in airfare) to kick in for the holidays, as well as an AMEX offer for $500 worth of points after spending $1,000 in three months. Woohoo!

    I currently have an offer by Chase Sapphire due to expire that is offering a ridiculous $995 worth of points (I am quite tempted!!).

    Amanda L Grossman

  10. on the starwood american express card how do you convert the points to amazon money? I only see the ability to use the points for hotel and travel.


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