Credit Card Application Spree Q & A

Posted by Madison on September 10, 2012

After I detailed my latest $3,000 Credit Card Application Spree, we had a great discussion on various parts of the application spree.

Here are the highlights of the questions from readers that might be helpful in understanding the application spree and maximizing the potential.

Credit Card Application Spree Q & A

Madison I have done what you did but on a much more limited basis. BUT, where do you spend the 3k in 90 days and all the other requirements to get the bonuses? With all the high spending requirements are you buying items you don’t need? – Barry

Hi Barry,
Here are 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.

I’m also testing out a new way to hit the spending levels… more on that after I can confirm it works!

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.– Cheryl

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 for a month or so, it won’t be enough to harm me. Here’s more: How Much Do Credit Inquiries Really Matter?

And yes, I’m applying for the bonus money and my goal is to collect $3,000 from it!

Wouldn’t it be hard to be approved when applying for so many credit cards at one time? – Mary Ann

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.

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

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!

After some additional thought, I decided that I really wanted the Citi Forward Card for the 5% cash back at Amazon. My second priority with Citi was the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card – Bonus Point Offer. After applying for both of those and thinking about Squeezers comments, I decided to hold off on the third Citi card for 60 days. I marked it on my calendar so I don’t forget! Thanks for the reminder Squeezer… sometimes I get a little carried away!

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. – Maggie

On the Ink Bold card, 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.

As far as double dipping on the Chase Sapphire card, I’m happy to report a success! Maggie and I have been discussing the possibility of taking advantage of the big sign up bonus from the Chase Sapphire card for a second time. Chase approved the card immediately and I’m busy spending away to get my $400.

I have the Chase Sapphire card, and the end of the “Fee Waived” year is rapidly approaching. Could I just call them and have my card “downgraded” to a no-fee account, or do I actually have to close the account to avoid the annual fee? – Alitass

Sometimes I have found that if you call Chase and tell them you want to cancel because of the annual fee, they’ll offer another card you can switch to without an annual fee. It is worth a shot to ask when you call. However, I usually like to cancel a card like the Chase Sapphire so I can recycle the sign up bonus like I discussed with Maggie above.

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? – Martha

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!

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?
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?
– Paul

Hi Paul,
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).
Yes you are right, I find it to be a no-brainer, and 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!

More Thoughts on the Spree

Since there was so much discussion and interest about the impact on my credit score, I decided to track it before, during and after the application spree. I’m putting together another article detailing how it went. Stay tuned!

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