Latest Credit Card Application Round

August 10 marked 3 months since Ken’s latest credit card applications. So, with his approval, I set out to apply for the most lucrative offers out there. As a reminder, I don’t have a specific formula or set number of cards that we apply for each round. I simply review the offers out there and apply for the ones that meet our near term travel needs. Occasionally, if there is a limited time offer with a bigger than usual bonus, I’ll apply for that too even if we don’t need the miles or points soon.

Generally speaking, anything more than 40,000 miles/points or the equivalent of two free hotels nights is an offer that meets my criteria. However, you’ll note that we did apply for two Alaska Airlines cards at 25,000 miles each. We have a strategic use for Alaska Airlines miles in the near future that we’re trying to pad our Alaska balances for (hint, not for travel on Alaska Airlines).

Without further ado, the cards we applied for were:

Spark Cash from Capital One for Business card – $500 cash back after spending $4,500 in 3 months, annual fee waived first year, 2% cash back on all spending.

United MileagePlus Explorer Business card – 50,000 United miles after spending $2,000 in 3 months, annual fee waived first year. 50,000 United miles can be used for two roundtrip tickets in the continental United States. Or, it would be almost enough for one roundtrip ticket to Europe (60,000 miles for a roundtrip).

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard – 40,000 Arrival points (worth about $420 in reimbursed travel expenses) after spending $3,000 in 3 months, annual fee waived first year.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit card – 25,000 Alaska Air miles upon approval, $100 statement credit after spending $1,000 in 3 months, $75 annual fee not waived. 25,000 Alaska Airlines miles are useful for one roundtrip within the continental United States on Delta or American Airlines.

Alaska Airlines Visa Business card – 25,000 Alaska Air miles upon approval, $75 annual fee not waived

He was instantly approved for the Spark Cash from Capital One and the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card. He received a “pending” response for the United Mileage Plus Explorer Business card, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, and the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card.

Based upon our experience, I knew to check his Barclaycard Arrival Plus status by going to If it still shows pending when checking almost immediately after applying, that means that he likely will be approved. But, the past 9 months or so has resulted in a denial as soon as we check the status. We’re sure that this is because he’s had this card several times, but we keep trying. This card fills the gaps in our travel expenses quite well.

The United MileagePlus Explorer business card asked him to call in to verify some information. I absolutely despise making phone calls to banks to see if they will approve applications so I certainly would not be asking Ken to call. Many years ago I was excited about the prospect of getting lots of miles so I did call in quite frequently. But I hated every second of the call. So, we’ve been employing the “let it ride” strategy in the past few years and it has served us well.

About 5 days after applying, we received an email congratulating us on the new United MileagePlus Explorer business card which would be arriving soon. As an aside, two family members applied for this card the day after we did. They called immediately after receiving the same message to do so and were asked a variety of questions about their business, etc. Both were denied. So, my recommendation if you’re interested in this card would be to “let it ride!”

Lastly, the Alaska Airlines business card response was that they needed more time to review the information. I applied for this card a few months ago and got the same response. I ended up getting the card about a week later. And Ken did too.

In all, our total haul after meeting the spending will be $590 cash back, 52,000 United miles, and 51,000 Alaska Airlines miles. The total amount of spending required is $7,500 in 3 months. This is higher than most can do in 3 months but we employ a manufactured spending strategy in addition to our regular spending (which I’ve written about here). Our total out of pocket fees for these cards will be $50 (two annual fees of $75 each minus the $100 statement credit). Not too bad!

If you’d like advice on what cards might work the best for you and your family, please don’t hesitate to ask!

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