My Latest Credit Card Applications

According to my trusty miles and points spreadsheet, it has been about four months since my last credit card application round. As loyal readers know, we apply fairly consistently for anywhere from two to four new cards every three months (sometimes even more – gasp!). Well, I say new, they aren’t really new to me since I’ve basically had every card out there at least once. But, knowing how long you have to wait between applying again for a credit card you’ve already held is second nature for me! And I was up for some cards I’ve had several times before.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, before you take on any new credit cards make sure that you never carry a balance on any of your cards and that you pay the balance off in full every month. The bonuses that you’ll garner from signing up for cards will pale in comparison to the check you’ll send every month to the banks for that interest payment (do people even send checks to banks anymore?).

The Cards

So, yesterday I applied for the following:

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. With larger balances you can use Alaska miles to fly on Emirates, Cathay Pacific, and KLM, among many others.

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

Starwood Preferred Guest business card from American Express – 25,000 Starpoints after spending $5,000 in 3 months, annual fee waived first year.

Why These Cards?

We have grand plans to visit South Africa in the somewhat near future and could use some more Alaska Airlines miles to top off our accounts. It has been over 3 months since receiving my last Alaska Airlines bonus, so I was up for it again. While you once were able to get multiple Alaska Airlines credit cards at the same time, Bank of America has clamped down on that. However, the general consensus is that applying for a new Alaska card every three months is still possible, and in my experience, that has held true.

I couple signing up for a personal card with a business card whenever possible, and this is one of those cases. Oftentimes, the credit inquiries will be combined into one on your credit report if you apply on the same day, but I’m not sure that’s the case with Bank of America. Either way, given that the Alaska Airlines bonus is only 25,000 miles per card, signing up for the personal and business cards gets me closer to my sign up threshold of 50,000 miles/points per card, assuming I am approved for both.

As a reminder, many people are eligible for business credit cards and don’t know it. If you sell anything (good or service) at any point throughout the year, you are running a business, regardless of how small. You would be considered a “sole proprietor” and would simply need to use your name as your business name and social security number as your Tax ID number. Of course, some people are not comfortable with this, even if it is legitimate, so only take on what you’re comfortable with.

The third card I applied for was the Starwood Preferred Guest Business card from American Express. Starwood is currently in the process of being bought by Marriott. Boooo! Marriott’s program, while highly regarded by its members who mostly are made up of business travelers, is terrible when compared to the SPG program. It’s unclear what the program will look like once the merger is complete, but my guess is that it’s going to look a lot like the current Marriott program. So, before that happens, I hope to maximize the SPG benefits as much as possible.

The SPG Amex comes with 25,000 Starpoints after spending $5,000 on the card within the first 3 months of card membership. Once meeting the spending, you’ll receive 30,000 Starpoints (25,000 bonus plus the 5,000 for the spending) which is a pretty healthy balance of SPG points. Usually in August/September, Amex has a limited time increase of the bonus to 30,000 Starpoints after spending $5,000 in 3 months, but it remains to be seen whether or not that bonus will be offered this year as the merger progresses.

While we have no immediate use for these Starpoints, they are very useful to top off frequent flyer accounts (they can basically be transferred to most frequent flyer programs at a 1:1 ratio – except United). And when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints, you get a 5,000 mile bonus which is pretty sweet. Or they can be used at Starwood properties like the Westin, Sheraton, Le Meridien, W properties, Aloft, etc. It remains to be seen how we’ll use ours, but getting them now was important to me as we don’t know what the future holds for the program.

The Results

I was instantly approved for the Alaska Airlines personal card along with the SPG business Amex. I received a pending response for the Alaska Airlines business card. The other time I applied for the Alaska business card I got a pending response as well and the card showed up in the mail a few weeks later. So I very well could be approved for this one. Or I could be denied. It’s hard to say, but either way, I’m happy with the result.

Our next few trips include a jaunt to Disney World which we covered with our DVC points to stay at the Boardwalk and Southwest points to get there and back (woohoo for the Companion Pass!) so no need for new cards there. And after that, we’re hoping for some version of a European summer vacation, but a few more stars need to align to make that a reality. So, we’re covered for our next few trips. My latest haul, while not huge numbers, fits nicely into our future plans so I’m happy with the result.

Credit Card Consultation

And for those of you who have a trip in mind but have no idea where to start in terms of what credit cards to apply for, please send along your thoughts to me at ourfrugallife1@gmail.com and I’m happy to provide you some guidance. While I do not receive a commission for any of the credit card links at Our Frugal Life, I’ll provide you personalized guidance that’s not driven by which cards give me the largest return. The fee for this service is $50 regardless of whether your trip is to the other side of the globe or if it’s just a trip to Florida visit the in-laws.

Before you know it, you’ll be winging your way to your next dream vacation for pennies on the dollar!

 

 

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