Credit card sign-up bonuses are one of the easiest ways to rack up lots of points and miles in just a few months, depending on how quickly you can meet the minimum spend requirement. I keep a close eye on the latest and greatest credit card welcome offers, so every few months when I’m ready for a new card (or a few new cards), I tend to already know what I want. and I can continue to apply .
For my most recent round of credit card applications, I decided to target three new cards. If successful, these bonuses would increase my points, miles and free nights, with a resulting net worth of over 450,000 points and miles.
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Establish my credit card strategy
I’ve spent the last few years focusing on business credit cards to help stay under Chase’s 5/24 rule. I haven’t completely stopped asking for personal cards, as I’ve shuffled a few over the past two years, putting myself at 4/24 on my last requests this summer.
I generally request new cards every three to four months. Basically, as soon as I complete the minimum spend on my most recent card(s), I’m ready for more. Depending on the current welcome offers, I sometimes ask for a new card; other times I apply for several new cards on the same day.
I only recommend applying for multiple cards at once if you can manage the minimum spending requirements. A good time to apply is when you know you have big expenses coming up. I plan to spend the required amount over the three months, so there is no need to rush and meet all the spending requirements immediately.
Related: How to Access and Create Your Credit Card Wallet
Request 3 new cards
The first card I asked for was the American Express® Gold Business Card. This card has an annual fee of $295 (see rates and fees), but I find great value in Amex Membership Rewards for the ability to transfer them to many airline and hotel programs. Amex Points are one of my most frequently used currencies, so I regularly look for ways to increase my points balance.
Amex has a once in a lifetime bonus policy, but I had never had Business Gold before, so I was pretty confident in my chances of approval. I had heard of targeted offers through referrals of up to 130,000 points for spending $10,000 in the first three months of opening, so I asked a few friends if anyone had this specific offer and I received a link from a friend. I had to apply in a browser using a private window, but I was able to view the targeted offer and was immediately approved. According to TPG valuations, these Amex points are worth $2,600.
Then I applied for the AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard, which currently offers a high welcome offer of 80,000 miles and a $95 credit when you spend $2,000 in the first three months. The card has a $95 annual fee, but the statement credit that’s part of the welcome bonus essentially makes the first year free. As a frequent flyer from Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport, AAdvantage miles are one of my primary mileage currencies. I often use them for Web Special reward rates and partner rewards, such as Qsuites.
The AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard information has been independently collected by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
I’ve had some difficulty with Barclays credit card applications over the past two years – some have been put on hold and then approved; others went on hold and then were denied. So, I wasn’t sure if I would be approved for this card. And like my previous Barclays applications, this one has been put on hold. I checked the status of my application online later that day and was happy to find a notification that I had been approved. I was happy that I didn’t have to call for a reconsideration or speak to a representative to get my application approved.
And finally I applied Marriott Bonvoy Unlimited Credit Card, which at the time offered five free nights (each worth up to 50,000 points) after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening the account. (The current offer is for three free nights — each up to 50,000 points — after spending $3,000 in the first three months.) This card has an annual fee of $95. Although free night certificates aren’t my favorite reward since they expire within a year, I can’t deny that a bonus equivalent to 250,000 points is a fantastic offer. According to TPG ratings, 250,000 Bonvoy points are worth $2,100. I was immediately approved for this card.
Effect on my credit score
I applied for these three credit cards, one after the other, in the space of about an hour. I received email notifications from my credit monitoring services, such as Chase Credit Journey and Credit Karma, of new credit applications within minutes of applying. The advantage of requesting these cards on the same day is that the inquiries will fall from my report at the same time in two years.
A common misconception is that applying for new credit cards lowers your credit score, but I’ve found the opposite. Adding a new line of credit that is repaid on time each month improves my score, although my experience may not be the same for everyone. It normally takes time to see the effect on my score, so I was surprised to get a notification from Credit Karma that my score had gone up about a week after applying for my new credit cards, with my score reaching 800.
Related: How to check your credit score for free
At the end of the line
I was successfully accommodated for my most recent set of credit card applications, receiving three new cards. Once I meet the minimum spend requirements, I’ll have almost half a million points worth (including the value of five Boundless Card free night certificates). And my credit rating improved after I applied.
Applying for a new card (or a few new cards) every few months is a great strategy for quickly replenishing your points and miles balances. And if you’re worried about lowering your credit score, you don’t have to — and new credit cards may help improve your score over time.
For Amex Business Gold Card rates and fees, click here.