Category Archives: Credit Card Churn

The Chase Reconsideration Phone Call

I recently wrote a post about my experience with my very first credit card churn, and subsequently wrote about how I decided to pick the particular cards I picked. The feedback I got from those posts was basically that I write too much. Hmmm…

So I will make an effort to shorten my articles going forward to include a little background, my experience, and then reference some “additional reading” in case you want more details.

On to the good stuff. The reconsideration hotline is basically your avenue to appeal a bank’s decision to either deny you credit, or if you got the dreaded “pending” decision like I got on my Chase Ink Bold application, to get an expedited decision.

What it entails is pretty simple: 1)You get denied or a pending decision; 2) You call the reconsideration line and answer some questions; 3) You get an updated/expedited (and hopefully positive) decision.

In my case, I knew I’d get a pending decision from my Ink Bold application since that’s what 99% of other people’s experiences have been in the reading I’ve done. I waited a day and called the reconsideration number and immediately began talking to a real human being from America (I love Chase for this).

He pulled up my application, put me on hold to check a few items, then came back and asked me the following questions:

  1. Tell me about your business (I told him I do buying/selling on eBay/craigslist type places).
  2. Tell me about the types of items you buy.
  3. How long have you been doing this?
  4. How much do you spend on a monthly basis?

At this point I was put on hold again. I must admit I was getting a little nervous that I wouldn’t get approved since the questions seemed rather detailed. The Chase representative came back with a few more questions:

  1. How much do you expect to spend going forward?
  2. I see you have several other accounts – how do you pay those accounts?
  3. What is your gross annual income?

I was put on hold once more. These last few questions were relatively easy. I was honest and said I didn’t expect to put very much on the card…maybe a few hundred dollars or up to $1K possibly.

The rep came back and said I was approved, and asked if a $5K limit would be sufficient. I happily said yes, and was told the card would arrive in 7-10 business days (I’m still waiting for it btw).

You can do this with Chase and with American Express, and several other banks as well. Reference the numbers below for your particular situation:

  • Chase Personal Cards reconsideration number: 1-888-245-0625
  • Chase Business Cards reconsideration number: 1-800-453-9719
  • American Express reconsideration number: 1-866-314-0237

For additional reading and to read others’ experiences, including how to deal with other banks, feel free to check out the links below:

If you need additional resources, Google is your friend!

 

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How I Chose Credit Cards for My Churn

In my last post I walked you through my first credit card churn and included some details about what my credit score was, what cards I was deciding on, the ones I actually chose to apply for, and all the approval decisions. Today I’ll walk you through my thought process regarding why I decided to apply for the cards that I did.

I think it’s important to give you a little background on my current credit card list and what airline and hotel loyalty programs I have elite status with.

Pre-churn cards (oldest to newest):

  • Bank of America World Points Visa
  • Amex Premier Rewards Gold
  • Amex Business Gold
  • Chase Southwest Visa
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Chase Freedom
  • Amex Business Platinum

Loyalty Elite Status

  • US Airways Gold
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Silver
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum
  • Hilton Honors Gold
  • Priority Club Gold

As you can see, I have elite status with two Star Alliance members and at least mid-tier status with three hotel programs. I’m also pretty well spread out among Amex and Chase credit cards.

Now, here’s the list of which cards I was considering for my churn:

  • Citi AAdvantage Visa and Citi AAdvantage American Express cards using the two browser trick (50K points each after $3K each in 4 months; 100K total)
  • Chase Ink Bold with Ultimate Rewards (50K points after $10K in 3 months)
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Personal (limited time 30K after $5K in 6 months)
  • Chase United MileagePlus Explorer (50K after $1K in 3 months)
  • Barclay’s US Airways Dividend Miles Mastercard (40K after first purchase, 10K every anniversary)
  • Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card (2 free weekend nights anywhere and automatic Gold status after $2.5K in 3 months)

Here’s my detailed thought process in the exact order that I thought about it:

  1. I know I’m getting the Ink Bold card for sure. It’s a powerful card that can provide 5 points per dollar on nearly every purchase (more on this in a future post).
  2. Unfortunately, the spend requirement for the Ink Bold is $10K in 3 months, so my remaining cards have to make it relatively easy to hit the spend requirements.
  3. I immediately eliminated the Citi American Airlines cards. Adding another $6K in 4 months didn’t sound feasible for me, plus I’ve seen those bonuses as high as 75K each in the past. I’ll pass on these.
  4. I’m already an SPG Platinum member, and I could definitely make use of the benefits. The $5K spend is high, but I have 6 months to do it, which definitely seems reasonable. I’m picking this card up for sure now.
  5. So far, I’ve picked one Chase and one Amex card. Maybe I should diversify.
  6. The Barclays US Airways card seems perfect at the moment. It’s a different bank, gives the bonus on the first purchase, and is the card for the airline I have elite status with. This is going to be my third card.
  7. I may not apply for a fourth card if the first three approvals don’t go as planned, but in case they do, I want to be ready. My last two options are the Chase United card or the Citi Hilton Card.
  8. The Chase United card has a lower spend requirement, which is very attractive. But I also have a lot of Chase cards already. The Citi Hilton card has a great perk in that it gives Gold status automatically, but I already have that. The two weekend nights would be great, but they’re a little inflexible since they have to be on the weekend.
  9. I’ll go with the Chase United card to continue to stockpile Star Alliance points, and hopefully Chase won’t mind one personal and one business card in the same day.

Now that I’ve picked the cards, it’s time to start applying right? Well, not for me…not just yet. I wanted to pick the order in which I was going to apply. Am I over-thinking this? Maybe…but I wanted to plan for a scenario in which I would end up getting denied a card and unable to get all  four. Here’s what I was thinking, and my thought process is definitely debatable:

  1. Chase business cards almost always get a “pending” decision. For this reason I’ll leave the Ink Bold for last, even though it’s the one I want the most.
  2. I have a good relationship with Chase already, so I’ll go for the Chase United card first.
  3. The card I wanted most after the Ink Bold is the SPG Amex card, and I have a good history with Amex. I’ll make this my second card.
  4. The Barclays US Airways card is kind of my wildcard…not sure how this one will work out. It will be my last personal card application today.
  5. I’ll apply for the Ink Bold last, regardless of what happens earlier.

Note that if I got denied on any of the first 3, it would have completely thrown off this plan. If I got denied on either one of the first two cards I definitely would not go for the US Airways card.

Thankfully I was approved for all four cards, and three have already arrived. I’m now in the process of carefully laying out my plan for meeting the rather heavy spend requirements of $11K in the first 3 months (Ink Bold and Chase United) and $5K in the three months after that (SPG Amex). I can always buy a pack of gum with the US Airways card since the bonus is given on the first purchase.

I’ll be sure to explain my plan for meeting the minimum spend requirements since that is always one of the main questions beginners have. Spending $10K in 3 months for a signup bonus sounds extremely daunting if you’re not a big spender, but believe me…I’m anything but a big spender (ask my friends).

In my next post I’ll be sure to explain the reconsideration hotline numbers that I’ve mentioned in my earlier posts, and how my experience went with the Chase Ink Bold reconsideration call.

 

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My First Real Credit Card “Churn”

For those that are new to the points game, a  “credit card churn” used to mean signing up for the same card over and over again, but the accepted definition now is this: the process of applying for multiple credit cards in the same day in order to minimize the impact on your total credit score and maximize the points you earn from sign-up bonuses.

I’ve mentioned in several of my previous posts that smart use of your credit can allow you to travel to world in style…with minimal cash outlay. A credit card churn is the one thing that can allow you to to get most or all the points you need for an amazing trip, all at once.

But first, a couple of quick explanations before I detail my cards and experience applying.

The reason a credit card churn minimizes the affect on your credit score is simply that the banks, those companies you’re trying to get your credit card from, report credit scores only ONCE per day. Meaning that if I apply for a credit card at 10am and another at 2pm, the credit check from 2pm will not know that I applied for credit at 10amIn essence, both credit checks should yield the same exact credit report and scores.

For this reason, there have been many, many, many people that apply for anywhere between 2 and 6 cards in a single day…and get approved for all of them. The prerequisite, of course, is having an outstanding credit score (as determined by those who check your credit) and responsible use of your current credit cards.

Personally, I just finished refinancing my mortgage before my churn, which brings up an important point. If you expect to buy a home and take out a mortgage or plan to refinance, it is recommended that you limit credit card signups in the 6 months leading up to the start of the mortgage process. And I can attest to the reason for this.

Luckily, my credit score was 740+, and 740 was the minimum needed to get the best rates from my lender (my 3 scores were 742, 744, 761 for what it’s worth). During the underwriting process, as the lender was asking me for all kinds of financial information like my taxes and paychecks and other items, I was also asked about a credit card that I’d opened and a credit line increase I requested in the last 6 months. They wanted a signed and dated letter from me explaining why I applied for each. It was pretty simple, but I can see how having 3+ new credit cards leading up to a new mortgage might cause some issues.

My loan funded on Friday 8/31, and I was eager to apply for new credit cards now that that process was over because I had been waiting for a long while to get that over with. My plan was to set aside some time on Labor Day to make it happen.

Here are the cards I was considering (in no particular order) based on the best offers currently available:

  • Citi AAdvantage Visa and Citi AAdvantage American Express Cards using the two browser trick (50K points each after $3K each in 4 months; 100K total)
  • Chase Ink Bold with Ultimate Rewards (50K points after $10K in 3 months)
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Personal (limited time 30K after $5K in 6 months)
  • Chase United MileagePlus Explorer (50K after $1K in 3 months)
  • Barclay’s US Airways Dividend Miles Mastercard (40K after first purchase, 10K every anniversary)
  • Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card (2 free weekend nights anywhere and automatic Hilton Gold status after $2.5K in 3 months)

This was my thought process:

  • I know I want 3+ cards
  • I know I want the SPG Amex card for sure since I currently have elite status with them
  • I can probably only apply for one personal Chase card and maybe a business card as well (see Chase section here for further explanation)
  • My best bet would be to spread out among several banks
  • I value United Airlines miles and Star Alliance in general
  • I NEED to be able to hit the spending requirements, otherwise it will all be for naught

With that in mind, I decided on my cards, the order, and my general plan of attack. I would first apply for the Chase MileagePlus Explorer card, move on to the SPG Amex card, and assuming everything is going well, try for the Barclays US Airways card. And if all three of the above yielded approvals, I’d go for the gold with the Chase Ink Bold business card (which I knew wouldn’t give me instant approval based on almost everyone’s documented experience).

Here’s how it actually went down:

  1. Chase United MileagePlus Explorer – APPROVED with a $6K limit
  2. SPG Amex – APPROVED ($14.4K limit)
  3. Barclay’s US Airways Dividend Miles Mastercard – APPROVED with a $3K limit
  4. Chase Ink Bold with Ultimate Rewards – PENDING

Success! Well, almost. I knew I’d get the dreaded “Pending” from the Chase Ink Bold because Chase likes to be very thorough with their business applications. I knew I’d have to call the reconsideration line, and after a few questions, I was APPROVED with a $5K limit!

Now, I covered A LOT in this post and I already feel like it’s too long, which probably means I should have split this up into multiple sections. I’ll be sure to make two follow up posts to cover the following:

  • Why I picked the cards that I picked (i.e. my detailed thought process)
  • The Chase reconsideration line (this is kinda important), and why I wanted the Ink Bold card so badly

With the bonuses I’ll earn, I will be able to travel nearly anywhere in the world in business class or better and stay there several nights…essentially for free!