My Mini January App-O-Rama – 80,000 Points/Miles + $200 Cash Back

I just completed a mini app-o-rama and I wanted to share the final results as I was not approved automatically for any of these 3 cards but #spoileralert, I ended up getting all 3 cards in the end. I post about my credit card dealings as these posts are always popular with readers but please remember just because I apply for a card (or 3) doesn’t mean you should. In fact, you probably shouldn’t as I know what I am doing and the risks associated with it. We are at different places in the miles/points games and probably have different travel goals/needs. With that disclaimer out of the way, here is what I applied for and why.

1) Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card – 55,000 miles total

Don't settle for the 30k offer!

Don’t settle for the standard 30k offer!

The offer/benefits:

  • 50,000 miles for spending for $2,000 in 3 months (check this post how to get this offer)
  • 5,000 miles for adding an authorized user
  • Additional award availability for United flights (unpublished benefit)
  • Free checked baggage & priority boarding
  • 2 United Club passes annually

This was the first card I applied for in this series of applications since I’ve been able to generate a 50k offer repeatedly but unsurprisingly I was not approved instantly (I never am with Chase anymore). I am running low on United miles and with it being 2+ years since I last got the signup bonus on this card, I wanted to see if Chase would give me my second United Explorer card without an issue. Nowadays I’ve been advising against calling Chase for reconsideration but I wanted to get this card sooner rather than later as I need to book a United award and would most likely need the extra award availability benefit to find the award space I was looking for.

I got grilled during my approximately 15 minute reconsideration call but the agent at the end offered to take a 10k credit line from my IHG card and move it my United card. This effectively forced me to close my IHG card which was fine with me. With the annual fee waived for the first year, this was a great offer for me and fit my upcoming travel plans perfectly (I even have a use for the United club passes I get with the card).

2) American Express Everyday – 25,000 points

The offer/benefits:

  • 25,000 points for spending $2,000 in 3 months
  • No annual fee American Express that keeps Membership Rewards points transferable
  • 2x Points on Supermarket Purchases
  • 1x Point on Other Purchases
Don't settle for the standard 10k offer!

Don’t settle for the standard 10k offer!

I’ve actually had my eye on this card for a while now for two main reasons. The biggest reason is I need a card to keep my Membership Rewards points active and still transferable to airlines/hotels as I plan on closing my Business Gold card when the annual fee is due in March. The other reason I wanted this card is for Amex Offers – as this is a no annual fee card, I know year in and year out I will make money off this card with Amex Offers. I will add a few authorized users to take even more advantage of the Amex Offers. I was not approved instantly but I received an email a few days later congratulating me on my new card without having to call reconsideration.

The normal public offer is only 10,000 points but I was able to generate this better offer of 25,000 points by using the infamous incognito method on this link here. It took several times across several browsers to get this offer to show but finally I tried this link in private mode on Internet Explorer and got the 25k offer. I plan on posting more about this separately but basically you should try opening a link for an Amex card in a private browser and/or mobile device as American Express is unlikely to recognize you as a current customer and thus will occasionally present a better offer. This method is reportedly working to generate a 75k offer on the Business Gold and Business Platinum cards.

3) BBVA Compass NBA Amex – $200 cash back (technically 20,000 points)

The offer/benefits:

  • $200 (technically 20,000 points) for spending $1,000 in 90 days
  • 5x points on ALL purchases during NBA All Star Weekend and the NBA Finals
  • 3x points for purchases for NBA games or purchases at NBA arenas/
  • 2x points for purchases at Supermarkets and Gas Stations
  • 1x points on everything else
Sadly, I am a Knicks fan

Sadly, I am a Knicks fan

This card is a bit of an outlier for me (and from a bank I never heard of until recently) as I normally don’t focus on cashback cards but I have three very specific reasons for getting this card. The first reason is for the 5x earning ability on all purchases during NBA All Star weekend and the two weeks of the NBA finals – this will help greatly with my increased on manufactured spending/reselling margins during that time period.

Another reason I wanted this card is that this is one of the few cards you can load to Serve online and earn points for it. However, from the time I applied to the time I actually got the card, Amex cancelled thousands of Serve accounts though not mine (for now). I plan to load it monthly to earn 1,000 points (more during the 5x periods above) for $10 until I’m shut down. Lastly, I wanted this card as this is yet another no annual fee American Express like the Everyday card above and thus eligible for Amex Offers, even though it is issued by BBVA Compass. I was not approved instantly for this card but I later received an email about a week later congratulating me on my new card without having to call reconsideration (that is if BBVA has reconsideration?).

This seems like a misfit of cards but I’m actually quite happy with this round of applications. If you noticed, I only applied for cards that had higher than normal signups as I always want to maximize my points/miles – if you are going to get hit with a credit inquiry, might as well make it worthwhile.

In summary, I acquired two no-annual fee cards that I plan on keeping so this will help with the average of my accounts. They are both eligible for Amex Offers so I will continue to make money off them as I’ve racked up hundreds of dollars of savings on my other Amex cards with Amex offers. The United card is good for a quick infusion of 50k miles and I can see myself taking advantage of the extra award availability for United credit card holders.

Lastly, in case you’re wondering these 3 credit cards were my 41st, 42nd and 43rd credit card I’ve had in my own name. And my actual FICO credit score right before I did this series of applications? An outstanding 805 which goes to show if you are know what you are doing, this hobby won’t just fund your travels – it can give you a near perfect credit score.

Actual FICO Score on 12/18/15

Actual FICO Score on 12/18/15

*As always, no affiliate links were used in this post*