Welcome to the Beginner’s Guide to Applying for Multiple Credit Cards! This is a step-by-step guide to show you how to get ready and apply for credit cards to earn airline miles & credit card points. The series will consist of 4 posts that cover these basic topics:

Part 1: Check and review your credit score

Part 2: Evaluate current credit cards and choose the best new cards

Part 3: Results and what do if your application goes pending

Part 4: Stay organized and monitor your credit

My Latest Credit Card Applications

After evaluating the credit cards I currently have, I decided not to cancel any of them before my new round of applications. Even though I have 4 personal credit cards from Chase and 1 business credit card, I have found it to be just as likely to get approved for the card by calling the reconsideration line if I’m not instantly approved.

When I called into the reconsideration line on this round, I asked to move some existing credit from a current card over to the new account that I was approved for. This eliminates a decrease in my total credit line and potentially a small drop in my credit score. Instead my total credit line stays the same through the process.

On my last round of credit card application I was approved for 6 new cards, so I decided to scale this round back a bit and only applied for 3 new cards. The major goals of this round of applications focused on earning a mix of free hotel nights and flexible rewards points. Ultimately I decided to apply after Chase had announced the increased 55,000 UR points offer for the Sapphire Preferred card (however, I’m now having some doubts on this strategy and I’ll write later this week about what I learned after I applied).

I am mostly building my accounts back up after my month long trip that was spent traveling through Turkey, Croatia, and Montenegro for more future travel.

I applied for the following cards in the following order:

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Current offer: 55,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months

Annual fee: $125, waived the first year

Why I applied:

Surprisingly I have never had the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and since the bonus offer increased to 55,000 bonus points last week I jumped on the offer. From talk on this FlyerTalk thread it sounds like the new offer is effectively a new product because of the $125 annual fee vs the version of the card that has a $95 annual fee. If this is the case, then you can qualify for this new offer even if you have previously had the card with the $95 annual fee.

I find the Chase Sapphire Preferred cards to be one of the best fixed point earning cards out there given that it earns 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Because the card earns Ultimate Rewards points it allows me the flexibility to use the points how I want to by transferring them almost instantly to the 1:1 transfer partners. The card also earns a 7% annual points dividend on all new points earned on purchases throughout the year, which puts this card more in line with the return on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Approval process:

I received a “decision pending” message after submitting my application, so I called up Chase several minutes later. After my application was reviewed and having offered to transfer some of my existing credit line from my Marriott Premier card, I was approved on the spot.

2. Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Current offer: 40,000 points after spending $3,000 within 90 days

Annual fee: $89, waived the first year

Why I applied:

This is a card I’ve wanted since the 40,000 miles offer came out and never got around to signing up for. During my last round of applications, I decided to apply for Barclay’s US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® since I expect that card to disappear sometime in the near future as a result of the merger between AA and US Airways.

However, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® was on the top of my list of cards this time around because it earns a 2.2% return on ALL purchases, making it the best all-around fixed points earning cards on the market. I will earn 2X miles on all purchases and will also get 10% miles back when I redeem for travel (i.e. redeem 25,000 miles for travel and get 2,500 miles back). This is my favorite card for general points earnings, and will be the card I take with me if I can only take one card.

Approval process:

I was instantly approved online.

3. Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

Current offer: Two weekend nights after spending $2,500 in 4 months

Annual fee: $95

Why I applied:

I really wanted the 2 free weekend night certificates that this card offers and I won’t have to worry about a devaluation (even though Hilton has already massacred its points). I can get a huge value from the 2 free nights because they can be used at ANY Hilton property. This means I can use the nights at any hotel from category 1-10.

Since I plan on making a 1-2 month trip to Asia next year, I am looking at redeeming this at the Hong Kong Conrad that normally has a nightly rate of $450+ or 80,000 points. While the annual fee is $95 and isn’t waived the first year, I value the 2 free nights way over the annual fee. The card also gives me free HHonors Gold status as long as I’m a cardmember–which means free internet and breakfast and potentially room upgrades.

Approval process:

After submitting my application I received a “decision pending” message, so I called up Citi and after several questions I was instantly approved.

Why to Call the Reconsideration Line

Even if you have a high credit score you may not be instantly approved for various reasons and calling the reconsideration line of the card issuers can easily result in an instant approval. The application may be pending because the bank may need to learn more about your credit before it decides to either approve or decline your application. By calling and answering several questions and providing any additional information the bank may need, you can speed up the process and often get an answer on the spot.

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About the author

Rand Shoaf

Introduced to traveling at a young age, Rand has since traveled to over 45 countries. Learning how to maximize credit card sign-up bonuses in college has allowed him to earn millions of travel miles and points. Using the same tips and tricks he writes about here has ultimately allowed him to explore the word for pennies on the dollar.