As I was gearing up to depart for my extended trip to Argentina I decided to launch a round of credit card applications. I have several cards in my wallet that had upcoming annual fees so I wanted to cancel a few cards, as well as apply for a handful of new ones.

Before a new round of credit cards I take a look at my current credit cards and analyze the costs and benefits of each card. I ended up cancelling Barclays Arrival Plus (only to apply for a new one), Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature, and Alaska Airline Visa.

Given those decisions, I applied for four new cards. Here is a rundown of which cards I got and why I chose them:

Ink Plus Business Card

Sign-up Bonus: 70,000 points after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months

Card Benefits:

  • Earn 5x points per dollar at office supply stores, telecommunications, internet/TV services (up to $50,000 annually).
  • Earn 2x points per dollar spent at gas stations and on hotels (up to $50,000 annually).
  • Free LOUNGE CLUB membership and 2 free visits each year with the card.

Annual Fee: $95

Why I Applied: The Chase Ink Plus Business card is among the most valuable cards for earning valuable Ultimate Rewards points. The card earns 5x points per dollar at office supply stores, which makes it a great place to purchase gift cards, plus the card also earns 2x points per dollar spent at gas stations and hotels. These bonus categories make this card incredibly valuable for anyone who values Ultimate Rewards points.

I ended up having to call into Chase’s reconsideration line after receiving a “pending application” status. The good thing was that I was told that Chase would extend some credit to me to approve this card. Surprisingly this was the decision even after I offered to move some of my existing credit around.

The all-time-high 70,000 Ultimate Rewards points offer on this card was too good to pass up and I can certainly put the points to good use transferring them to various travel programs. It appears that this current offer will be around a bit longer, so if you’ve been thinking about applying for a new business credit card this is a great choice.

Application Result: Approved after calling into the reconsideration line.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus

Current Bonus: 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days

Card Benefits:

  • Earn 2x miles per dollar spent on all purchases
  • Get 10% back on miles redeemed on travel
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Arrival miles are extremely flexible and can be redeemed for any travel

Annual Fee: Waived the first year, then $89

Why I applied for It: This is actually my second Barclays Arrival card, but with its 2x mile earning on all purchases it is among my favorite all around cards and it is one that I will always have in my wallet. The 40,000 mile sign-up bonus is worth $440+ in free travel of any kind.

Arrival miles are worth 1 cent each and you can redeem them for any travel purchases, so this card is more like a travel reimbursement credit card. The miles are very flexible considering you can use use them for a statement credit for any type of travel, making it possible to cover award fees, trains, rental cars, Airbnb rentals, and more. (Earn $30 free Airbnb credit here.)

The Arrival Plus card has a $89 annual fee, but since it’s waived the first year it’s like getting $440 in free travel from the start. After the first year the 2x miles earned from every purchase may easily cover the cost of the annual fee.

One other perk that I really enjoy from Barclaycards is that you get a free FICO score that is easily accessible through the online account.

This is actually my third Barclaycard I have been approved for in a year and it’s great to see that it’s possible to have more than a few of their cards at once. Currently, along with my Arrival Plus card I have The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® and the Travelocity® Rewards American Express® Card.

Application Result: Instantly approved.

To read more about the Barclays Arrival card, check out these posts:

The Hyatt Credit Card

Sign-up Bonus: 2 free nights after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months

Card Benefits:

  • Earn 3x points for every $1 spent at all Hyatt hotels.
  • Earn 2x points for every $1 spent at restaurants, airline tickets and car rentals.
  • Free Platinum status as long as you are a cardmember.
  • Get a free night at a category 1-4 Hyatt hotel every year you keep the card.

Annual Fee: Waived the first year, then $75

Why I Applied: The Hyatt Credit Card is among Chase’s hotel credit card that I have been putting off applying for some time now. It offers a lucrative sign-up bonus of two free nights at any Hyatt property, but it pays off to have an uber expensive hotel in mind. Given that I’ll be heading to Europe is a few months, I figured now is a prime time to apply.

The card also offers automatic Platinum status, which could be useful for anyone without status. I recently took on the Hyatt Diamond Challenge so this won’t really be useful, but the 3x points for every dollar spent at Hyatt hotels will be nice for paid stays. Plus, the $75 annual fee can easily be worth it for this card as you will get a free night at a category 1-4 Hyatt property.

Application Result: Approved after calling into the reconsideration line.

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® World Card

Current Bonus: 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months

Annual Fee: Waived the first year, then $95.

Why I Applied: I value American Airline miles among some of the best miles for premium cabin awards. American Airlines miles can be used to fly on any Oneworld alliance partner and their current award chart is competitive.

I have had this card in the past and after burning through 62,500 miles on a one-way First Class award to South America, it seemed like an ideal time to replenish my mileage account. I knew that I was testing the waters with the time period needed between the last closed account, but figured since I was applying for several other cards it would be worth the risk.

Application Result: Denied. Confirmed that Citi is strict about waiting a full 18 months after closing your last CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® World Card. Lesson learned.

Quick Recap

After an impromptu round of credit cards applications I netted 110,000 miles and 2 free nights (worth up to 60,000 points) at a Hyatt hotel. Considering it took all but 30 minutes to earn the miles I would consider it a success, but certainly not a massive pull of miles and points. From my results you can see that I made a rookie mistake of applying for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage World Card a few months too early, but it helps to confirm that there is a strict rule of waiting 18 months on this card.

It’s great to see that it is possible to earn another 40,000 miles worth $440+ in free travel on the Barclays Arrival Card. I know that I will easily use these miles to cover travel expenses in the future and am glad to keep this card in my wallet. Hopefully, some of these data points can help you strategize your own credit cards applications and good luck!

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Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Bonus: 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. Earn an additional 10,000 points after spending additional $2,000 within the first 6 months.

Benefits:
-- 2X Starpoints per dollar spent at SPG properties
-- 1X Starpoints per dollar spent on all other purchases.
-- No foreign transaction fee.
-- Free in-room internet & unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi.
-- 2 stay credits and 5 night credits towards elite status with Starwood each year.
-- Starwood Gold status when you spend $30,000 on the card annually.

Annual fee: $0 the first year, then $95

Quick review: Starpoints are incredibly valuable when redeemed for free nights and flexible since you can transfer them to numerous airline programs. When Starpoints are transferred to an airline program in increments of 20,000 points you get 5,000 extra miles. This means that for every dollar you spend on the card you are essentially earning 1.25 miles of the airline of your choice.

4 Comments

  • Question on the CitiBusiness AA Card: Does converting to the Citi Business ThankYou card count as “closing”?

    • As far as I know that would count as closing the account, the rule on the CitiBusiness AA Card seems to be you can’t have the card within the last 18 months.

  • There’s plenty of contradictory info floating around about gaining sign-up bonuses a second time. It would be good to post a definitive story, just as an example, on how long one needs to wait after closing a Chase Sapphire Preferred before regaining eligibility for its sign-up bonus — I’ve seen all kinds of “facts” tossed around about this one, ranging from 18 months from first account opening date, to never in a million years.

    • You’re right about a lot of mixed info on this stuff—some cards state it is the T & C and others don’t mention anything. The best practice is to follow the terms and conditions given by the card, but even with that a lot of it comes down to YMMV (you’re mileage may vary). I’ll try to put something together in the future with a list of cards that have hard and fast rules.