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Signing up for new credit cards has been a major way that I’ve accrued so many points and miles over the past few years. Our regular spending only goes so far, although I have gotten into gift card reselling as a way of accruing extra points and earning a few bucks.

We’ve typically been able to burn through our miles and points as fast as we accrue them. Last summer my wife and I spent roughly half a million points and miles on a 30-day European adventure (SEE: Thirty days in Europe). We’d used a good number on a previous summer on a trip to Canada in 2015, but I took things to a whole new level in 2016. I think we spent less cash out or pocket for a trip that was twice as long!

Now I’m running out of card options

Since I’ve had so many different cards over the last few years, and because of stricter bank regulations, I’ve pretty much run the gamut of good products to apply for. I’d actually only applied for two new products in the last six months.

But I’d figure I’d look for a few options at the beginning of May. I’ve decided that the opportunity cost of *not* applying for new cards routinely and waiting for “5/24” to wear off is not worth it. So I went ahead and applied for a few.

My May 2017 picks

I signed up for the following:

  • JetBlue Plus Visa – 30,000 point offer
  • Citi Hilton Visa (no annual fee version) – 75,000 point offer
  • Alaska Business Visa – 30,000 mile offer
  • CapitalOne Venture Rewards – 40,000 point offer
  • Wells Fargo Cash Wise – $200 cash back offer

The Wells Fargo card is a 1.5% cash back card with a decent bonus for a small spend. Sure, it’s not a huge bonus, but cash is cash, and sometimes I’d rather have that than points. Plus, it’s a new bank for me, and the card has no annual fee.

My thoughts for applying for the Venture card was the fact that I’m quite short on flexible points. Plus, they send me an offer like every month.

(SEE ALSO: The difference between “cash” points and “points” points and why you need to care)

The others are “typical” points cards. I’m looking at the JetBlue Plus Visa for trying out Mint someday, and the Citi Hilton is a great no-fee card. Plus, the 75,000 point increased bonus link was still alive.

I decided not to apply for an Amex card this time around since I’m currently maxed out and have several new accounts with them over the past 6 months. I figured I should give them a pass.

(PWaC: I’m surprised Ian didn’t try and pick up one of the 80,000 or 100,000 Amex Hilton cards with all time high signup bonuses)

Outcome? Pretty rough…

The outcome of my signups were less than stellar. I got instantly approved for exactly 0 of the cards, and auto-declined for 2. This is about the worst result I’ve ever had. Maybe it’s time to sit back and let things cool off for a while.

Citi, Barclaycard, and Wells Fargo all followed up with an email saying that my application was “in review”. This has happened to me several times, and I wasn’t really worried.

The BofA denial was unexpected. I know that BofA has been tightening things up lately, but I did not expect to get auto-denied on the business card. I’ve never held the card, and it’s been several months since I got my last card with them. The denial from CapitalOne? I should have figured. What a waste of a hard pull.

Within a week, I got emails from both Citi and Barclaycard congratulating me that I had been approved. No letters ever came from Wells Fargo, Bank of America or CapitalOne. *sigh* So typical. But probably not their fault. I live in a USPS black hole.

Following up on the other cards

I finally got around to calling reconsideration for the remaining cards at the tail end of the 30-day window. First it was Wells Fargo. The call was short and quick. Still denied. Why? I have too many inquiries on my report. Given than Wells Fargo has played fast and loose with opening accounts (SEE: Wells Fargo employee: “From that point, I began drinking the hand sanitizer”), I was surprised. But the decision was still entirely understandable (because I *do* have a lot of inquires on my report).

Then it was Bank of America. A friend of mine said he got grilled by Bank of America when he applied for an Alaska business Visa, so I was pretty curious how the call would go. The agent asked me some detailed questions about my business, my income, what I’d be using the card for, etc. After a hold, I had a second round of questions. She then sent the application off for “recommended approval”. We’ll see where that goes.

[Bank of America reconsideration phone number and website]

Finally, I made the dreaded call to CapitalOne. After getting transferred to a second department, I got an entirely unhelpful agent. I thought he was going to re-review my application, but he instead came back and said that he was going to resubmit it, and that it might result in another hard pull! No. Just no.

I pulled a HUCA, with a different phone number. This time I got a credit application agent immediately after a brief hold. Same “we’ll resubmit it” story. So much for the Venture card. Now I wish they’d stop sending me a mail offer every month. I’m done trying with Cap One. You’ll never be what’s in my wallet.

Some takeaways

Poor decision on my part: applying for a CapitalOne card. I had a useless CapitalOne Visa card many years ago and ended up canceling it. Based on much of what I read, it was already a long shot that they’d approve me. But I’ve been looking for another card that offers flexible travel points, and it seemed like a good option, since I already have the Barclaycard Arrival (no-fee version). I mainly keep the Arrival because I can earn miles via the Barclaycard Travel Community.

Bank of America is getting stricter, although this has been the scuttlebutt for months. I only have 3 other business credit cards, and *none* of them required the amount of scrutiny/follow-up that this one did. Not sure I’ll apply for another business card with BofA.

Finally, getting mail from a bank doesn’t mean a thing. Wells Fargo and CapitalOne routinely send me offers in the mail, yet that doesn’t mean they will actually approve me for a product. CapitalOne’s denial was fairly unsurprising. Wells Fargo’s was not.

Conclusion

Overall, I came out 2/5, with still a possibility I may pull a third card out of this. We’ll see. Overall, it was a bit of a bummer.

At this point I may let my credit rest for a while. This experience has me more carefully considering waiting the 2 years for 5/24 to fall off.

What would you do? Is it worth applying for a card now and then? Or would you wait things out for 5/24? 

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