Lurker/Newbie - Credit Card questions

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Credit Cards' started by MaxSalvo, Aug 21, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. MaxSalvo

    MaxSalvo Member

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    Hello Everyone,

    I have been lurking here and other places for several weeks now. Up until then I had no idea what "churning" meant or that people actually had strategies for obtaining miles for free/cheap flights and hotel rooms. I find this extremely fascinating and also a great way to save money. I fly to China once or twice a year and the thought of being able to sit in a seat other than economy is worth the effort alone. Especially since it is typically a 14 or 15 hour flight.

    Here is my information and question(s)
    I am mainly interested in flying to China (pek or csx as a final destination). STL would be my home airport. AA and UA is what flights I usually choose while UA seems to be the one I typically buy because of the schedules/layovers. The days in which I fly are flexible as is most everything else. My wife is new to the USA and is currently trying to build her credit by having a secured Visa issued by a local Credit Union. We are looking into other options to get this moving as well. Once her credit is established she will try to apply for mileage/reward cards as well but that is a different story.

    My credit rating is excellent and 800+. No cc balances and everything paid in full every month. I currently have a Cabelas visa in which I have had for at least 5 years and up until recently used for most everything so I could get free hunting/fishing supplies. I have a Capital One Plat that I have seldom used. It is 4 or 5 years old or older. I also have a Credit Union Plat Visa that I seldom use. I just applied (3 weeks ago ) and was instantly approved for the Chase United card and will get the 50,000 miles once I spend $1000. I already added the "authorized user" to get the extra 5000 miles and the $50 credit has already showed up in my account. By the time the statement gets here I will have hit the $1000 mark and pay it in full. Spending $3000 in six months in order to fulfill requirements will not be a problem if necessary. I hope this is enough info to get this going.

    My goals would be to get tickets/upgrades to China for both myself and my wife. I thought I would start out with this at first and once I get a little experience under my belt I may try to add in hotels etc...(btw, we don't typically go to China at the same time as each other.)

    My questions.
    1. I would like to apply for the Chase Sapphire but since it has only been less than a month since I got the Chase United Explorer, do I need to wait 91 days before applying? I have read conflicting things and not sure what to do.
    2. I also have a business, should I also try to get the Chase Ink or another for that?
    3. I have read about the two browser trick for AAdvantage. How and when should I fit that into my plan?
    4. Should I close the accounts I already have but don't use or use them as bargaining chips if/when I have to call a reconsideration line?
    Sorry for the very long post but I wanted to get as much info out there as I could so this wouldn't have to go back and forth so much.

    Thanks for providing the site and to everyone for sharing their knowledge on the topics.
     
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  2. harvson3

    harvson3 Silver Member

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    Welcome to Milepoint. My answers are below, but I don't claim to be an expert. More knowledgeable people will weigh in soon.

    1. Opinions on this differ. Some say 91 days, some say that they've been successful in getting cards in fewer days.
    2. There's no reason to delay getting a Chase Ink because of a Chase personal card application. Even if you run a sole propreitorship, and give your SSN as your EIN, Chase sees you and the business as separate entities. However, applying for the Ink with a sole propreitorship (and maybe even with a separate EIN? dunno) will create a hard credit pull on your personal credit report. Too many of these can sometimes slow your churning cycle.
    3. The two-browser trick is currently 2 personal cards for 50K miles each. To get the bonuses, you have to spend at least $3000 per card, and sometimes $7000 per card, in 4 months. I can't help you on when you should apply, but it should be at a time when you can meet these minimum spending requirements.
    4. You can only use existing credit lines as "bargaining chips" in the reconsideration process (by offering to close them or move credit lines) when the cards are from the same issuer. It looks like you have one card with Cap One, one with the World's Foremost Bank (Cabela's), and one with your credit union, and now one with Chase. If you were to apply to Chase for another card - and Chase is said to allow people to hold 4+ personal cards - you could only offer to close the United card.

    Three things to consider before you close a card: 1) the average age of your credit card accounts matters in your FICO score calculation, the older/higher the better, 2) the percent of credit you use each billing cycle matters, the lower the better, and 3) issuers may be only willing to give you credit lines up to an unknown multiple/fraction X of your income. The first two factors might suggest that you not close the accounts just yet. It may be better to leave them in the drawer, where they aren't costing you anything and are helping improve your credit score. However, if you're concerned that your existing credit lines exceeed your income, you might either call in to ask that the credit limits be lowered or that the cards be closed.

    and now I'll cede the stage to someone smarter.

    EDIT: Oh, and it would help to familiarize yourself with the award redemption charts of the airlines you might travel, and set your goals based on your travel plans and the miles you'll need to travel there.
     
  3. IkeEsq

    IkeEsq Gold Member

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    1. Does not matter. You can apply for two Chase cards same day, the second will automatically get deferred and you may need to call to get it approved but there is no hard-and-fast rule about applying for 2 Chase cards in a short period. I think I got 3 in a month-and-a-half.
    2. Yes, you should probably get the Ink Bold and Sapphire Preferred if you are chasing UA miles. Time them based on when you can make the spend and to space your applications a bit, maybe wait 90 days from first Chase app?
    3. I would not necessarily wait too long on that as the links are already old and could disappear at any time. The main concern is number of credit pulls. For me, Citi and AmEx pull Experian and Chase pulls Equifax, so there is no real issue with Chase and Citi. YMMV.
    4. Leave open any accounts that do not have annual fees, or call retention for cards that have upcoming annual fees. They improve your length of credit and utilization. They can always be closed or their credit lines moved in order to accomodate new cards.

    The above advice is based in part on your statements that suggest that you have solid credit and understand the importance of your credit score. One note re: your wife: you may want to make her an authorized user on your older cards, which improves her credit history, if you have not already. Getting an AmEx is also good as the membership date will be based on the first card you get as long as you continually hold an AmEx card.

    Welcome to MP!

    Ike
    p.s.
    . . . or someone slower, anyway.;)
     
  4. chrislacey
    Original Member

    chrislacey Milepoint Guide

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    Welcome to MilePoint, MaxSalvo! Credit card churning is obviously a great way to (greatly) increase your mileage balance. That said, I'm not huge into it...but wanted to add my welcome aboard :)
     
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  5. MaxSalvo

    MaxSalvo Member

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    Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it.


    Couple more questions
    1. Why is the membership date for AmEx important?
    2. If I add my wife as an authorized user, will it have any negative affect on my credit?
    3. My cards have much higher credit lines then what she would be able to get on her own. If I add my wife as an authorized user on my account, will that be counted towards the credit available to her once she gets to a point where she can apply herself?
    4. I am still a little confused on applying for a second Chase card. I just got the Chase United card about 25 days ago and have hit the minimum spending mark where they should now deposit the points in my United account. I want to get the Sapphire card as soon as possible because I have several large purchases that I would like to put on this card to help with the minimum spend. Do I need to wait or should I go for it right now? (if I wait 30+ days will I be able to avoid calling the reconsideration line?)
    Thanks again.
     
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  6. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    It is not important for any purpose. It is placed there solely because American Express customers like to see it and they've had such a date since 1958 when they started issuing charge cards.
    No impact on your credit whatsoever, unless you do not pay her bill when it arrives.:)
    Generally, authorized users are neither reported nor recorded in credit reports. Some issuers do report them, and for those the balances reported and the payment performance do affect the creditworthiness of the user.
    Given your credit history you probably can apply for the Sapphire card now. Most comments in these threads are oriented to people who have many open accounts, use revolving credit quite heavily and thus are unusually sensitive to changes. That seems not to be your case. Were I to have the priorities you state I'd apply now. If your account is declined or set for review I'd just explain the situation, which will probably get you the card you want.
    Many posters here and elsewhere are very enthusiastic about business cards. I am not. The reason is that business cards are not eligible for consumer protection laws at all. They are defined as business, even though there is a very thin line between those and consumer cards and they're marketed as consumer cards. If you have a dispute with a business card issuer you have only the recourse afforded business in disputes, none of the consumer rights. If that does not bother you then there are quite a number of attractive offers that various bloggers here and elsewhere discuss.
     
  7. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    As jbcarioca said, I would apply for the Chase Sapphire card now. I believe either today or tomorrow is the last day for the "reduced" minimum spend requirement. No one really knows what the "updated" offer will be.
     
  8. MaxSalvo

    MaxSalvo Member

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  9. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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  10. MaxSalvo

    MaxSalvo Member

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    First I took screenshots of the 2000 spend offer. I used the link you supplied above and after switching from Firefox browser to internet explorer I got it to go through. I got a message that said application pending. I waited ten minutes and called the number. Got a message that said application pending due to two applications in less than 30 days. Waited one hour and called back. Application approved!

    Thanks for the link and advice from the previous posts.

    edit - just noticed the link is not working now. I must have just got it in the nick of time
     
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  11. Million Mile Secrets

    Million Mile Secrets Silver Member

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    The "new" offer is likely to be back in 1 to 2 weeks and should be $2,000 spending within 3 months.
     
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  12. slickw

    slickw Silver Member

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    Million Mile its been about 2 weeks. Do you still think this will be the case? It actually would make a difference to me whether I had to spend 2K or 3K based on the other cards I want to apply for in conjunction with the Sapphire.
     

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