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Which 10 Credit Cards am I Considering for my March App-O-Rama?

Good morning everyone, happy Thursday.  My last App-O-Rama (where I applied for several new credit cards at the same time) was back in mid December 2016.  I usually wait 3+ months between App-O-Ramas, so the time has come to start my next round of credit card applications.  I am going to list the credit cards I have in mind in the order in which I will probably apply for them.  If you have any feedback on my strategy or think I am missing or applying for the wrong credit cards, please leave a comment below. Without further ado, let’s begin…

1. American Express SPG Business Credit Card – 25,000 SPG points after spending $5,000 in 90 days and an additional 10,000 SPG points after spending $3,000 in 120 days.  No annual fee the first year, then $95 in the second year.

With the impending merger with Marriott, this might be my last opportunity to apply for the SPG business credit card.  I can’t pass up this opportunity. 35,000 SPG points are worth ~$700 in hotel nights and airfare (and possibly much more).

2. Bank of America MERRILL+ Credit Card – 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in 90 days.  No annual fee.

Doctor of Credit reports that you can apply for this credit card over the phone.  50,000 points is worth $500 cash or up to $1,000 toward airfare.

3. Bank of America Alaska Airlines Credit Card – 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in 90 days. $75 annual fee.

If my Merrill+ credit card is instantly approved, I will apply for this credit card.  30,000 Alaska Airlines miles is worth ~$500 in flights on Alaska Airlines and Virgin America.  You also get an Alaska Airlines companion fare code which means you can bring a companion on any Alaska Airlines or Virgin America flight for only $120.

4. Bank of America Alaska Airlines Business Credit Card – 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in 90 days. $75 annual fee.

If the Merrill+ credit card and Alaska Airlines personal credit card are both instantly approved, I will apply for this credit card. 30,000 Alaska Airlines miles is worth ~$500 in flights on Alaska Airlines and Virgin America.  You also get an Alaska Airlines companion fare code which means you can bring a companion on any Alaska Airlines or Virgin America flight for only $120.

5. Wells Fargo Propel World AMEX Credit Card – 40,000 points after spending $3,000 in 90 days.

Doctor of Credit reports that this application is still available in branch (YMMV). 40,000 points is worth $400 cash, plus the card provides $100 of airline incidentals.  I also have a Wells Fargo checking account (thanks to the $250 checking account bonus), so I want to apply for a Wells Fargo credit card while I have my Wells Fargo checking account still open.

6. CNB Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card – 70,000 points after spending $5,000 in 90 days.  No annual fee the first year, then $175 in the second year.

You must apply for this credit card in branch, luckily there are a few CNB branches in San Francisco.  70,000 points is worth $700 cash, plus you get $250 airline incidental credit per calendar year and per card (the authorized user card also gets the $250 airline incidental credit).

7. TD Ameritrade Client Rewards Credit Card – $100 bonus after spending $500 in 90 days. No annual fee.

The sign up bonus is tiny (only $100 cash), but this credit card offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases.  When I opened my TD Bank checking account, I also got the TD Connect prepaid debit card.  You can only fund that prepaid debit card with a TD Bank credit card and I figured 1.5% cash back was better than earning 1 Aeroplan mile per dollar.  I want to get a TD Bank credit card while I still have my TD Bank checking account open.

8. US Bank FlexPerks Gold AMEX Credit Card – 30,000 FlexPoints after spending $2,000 in 120 days.  $85 annual fee.

I recently converted my FlexPerks Visa Signature and FlexPerks AMEX credit cards to no annual fee credit cards, so I am looking for more FlexPoints to restock my measly balance.  30,000 FlexPoints is worth up to $600 in travel.

9. Barclays JetBlue Plus Business Credit Card – 30,000 JetBlue TrueBlue miles after spending $1,000 in 90 days. $99 annual fee.

I got the Barclays JetBlue Plus Personal Credit Card during my last App-O-Rama, so I am going to try to add to my JetBlue balance.  30,000 JetBlue TrueBlue miles is worth ~$600 in flights.

10. Banco Popular Avianca Vuela Credit Card – 60,000 Avianca LifeMiles on your first purchase with code AVSPWE. $149 annual fee.

I got this exact credit card during my last App-O-Rama and I am curious if I can get another credit card and sign up bonus.  60,000 Avianca LifeMiles is worth $600 – $1,000.

I am leaving out Chase and Citi this round since Chase will not let me get any other credit cards due to their 5/24 rule.  As for Citi, I don’t think there are any working no 24 month language Citi American Airlines Credit Card links.  I hate having to apply for some cards online and some cards in branch.  The process takes 10 times as long compared to filling out the application online and I am worried that the approval decision will take too long and mess up the rest of my App-O-Rama.  I also want to get the credit cards as soon as possible because there are a few bank account bonuses that can be funded with credit cards and those bonuses end on March 31.

Wise Travel with Grant readers, what do you think I should do?  Should I focus on the branch and phone offers first or leave those out and try for all the online credit cards first?  So many decisions and so little time…

If you have any questions about any of the credit cards mentioned above, please leave a comment below.  Have a great day everyone!

30 thoughts on “Which 10 Credit Cards am I Considering for my March App-O-Rama?

  1. Noko

    HI Grant
    How do you spend that much minimum payment for each credit card? I used to use Bluebird to pay my bills, but I can’t make a deposit using a visa gift card anymore at Walmart. With that reason, I only applied Two credit card this year. Please let us know some options.

    Reply
      1. Mser

        CNB are insane. 1% income and those fools wanted full tax return plus a signed statement from our CPA saying we would have same or higher income this year.

        Told them to shove their request where the sun don’t shine – ridiculously intrusive requests made sure I’d never use their services.

        Reply
        1. Grant Post author

          Hmm, I definitely do not want to go through that trouble, so I guess I will pass on that CC offer. Thank you for sharing your experience with CNB.

          Reply
      1. Christian

        Why not a TD Aeroplan card? Also, I understand that you can’t get a second personal Alaska card from BOA. Any idea if you can get a second business card?

        Reply
        1. Grant Post author

          I’ve never used Aeroplan before and am a rookie with that loyalty program. Do you think I shoukd go for the TD Bank Aeroplan CC?

          You should be able to get multiple BofA biz CCs if you have multiple businesses.

          Reply
          1. Christian

            Aeroplan has decent J class award prices to Europe, and I believe they’re a Membership Rewards transfer partner as well if you need to top off your account. I haven’t done this myself, since I still have 6 months to go for 5/24 to expire, but it’s on my to do list.
            On the Alaska business card, it’s the same business, so I guess not. My current business card with them is only 10k limit, and I figured that they do a hard pull anyway for a credit limit increase, so why not get another bonus? Well, it was a thought anyway.

          2. Grant Post author

            I guess 25,000 Aeroplan miles is a good sign up bonus and I do have a big stash of AMEX MR points available. I might have to switch that CC into my AOR.

  2. Cogswell

    Nice summary. But you value Jetblue points at 2cpm? Seems high – I’ve usually seen it at around 1.4 and even then no one factors in that, when paying cash for a flight, you would earn credit card spending points and miles for the flights – this could easily offset the cost by another 20%…

    …and if you want to be really thorough you should factor in things like devaluation risk, inconvenience (ex. taking a longer flight to use points), illiquidity of points, etc. so it’s probably more like 1.0 cpm

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      You make a good point, but I’ve seen valuations very widely from $.01-$.02 per point. It makes a lot of sense to pay for JetBlue flights especially if you have Mosaic elite status, but sometimes I use JetBlue TrueBlue miles for family and friends who don’t care about elite status and just want a cheap flight.

      Reply
  3. Frank J

    I think the Merrill B of A card is now a 25000 bonus. I wish I could afford to spend enough in 3 months for the Chase Sapphire preferred card.

    Reply
  4. Tonei Glavinic

    Bank of America should be easy so I would save those for last – I’d avoid having a bunch of recent inquiries for applications where a person has to review them. I hear CNB is quite rigorous in their evaluation and approval process (and generally looking for a six figure income), so I might start that one a couple of days early to give them time to pull your credit report before slamming it with inquiries. Barclays is also quite stingy about cards, especially if you have recently opened one or have existing cards that you’re not using much.

    Reply
  5. ZEEV

    GRANT —

    Would really appreciate your insight and knowledge on the issue of obtaining TD Ameritrade client rewards credit card.

    You write that it can be used to fund the TD Connect Debit card. What do you use the TD Connect Debit card for?

    For example, do you know if you can use it to pay a Citibank credit card over the phone?

    As the NW Buxx cards are now history, as are the US Buxx cards (I think), can the above TD Ameritrade credit card be used to fund the TD Connect debit card (as well as the TD Go Buxx card?) and then you could use the TD Connect (or TD Go Buxx debit card) to pay a Citibank credit card bill?

    I ask as you noted that only TD bank credit cards can be used to fund the debit card that you named, and it certainly is not as good as earning a points/mile credit card to fund the debit card, but still, as you note, 1.5% cash back is still a potentially decent way to decrease the cost of easy MS for paying off certain Citi credit cards — if you don’t want to go thru the hassle of buying gift cards.

    Do you have any thoughts on such a maneuver?

    Thanks,

    Zeev

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Since the TD Connect prepaid card is like a real debit card, you should be able to pay Citi CCs with that card – that is my plan at least.

      Reply
      1. ZEEV

        Thanks, Grant!

        Could you keep us posted on this thread on how your plan to use the TD Connect to pay Citi credit cards goes?

        Would be most appreciative with your findings.

        Zeev

        Reply
  6. Dan

    Hey Grant did you find out about the Merrill card bonus yet? I’m due for my next AOR as well and was thinking about that one. With the Avianca 60k bonus I tried to apply for that one 3 months ago and got an error message after I submitted. It said somebody would contact me but I never heard anything. Have you ever heard of anyone having this issue?

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      I don’t have any interest in Asiana, but I have had several personal and business BofA Alaska Airlines CCs in the past – none open currently.

      Reply
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