Tonei’s January Credit Card App-O-Rama Results

Buenos diás everyone. I’m not usually one for credit card App-O-Ramas, typically preferring to apply for credit cards one at a time when they have high bonuses, but at the end of January, I decided to throw caution to the wind and apply for five new credit cards in one day, from three banks: Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Bank of America, and Chase.

Banco Popular de Puerto Rico

I finally decided to jump on the Banco Popular de Puerto Rico 60,000 Avianca LifeMiles offer that Grant wrote about in December. Like Grant, I also got instantly approved with a large credit line.

Image of the front of an Avianca LifeMiles Vuela Visa card with "Mr Grant Thomas" on the front. The numbers have been blacked out.

My card looks just like this, but it doesn’t have Grant’s name on it.

I paid my annual fee in February and made purchases on the card in March and April, but my LifeMiles balance is still zero. I emailed customer service to ask about it but got an automatic reply to call for assistance – when I did so, the representative (who I could barely hear) just said it takes 6-8 weeks for miles to post and that I should keep an eye on my balance at lifemiles.com. I’ll also email LifeMiles customer support and see if they can check whether I might have a duplicate LifeMiles account.

Bank of America

This was the big one – since Bank of America combines credit inquiries and is known to approve multiple applications at once, I decided to apply for three cards: Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard, Merrill+ Rewards Visa Signature, and Alaska Airlines Visa Signature. I already had three Bank of America cards open at the time (Alaska Airlines, Spirit, and a Travel Rewards card that used to be a Virgin Atlantic card).

A photograph of three credit cards (Amtrak, Merrill+, and Alaska Airlines) with the names and numbers erased

None of the cards were instantly approved, but a few days later, I checked online and the Merrill+ and Alaska Airlines credit cards were both approved. The Amtrak card approval came through a few days later. Bank of America gave me a $12,000 credit limit on the Alaska Airlines credit card, $5,000 on the Merrill+ credit card, and $1,600 on the Amtrak credit card. They also closed my Travel Rewards credit card without asking, but I wasn’t heartbroken – I hadn’t touched that credit card in ages.

A portion of a letter from Bank of America stating that opening of a new line of credit was contingent on closing an existing account, and saying that the listed account was closed "as agreed"

Hmm, I don’t remember agreeing to this part…

Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard

A screenshot of a promotional offer from Amtrak showing an increased 30,000 point signup bonus.

I signed up for the Amtrak credit card with a targeted 30,000 point bonus after spending $1,000 (I may have received the offer since I used to have an Amtrak credit card from Chase). 30,000 Amtrak points is worth over $900 in train tickets when you factor in the 5% points rebate for holding the credit card – I’m sure I can find a use for that!

The card also comes with a free companion voucher valid for any paid Amtrak ticket and a complimentary one-class upgrade valid on most regional trains. Those certificates posted to my account about a week after I was approved for the card. Since I finished my spend in March, the 30,000 bonus points posted with my April statement. I also got bonus points for the card’s 2x travel category.

A screenshot from an Amtrak Guest Rewards statement showing four line items for "BankOfAmerica WorldCard" - 336, 10000, 20000, and 1229.

Merrill+ Visa Signature

I signed up for the Merrill+ credit card with a 50,000 point signup bonus (worth $500-$1,000 depending on how you redeem the points) after spending $3,000. I think the points showed up within a couple of days of meeting the spending requirement. Now I just have to find some $500 flights to maximize the value of the points – or some flights I want to book with Alaska or JetBlue. (I’m kicking myself because I just booked a ticket for $520 on American that would have been nearly perfect for this.)

A screenshot of a Merrill+ Rewards statement showing a Best Buy purchase for $180 earning 180 base points and 50,000 bonus points.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature

I signed up for the Alaska Airlines credit card with a bonus offer of 30,000 miles and a $100 statement credit for spending $1,000 within 90 days. The $100 statement credit posted to my account two days after I hit $1,000 in spend:

A screenshot of a Bank of America credit card statement showing a $100 new account bonus.

And the miles posted when that statement closed, exactly two months after I was approved for the card:

Screenshot of an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan statement showing 30,000 bonus miles from the credit card signup and 1,280 miles from spending on the card.

Chase

I applied for the Ritz Carlton Rewards Visa Infinite card which comes with 3 free nights, a $300 travel credit, Priority Pass (including free authorized users), and a $100 discount when you book a ticket for 2 passengers on a domestic flight (Use Visa Infinite Credit Card to get $100 off Roundtrip Domestic Flights). I already had six personal cards and two business cards with Chase, so I wasn’t surprised when the application wasn’t immediately approved – or when it was denied a few days later.

A screenshot of a letter from Chase informing the recipient that Chase could not approve a Ritz Carlton Rewards Card because the applicant had too much credit extended by Chase and sufficient credit in relation to income.

After receiving this letter, I called the Chase reconsideration line and asked them if they could move credit from or close an existing Chase credit card in order to approve the Ritz Carlton credit card. They asked why there were so many recent inquiries on my credit report and ultimately refused to open the card. I got a second letter from them a few days later:

A screenshot of a letter from Chase informing the recipient that upon a second review they were still unable to open an account, due to too many recent credit inquiries, too many accounts with balances, and too many credit accounts or loans in relation to income.

Ouch.

Looks like I need to cool my jets with Chase for a while.

Do you have any of these credit cards? Any recommendations for what I should do with them, or questions about this round of applications? Let me know in the comments.

17 thoughts on “Tonei’s January Credit Card App-O-Rama Results

  1. daVE

    I haven’t received my LifeMiles either. I confirmed with Banco Popular that they had my correct LifeMiles number but you may be on to something regarding duplicate accounts – same thing happened to me with the Korean Airlines card. Let us know what you find out.

    Reply
    1. Tonei Glavinic

      So the miles from my April statement posted today, including 3x for grocery stores in Mexico. However, I don’t have any miles from my March statement, or any bonus miles.

      Reply
      1. dave

        My bonus miles just posted, weird. Statement closed about 9 days ago. I thought I had the card longer, but just checked I opened it early February – so it took an additional statement cycle to get the points after the initial purchase.

        Reply
  2. Michael

    Did you have other BofA cards? Seems like they aren’t being too friendly to numerous new accounts and seem to limit about 4-5 cards total on accounts now.

    Reply
    1. Tonei Glavinic

      Yep! “I already had three Bank of America cards open at the time (Alaska Airlines, Spirit, and a Travel Rewards card that used to be a Virgin Atlantic card).” Now I have 5 since they closed one during the approval process.

      Reply
  3. Christian

    I’d read that BOA won’t give you an Alaska personal card if you have one already open. Just to be clear, both the existing and new cards were personal?

    Reply
  4. Leslie

    Sort of unrelated question… – do you use Plastiq or any other service to pay your mortgage with mileage card? what are your thoughts on this?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I do not have a mortgage, just rent, then I Venmo to my roommate and she writes a check to the landlord. We are very old school here. I have used a credit card to pay people with Venmo. The fee is 3% which is high but decent when meeting minimum spend requirements. I think if you use the right credit card or are meeting minimum spend, using Plastiq is a good idea.

      Reply
      1. Tonei Glavinic Post author

        I also don’t have a mortgage, and since my rent is in Mexican pesos I pay it from my US bank account using Transferwise. I’ve used Plastiq to make student loan and IRS payments using prepaid cards (either purchased with a credit card at a discount or received from a rebate), but only when I have fee-free dollars – I’ve never paid their fee.

        If you haven’t signed up yet, you can use my link, I’ll get 400 fee-free dollars and you’ll get 200 (meaning you don’t have to pay a fee on $200 worth of payments sent through the service, basically it’s $5 off): https://www.plastiq.com/cardholder_ui/start?referralCode=301562

        Reply
        1. Leslie

          I am actually now looking into using Blue Bird, which is free, but using gift cards for a nominal cost, a much more cost effective option. Thanks

          Reply
    1. Tonei Glavinic Post author

      As mentioned in the article, I applied for the Ritz Carlton card from Chase but didn’t get approved.

      Reply
  5. John

    Great article. I just got the Chase Business Ink Preferred and two Alaska Airlines (personal and business) for my app o rama!! Trying trying to finish meeting min spend. I used Plastiq and my mortgage payment went thru in 5 days (even though they indicated 7 days). There is huge bonus from Plastiq lately to use for your minimum spend requirements by using it to pay for your mortgage.

    Reply

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