Last month I talked about how I had decided to do my first App-O-Rama and signed up for 8 new Credit Cards in 1 day.
I have been getting tons of comments and emails asking me to explain my App-O-Rama, but I wanted to wait until I was approved for all the Cards and had them in my possession before writing about them.
Well after I returned from Star Mega DO 4, I had a huge stack of envelopes and new Credit Cards. Now that I am settled back at home, let me explain how I ended up with 8 new Credit Cards.
For those of you not familiar, an App-O-Rama is where you apply for a bunch of Credit Cards from different Banks all at the same time.
There isn’t a limit to how many Credit Cards you can sign up for at once during an App-O-Rama. It all really depends on your comfort level and if you can meet the Minimum Spend Requirements. So you can do 4 or you can do 15 Cards, it is all up to you.
The rationale behind an App-O-Rama is the fact that Credit Reports don’t update instantly. If you apply for 8 Cards at once, the Bank only sees that you are applying for 1 of their Cards. Whereas, if you spread the App-O-Rama over a couple of days, the Banks would see that you have applied for 8 Cards and would consider you a credit risk.
For those of you that have not met me in person, I am 24 years old (about to turn 25). I’ve had a Credit Card since I was 18, and have always paid my bills, kept my credit utilization ratio low, and pre-App-O-Rama had a Credit Score of 763 according to Credit Karma.
After opening 8 new Credit Cards, my score “dipped” from 763 to 759, and is now back at 761.
The thing that stops most people from doing an App-O-Rama is the idea that if you open 8 new Credit Cards, that your score will fall to 500 and you will never be able to get another Card. This is a myth! As long as you pay all your Credit Cards on time, you will be fine. In fact, I am fairly certain that in the coming months, my Credit Score is going to dramatically increase because I have around $51,000 in new Credit available from my App-O-Rama.
The reason I share this information is because if I am 24 and can get approved for 8 new Cards, then anyone older than me should definitely be able to do this.
Eventually I will have to buy a house, etc, but for those of you that already have a mortgages and have no foreseeable loans in the future, I would be doing App-O-Ramas every 3 months!
Although the idea of getting 8 new Credit Cards is scary, it isn’t like you are getting the Cards because you can’t afford your bills. The reason you are getting the Cards is to solely get the miles. Once I complete the Minimum Spend Requirement on the Cards, I plan on putting them in my drawer and never using them again.
Ideal 1st App-O-Rama
Every person’s App-O-Rama is different. The Cards I chose below all have specific purposes, but many of them were picked because I have already gone through all the “good” Cards.
Unless there is a glitch like with Citi, you only want to sign up for 1 Personal Credit Card & 1 Business Credit Card from each Bank. That means don’t try to get 4 personal Credit Cards from Chase all in 1 App-O-Rama.
If you are brand new to this, then an “ideal” App-O-Rama would be something like the following:
With this App-O-Rama, you would earn 203,000 Miles / Points after completing the $13,000 Minimum Spend Requirement in 3 Months.
Although the $13,000 sounds daunting, using Vanilla Reload Cards and Amazon Payments, you should be able to hit it without issue.
Although I have a large stash of United Miles and British Airways Avios (which can be used for AA Flights in the US), I have never ever had a single Citi or AA Card so I thought it was about time.
After United Miles, AA Miles are probably the next most valuable for International Travel, so I decided to get these 2 Cards so I’d have Miles for a future trip to Asia or Europe.
These 2 AA Cards that I got are identical and both are issued by Citibank, however 1 is a Visa and the other is an AMEX.
For some reason or the other, if you use 2 separate Internet Browser windows (ie. Internet Explorer, the other Firefox or Safari), you can apply for both Cards right after the other and get approved.
I ended up doing exactly that, and got a pending decision. So I simply called up Citi’s Reconsideration Line and was instantly approved with a $10,500 Credit Line on the Visa and $8,500 Credit Line on the AMEX.
The American Express Platinum Card wasn’t something I was planning on getting but after figuring out that it basically pays for itself with the $200 annual Airline Credit, I went ahead and signed up for it.
I’m glad I did because the benefits certainly outweigh any costs. Additionally, I personally have never had a Card that earns Membership Rewards Points, so I am interested to try that program out.
The AMEX Platinum doesn’t have a pre-set spending limit, so I am not sure of what the Credit Line is.
When most people think of International Airlines, US Airways doesn’t jump to most people’s minds, however they are just that. As of right now (unless they merge with AA), US Airways is part of Star Alliance, which means you can use US Airways Miles for flights on United, Lufthansa, etc. Additionally US Airways does fly their own Planes abroad to quite a few places in Europe.
Since there is no Minimum Spend Requirement on this Card, basically it is a free 30,000 miles to use on Star Alliance. Additionally, the issuing bank is Barclays, which is a Bank that most of us have never had a Credit Card from.
The other neat thing about US Airways, is that they have Off Peak Awards. So in January – February, you can go to Europe in Economy for only 30,000 Miles or in Business for 55,000 Miles!
For this Card, I was instantly approved with a Credit Line of $7,500.
Similar to the 2 AA Cards above, I signed up for these 2 Southwest Cards for a very specific reason.
As you have undoubtedly noticed, over the past few months, I have grown quite found of Southwest Airlines since they are an Ultimate Rewards Partner. Well unfortunately, I have spent around 67,000 Ultimate Rewards Points in the last few months on Southwest Flights and am running low on Southwest Points and Ultimate Rewards.
Normally I would just sign up for another Chase Credit Card that earns Ultimate Rewards (since I can transfer those Points to United, British Airways, or Southwest), however Southwest has a neat thing called a Companion Pass. If you can “earn” 110,000 Southwest Points in 1 year, you get a Companion Pass which means your Companion flies for free with you on any paid or award ticket.
The Companion Pass is valid in the year you earn the 110,000 Points, and the following year. As of right now, the Points earned from Southwest Credit Cards count towards Companion Pass Status. So since I travel primarily with the same person, with this Companion Pass, I can basically double the value of the 100,000 Southwest Points I just earned!
The reason why I got these 2 Cards in 2012, is so I can spend $1,999 on each Card in 2012, and then come January 1, 2013, I will spend the final dollar to surpass the $2,000 MSR. This way all 100,000 Points will be credited towards 2013. This means that I will have a Companion Pass that is valid for 2013 and 2014, or 2 FULL YEARS!
I am planning on writing an in-depth post about this Southwest Companion Pass because it is such a great deal, but if you are interested in earning the Companion Pass, I’d suggest signing up for the Cards now so you can start working towards the MSR in 2012.
I was instantly approved for both Cards and received a $5,000 Credit Line on Southwest Business Card. For the Southwest Personal Card, I received only a $2,000 Credit Line because I have 4 other Personal Cards with Chase. However Chase made it clear that I can move Credit around if needed.
Similar to Southwest and AA, this is another one of those weird pairings.
In all honesty, I was not even going to sign up for these Cards, until I saw that Hawaiian Airlines Miles can be transferred to Hilton HHonors at a 1:2 ratio. So the 70,000 Hawaiian Miles I will earn from these 2 Credit Cards can be transferred into 140,000 Hilton HHonors Points! Although Hilton’s program is fairly terrible, Hotel Points are something that you can always use, so it seemed like a great deal to get 140,000 Hilton Points for only having to spend $2,000 in MSR.
The weird thing again is that the 2 Credit Cards are identical, one is just issued by Bank of America and the other is issued by Bank of Hawaii.
Both Cards I was instantly approved for, and received a $12,500 Credit Line with Bank of America and $5,000 with Bank of Hawaii.
Tips For Managing An App-O-Rama
Although it is fairly easy to sign up for 8 Credit Cards, the real challenge happens once you have the Cards in your hands.
First thing I’d recommend is setting up a system to track your spending, login / passwords, and bill due dates.
For myself, I created a simple Excel Spreadsheet that has all my new Cards, how much I need to spend, and how long do I have to do it.
As I make “purchases” of Vanilla Cards or Amazon Payments, I just update my sheet so I know how much spending I have left.
Additionally, to make sure I don’t ever miss a payment, as soon as I make a “purchase”, I pay off the balance on the Card. This not only prevents me from not missing a payment, but also helps keep my Credit Utilization Ratio extremely low.
To meet the Minimum Spend Requirement, as I stated yesterday, I have being using Vanilla Reload Cards from Walgreens to complete some of it. Outside of that I have also been using multiple Amazon Payment accounts of family members to send money back to myself.
Finally to not raise any suspicions, I have also given 1 of the Cards to my Parents to use for holiday purchases or bills, and then they can just cut me a check later.
Basically, you have to get creative and want to try and complete the Minimum Spend Requirement at the lowest cost to you.
It is very easy to think that, “Oh I need to spend $14,000 in 3 months, so maybe I should just go ahead and buy that $5,000 TV I have been dreaming of”. Purchases like that defeat the purpose of doing an App-O-Rama in the first place, because you aren’t saving any money over the long run on travel since you just threw $5,000 down the drain.
Although the Cards I signed up for during my App-O-Rama seem very random, each Card has a very specific purpose and brings me added flexibility in making travel plans. Instead of having only United miles, I now have Miles scattered in quite a few different programs. So if United isn’t showing availability, I can now use my AA miles or my US Airway Miles to book a flight. Similarly, if there is no availability for my Starwood Points, I can now use Hilton Points to get a free room.
As for the Southwest Cards, the fact that I will be earning a Companion Pass is great because I already have 2 tickets Southwest tickets previously booked for January and February. If my Companion Pass comes quick enough, my Companion will fly free on those 2 Awards tickets saving me around 35,000 Southwest Points!
Although the $14,000 I need to “spend” to meet my Minimum Spend Requirement seems daunting, in the 1.5 weeks that I have had my Cards, I am over 25% of the way there just by using Amazon Payments and $1,000 in Vanilla Reload Cards.
As for my Credit Score, as I stated earlier I suspect it is going to go up substantially because I now have Credit from not only Chase, Discover, Capital One, and American Express, but also $51,000 in new Credit from Bank of America, Citibank, Bank of Hawaii, and Barclays.
All in all, with these 8 new Credit Cards, I should earn around 420,000 Miles / Points which doesn’t include the Southwest Companion Pass which essentially doubles the value of my 100,000 Point Southwest Sign Up Bonus.