My April 2015 App-O-Rama: Chase IHG, Barclay Arrival+, Citi AAdvantage & Alaska Air

On Tuesday night I completed an app-o-rama and was approved for four new credit cards:

  • Chase IHG® Rewards Club Select
  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard®
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®
  • Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card

Collectively they’ll yield me:

  • 75,000 airline miles
  • 72,000 80,000 hotel (IHG) points
  • $440 in credit toward travel cost (offer has since changed slightly)
  • $25 in statement credit ($100 statement credit for Alaska Air card minus $75 annual fee)
  • Free, continuous access to my FICO credit score
  • Improved boarding position on American Airlines
  • Free checked bag on American Airlines
  • Platinum status with IHG

And for the first year I won’t pay any annual fees out of pocket.

I applied for all four of these cards within minutes of each other – an approach known as an app-o-rama – because it increases the chances of receiving approval versus applying for them days or weeks apart.  This is because each bank doesn’t see that you’ve applied for other cards because it takes a day or so for the inquiries to show up on your credit history.

Here are the details in what, why, how format…

Chase IHG® Rewards Club Select

IHG Rewards Club Select Credit CardWhat

This card from Chase is the only card branded for the InterContinental Hotels Group, a parent brand that has over 4,800 hotels in over 100 countries. 

The signup bonus of 70,000-80,000 points is sufficient to get two free nights in many of their decent hotels and the spend requirement to receive those points – $1,000 in 3 months – is easily achievable.

Here are the other benefits of the card:

  • 5 points per $ spent at IHG hotels
  • 2 points per $ spent on gas, groceries and dining
  • 1 point per $ on everything else
  • 10% points rebate on any redemptions (this effectively turns the 72,000 bonus points into 79,200 points)
  • Annual fee of $49 is waived the first year
  • Starting on the first anniversary of account opening, a free night every year at any IHG hotel
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • IHG Platinum status for as long as you hold the card
IHG Hotel Brands Wide Graphic
The IHG parent brand covers 11 child brands for a total of over 4,800 hotels in over 100 countries.

Why

I had been planning to apply for this card for the past couple months because there are two appealing IHG properties in the MLB spring training area we want to visit in March 2016.  With the higher-than-normal 70,000 72,000 80,000 point signup bonus I’ll get two absolutely free nights on that trip, saving about $700.

The spending requirement of $1,000 in 3 months is easily achievable and the annual fee is waived.  I’ll almost certainly renew this card as the renewal bonus of a free night at any IHG property can easily be worth $600+ by itself.

How

You can use this link to apply for this card.  I entered in my IHG Rewards Club account number and completed the rest of the application.  I was instantly approved for the card with a credit line of $30,400 – success!

I applied for the Chase IHG card through this page. After my application was approved I requested the promo on my account be changed to an 80,000 point + $50 statement credit signup promo. Chase agreed to add the 10,000 extra points but not the $50 statement credit - an outcome I'm very happy with.
I applied for the Chase IHG card and after my application was approved I requested the promo on my account be changed to an 80,000 point + $50 statement credit signup promo. Chase agreed to add the 10,000 extra points but not the $50 statement credit – an outcome I’m very happy with.

You may be able to trigger an 80,000 point + $50 statement credit offer by performing a mock booking on IHG’s website.  Try doing so first with a fresh incognito/private window and if that doesn’t work then log in to your IHG account and try again.

I wasn’t able to trigger the 80,000 point + $50 statement credit offer myself so I applied via another link.

Update: After I was approved for the card, I asked Chase, via the secure message feature of their website, to switch my account to the 80,000 point + $50 statement credit promo.  A Chase agent responded that they will credit my account with 80,000 points when I meet the spending requirement but they will not add the $50 statement credit.  I’m very happy with this outcome!

For more info you can check this Flyertalk thread.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard®

BarclayCard Arrival PlusWhat

This is a bank rewards card, meaning the rewards aren’t directly tied to another travel company’s program.  The card earns you Arrival miles which can be redeemed for statement credits at a rate of one cent per point for travel charges (or 0.5 cents per point for non-travel charges).  The signup bonus of 40,000 points is therefore redeemable for $400 of statement credits toward travel charges.  It’s actually a slightly bigger payoff though because you also get 5% (used to be 10%) of your redemptions back so the signup bonus will ultimately cover $420 of travel charges

To earn that signup bonus you have to spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days the account is open.  This is a moderate but manageable spending requirement.

The strength of this card and the associated program is its flexibility.  If we decide we want to stay at a boutique hotel or fly an unusual airline we can still do so without paying cash.  Supplementing your airline- and hotel-branded cards with a card like this provides good diversity and balance.

Here are the other features of the card:

  • Annual fee of $89 is waived the first year
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Complimentary online FICO® Credit Score access
  • Chip card designed to make your purchases more convenient and secure when paying abroad and at home
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credit
  • Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing

Why

Patty and I each got this card before our honeymoon and used it to cover miscellaneous travel costs on the honeymoon.  We each got the full $440 (now $420) of value from it!  We then canceled the card, about a year after we got it, instead of paying the annual fee.

I did some research and found that the Arrival Plus card can be churned pretty easily.  Once I learned that, it was a no-brainer to include the card in this app-o-rama because it’s so versatile and because the annual fee is waived the first year.

I’ll use the $440 of travel credit toward cab rides, stays in non-chain hotels and flights on airlines for which I don’t have miles.  Another option is to use it towards a cruise, effectively reducing the cost of a short cruise by about 50%.

How

You can use this link to apply for this card.  I completed the application and was instantly approved for the card with a credit line of $12,500 – success! 

Whereas there are some different offers floating around for the IHG card, the signup bonus for the Arrival Plus card is very consistent so it was straightforward to apply.

BarclayCard Arrival Plus Application Screengrab
The signup bonus for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus has been very consistent at 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days the account is open.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®

WhatCiti AAdvantage Select Card

This card from Citi is one of a couple credit cards tied to, and earning miles in, the American Airlines AAdvantage program.  The current offer that is widely available is for 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

The features of this card include:

  • First checked bag free for you and four travel companions
  • Group 1 boarding
  • 2 AA miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines and US Airways purchases
  • 1 AA mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back – up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year
  • Annual fee of $95 is waived for the first year

Why

Patty and I each got similar versions of this card prior to our honeymoon and parlayed the bonus miles into incredible business class flights on Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific.  Those flights, paid for with miles completely (other than taxes), would have cost over $10k if we paid in cash.

I’ll combine these bonus miles with some American Airlines miles that I already have and probably put them toward another international trip in the next year or two.  I expect that I’ll get between 1.5 and 2.0 cents of value per mile, meaning this signup bonus will have a value of $750-$1,000!

How

I used this link to apply for this card.  (It appears to be dead now so use this link instead.)  I completed the application and was instantly approved for the card with a credit line of $16,500 – success!

Citi AAdvantage Application Page Screengrab
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® has a signup bonus of 50k miles after spending $3,000 within 3 months of account opening. Those 50k miles should yield you at least $500 and possibly $1,000 of value!

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card

Update: The link I used for the Alaska Airlines card has gone dead as of 30 APR 2015.  I’ll post another update if a replacement link for the same offer appears.  In the meantime you can apply for the card to get 25,000 bonus miles but there is no statement credit issued.

Alaska Airlines Visa CardWhat

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card is offered by Bank of America.  One of the signup promotions offered is for 25,000 miles upon approval plus a $100 statement credit after making at least $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of your new credit card account open date.

Other features of the card include:

  • $75 annual fee 
  • Coach Companion Fare every year from $121(USD) ($99, plus taxes and fees from $22)
  • Earn 3 miles for every qualifying dollar in purchases of Alaska Airlines tickets, Vacation packages and Cargo purchases
  • Earn 1 mile for every dollar spent on other purchases
  • Receive $50 off the initiation fee of your new Alaska Airlines Board Room membership
  • Visa Signature concierge service for assistance with a wide range of services, including reservations, golf tee times and directions

Why

This application was a bit of a “throw-in.”  Because I wasn’t applying for any other Bank of America cards and this offer includes included the statement credit which offsets the annual fee, I included this card in the app-o-rama. 

We would love to visit Alaska at some point and beside that Alaska Airlines does have a great selection of airline partners, some of which are renowned for their premium cabins.

How

I applied using this link (now dead).  My application was instantly approved for a credit line of $18,000 – success!

Alaska Airlines Application Page 640x354 20140414
UPDATED: A screengrab of the offer I applied for: It offered a $100 statement credit, after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days after account is opened, to offset the annual fee of $75 completely.  That offer, now dead, made the 25k bonus Alaska Airlines miles essentially free.

Summary

I was four for four on this app-o-rama without even having to call a single reconsideration line!  That’s great and also a bit surprising.  I believe my instant approval for the Chase card was due to the fact that I had closed a card recently and I had also lowered credit lines on cards I wasn’t using.

The four inquiries associated with these applications would have a small, negative effect on my credit score but that will be offset completely by a lowered debt utilization ratio that will come along with the $77k of additional credit line I received.  I fully expect my credit score to stay above 800, as it currently is.

I’m looking forward to meeting the spend requirements of these four new cards, partially through the use of the Target Prepaid Redcard to pay my mortgage, taxes and student loan.  As I do so we’ll be finalizing some of the plans to put the 75,000 miles, the 80,000 IHG points and the $440 of travel credit to great use.

I estimate the total value I’ll get out of this app-o-rama at over $2,265.  Not bad for a night’s work!


What are your thoughts on this app-o-rama?  Do you have any of these cards?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section and as always, thank you for reading.

 

You May Also Like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *