Credit Card Advice for the future

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WilliamJefferson
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Credit Card Advice for the future

Postby WilliamJefferson » Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:00 pm

I want to apply for 8 more cards in 2015 sometime. Most useful to me at top down to least useful.

1. US Bank Cash+ (5% on restaurants)
2. Barclaycard Arrival (also would be my only no foreign transaction fee card I think - for flights and hotels - might do Arrival Plus and downgrade later but I don't know)
3. Club Carlson Premier Rewards, again, would only be for hotels I stay at, but the 40,000 annual points is allegedly worth about $160, and the annual fee is only $75. The gold status automatic is an additional 35% on spending points, which means I get 13.5 points/$ spent there, equivalent to a value of about 5.4 cents/$. Also redeeming for 2 nights gets you a 3rd for free so that's pretty awesome.
4. Maybe ChoicePrivileges card for Hotels, but it would only be for hotels I stay at myself, my work doesn't have us stay at their hotels, but it's another Barclaycard so I don't know. But apparently it's equivalent to 12% cash back when redeeming for their hotels, and at no annual fee there's no downside. I can throw a purchase of a pack of gum on there every 6 months if I don't stay at one of their hotels.
5. Citi Dividend (Rotating category could be useful)
6. Maybe PenFed Premium Travel Rewards (to use this for airfare only, otherwise I would use it on the Arrival card)
7. Maybe Sallie Mae Mastercard (to use instead of PenFed Platinum Rewards, I only spend like $50-$80 on gas a month so the limit isn't a problem for me, plus I get some on books - but the arrival card does more use for me and it sounds like it's hard to get 2 Barclaycards at the same time)
8. Maybe Santander Bravo (if I can't get US Bank Cash+, this will give me 3% cash back on restaurants - they don't operate in my state though so I don't know)

I'm not very picky about hotels and don't stay at them very much.

PenFed points convert back to about 4.2% value back for what you can redeem them for when I use the Travel Rewards for flight. I'd probably end up saving up and eventually redeeming for a cruise sometime in like 5 years or something. Not as useful as cash back but it's quite a bit better than the Arrival card at 2.2%, even if it's more restrictive. Would probably use it for Amazon gift cards.

When my company sends me on travel it's usually to a Hilton or Marriott, which would be the only time I stay at one of those most likely. But I only travel maybe one week a year, maybe a little more but not much. But that can run up to like $1000 a year I could put on the card. Is there a card worth getting for that with no annual fee? Otherwise I would use the Arrival card when I get that.

Since I don't travel much I think any airline specific card is useful for me, but if there's a no annual fee airline card or one with an annual fee but basically gives you a free flight for that annual fee, or if there's something for delta which has a low annual fee but a lot of benefits for it (I'm most likely to fly delta).

What do you guys think? Any advice, specifically about how to get the Barclaycards, because they seem to be picky. And about the US Bank Cash+ card. I just applied for a bunch so how long should I wait? 6 months? 8 months? 1 year? I got a US Bank checking/savings account to help. My AAoA will be very low because I've only had 1 card for 7 months and just got 4 new ones. But my utilization should be perfect, always pay on time in full, no delinquencies, and will have 5 open lines of credit with the biggest line being 7K and total being 15K.

And yes, I am playing the dumb game of trying to maximize every reward I can get. I realize it's dumb. I'm okay with that.


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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:01 pm

Which cards do you already have?

By the end of 2015, you'll have your oldest card be about 2 years old. That's a short credit age to have 13 cards. I expect some of the 2015 applications will be rejected.
Warranties and sketchy merchants: Schwab Platinum
Price rewind: Costco
Travel insurance: Prestige, CSP
Perks: IHG, Hyatt
Rewards/Offers: Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE
Taxes/Misc: SPG

Limited value, might close: Arrival

Might add: First Tech, proper business card

MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:24 pm

Since you asked what we think, I think I've been in your position. I accumulated a massive pile of cards. In the end, I found 2 things - first that I couldn't possibly make use of all of them without an income at least 3 times higher than I currently make and 2. it was a huge PITA to try to keep track of them all and babysit them all and play the high score game with that many cards.


My reasoning for getting so many was to try out as many different lenders and cards as possible then stick with the ones that really fit me.


So you can go nuts on the apps, and who knows maybe in a few years you'll have a pile of 30 or 40 of them just like some on the FICO forum. But I can tell you from experience that having a boatload of them to manage is a hassle and frankly it's just not worth it to me personally to have 15 or 20 cards where I can squeeze every possible penny out of everything I spend and it makes me 5 or 10 bucks a month more for spending several hours of my time. I could make more than that getting a part time gig flipping burgers at the local Golden Arches.


But everyone's situation is different so if you are hellbent on having a massive pocket full of cards more power to you. Since you mentioned Barclays, they do not like to see a massive amount of new credit opened, either right before you app with them or for 6 months after if you were marginal to get approved. When I recon'd my Apple Financing Visa I had with them, the analyst told me that they were kind of wary of all the new cards and it would be smart to lay low for a while on that. As always YMMV but they are well known to not like people going bananas on adding new accounts.

takeshi
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Postby takeshi » Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:44 am

WilliamJefferson wrote:I'm not very picky about hotels and don't stay at them very much.

WilliamJefferson wrote:And yes, I am playing the dumb game of trying to maximize every reward I can get. I realize it's dumb. I'm okay with that.

Sounds like you need to reassess your priorities and generate a new list. If you don't stay at hotels much then why are 2 cards in your list hotel cards plus the Arrival for hotels? If you don't travel much then why are there 2 travel cards in your list?

If you want to maximize rewards then look at your biggest spend categories and find cards that maximize rewards on those categories for your volume of spend. Your profile doesn't sound like it would support the spree you have in mind if your AAoA is going to be 1 month after all your recent apps. Don't just shop the rewards. Consider how well the cards you're looking at will suit you and how much you stand to benefit from them.

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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Sat Jun 28, 2014 1:10 am

Keep in mind that each new card you open is another account you have to monitor for erroneous and fraudulent charges. That will take a serious amount of time for all those cards. Not all of those cards are going to give you great customer service, either.

Run the numbers on your expected travel spending. You might not travel enough to justify multiple annual fees.

I certainly understand the enjoyment that can come from feeling like you have the absolute best card for each transaction. With enough time, you could probably put together a wallet that would be giving you 5% cash back (or equivalent rewards) on almost everything. I get the thrill that comes from turning your wallet into a giant toolbox that cuts all expenses by 5%. However, you really have to be spending a ton of money to justify all the time it will take up to keep track of it.
Warranties and sketchy merchants: Schwab Platinum
Price rewind: Costco
Travel insurance: Prestige, CSP
Perks: IHG, Hyatt
Rewards/Offers: Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE
Taxes/Misc: SPG

Limited value, might close: Arrival

Might add: First Tech, proper business card

WilliamJefferson
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Postby WilliamJefferson » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:23 am

Looking into it more I've decided I don't want the PenFed card (there's an effective annual fee of $20 because you have to be a member of PenFed which costs $20/yr - the value of it is only about 2% better than the arrival card which means my break even is spending about $1000 on airlines, which I'm not confident I'll do every year) or the Santander card (apparently dealing with anything with that bank is a nightmare).

The only annual fee cards I'd have would be the Blue Cash Preferred (which isn't travel and I'll use), and the Club Carlson Premier Rewards because I travel occasionally and the points it gives you annually are well worth the annual fee. I probably won't use the Choice Privileges much, but when I use it it will be very valuable for me, as it's effectively 12% back for staying at choice hotels, and it has no annual fee so it's fine if I don't use it much. That would probably be the last Barclaycard I try and get.

I travel for work occasionally and we charge it on our own card and the company reimburses us. But we could be staying at different hotels (though not choice hotels), so I wanted to use the Arrival because using a card dedicated for one hotel won't be as useful.

I don't expect to get all of these (and know I won't because 3 on the list are Barclaycards and 2 are US Bank Cards), so I'll apply for one Barclaycard (probably Arrival) and one US Bank Card (probably Cash+, and if I don't get it then I'll apply for Club Carlson), and the Citi. So my "spree" would only be 3 cards, probably in January 2015. At which point my AAoA should be about 7 months, with 5 accounts. I'll keep my utilization at about 8-9% overall (just my usual spending) with my highest limit being $7000 and total limit being $15000. I'll switch my direct deposit over to US Bank and move all my money from my Michigan checking account to the US Bank one. The direct deposit will be in the realm of $5000-$5500 a month and I'll probably have an average daily balance of about $5000.

My question is really is there anything else I can do between now and January to improve my chances of getting:

Barclaycard Arrival
US Bank Cash+
Citi Dividend

MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Sun Jun 29, 2014 5:06 am

For US Bank don't get any more cards. I've read they check with some service to see how many Visa/MasterCard(s) you've recently added. For me they pulled TU.


For Citi, keep the inquiries LOW and make sure you do report a balance when you app. For me they pulled EX.


For Barclay, not much you can do either they are ok with your wild app sprees or they aren't. For me they also pulled TU.


I'll app for Citi/US Bank first then Barclays in that order.



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