Finished this round of card apps.
Applied for in the following order:
1) AMEX CBE
2) Barclycard Arrival World MC (no AF)
3) Barclaycard Sallie Mae World Mastercard
4) Citi Dividend
Approved: AMEX Blue Cash Everyday ($5.5K) + Citi Dividend ($4K)
Denied: Barclaycard Arrival (no AF) + Barclaycard Sallie Mae Mastercard (no AF)
Barclaycard didn't like my student loan to income ratio. The rep said it honestly would be a waste of time to recon until that figure changed. No problem. My income will be higher once I graduate.
Both Barclaycards were World Mastercards, so it appears I was shooting too high. This result informed me to not apply for any Visa Signature cards, like the US Bank Cash+ card I had an eye on. So, World MC and Visa Signature are out of my range for now. Understood.
Before applying for the above four cards, my first FICO hit this round was from using: www.creditcards.com/cardmatch
Don't give them your social security number! The cards they pulled for me with my SSN were the same cards previously pulled without it. As a result, it was a waste of a credit hit. Use it as a quick tool to see which cards appear, but understand it's not a comprehensive tool. I was approved for cards much better than those the site recommended.
AMEX pulled a 708 from Experian to approve the BCE. I already had the CitiForward card, so Citibank approved the CitiDividend card without much hassle and gave me the same CL.
For students, the CitiForward/CitiDivdend combo offers great rewards, no annual fees, and very respectable credit lines. https://www.citi.com/credit-cards/credit-cards-comparison/detail.do?ID=credit-card-comparison
The Forward makes a great everyday card and even has cell phone protection. The Dividend has an EMV chip and travel benefits, like lost luggage protection and trip cancellation protection. A shame foreign transaction fees still apply. Kinda kills having the EMV chip. So domestic travel works best.
If you want to add an EMV chip to your Citi card, try here:https://www.citi.com/credit-cards/template.do?ID=chip-technology&intc=3~7~50~4~020113~5~ChipTechnology~IncludedServices/
Merrick's website provides a Go Score tool that tells me my FICO is 737 (for the past 5 months). AMEX pulled a 708. Guess these FICO scores aren't perfect. Merrick says it uses the 737 score to manage my account. Is it a TransUnion pull?
I'll upgrade my Cap One Platinum MC to the Quicksilver One and await/request CLIs on my other cards in Nov/Dec.
Overall, I've increased my available credit by $10K and am due back $200 from the two new cards. Already got back $200 from opening a new Chase checking account and adding direct deposit.
I'm happy and can't complain. Thanks to everyone who offered insights.