Credit Card Dilemma -- Multiple Approvals, Can't Get the Sign-Up Bonuses

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smorcerer
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Credit Card Dilemma -- Multiple Approvals, Can't Get the Sign-Up Bonuses

Postby smorcerer » Wed May 07, 2014 1:52 pm

Hi all,

I’m new to this forum, and I wanted a little advice on a recent credit card acquisition information I’ve found myself.
My credit scores would be considered somewhat poor to fair. They are the following: Equifax — 694, Transunion — 675, and Experian — 651. Sufficed to say, the credit cards I already own are pretty middling.

I have the Capital One Platinum, Barclaycard Rewards, and Wells Fargo Rewards. The CO Platinum has a small credit limit that I can’t even remember; Barclaycard is at $3000 (it was bumped up due to good payment history with them); and WF Rewards at $6000 (the same as Barclaycard … bumped up.)

Now flash forward to a couple of days ago. I had received an invitation from Chase Freedom to apply for their credit card. I thought their rewards were pretty decent, and this was the first time Chase had offered any of their products to me. So I did a little research on their card, and saw the Chase Sapphire Preferred. I expect to do some travel later this year, and hopefully from then on; so this looked a lot more attractive to me. But as I continued to do more research on credit cards that were geared towards travel rewards, I saw that the Barclaycard Arrival World Travel card was a little better in terms of a lower annual fee, and 2x rewards on everything.

(Chase Sapphire Preferred has 1x rewards, other than 2 for travel.)
So I applied for the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard, and got the dreaded “Your application merits further review.” Since a hard pull was going to be conducted, and I didn’t think I’d get the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard, I decided to hedge my bets and at least put a period of hard pulls to good use, and I applied for the Chase Freedom card — only to get the same message that my application will be reviewed. Sufficed it to say, I was bummed.

After digging around on credit forums (I’m not even sure if it was this one), I learned about the reconsideration numbers one can call. So the next day (yesterday), I gave Barclaycard a call. After a few questions that I was expecting the credit analyst to ask, I got approved for $2500. But I was invigorated, and I didn’t stop there. I called the Chase reconsideration number, and they had informed me that I was already approved for the Freedom card. They just hadn’t notified me yet. I have no idea why I asked this — perhaps I was overtaken with triumph, pride, or confidence — but I asked if I could just upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card instead. The analyst gave me the spiel that it’s a different product and it would have to be a separate application (I’m a newbie when it comes to being a credit enthusiast, so you’ll have to excuse the ignorance on my part). So, I applied on my smartphone, and then called back right away. I was approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred for a $5000 limit. I was ecstatic! After years of having credit cards that lacked the pizazz of credit cards that one could acquire with excellent credit, I finally had two cards that typically require excellent credit (according to various credit card blogs) to obtain.

But …

Now I have two credit cards — with an emphasis on travel rewards -- with annual fees. To obtain the 40,000 bonus points, I’d have to spend $3000 on each credit card ($6,000 total). So, after further thought, I realized that it didn’t make sense to apply for these at the same time. (Like I mentioned, I must’ve been overcome with confidence and ambition. Lol)

So my question is, should I cancel one of them (I’m leaning towards the Chase Sapphire Preferred, although it offers me a higher line of credit), or does it make my credit history look good, having a larger line of total credit? (I do know, however, that is decreases my average age of credit, though.)

The emotional side of me wants to keep both cards, and cancel the Chase Freedom card (which has no annual fee), because they were cards I wouldn’t have been able to obtain before. The logical side of me suggests I keep the Freedom card and cancel either the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard or the Chase Sapphire Preferred, since it doesn’t make sense to have two cards with annual fees, with bonus reward periods starting at the same time. I guess I could always apply for one of them again later.

Does any credit enthusiast here offer any advice or suggestions?

Thanks in advance for your time.


MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Wed May 07, 2014 4:00 pm

If you just got approved for them and are thinking of cancelling before you even get the card, you probably should have thought more about things before applying. I've done the same thing so I'm not judging, just saying it would have been better to really think before acting.


Unless you really can't afford the fees (and if you can't, again, maybe the time to know that is before applying) I would leave them open. The CSP is a Visa where the Arrival is a MasterCard. You might be able to use that combination. Also they have sign up bonuses where IF You can hit the spend which will offset the fees for a while.


So since you took the hits, I would keep them. But it's your credit and your life.

mrow
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Postby mrow » Wed May 07, 2014 4:06 pm

Haven't read your whole post yet but just wanted to point out the the CSP is not 1x on everything but travel. It's also 2x on restaurants and an unadvertised 3x on restaurants the first Friday of every month.

Also, the CSP and Barclay Arrival are both good to have, if you can afford the AF, because there are some things UR points redeemed miles won't pay for, such as taxes and fees on some flights. You can pay for the fees with the Arrival and apply your miles to those fees once they hit your statement.

smorcerer
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Postby smorcerer » Wed May 07, 2014 7:02 pm

Hey there,


THanks for your reply.

I can afford the fees. The issue is would it be pointless to have two annual fee credit cards that essentially do the same thing?

And, you're right; I should've thought it through. (I did mention the reason why I opted to apply for both, however. My post was rather long, so it might've been asking too much to request help, but leave a disseration on here.) ;)

If I keep both, my goal is to try and see if I can hit the spending quota to get both bonuses. If I can't on one of them, then I'm not sure if I should cancel it before the AF is due.

Like you said, however, they are both nice cards. I just don't know if they're going to be redundant.


MemberSince99 wrote:If you just got approved for them and are thinking of cancelling before you even get the card, you probably should have thought more about things before applying. I've done the same thing so I'm not judging, just saying it would have been better to really think before acting.


Unless you really can't afford the fees (and if you can't, again, maybe the time to know that is before applying) I would leave them open. The CSP is a Visa where the Arrival is a MasterCard. You might be able to use that combination. Also they have sign up bonuses where IF You can hit the spend which will offset the fees for a while.


So since you took the hits, I would keep them. But it's your credit and your life.

smorcerer
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Postby smorcerer » Wed May 07, 2014 7:09 pm

Hi mrow,

Thanks for the reply!

With regard to your reward points mention, I read the following:

"The Barclays Arrival card earns 2x points on ALL purchases. That’s easy and pretty dang convenient.

The Sapphire Preferred earns 2x points on travel and dining (3x on the first Friday of every month) and one point on everything else. Boo to 1x earning. Ok, earning 1x is better than nothing.

I give the nod here to the Arrival card for simplicity, and 2x on all credit card swipes."

So I think it's implying what you are, but you have to admit that the Barclaycard is a little more generous with the points system, no?

Also, what's "UR" (in regard to "because there are some things UR points redeemed miles won't pay for...")

Thanks again for your reply!

mrow wrote:Haven't read your whole post yet but just wanted to point out the the CSP is not 1x on everything but travel. It's also 2x on restaurants and an unadvertised 3x on restaurants the first Friday of every month.

Also, the CSP and Barclay Arrival are both good to have, if you can afford the AF, because there are some things UR points redeemed miles won't pay for, such as taxes and fees on some flights. You can pay for the fees with the Arrival and apply your miles to those fees once they hit your statement.

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Postby djrez4 » Wed May 07, 2014 7:28 pm

I suggest browsing the "Manufactured Spending" forum on FlyerTalk.com.
[RIGHT][size=100]- Sapphire Preferred - Freedom - Ink - Platinum - Everyday Preferred -[/size]
[/RIGHT]

MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Thu May 08, 2014 6:17 am

UR = unlimited rewards. Basically Chase through the CSP allows you to transfer the points to a partner airline (or hotel) program where they then become worth more than 1x. This is where the CSP shines rather than the usual 1% rewards. I think you aren't aware of this.


Also with the Arrival you HAVE to use the points you get for travel - if you redeem for cashback it goes to a 1% card the same base rate as CSP.


So that 2% isn't really 2% unless you use it right, and the CSP gives more than 1% if you use it right as well. I just think you maybe did not know this.


Also don't be me and over-analyze the living hell out of every little detail in life - it doesn't have to be complex. I mean I know we as a species will consider getting a ham sandwich for lunch, then we spend 3 hours determining if a turkey sandwich would offer us more nutritional value while being more cost effective as well, and by the time we run a computer-driven program we've written to compare the pros and cons of such a vital decision, it's dinner time. Then we have to decide on broccoli vs corn and we certainly wouldn't want to make the wrong choice there, oh my.


What's done is done. I have both cards and they work fine together. If you end up finding you don't really use one of the cards for what it shines at (travel) you can downgrade it.


This isn't really worth expending hours and many pages of dissertation over like it's life or death it's plastic.


Lastly about manufactured spend, if you do it, don't get caught. In other words don't over-do that. Some lenders will take action against you for abusing the hell out of that including closing you down and blacklisting you. A little bit shouldn't hurt but I wouldn't go nuts with that like some do.

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Postby takeshi » Thu May 08, 2014 8:39 am

I know it has been said already but definitely keep spend requirements in mind when planning your apps.

smorcerer wrote:So my question is, should I cancel one of them (I’m leaning towards the Chase Sapphire Preferred, although it offers me a higher line of credit), or does it make my credit history look good, having a larger line of total credit? (I do know, however, that is decreases my average age of credit, though.)

You've already done the damage and might as well make the most of it. It's too late to worry about such things after you've apped.

smorcerer wrote:since it doesn’t make sense to have two cards with annual fees

Are you saying that based on just the AF's or have you actually run the numbers? Consider your spend and total cost/benefit -- not just the AF itself. That said, the CSP generally benefits those with more spend.

Did you sign up for the CSP under the no AF first year offer? If so, take it for a spin since you already have it and see if it's useful or not.

mrow wrote:Haven't read your whole post yet but just wanted to point out the the CSP is not 1x on everything but travel. It's also 2x on restaurants and an unadvertised 3x on restaurants the first Friday of every month.

...and don't overlook the other bonuses via the UR Mall.

CSP and Freedom can also be useful paired since the Freedom has rotating 5x categories and points can be combined with the CSP and transferred to travel partners for generally better rewards rates. I also have an Ink for its 5% categories and combine its points as well.

smorcerer wrote:The issue is would it be pointless to have two annual fee credit cards that essentially do the same thing?

The point is subjective. One's spend and specific needs/wants/preferences/priorities/goals all factor in and we really don't have enough info from you that would help us to answer your question for you. There isn't one answer to your question that would apply to everyone. Some might find the pair too redundant while others might find them both useful. mrow's post just prior to yours listed one possible reason for having both.

smorcerer wrote:"The Barclays Arrival card earns 2x points on ALL purchases. That’s easy and pretty dang convenient.

The Sapphire Preferred earns 2x points on travel and dining (3x on the first Friday of every month) and one point on everything else. Boo to 1x earning. Ok, earning 1x is better than nothing.

I give the nod here to the Arrival card for simplicity, and 2x on all credit card swipes."

Consider the entire picture and not just the earn rate. It can be tricky to calculate but working out value per point might help you to compare. Something else to consider is the CSP's 7% annual dividend.


The recurring theme here is that all of this should have been included in your research prior to apping. Like MemberSince99 I've made mistakes myself so I'm not on a high horse as I've had to learn from my mistakes -- just pointing out that there is a lot that you want to consider before apping. If in doubt, ask around. People here and even on other credit sites are willing to help with your research if you don't fully understand.

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Postby smorcerer » Thu May 08, 2014 3:11 pm

djrez4 wrote:I suggest browsing the "Manufactured Spending" forum on FlyerTalk.com.


I spent pretty much all night reading up on Manufactured Spending, and that seems like a lifestyle change to me. I'm not sure I have it in me to be on the prowl on a continous basis, but kudos to those who can! I wouldn't mind doing it just to activate the bonus miles on the two cards I have now, though.

It's really an interesting process, and I'm glad I know about it. You never know, though; one of these days I might become a convert.

Thanks for directing me to that site. I defnitely spent a couple of hours solely on researching that.

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Postby smorcerer » Thu May 08, 2014 10:38 pm

The more-and-more I read about the CSP, the more it seems like the better card. Especially if you have the Freedom (which I will have, as well) and a Chase checking account (which I think I might open now, especially with the $150 new checking account bonus they have going on right now).

As for HAVING to use the points I get for travel, with the Arrival card, that's totally fine by me. That's the reason why I chose those two cards, actually.

LOL @ the overanalyzing bit, because I think I'm exactly like you in that regard.

With regard to Manufactured Spending, it seems like a headache to me -- a way of life, if you will. I wouldn't have it in me, really. If I did, it would just be to hit the spend points on the two cards I have; other than that, I don' tthink I have time for it. Still, kudos to all those who do it and are reaping the benefits!

(I spent a couple of hours last night just reading people's experiences with it on forums, and even came across blogs about those who do it.)

Thank you for the taking the time to shed some light. I'm sure this has been discussed countless times before, but it's really a lot easier to get all the information you want to know from one source.

MemberSince99 wrote:UR = unlimited rewards. Basically Chase through the CSP allows you to transfer the points to a partner airline (or hotel) program where they then become worth more than 1x. This is where the CSP shines rather than the usual 1% rewards. I think you aren't aware of this.


Also with the Arrival you HAVE to use the points you get for travel - if you redeem for cashback it goes to a 1% card the same base rate as CSP.


So that 2% isn't really 2% unless you use it right, and the CSP gives more than 1% if you use it right as well. I just think you maybe did not know this.


Also don't be me and over-analyze the living hell out of every little detail in life - it doesn't have to be complex. I mean I know we as a species will consider getting a ham sandwich for lunch, then we spend 3 hours determining if a turkey sandwich would offer us more nutritional value while being more cost effective as well, and by the time we run a computer-driven program we've written to compare the pros and cons of such a vital decision, it's dinner time. Then we have to decide on broccoli vs corn and we certainly wouldn't want to make the wrong choice there, oh my.


What's done is done. I have both cards and they work fine together. If you end up finding you don't really use one of the cards for what it shines at (travel) you can downgrade it.


This isn't really worth expending hours and many pages of dissertation over like it's life or death it's plastic.


Lastly about manufactured spend, if you do it, don't get caught. In other words don't over-do that. Some lenders will take action against you for abusing the hell out of that including closing you down and blacklisting you. A little bit shouldn't hurt but I wouldn't go nuts with that like some do.



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