My last card application was in February for the Chase Sapphire 50,000 point bonus, so I decided to avoid Chase this time around. Instead I applied for three cards:
1 – Citi Select AAdvantage Amex – 25,000 miles + $150 statement credit toward travel on AA (the link says $50, but when I called they told me my offer was $150)
2 – Bank of America Virgin Atlantic Amex – Up to 65,000 VA Flying Club miles
3 – Barclay’s US Airways Dividend Miles Premier Mastercard – Up to 60,000 Dividend Miles
I received instant approval for the Virgin Atlantic card, and although I wasn’t instantly approved for the Citi card (I do already have 4 Citi cards), I received an approval letter through snail mail this week. As for the US Airways card, I called the reconsideration line that I found on Million Mile Secrets at 866-369-1283 and was approved in a few minutes. Three-for-three on my latest round of card applications!
My total haul for this round will be about 120,000 miles. Now let’s break down each of the cards to understand how we can maximize the amount of miles I get through each.
Citi Select AAdvantage Card
What was a little odd about this card was the fact that I already hold 2 Citi AA cards (along with my Citi Forward of course). However, both of the Citi AA cards are Visas and one of them is the business card, so I’m guessing that Citi views the Amex as a separate product. In any case, the 25,000 mile offer is much, much lower than the 100K or 75K offers last year, but I view this card and miles as simply a bonus since I did take advantage, no pun intended 🙂 of both offers last year.
The way I happened upon this card was after calling AAdvantage customer service to inquire about the elite status match I wrote about a week ago. The agent somehow knew that I had both cards, and STILL offered me the Amex. I was doubtful that Citi would approve me for a 3rd AA card, especially after reading about how Citi is cracking down on churners and denying people based on their “for first time customers only,” policy, but my intuition told me that AA wouldn’t have offered the product to me unless Citi told them that I was targeted, so I went with my gut and it turned out that I was right!
Now I have to spend just $750 in the first 4 months to get my 25,000 mile bonus.
B of A Virgin Atlantic Card
This card is a bit more complicated as far as getting the full 65,000 miles (My goal is not to get the full bonus).
– 20,000 miles after first purchase
– 25,000 miles after spending $2,500 in the first 3 months
– 7,500 miles after spending $15K in the first year
– 7,500 miles after spending $25K in the first year
– 5,000 miles when you add 2 additional users to your account
Getting most of the 65K sign up bonus will take quite a bit of work and I’m not sure I’m up for it. However, getting 45,000 will definitely be my priority and it seems like a slam dunk in my opinion. I must add that you earn 1.5 miles per dollar spend on ALL purchases, which is much more generous than most mileage earning cards. The only other one out there is the Chase United MileagePlus Club Visa with a hefty $395 fee, but it does earn 1.5 miles on all purchases. If you are interested in that card, here is a link to a good discussion on FlyerTalk.
In any case, on the redemption side, these Flying Club miles can be redeemed on a multitude of partners including Singapore, South African, ANA, US Airways, Air New Zealand, Air China, BMI, Hawaiian, Jet Airways, and more. In addition, these miles can be transferred to Hilton HHonors points at a rate of 1 Flying Club mile = 2 HHonors points, so I could be looking at over 100,000 HHonors points if I choose to convert them.
The annual fee of $90 is high (and not waived) but possibly offset by the higher earning rate.
US Airways Premier Mastercard
– 40,000 miles after first use (you gotta love the zero spend bonus!)
– 10,000 miles after balance transfer
– 10,000 miles after first cardholder anniversary and every year thereafter
I’m thinking I’ll definitely get the 40K here, but the additional 20K may not be in the books. I do like the fact that the $89 annual fee is waived for the first year, so I’ll definitely keep this card around for a while. The card also comes with 2 $99 companion tickets (not sure what these are worth), a one-day pass to the US Airways Club, and a discount on a full club membership (I believe it is either a $75 or $100 discount). Finally, you earn 1 mile per dollar spent on all purchases.
It’s nice that US Airways is still a Star Alliance partner, so these miles can be redeemed on many partners (many are the same as Virgin described above), but also United Airlines, which features some great first and business class redemption opportunities.
Another successful card application round. After only getting the Chase Sapphire so far this year, I was a bit behind the power curve compared to others, but I’m sitting at about 170,000 miles now and it’s early May, so I have plenty of time left this year to hit my half a million goal for 2012.