Monday, July 1, 2013

Mother's Credit Card Update

As you may recall from a few weeks ago, my mother had her round of credit card applications (known in the community as an "App-o-rama" or "Credit Card Churn") where she applied for 4 new cards and negotiated a retention offer for a card she was going to close before the annual fee hit.

In case you're too lazy to click on the link above, here's a quick recap:

New Card Applications
  • Chase Ink Bold (Business Card) - $95 annual fee but waived the 1st year; 60,000 Chase UR points after spending $5,000; 5x on telecom, office supply spend; 2x on gas stations and hotels (Marriage Card) 
  • American Express Starwood (Business Card) - $65 annual fee but waived the 1st year;  25,000 SPG points after spending $5,000; 2x on Starwood hotel spend; 5% OPEN Savings at select merchants (One Night Stand Card) 
  • Citi Thank You Preferred - No annual fee; 15,000 Thank You points after spending $1,000 (One Night Stand Card) 
  • Discover IT - No annual fee; rotating 5% cash back categories every quarter (Booty Call Card)
Cards to Close/Retain
  • Citi Thank You Premier - $125 annual fee; allows you to use Thank You Points at 1.33 cents/pt for airline redemptions 
  • Chase United MileagePlus Explorer - $95 annual fee; provides primary insurance for car rental; United Airline benefits (free checked bag, priority security and boarding, 2 annual United Club Lounge passes)
Approval Update

I'm happy to report that my mother went 4-for-4 on the New Cards (after calling the Chase Automated Application Status Line) and negotiated a partial $75 statement credit to keep her Citi Thank You Premier card after spending $1,000 in 3 months.

While we didn't have to close our Chase United MileagePlus Explorer card, we will do that anyway to avoid paying the annual fee. Since my parents both have elite status with United (Platinum and Silver), we didn't need most of the card's airline benefits.

Hitting Minimum Spend

Now, we have $12,000 to spend to hit our requirements to earn the sign up bonuses (100,000 points + $75 statement credit). Here's how we're going to do it without overspending.
  • Chase Ink Bold - $3,000 via Amazon Payments in August, $1,200 in July & August donations to our favorite charities over the next 2 months, $800 in regular spend (groceries, diapers, metrocards)
  • American Express Starwood - $3,000 via Amazon Payments in July, $600 in June donations, $1,000 using Vanilla Reload cards, $400 in regular spend
  • Citi Thank You Preferred - $1,000 via Amazon Payments in August
  • Discover IT - no minimum spend required
  • Citi Thank You Premier - $1,000 using Vanilla Reload Cards 
In case you're not familiar with Amazon Payments or Vanilla Reloads, you can click the links for a great overview on each.

Amazon Payments:  Million Mile Secrets - Fast-Track Your Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus (July 7, 2011)

Vanilla Reloads:  Frequent Miler - Bluebird Takes Flight (October 16, 2012)

Travel Update

So as we approach the 4th of July, you can bet we're going somewhere. This time around, we're off to Chicago to visit my new friend Connor who was born about 2 months ago.

We'll be flying United (LGA-ORD) and staying at a combination of the Sheraton Elk Grove Village (Starwood), Park Hyatt Chicago (Hyatt) and Aloft O'Hare (Starwood).

So expect a few more daily blog updates over the next week or so as we're back on the road for the 4th!

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