I updated the how to guide found at the top of each page, it can also be found here. I finally got around to updating the referral links, and its amazing to see how much the game has changed in a year. Right now I am at 4 months till I am under 5/24. So here is my guide if I was to start all over again, assuming I had no cards at all:
Chase (My pick of 7 cards)
Being under 5/24 means a fresh start for me. Chase will check a rolling 24 month period in the past where no more than 5 new cards can be opened at ANY BANK, this is known as the 5/24 rule. Chase will only allow 5 personal cards to be opened before auto denial of all applications. Therefore Chase will be my first heist partnership before any other bank.
The 2/30 rule says that you can only have two applications every 30 days or else you’ll automatically be rejected. Chase will only give one bonus every 24 months, or 48 months for Sapphire Product. I got the Sapphire Preferred and bonus 6 years ago.
The Chase business cards do not count toward your 5/24 count, but you can’t be over 5/24 to get them. Ideally you would be able to get 7 cards from Chase by interspersing the business applications while applying for consumer cards. You would report as a sole proprietor as well as use your SSN as the tax ID number. Annual fees on business cards will not be waived so those with fees are not worth keeping for many.
I skipped the hotel branded ones because the $300 on the extra CSRs are more worth it than a single free night at a branded hotel. It is also much more flexible. There is a single datapoint that shows an inability to upgrade to a Marriott Chase Bonvoy to another Ritz. Not sure of this is because there was already a Ritz card in the books, or if the product is dead.
After you get five personal and three business cards from Chase, time to move to US Bank, which only has two good cards. Note that the Altitude Reserve has a rough limit of two new cards in the previous 12 months, so it may be a wait after Chase or replace a Chase card.
If I had to do it again, and I only had a 10 card limit on charge cards (see Doctor of Credit report). I would strive to have all 10 personal Platniums, using a combination of direct applications, then upgrading Green and Golds. You can have 2 new cards every 90 days, but people who hit this like clockwork have been shut down after having over 20 cards in less than 2 years! Be patient with AmEx or you will be ruined! As of Dec 2020 all business cards’ fees are no longer waived.
After getting the Platinum direct first, get the Gold, Green, Morgan Stanley (MS) and Charles Schwab (CS). Then directly apply for the Platinum again four more times (no bonus will be given again). Then upgrade the Gold and Green after one year. With 10 Platinums you will receive $2,000 in Uber credits a year, $1,000 in Saks credit, and $2,000 in airline reimbursement. Currently $1,800 in PayPal credit, too.
American Express Credit Cards
These have a 4 line of credit limit (personal and business included). The clear choice is to hit all 3 of the Hilton Honors Products, then upgrade to all Aspires. Then directly apply for a Bonvoy Brilliant.
You can apply for the same card twice, but will not receive the bonus the second time around.
The only worthwhile cards from Citibank are as follows:
4th night free on any hotel twice annually
5x ThankYou Points on dining, flights, and online travel agencies like Expedia or Hotels.com. Points redeemable for $.01 each.
$250/year travel credit
American Airlines AAdvantage Executive
American Airlines lounge access for you and 10 AUs
I would apply for these directly, and multiple times!
Contact the Citibank SCRA unit. They are often confused and will take multiple tries to get the MLA coverage:
Citi Customer Service SCRA Unit No matter where in the world you find yourself, you need to know your bank, credit card or mortgage is working for you – and your family. Our customer service representatives are ready – 24/7 – to answer your questions and solve your problems. You can even call us collect. Check the link below to make sure that when you have to go at a moment’s notice, you have the right product behind you.
For credit cards, mortgage and other banking products from Citi:Customer Service Contact us at 1-877-804-1082 Outside the U.S. (call collect) 1-605-335-2222
I have had the annual fees charged, then months later, get credited. Citibank is weird and often hit or miss, you just have to never give up! Here is another SCRA contact for Citi:
To request Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) status The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides various protections to our US servicemembers around certain financial obligations, like credit card debt, mortgage payments and more. If you’re entering the military or going on active duty, let us know.
Call us at 1-877-804-1082 or if outside the U.S. (call collect) 1-605-335-2222.
You may also fax, mail or overnight/express delivery to the fax number and address listed below. Please make sure you also send us the proper documentation – this could include a copy of your written Department of Defense (DoD) orders, a letter from your commanding officer, or any other document that the DoD deems a substitute for official orders.For credit cards, mortgage and other banking products from Citi:
Citi Customer Service SCRA Unit P.O. Box 790398 St. Louis, MO 63179 Fax: 1-866-533-0503
Capital One only allows one application for any of their cards per six months. However, their Venture card is simple to use and redeem.
Venture: Any spending earns effectively 2% back toward travel. Bonus: 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in three months, or 100,000 miles after spending $20,000 in the first year.
To apply military benefits, send a secure message. Alternatively, call (855) 227-1655. Note that they will not apply benefits to dependents’ cards.
I do not have any Capital One cards. They require a faxed letter to apply MLA/SCRA benefits, and will only do so for the service member, not dependents.
How To Meet Spends
The website Plastiq an easy way to pay rent, childcare, tuition, and domestic workers such as landscapers for their work. Use this link or my code 674873 to sign up. Note that its fee was recently increased to 2.5%.
Organic spending is the best way to meet spend. If you do a lot of online shopping it may be worth using a portal site like Top Cash Back or Rakuten (ebates) to earn cash back when doing your normal shopping. I use Cashback Monitor to see which one offers the best deals.
The act of buying gift cards is a red flag for fraud, particularly for U.S. Bank. Many consumers that have excessive (over $5,000) gift card purchases have had all of their accounts shut down. Merchants report to the credit card companies what goods are bought as part of an anti-fraud measure that gives them processing discounts. DO NOT BUY GIFT CARDS!
I’ve put this on the public side for potential new members. If you want to have more details on how to use the benefits, please find someone who has access to the site.