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This was a request from reader Doug:
“Perhaps you could do a post that focuses exclusively on the issue of timing and compiles a few issues into one entry. How much time should people wait between applying for different cards? Are there different rules for different issuers/banks that people should be aware of? What is the common timing of increased sign up bonuses historically for some of the top cards and when does it make sense to wait for those?”
When you first get started in the hobby, it can be overwhelming. What card should I sign up for? How often is too often when it comes to applying for offers from the same bank? What bonuses can be gotten more than once? First, I recommend you check this post on Doctor of Credit for reference List Of Churnable Credit Cards It’s full of useful, well-researched information on this very subject, but do keep in mind, things in this hobby change constantly. Without further ado:
There aren’t any strict rules on how often you should space your Chase applications. That said, I really like to wait 6 months in order to avoid any potential issues, especially when it comes to my husband’s applications. He will never agree to call reconsideration line. I’ve seen reports that people were not instantly approved due to this very problem.
That said, many get two Chase cards within weeks of applying, so this is your call to make. This issuer usually has the best sign-up bonuses in the industry, so I’m very careful not to be the “hog that gets slaughtered.” Being blacklisted by Chase can be a lifetime affair.
Generally, you can get the sign-up bonus again as long as it’s been at least 24 months since you’ve last received it. Make sure to read my post on why it could make sense to get Chase Sapphire Preferred and other Chase branded cards if you are just starting out in this hobby.
With Citi, you can make only 1 application per each 8-day period. You also can’t make more than 2 applications per 65- day period, and no more than 1 business application per 95- day period. Confusing? Welcome to enchanting and simultaneously infuriating world of Citi.
You can receive the sign-up bonus again as long as you’ve closed (or converted) the same card 24 months prior. So, it’s very important to keep track of dates when it comes to Citi.
You can apply for one Amex card per day. Otherwise, there aren’t any other restrictions. You can only receive bonus on personal/business card once per lifetime. That said, if you sign up for lower offer, you can apply for the same card in the future and receive incremental difference in points or cash back.
There are no rules on spacing Barclay’s applications, but you may want to wait at least 6 months in order to increase your chances of approval. This bank is rather strict and doesn’t like churners. That said, once you are “in,” all of their cards are churnable. It’s the “in” part that can be problematic.
This is just a guess on my part, but it might be easier to get approved for Wyndham card than for Barclaycard Arrival Plus, since the latter is considered their premium product. Of course, if you are just starting out in this hobby and have a good credit score, you shouldn’t have a problem with either one.
I couldn’t find a whole lot of information on restrictions as far as timing of credit card applications is concerned. Ditto for reports on churnability. The reason? US Bank can be difficult when it comes to approvals. It really, really doesn’t like churners, so people don’t dare to cancel and reapply.
That being said, I constantly switch cards, and still got approved fro their Club Carlson Visa. So, I think it’s the case of YMMV If your application is pending, I recommend you wait it out. It appears, when you call their reconsideration line, most of their reps get spooked by multiple recent inquiries. Who can blame them?
My guess is their cards are churnable because some have been able to get a second US Bank Club Carlson Visa and receive the bonus again, while having their first card still open. It’s hard to make a definitive statement, though. In general, US Bank isn’t known for huge sign-up bonuses. One exception: Around the time of the Olympic games, you can expect to see an increased offer on US Bank FlexPerks Visa, so I would hold off till then in case you are thinking about applying for this particular card.
I wanted to cover all the usual suspects. Check the linked post for info on other credit issuers.
My personal strategy
I don’t follow any specific schedule (read my post on this subject), but rather sign up for decent offers that fit my particular plans. I try to aim for $350 value, whether cash, miles or points. So far, I still keep finding new cards to chase after, pun intended. Of course, you want to make sure to sign up for the offer when the the bonus is at its highest. See this post that references usual/highest sign-up bonuses on personal cards. And here is the same type of info on business cards.
I’ve said many times that everyone should pick their own comfort level and stick to it. For some, it means 1 new card per year, for others it means 10. Some may want to get a few cards and hang on to them indefinitely. There is nothing wrong with that strategy either. In fact, it’s much better than being a hog, don’t you think?
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.