Yesterday I got a question from a reader and wanted to feature it in a separate post. Here is the gist of it:
“In a few weeks I plan on applying for Amtrak credit card from Bank of America (read my review). I’ve heard that this bank combines credit pulls. So, I was thinking it would be a waste for me not to throw in another one of their cards into the mix.
I’m leaning towards Alaska co-branded offer, since it was recently increased to 30K miles+$100 credit. I currently don’t have any specific use in mind when it comes to this currency. Any reasons on why I shouldn’t go this route?”
First, the reader is correct. Per recent data reports, Bank of America still combines credit pulls and many have success getting several cards at once. Be aware, the days of getting approved for four or more identical offers at one time are over.
Sure, few are able to get maybe two simultaneously. But for the most part, you will have to pick two separate products or risk unwanted attention and possible account(s) closer.
But should you? There are few things to be aware of:
1) Bank of America may not look favorably on this practice
Sure, as of now, all is well. But you never know how things will shape down the road. Bank of America may do an internal review next month and ban those who helped themselves to several bonuses on the same day. Slow and steady wins the race or in this case, is allowed to continue in the race.
I realize this doesn’t make me sound like a very sexy blogger, but I don’t care. I’m simply not going to encourage others to jeopardize their future standing with the bank over a few thousand miles. Obviously, do what you are comfortable with because in all honesty, everything should be fine.
2) Even though the inquiries should be merged, new account will be reflected on your credit report
There are few things that will happen as a result. First, it will decrease your AAoA (average age of accounts) which may, in turn, decrease your score. It’s not a huge issue for old-timers, but if you have a thin credit file, think twice.
Additionally, having extra new account on your report may adversely affect your future chances of approval for an offer you really want. Most of you are familiar with Chase 5/24 rule, and other banks also look at this aspect of your credit file.
3) You may not get approved for Signature version of Alaska card
Look at what the terms of this offer say: “You understand that if your application is approved with a credit line that is greater than or equal to $5,000, you will receive a Visa Signature® account; if your credit line is less than $5,000, you will receive a Platinum Plus® account.”
If you don’t get a Signature version, your bonus on Platinum Plus card will be a puny 5,000 miles. Sure, most people do get a Signature version as long as their income is decent, but not everyone. So, you may end up with an extra account listed on your credit report and very little to show for it.
I wrote about Alaska card before and why these miles are extremely valuable, so for most the risk is worth it. But personally, I’ve never pulled the trigger on this offer. If you decide to apply, try to do a dummy airfare booking on alaskaair.com You should get an offer that comes with an extra $100 credit.
Something I’ve mentioned to this reader is that he may want to consider other Bank of America cards that he can put to good use right now. It’s true, that bank isn’t known for huge sign-up bonuses and Alaska offer is one of their better ones.
Still, if you have no use for Alaska Air currency or are already swimming in miles, maybe it’s best to go after cash back, like $200 bonus on Bank of America Cash Rewards card after spending $500 in 3 months. Here is direct non-affiliate link that is working as of now (hat tip to DoC).
There is also an offer on Bank Americard Travel Rewards credit card that comes with $200 sign-up bonus, good for travel purchases. Of course, cash is better, but this card is also worth considering for some, especially if you are looking for 0% APR on purchases. Bank Americard Travel Rewards credit card pays me commission.
Here are the details on the offer:
- Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don’t expire
- 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days — that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases
- Use your card to book your trip how and where you want — you’re not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
- Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
- Now with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
- 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases, then 15.24% – 23.24% Variable APR
- Get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account
Obviously, $200 bonus on either card isn’t anything to write home about. Still, you may find that bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. If your Alaska miles will just keep sitting there for years, they are worth exactly zero right now.
The decision on whether one should apply for several BoA cards at once is up to each individual. I may or may not do it, to be honest. But I hope I’ve shown you some reasons on why this strategy may not be right for everyone. As always, the choice is yours.
Readers, your thoughts?
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.