Update: application link for Merrill card appears to be dead.
Back in December, I reevaluated my Chase 5/24 status. If you are new to the credit card miles and points hobby or have no idea what I’m talking about, Chase will not approve people for most cards if you have opened 5 or more new credit cards in the past 24 months. It’s really a tough rule for those of us in this hobby, because Chase has some really awesome credit card offers!
Since the Chase Sapphire Reserve came out last year, I’ve been trying in vain to get pre-approved for the card to bypass the 5/24 rule, with no luck. Chase threw me a bone in January by pre-approving me for the Chase Sapphire Preferred instead. I was ecstatic with this approval, as the card still comes with a hefty sign-up bonus.
After getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred, I decided to hunker down and hold off on applying for new personal credit cards to get under 5/24 by November 2017. My strategy would include applying for business cards while my husband still collected miles from personal cards. I’ve been in this 5/24 holding pattern.
However, over the past few weeks, I’ve been having second thoughts about my strategy of waiting to apply for new cards. And a few days ago, I threw it all away and applied for a new personal credit card.
Why Did I Change My Strategy?
It really comes down to forecasting our travel for the next two years and determining which cards will fit our needs the most.
For the past three years, I’ve had a Southwest companion pass. One of those years, my husband had one, too. Our Southwest points and companion passes were a perfect fit for our family of five. We live near a Southwest hub, and we used to fly on Southwest 3-4 times per year. My primary reason for trying to get under 5/24 was to earn more Southwest points and get another companion pass.
However, times are changing for my family. With our kids getting older, our future trips will be less frequent and will soon branch outside of Southwest’s route map (more on that development in a future post). When we look at the trips we are planning for the next two years, Southwest points will play a lesser role than they did in the past.
In addition, upon reflection I realized I have been too hesitant in this hobby. I haven’t jumped on lucrative offers in a timely manner, and I’ve missed out on some great deals. Compared to some, I’m pretty conservative when it comes to earning miles and points from credit cards.
It’s 2017, and I’m throwing caution and hesitation to the wind!
So the Winning Credit Card Is….
Drum roll, please.
The Merrill + Visa Signature from Bank of America.
Leana has written about this card several times (last November when it first came out, a few weeks ago and again as a comparison to the SPG Amex and CSR). This card does not pay us commission, but we are featuring it because it’s a great deal for families regardless.
The Merrill + Visa Signature card has no annual fee and comes with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after spending $3000 within 90 days. You can redeem the 50k points for $500 in cash, gift cards or statement credit. Or, you can use the points for “Anytime, Anywhere Air Rewards” for tickets up to $500 in value for 25,000 points (so up to $1000 for two airline tickets with the 50k bonus).
My husband and I both applied for this card on Saturday. As I expected from reading other data points, our applications went to pending status. Since most people reported getting approved after one business day, I checked our application statuses online on Monday. Sure enough, we were both approved!
Nobody knows how long this credit card offer will be available. If I didn’t sign up for it soon, I would have kicked myself if it was gone tomorrow. Update: This offer is no longer available.
Plans for the Points
With our two cards combined, we will have either $1000 in cash or $2000 towards four airline tickets. Not too shabby for a card with no annual fee!
Although my husband could have applied just by himself while I still held out for 5/24, the reality is that two plane tickets are not nearly as useful for my family of five as four tickets are. With the potential of four free $500 airline tickets, there are a lot of routes that open up to us, even one-ways outside of the U.S. We would still have to pay for the 5th ticket or find award availability on another program for our last ticket. However, that’s still more doable than paying for all five tickets in cash.
We may decide to use these points to help us get ideal routing to or from Hawaii in early 2018, or we could use the $1000 cash to help pay for our short stay at Disney’s Aulani Resort. Or we could just save the points for another trip altogether. The possibilities are endless!
Just the Beginning
I didn’t come out of my 5/24 holding pattern for just this card. I’ve got my eyes on a few other cards in the future, including ones that earn Amex Membership Rewards points and American Airlines miles. I might work on earning Alaska Airlines miles, or go for the Avianca 60k bonus. My plan is to stick to cards that earn airline miles and flexible points. I’m going to pass on hotel points cards for now.
Of course, I will still check from time to time to see if Chase has pre-approved me for the CSR or the Chase Ink Business Preferred cards. Since this happened to me for the CSP, it could happen again.
Recent events in my life keep reminding me that life is too short and very unpredictable. I want to see the world with my family while we have the means, the time and our health. And these credit card opportunities are helping us get there.
Is anyone else giving up the 5/24 holding pattern? Or were you never going to wait? Anyone still holding strong?
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Nancy is a contributing writer for Miles For Family. She enjoys traveling to the beach and is a big fan of Disney. Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids.