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“App-o-Rama” is one of the phrases you see thrown around a lot in the travel hacking scene.  Simply put, it’s when someone applies for multiple credit cards in one day.  The amount someone is willing to apply for varies by person. While most people apply for 2-4 at a time, I’ve read reports of people applying for upwards of 12 credit cards in one day!

When applying for multiple credit cards, it’s good to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Your credit score should be over 700: once you go over 760, however, having a higher score doesn’t really help much more.
  2. Apply for all cards at once: it’s usually best to apply for all of your cards in one sitting, since doing so prevents the credit card companies from seeing the other cards you’re applying for.
  3. Diversify your applications: make sure you don’t hit one credit card company too hard.  The major credit card companies are Chase, American Express, Citibank, Bank of America, and Barclays.  Each has different rules about how many cards you can get approved for at once, and how many total cards you can have. In general, if you apply for 1 personal and 1 business card (or less) per company you should be fine.
  4. Apply every 91 days: every time you apply for a card, the issuer makes a hard pull on your credit.  While it takes 2 years for these to fall off your credit report, too many recent requests for credit mean you’re a risk. By applying every 91 days you reduce the chance of getting rejected for “too many requests for credit.”
  5. Persistence is key: even a rejection can be overturned.  I’ve received a number of rejections, but have always managed to get the card I wanted.  As per my last post, you can read more on how to get a rejected application repealed at Million Mile Secrets.

 

A Real Life Example: Earning the Points

Back in September 2012, Mrs. Selfish and I each completed a 4-card app-o-rama with a heavy focus on hotel nights. Here’s my app-o-rama:

Card Name Points Minimum Spend Annual Fee
Chase Ink Bold Business 50,000 UR points $5000 in 3 months Waived 1st year
American Express HHonors 50,000 HHonors $750 in 4 months None
Bank of America Hawaiian Airlines 35,000 HA miles $1000 in 4 months $79
Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian Airlines 35,000 HA miles $1000 in 4 months $79

And here’s Mrs. Selfish’s app-o-rama:

Card Name Points Minimum Spend Annual Fee
Chase Hyatt Card 2 nights 1st spend $75
American Express HHonors 50,000 HHonors $750 in 4 months None
Bank of America Hawaiian Airlines 35,000 HA miles $1000 in 4 months $79
Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian Airlines 35,000 HA miles $1000 in 4 months $79

Mrs. Selfish and I were both approved for the American Express HHonors card online within 30 seconds after applying. I like American Express because their approvals tend to be swift.  You can even have them send you your card number online so you can start making purchases immediately!

Chase was a different matter.  I had to call in after Mrs. Selfish received the dreaded “Your application is being reviewed” message.  A day later I called Chase and spoke to a very helpful representative who moved $5000 worth of credit over from Mrs. Selfish’s United card – SUCCESS!

My business application took a few weeks, but was eventually approved.  Getting a business card approved by Chase is a lengthy process that can involve sending them 2-3 documents, so I wasn’t too surprised.

The Hawaiian Airlines cards proved slightly harder.  Both cards are run by the same company, FIA Card Services, who couldn’t understand why we would want two versions of (essentially) the same card. I explained that we each needed one card for personal expenses, and one for business expenses. After being on hold for a handing-wringing 15 minutes the rep came back on the phone and told me we were approved!

 

A Real Life Example: Burning the Points

In the end we ended up with:

  1. 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
  2. 100,000 HHonors points
  3. 140,000 Hawaiian Airlines points
  4. 2 free nights at any Hyatt in the world

Since Hawaiian Airlines is a transfer partner with Hilton at a 1:2 rate, I converted the Hawaiian Airlines miles into 280,000 points for a total of 380,000 HHonors points.  Mrs. Selfish already had 30,000 HHonors points in her account, which gave us enough points to book 10 nights in the best Hilton properties in the world!

THE CONRAD KOH SAMUI

Back in February we spent an amazing 4 nights at the Conrad Koh Samui in a private villa. Mrs. Selfish will have a full trip report soon.

Each villa comes with its own infinity pool

The rooms regularly go for $650+ a night (for a total of $2600 for 4 nights), and I can see why – the views of the sunset alone were worth it!  Fortunately, we only paid $160 in annual fees for the BOA and BOH credit cards.

THE CONRAD SINGAPORE

Next, we used 50,000 points to book one night at the Conrad Singapore since we need to connect through Singapore to Hong Kong.  Not nearly as sexy as the Conrad Koh Samui, but Singapore is an expensive city, so I appreciated saving the $200+ we would have paid on a hotel for one night

THE HILTON BORA BORA NUI

For the last 5 Hilton nights I currently have us booked at the Hilton Bora Bora Nui in French Polynesia!  After a few days of searching, I was able to score two tickets from Sydney in June while we’re there, so expect a full report later this year.

Looking forward to seeing if the Hilton can out luxury El Nido!

THE PARK HYATT TOKYO

Finally, Mrs. Selfish and I wanted to visit Tokyo again as part of the Japan segment of our trip.  Since we’re both huge fans of Lost in Translation, I figured it would be fun to stay at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, where the movie was filmed.

   Here’s hoping they serve Santori whiskey!

Using 22,000 of the Chase UR points I earned in this app-o-Rama, 2 free nights from Mrs. Selfish, and 2 nights I earned from a previous app-o-rama means we’ll have a total of 5 nights at the Park Hyatt Tokyo!  Now to see if Mrs. Selfish or I can get Diamond status in time so we can enjoy perks like free breakfast, access to the Park Hyatt’s famous jazz bar, and access to the Diamond Happy Hour.

CONCLUSION

Despite the dumb name, an app-o-rama is a really easy way to earn miles and points.  By spreading out your applications between different credit card issuers every 91 days, you’ll greatly increase the chances of getting approved for all cards.  Thanks to this last round of applications, Mrs. Selfish and I will spend 15 nights in some of the world’s top hotels – places we could never afford to stay otherwise!

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