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“App Parties” are the days in which you apply for several credit cards in order to take advantage of the fact that each bank pulling your credit report for your application won’t see the inquiries for all of the other applications you make that day.

I’ll share my successes and failures as I navigate the credit process.

 

Before An App Party

As you consider doing your own App Parties, you should perform a few steps to increase your chances of success:

  • Check your credit report for inaccuracies and items in need of attention.  You can receive a copy of your credit report from each credit bureau once per year.  You can receive all 3 bureaus at once (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion), or you can space them out at your discretion.  Don’t sign up for any imitation sites… the Federally mandated site is AnnualCreditReport.com
    • If there are any inaccurate items, get them fixed first BEFORE starting your app party.

 

  • Check with CreditKarma and CreditSesame for an approximation of your credit score.  These sites are affiliated with Transunion and Experian, and give an estimate of your credit score.  In my experience, these estimations are not that accurate, but they track your score over time, so you’ll at least have an indication of the trending of your score.

 

  • Determine what your goals are.  Do you have a trip in mind?  Are you trying to increase your balances?  Taking advantage of a special promotion?  Answers to these questions, and more, will help you narrow down which cards are most appropriate for you.

 

  • Determine your ability to hit minimum spend requirements.  It doesn’t make sense to apply for a bunch of credit cards if you aren’t going to be able to hit the minimum spend to receive the bonus points.  Understand what your financial situation is and only pursue cards that you know you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend.  What I do is a mixture of minimum spends (generally $1,000 to $5,000 per card) and cards that require only 1st purchase (as little as a $1 purchase).

 

My App Parties

  • August 2016 – Approved for American Express Platinum, Barclay Arrival Plus, Citibank AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard, and US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa for a total of 154,800 miles and points. Declined for Chase Sapphire Reserve and Sun Country Airlines Visa Signature (4 for 6)

 

  • March 2016 – American Express Delta Skymiles business, Barclaycard JetBlue, Chase Hyatt, Chase Southwest Premier business, and Citibank AAdvantage Platinum Select business (5 for 5)

 

  • September 2015 – American Express EveryDay Preferred, American Express Business Gold, Chase British Airways, Chase Ink Plus business, Citibank Hilton HHonors Reserve, and Discover it Miles (5 for 6 – Discover declined me)

 

  • April 2015 – American Express Business Gold, Barclaycard Hawaiian Airlines business, Bank of America Alaska Airlines, Chase IHG, Citibank Prestige, and Citibank AAdvantage business (4 for 6 – Barclaycard and BofA declined me)

 

  • August 2014 – American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass, Bank of America Alaska Airlines, Barclays Hawaiian Airlines, Chase Marriott Business, Chase Ritz Carlton, and Citibank Thank You Premier (6 for 6)

 

  • April 2014 – American Express Business Platinum, Bank of America Virgin Atlantic, Barclaycard Arrival, Discover it, Chase Amtrak, Citibank American Express Executive Platinum (6 for 6)

 

  • December 2013 – US Bank FlexPerks, Amex JetBlue, Bank of America Alaska Airlines business card, Barclay’s US Airways, Citibank American Airlines Visa Signature Platinum, and US Bank Club Carlson business card (6 for 6)

 

  • May 2013 – Chase United, Chase Business United, Amex Business Gold, Amex Delta Platinum, Bank of America Alaska, and Barclay Lufthansa (6 for 6)

 

  • December 2012 – Amex Business Starwood, Amex Hilton, Chase Ink Plus, Chase AirTran, Citi Hilton (2 cards), and US Bank Club Carlson (7 for 7)

 

  • August 2012 – Chase British Airways, Bank of America Hawaiian, Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian, Amex Gold, Citibank Business AAdvantage, Chase Ink Bold (6 for 6)

 

  • March 2012 – Amex Delta, Chase Sapphire, Barclay’s US Air, Citi Hilton, and Capital One Venture (3 for 5)

 

  • January 2012 – 2 Citibank AAdvantage (2 for 2)

 

The opinions expressed here are the author's alone and have not been reviewed or endorsed by any company or third-party, unless clearly stated otherwise. The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the advertiser. It is not the advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


7 Comments

  1. Trevor June 27, 2014 at 4:54 am -  Reply

    Thanks for the info! It’s great to read different strategies and views.

    I got several cards earlier this year and then three more a couple months later. I am not working on any minimums any longer and feel like it’s too soon to apply for more cards.

    I’m single. I recently sold my house so am now renting (that could make cc companies nervous I think) and have no debt. My credit score is about 800.

    How long do you think I should wait until I have another “app party?”

    • Lee Huffman June 27, 2014 at 7:53 am -  Reply

      Hi Trevor, thanks for writing. The “perfect time” to have an app party is when you feel ready. Each one of us has a different comfort level for the short-term impact that the inquiries will have on our credit and the deadlines we create for meeting the minimum spends associated with the new cards. When I apply for new cards, I try to mix it up a bit with a couple of no-minimum or small-minimum ($1000 or less) cards and pair with a couple of the big minimum cards ($3000 or more) to coordinate the minimums with my upcoming purchases (normal monthly bills and any one-time large purchases).

      Overall, if you feel like it is too soon, it is too soon. Don’t get caught up in the feeling you need to apply for new cards just because others are. With that being said, many of my friends who have switched to using credit cards (and pay them off in full each month) from debit cards and cash are amazed by how easy it can be to meet minimum spends that they were initially a little afraid of.

      PS: I don’t believe that selling your house and now being a renter is something that would make a credit card company nervous. They primarily look at your credit score and minimum monthly obligations vs. your income when performing the automated approval process online. Only when an underwriter evaluates your situation during a “reconsideration call” would they dig deeper into your credit details and maybe have a question for you as to why you sold and are now renting. I buy and sell real estate as part of my overall financial plan and they have never asked me about any of those transactions during a reconsideration call.

      Thanks again for writing!

  2. Trevor June 28, 2014 at 4:58 am -  Reply

    Hey Lee,
    Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

    I’m not looking to take out a loan anytime soon so I’m not concerned about my credit score — other than how it can help me get more cards and bonuses.

    I think I’ve been holding off doing another app party because my first one (late January of this year) was a piece of cake and I was approved for everything right away.

    The next one, in March, went a little less smoothly and I had to make a couple calls to get the cards. I was declined by Capitol One and didn’t call them.

    I applied for three more cards in late May. AmEx declined me for the “old Blue” card and I went back and forth with them on that until a rep finally told me they don’t issue more than two cards in 90 days. That’s sounds reasonable. I have an Ink Bold and went for the Ink Cash and have been told they need verification of my new address. I haven’t heard on the third card.

    Last week, I opened new checking/savings accounts with Wells-Fargo and applied for one of their 5% cards at the same time. I haven’t heard back yet but have had to send them copies of my past two tax returns because I’m self-employed. That seemed over the top but I did it because I really wanted the card.

    I guess I’ve been holding off on a new app party because I’m used to instant approvals and figured it was too soon to go after more cards. Perhaps instant approval’s just not realistic once you have several cards — no matter how high your credit score is.

    • Lee Huffman June 28, 2014 at 6:28 am -  Reply

      Trevor, you seem to have done well for yourself with the cards that you’ve applied for! App parties traditionally are done on one day to lessen the possibility that the other card companies will see your other inquiries. With the latest technology, some bloggers are less concerned about doing app parties because they feel that card companies can see every inquiry, even the ones you’ve done that day. For me, the biggest benefit of an app party is that it is easier to track your renewal dates because the cards are in 3 to 4 clusters a year, rather than spread out throughout the year.

      Another reason for having app parties is that it disciplines you to maintain a 90-120 cushion between applications at the same bank. Most banks do not want you to apply for cards so close to each other. For example, I believe that Citibank has a 61 or 91-day rule.

      Don’t worry about not receiving the automatic online approvals like you used to. I generally apply for 5-6 cards at a time, every 90-120 days, and I’m lucky to get 1 online approval whenever I do my app parties. My process now factors in some time dedicated to calling into the banks’ reconsideration lines.

      Since your last application was in May, I would suggest waiting 90-120 days to “reset the clock”, allow some distance between applications, and establish a schedule that is comfortable to you. If there is a special offer, then you can deviate from the schedule as you see fit.

      That’s what I would do if I was you. My last app party was at the end of April, and I will do my next app party at the end of July or middle of August.

      Happy hunting!

  3. Trevor June 29, 2014 at 5:51 am -  Reply

    I like the idea of doing 3-4 app parties a year and just scheduling them out. I hadn’t paid much attention to who was issuing the cards I was going after but it makes a lot of sense to diversify. Thanks Lee.

    • Lee Huffman June 30, 2014 at 9:15 am -  Reply

      You’re welcome Trevor. Doing it this way also helps when it is time to get rid of a card if I find that I’m not getting enough value for the annual fee. Since I’m on a schedule, when one annual fee is coming due, it is time to apply for another card from the same bank, so it is an easier call with the reconsideration line when I tell them that I was planning on canceling the other card, which is why I was applying for the card in question.

      For example, American Express now only allows you to have 4 revolving credit lines open (personal and business combined), so when I apply for the new one, I cancel an older one to keep at the 4 limit.

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