While many in the points and miles space don’t blink an eye at applying for 5-10 credit cards a year, I’m a little more reserved. In general, I try to stay below Chase’s 5/24 rule. I suppose it’s an arbitrary guideline, but it allows me to grab some great sign up bonuses, without juggling too many cards. Furthermore, limiting my applications helps avoid the credit card churning awkwardness I experienced while taking out a Chase Hyatt credit card last week.
Background: My Credit History
Going into the Chase applicaiton, I knew I was at “4/24”. That means 4 applications in the past 24 months. As a result, I assumed the process would be smooth sailing. My credit score is ~ 800 and I’m a current Chase card holder (Sapphire Reserve & Marriott Rewards). Also noteworthy is that the application was my third is roughly 3 months, which is unheard of for me. In April I snagged the Marriott 100k bonus, and just a few weeks ago decided to make the American Express Blue Business Plus my everyday spend card.
Awkward: My Chase Application
Last week was the deadline for the traditional Hyatt credit card bonus which allows two free nights at ANY Hyatt property. Depending on the property, that can be worth well over $1,000. So I went ahead and applied online and got a message I’d never seen before. Chase indicated that they would review my application further and have a decision within 30 days. I haven’t applied for a card in several years that hasn’t approved me right away. What to do…
I started doing some research and several “churning” discussions on flyertalk and reddit suggested I leave the application alone, and it might eventually be approved. Other posters noted that Chase’s customer service team has become aggressive with applicants calling in to have applications approved. Apparently, calling in could lead to a denial. Additionally, others mentioned that moving some available credit around could lead to an approval. In my case I had 35k available on the Sapphire Reserve, and another 30k for the Marriott Rewards. Despite the warnings, I decided to call.
My Phone Call With Chase
After a brief hold, I was connected with a very polite woman at Chase. I explained my situation and she said she would take a look at the application. She advised that she would need to ask several follow-up questions. The questions included detailed income sources from myself and my wife, length of mortgage history, employment duration, and a few more. Of course this was slightly embarrassing. I could sense the eye rolls coming from my wife’s direction in the other room. While placed on yet another hold, I texted Liz “See, this is why I hate churning!”. Apparently this is commonplace for her, or “part of the game” as she put it.
Anyway, once the customer service rep came back on the line, I decided to throw an offer out there. I casually mentioned that I have rather high limits on both existing Chase cards, I and don’t really need that much credit. I stated that I’d be happy to take 15k from the Marriott card, and apply it to a Hyatt card, if approved. After yet another brief hold, the Chase rep came back on the line and said she would be able to approve the application. I hadn’t felt so relieved for a credit card approval since I had a ~ 680 score in my early 20’s.
I suppose these types of calls are normal for hardcore credit card churners. For me, I’d like to avoid them at all costs. Life is just a lot easier with instant approvals and simply juggling a few cards per year. While this worked out in the end, I think I’m done applying for credit cards for the foreseeable future.