Now that closing Rental Property #5 is complete, I’ve decided to shift gears and refocus on the other critical component that will help make early financial independence more enjoyable — travel hacking! Typically, when I am trying to close escrow, I hold back from opening any new credit cards. This makes it slightly easier to get through underwriting since they won’t have to scrutinize all the credit inquiries.
I haven’t attempted a new App Party since July of last year. Here’s what I applied for this past weekend:
1) Citi American Airlines Executive:
This is my third American Airlines Card. I opened two cards last year for App Party #1, and was able to rack up 50,000 points on each card for meeting the minimum spending requirement. This Executive card is even more lucrative. The bonus is 100,000 American Airlines miles for spending $10,000 in three months.
The minimum spend of $10,000 may appear daunting at first, but like I mentioned in my Vanilla Reload post, it’s actually quite simple to clear if you have lots of expenses. For myself, I now have five mortgages to pay, not to mention: property taxes, insurance, maintenance items, etc.
I recently used up 130,000 of my United miles to book my round-the-world expedition in August for this year. Time to reload some points!
There is a catch. The annual fee is $450, but you will get reimbursed $200 once you clear $200 minimum spending. So, $250 for 100,000 miles. Sounds good to me!
2) Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus:
The Southwest deal is back! It tends to come and go, but I like to hop on board on this deal whenever the bonus is 50,000 points. To get the bonus, you have to spend $2000 in three months. I opted to get the Rapid Rewards Plus card instead of the Rapid Rewards Premiere card because the annual fee is cheaper, $69 instead of $99. The Premiere cards gets you 6,000 bonus points after your one year anniversary. The Plus card only gives back 3,000 points.
If you sign up for the Rapid Rewards Plus Business Card, you can get an additional 50,000 points for spending $2000 in three months. For some time, a lot of people were signing up for both cards and getting 100,000 Rapid Reward points. By adding an addition 10,000 points, you can qualify for a Companion Pass, which lets your buddy travel with you for free for a year (even longer if you time it right… e.g. If you can qualify for a Companion Pass right now, it will work until the end of 2015… you get to use it for the rest of 2014 as well).
Here is the link to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card:
3) Barclay Arrival:
I first attempted to apply for this card during App Party #2. I was denied since I had too many credit inquiries at the time (well, that’s what they told me, anyway). After sitting on the sidelines for about seven months, this time around, I was approved! When it doubt, take some time off from travel hacking. 🙂
The Arrival card is a great card and gets you 40,000 bonus miles for spending $3000 in three months. Just two weeks ago, the deal was valid for a minimum spend of only $1000. Seems like I got in at the wrong time, but they approved me, so I’m not going to complain.
The annual fee of $89 is waived for the first year. Sweet!
Here is a link to the Arrival card:
4) Club Carlson Premiere Rewards Visa Signature:
I plan on being in Rome later this year on my trip. To fund some of the hotels, I decided to sign up for the Club Carlson Premiere Rewards Visa Signature Card.
You get 50,000 points after the first purchase and an additional 35,000 points for spending $2500 in three months.
The annual fee is $75.
Here is a link to the Club Carlson Cards:
5) Alaska Airlines Visa Signature:
The Bank of America Alaska Airlines card was the last card I applied to for this App Party. It’s pretty sweet because you can get 25,000 bonus miles immediately upon approval. There’s no minimum spend to meet!
However, there is a $75 annual fee that can’t be waived.
Here is a link to the Alaska Airlines card:
This might have been my most aggressive App Party yet. In total, I need to spend $17,500 in three months to get all the bonus points. Here is the breakdown:
- $10,000 American Airlines Executive (100,000 miles)
- $2,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus (50,000 miles)
- $3,000 Barclay Arrival (40,000 miles)
- $2,500 Club Carlson Premiere Rewards (85,000 points)
- Alaska Airlines (25,000 miles)
300,000 total bonus miles/points. Looking forward to replenishing my Award Wallet! 😉
What travel hacking products are you looking at? How many cards do you typically sign up for each App Party? Any recommendations?