Established Contributor
Posts: 766
Registered: ‎01-16-2012
Re: Odds of approval? Chase Freedom/United Plus Mileage Explorer

You should apply for the Freedom for sure. Here's why: With your banking history at Chase and your scores, the freedom is a solid bet for approval, even with a thin file. It has some pretty good rotating rewards categories and you will be building credit history with Chase. But here is the best part: In a year, you should reapply for the sapphire preferred. At that point, assuming you don't do anything bad, you will have a high chance of approval. Once approved, all the points you earned (but didn't redeem) on your Freedom can now be combined with your sapphire preferred UR points. This means you can convert them to United miles (or any of the airlines listed on their site), use them to purchase tickets through UR, etc. You can also read about the triple play strategy involving the CPS, freedom and checking from Chase on these forums. 


I think you should skip the United Explorer for now. First, your chances of approval aren't as good as the Freedom. But more importantly, you need to look long term. The explorer charges foreign transaction fees. The CSP doesn't. For international travel, this is a big deal. It pretty much wipes out any reward value using the card overseas would have. Plus, the Explorer only earns United miles. A year from now, you will be better off having had the Freedom for a year, then adding the CSP vs getting both the Freedom and Explorer now or just the Explorer.


Finally, you should ideally have 2-3 cards to maximize your score and appeal to lenders. You also want a card with zero foreign transaction fees. You also have a thin file. I know a lot of people complain about Capital One on this forum, but I really think they are a great choice for you for a 2nd card. You can go to their site and click on the preapproval link to see what you are approved for. ALL of their cards have no foreign transaction fees. Yes, you are likely to get a small limit that doesn't grow over time. But you only need this card for a year or so. By then, you should qualify for the sapphire preferred and then you can close the Capital One if you aren't satisfied. But in the meantime, the savings in foreign transaction fees (if, as you say, you do a lot of international work) will more than offset any annual fee and you will be building credit. 


Others may mention Discover, which also has no FTFs, but it won't have the broad international acceptance that a Cap1 visa or mc will have. So I'd get a Freedom and a Cap1 card, use them both wisely for a year, then get the sapphire preferred, keep the Freedom, keep or ditch the Cap1 and at that point, you should be approvable for just about any card your heart desires.

In wallet: Ink Plus 10k, AMEX TE 25k. In bag: CSP 16k, USAA WMC 15k, Hyatt 13k, United MPE 12k, AMEX HHonors 3k. In SD: Cap 1 QS 5k, Discover IT 7k. FICO 08 says my EQ is now 844, was 510 in 2010.