I need help formulating a strategy and timeline based on my current profile and card needs. I actually do not need credit itself. In 2013 I had a business go under and lost practically everything. So lots of credit card losses and a foreclosure. The foreclosure is still on my record. All of the credit cards have fallen off with the exception of a PayPal Credit loss for ~250 that is still on my EXP. I had a car loan in 2014 that has been paid off. I got a new car loan Feb 1 of this year that I refinanced on June 30 as my score had increased dramatically and the refinance saved me almost $4k over the life of the loan. 3 Years ago I opened a Wells Fargo business secured card that I closed in Feb of this year because they still refused to unsecure it. I applied for and was approved for a Cap 1 Quicksilver One card also on Feb. The initial limit was $500, in 5 months they upped it to $3200. Also around the same time I opened a Discover IT Secured card. When I refinanced my car loan I was curious about getting a "real" credit card and found the card match tool. It showed a preapproval for a Chase Sapphire Preferred card. I laughed but applied anyway and was approved with a $5200 limit. Since I no longer needed the Discover It (I thought) I closed it the next day. Stupid, I know this now.
Shortly after my last business went under I started a new one that I have financed entirely by cash. I have a fully funded emergency fund and keep more than enough in my business checking account to cover business expenses. So I don't "need" credit in that sense. My business requires me to travel 150ish days a year and I probably spend another 25 for personal travel. I spend enough time in hotels that I am Hilton Diamond, Marriott Titanium, and IHG Platinum, all by actual nights stayed. My business travel is all within driving distance and for personal travel I have employee spouse flight benefits with AA. I am mostly interested in cards that reward hotel stays, dining, and gas, and I am mostly interested in using rewards for free nights.
I have, unsuccessfully for the most part, applied for quite a few credit cards over the past 4 months, so I have a lot of hard inquiries. The beginning of September I realized they were all TU and EXP (Mod cut - this type of discussion is not allowed here) and applied for several business cards (because 5/24). I was approved for a CitiBusiness AA card with a $7000 limit with a pull from EQ.
My current credit profile is:
TU Vantage 3.0 Score 697, 1 foreclosure from 12/2013, 11 INQs
EQ Vantage 3.0 Score 670, 1 foreclosure from 12/2013, 7 INQs
EXP FICO Score 8 670, 1 foreclosure from 12/2013 and PayPal credit for $250 from the same time, 11INQs
A bunch of the INQs from EXP and TU will fall off Feb 1.
Current utilization is 0% I think (I pay off current charges of every card a few days before the statement date)
I have identified the cards I am most interested in getting based on my needs:
IHG Rewards Club Premier (because I stay there a ton)
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless (also because I stay there a ton)
PNC Cash Rewards (4% CB for gas)
Citi Prestige ($250 travel credit and 4th night free on rewards plus priority pass)
Hilton Aspire (because I stay there a ton and the benefits are worth WAY more than the fee)
Amazon Business Prime (because Amazon)
Radisson Rewards (I don't stay there but the free points every year are worth more than the fee)
World of Hyatt (again free night worth more than fee)
Sonesta (see above)
The Marriott Amex cards (mostly because the free rewards night on each is worth more than the fee)
The Hilton Business Amex (see above)
Any other card I got would simply be for the bonus points on spending and would be closed or downgraded.
In checking the preapproval sites I am preapproved for literally every Cap 1 card and the Discover cards. Chase shows a Freedom preapproval about half the time in the Chase app. Citi and BOFA never show one. Amex shows preapprovals all the time. I applied for the business Gold card from a preapproval and was declined. I was also declined for the Blue Business Cash card but my scores were about 20 points lower than they are now. The EXP app says I'm matched for a bunch of CRAP cards and Discover. Credit Karma gives a bunch of Good and Fair chances, including the cards I already have. NAV shows me several business cards with 90%+ including 98% for the Blue Business Cash card, 95% Amex Bus Gold and Plat, 94% BOFA Plat Bus, 93% United Explorer, 92% for the Amex Amazon Bus Prime, 90% for Hilton Bus Amex. I keep a decent amount in a PNC account and the app has shown a preapproval for any of their cards for 3-4 months.
What should my strategy be? I know I do not want any more personal cards until I can qualify for the IHG and Marriott cards from Chase as those are my two most wanted cards (because they're the most useful for me). I applied a couple of months ago for the IHG and was declined for too many INQs. That was the only reason given. Should I wait until Feb when 3-4 will fall off of both TU and EXP? Should I try for the smaller Marriott card and then upgrade when available? Or could I get approved now? If I need to wait I wouldn't mind picking up a business card or two between now and then that has a spending bonus (Mod cut - this type of discussion is not allowed here)
Any advice is appreciated (including app strategy or if I'm missing a card I need)
I guarantee my advice is worth what you paid for it. With that disclosure, I would go with a AMEX Platinum. The reason being, your are not that loyal to any one hotel chain. If you were dedicated to one group, I'd go with that co-branded card at highest AF level. As you spread it around, and hit status levels organically, might as well go with ONE card that meets your needs now. Getting multiple cards now will harm you in the short term.
Thanks AllZero! I actually usually have a small balance, it's rare that something doesn't post between payment and closing date, it's just usually very small. I wasn't aware of this though so thanks for the heads up!
Thanks Mike, actually I am not very interested in the Amex Platinum. Most of my hotel stays are booked through the brand sites so the Amex Platinum only gives 1x on those stays from what I understand. In the case of Marriott, the Boundless card gives 6x. On $10,000 a year that's a significant difference. Plus the big draws for the Amex Plat are lounge access, which I would be ineligible for, and using MR points for flights, which is a waste for me since I don't pay for them anyway.
Thanks Mike, actually I am not very interested in the Amex Platinum. Most of my hotel stays are booked through the brand sites so the Amex Platinum only gives 1x on those stays from what I understand. In the case of Marriott, the Boundless card gives 6x.
You also have to consider 1x of what vs 6x of what. Marriott points are worth, what, .7 cents, something like that? MRs can be worth twice that, depending how you use them. I know 6 * .7 is still worth more than the MRs, just mentioning that it's not apples to apples.
I found the part about CardMatch showing CSP, you laughing, but applying and getting it, amusing considering the reaction I got in my CardMatch thread (CSP-related).
I don't have any great advice for you, except that I think getting in with Amex would pay off for your situation. The Amex cobrand cards have a reputation for being the easiest to get, and I can somewhat vouch for that, having gotten Delta Gold and Hilton Aspire based on a very young profile with a huge number of inquiries albeit no derogatory items. Specifically, I might try for the Hilton Aspire if I were you. You could also consider the Marriott and Delta cards. Delta Gold lets everyone in your travel party check a bag for free, and also puts you in (usually) boarding zone 3, which may be worth the $95/year, which is waived in the first year anyway. Of course, if you never fly Delta, that may be moot.
The Citi card benefits have been nerfed recently. They may still be a good fit, but you should search this board for threads about changes to the Citi card benefits before making a decision.
From my research MR points give the best value when redeemed for flights. The only 2 direct hotel transfers I see are Hilton and Choice. Hilton used to be my favorite but I find it very hard to even get $.005 in value out of their points. I don't stay at Choice hotels. Meanwhile I redeemed 30,000 Marriott points for a $300 room, 12,500 points for a $150 room, and 15,000 for a $300 room just this past week. So yes, they are not appled to apples, but I am weird in that I value miles at exactly $0 since I don't pay to fly anyway and I value hotel points highly since the more of those I have the more practically free vacations I can take per year. I don't really pay attention to what sites say points are worth. I go by what I actually get in value out of them.
I DEFINITELY agree that the Amex Cards (Aspire and Marriott) would be perfect for me. I'm just concerned with getting those prior to getting the Chase Marriott and IHG cards as I am at 3/24 right now.
I have seen something about Citi cards losing some benefits, but mostly those were travel insurance type things I thought? Or am I missing something? Since I fly non-rev I don't think those benefits would apply to me anyway?