I hear what you're saying, but the whole point of gardening is to get to where you can app for anything you want, knowing that you'll probably get it.
I started using the "gardening" metaphor to make people realize that they had been in a hunter mindset, continually stalking any CC who would accept them, lol, and that once they'd reached a certain point, they needed to reprogram their brains and turn to taking care of what they'd already gotten.
And I agree that people get a bit more wound up about inqs than they should. (The real score damage comes from the ton of new accounts that result.) But if you're going for a mortgage, "too many inqs" is a very real concern. Ask your lender.
But what's the point if you never app for anything?
And I hear you about the mortgage. That's why I'm not apping right now. I have 0 inquiries on TU. I have 1 on EQ from November 2010. And I have 3 on EX, October 2010, April 2011, and June 2011. I would like to apply for Amex Plat because of the amount of work travel I have been doing lately, but I'm holding off on apps until next year after the mortgage, and potentially after an auto loan as well.
I just wish I had known earlier how to take advantage of all the CC bonuses for airline miles, hotel points, and even cash. I heard a long time ago that you shouldn't apply for too many credit cards because it will hurt your score. And it's true within reason, but if you have otherwise clean reports, a few inquiries and a lowish AAoA isn't that big of a deal.
Well, you don't stay in the garden forever! Just long enough to look around at what you have and take care of it (CLI's, paying off debt, etc.), and let the dust settle a bit, and evaluate what your next targets might be. Post-gardening, I've gotten an AmEx Costco, Navy Cash Rewards (0% BT), AmEx Blue Preferred, and last week a Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa, which will one day actually come in the mail, I guess. I don't think I could have gotten them, and especially the CL on the Southwest, if I hadn't taken time out to garden and get things looking respectable.
It's gardening that gets you to the "otherwise clean reports and a few inquiries." Lowish AAoA isn't the end of the world, and it will take care of itself with time. It can be a problem for those (like me) who have long longest history (that looks weird, but I mean how old the oldest account is) and really low AAoA.
Both sides of the discussion are reasonable.
I really don't need another card at the moment.
Four cards is enough, for now, especially considering my utilization is too high and an additional card wouldn't add value. In a few months things will look better. A few months from then..... things will look even better.
I have decent cards now. Maybe in the mid 700s range I'll really see what deals are out there worth taking that suit my lifestyle and spending habits.
At some point I may figure out what's "Prime" and apply, but this isn't the time.
I think the original poster is correct, many banks even the ones that are inq sensitive except Nordstrom and Barclay... you can backdoor and reps will see 20 inq but no debt and overturn decisions.... I think following Concorduser a couple years ago would be a perfect example of this... he did have some things close but in the end I think the ratio to approve and keep was much higher, maybe he will see and chime in.
But if I'm not mistaken Amex had FR but think he once again has 3 or 4 open and WFFNB approved like 6 store cards in one day and then either closed them all or made him go through fraud and it was fine.
GE also will let you apply for ALL kinds of store cards with them and really have no backlash that I have seen.
oh but yes if car or house is coming up I would probably try to stay away from 50 new accounts!