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What should my strategy be for upcoming trips?

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sammydog:
Hi- Maybe a more experienced travel hacker can help me. I just started out.

I just got the Chase Sapphire 7/1. Almost to the spend min and my husband just applied and got his. He should reach his spend limit in less than a month. We have about 400K in United miles and will have around 140K with UR.

Planning two trips -- LA for Christmas and Spain/Portugal for April.

I applied for the IHG card through Chase and was surprisingly rejected bc of "too much credit outstanding." I only have TWO cards with $56k credit limits. I have a 750 credit score. Maybe the real reason was bc I applied for the Sapphire 2 weeks prior?

What should be my next move? I know about the 5/24 rule so I thought I should apply for Chase Freedom Unlimited (don't have a business for Ink) but will I just get rejected again and have another inquiry on my account?

Should I hang it up with Chase and apply for a different bank's hotel card?

Not sure what my next move should be to accumulate points for the above vacations. Airfare to both are reasonable right now - $320 to LA at xmas and $400 to Spain over Easter so I'm thinking we'd pay for airfare and save the points unless there's something I'm missing.

THANK YOU for any and all advice!!

sammydog:
When I called Chase (twice) and second person I talked to said "they want to see how I handle the credit they just extended"...she wouldn't give me a time frame I should estimate to allow between applications....she also said the "5/24" rule is NOT a chase rule and something that just erroneously circulates around the internet...

gocurrycracker:
Welcome!

Sometimes you get denied. It happens to me all the time. Wait a few weeks and try again.

You want to do Chase cards first (if practical.) 5/24 is real enough.

Valuation of the points is important... be sure you are at least getting 1.5cpp (cents per point) on your UR points and maybe 1.3cpp on the United miles. So a $400 flight would cost no more than 25k-30k points. (Examples of much better valuations are usually for business class+.) You can probably do better than that with a $300 domestic United flight, but for the International flight, I would probably just pay with the airline credit card or CSP/R or book the flights through the Chase portal with UR points. That way you still get miles for the flights, and with the CSR you get 1.5cpp. (We leave for Bali in a few weeks, and I just booked those flights through the CSR portal.

For hotels, look at the IHG card and the Bonvoy Boundless. With each of these cards, you can get enough points for a mid-range hotel for 5 nights (5th night free when booked with points.) With his/her cards, you now have 20 free hotel nights.

As an alternative, look at the Venture card. If you book via hotels.com you will get $550+ in hotel credit. For our Bali trip, that got us 4 nights free in a nice resort with breakfast included.

There are links to each of these cards and an example of our Bali flight/hotel here - https://www.gocurrycracker.com/summer-plans-2019/ )



sammydog:
Thank you for the clear response! It's no wonder your website started me down this rabbit hole of travel cards - it is enjoyable to read, analytically sound and clear to the novice. So THANK YOU.

So, my options are
1) Wait another two months or so and try reapplying to Chase for IHG (for hotels, bc I agree with you about paying for the airfare). Hopefully they post the bonus in time for xmas in LA....
2) Wait another two months or so and try reapplying to Chase for Marriot Bonvoy. Hopefully they post the bonus in time for xmas in LA....
3) Wait a month and get the Capital One card for the cash back to use (but downside being burning through a card for 5/24?)

Are you concerned about a handful of "hard" inquiries to the credit bureau within 3 months?

I feel restless to get started since I feel like we missed out on so much savings (just did a huge house remodel without having anything more than United Explorer) but I guess I probably have to pace us more slowly.

I have my husband in the mix as well. He just got CSP (wish I did CSR...) but that min spend should be covered in a month. I can move some expenses forward and cover the min spends at about 8K/mo in items I can put on the card. Maybe I'll have him try the Marriot Bonvoy in a month or so.

Thank you for taking the time to answer!

gocurrycracker:
My pleasure. Happy to help.

Bonuses are typically posted around the time the statement closes for the month you meet the minimum spend. It might be a close call for Xmas, but you could probably still make it.

I don't really think about my credit score at all. It is only important if you are applying for a loan or insurance of some kind.
Having a lot of inquiries might impact the approval decision on a new card is all
https://www.gocurrycracker.com/credit-score-is-meaningless/

In theory, not every card counts towards 5/24. I recently got the Bonvoy Boundless card and I'm fairly certain I'm at least 8/24. The co-branded cards are at least potentially approved.... if you were Marriott and Chase didn't approve a lot of applications, you might not like it... Unfortunately, there is no way to know in advance. But plan which 5 Chase cards you would apply for... maybe you really only want 4 and it is no big deal.

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