I have been actively collecting points and miles via new credit card signup bonuses for four years. In that time, I have opened and closed nearly two dozen accounts. That may not sound like many compared to other bloggers, but I never open cards when I can’t meet the spending requirement for the bonus with my normal purchases. However, I have reached the point where I currently hold or have recently closed most of the cards that interest me. The solution: begin applying for cards in my wife’s name! And, this week, I have an “opportunity” to earn the signup bonus on her latest card with a single purchase!
My wife’s first new card in three years
I met my wife almost four years year, right when I was really getting into this “hobby.” (As I have written before, I don’t use that word as some bloggers do since point accumulation for me is a means to an end and not something in which I find significant inherent joy.) As things got more serious between us, I knew we would eventually want to travel together, so I encouraged her to sign up for a few rewards cards. She opened two Citibank American Airlines AAdvantage card products and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa. The Citi cards have long since been cancelled and the Sapphire Preferred has been converted to the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
I was wanted to get a Chase Sapphire Reserve for her - hence the downgrade of the Sapphire Preferred - but I stumbled on a crucial mistake that resulted in Chase declining her application. After we got married two years ago, I added her as an authorized user on several of my cards. I did not realize these would count against the Chase 5/24 rule. While her actual new accounts were fine, the authorized user account pushed her out of compliance. In order to clean up her 5/24 status, I decided to hold off on getting cards in her name.
While those authorized user accounts should fall outside of 5/24 in the next few months, Chase has since made the restrictions on introductory offers for new Sapphire products even more onerous, now requiring four years between signup bonuses on any Sapphire product. I will be vigilant on her 5/24 status going forward, but I am no longer prioritizing the Sapphire Reserve for her. There are several attractive cards and potential offers that I intend to pursue in 2019 instead.
The first card she is getting is the Hilton Honors Business Card from American Express. She qualifies for a business account due to some business interests she has not related to this blog and my online interests. As a business credit card, this will not count against 5/24. This is the same card I got last year but the signup bonus is now 125,000 Hilton Honors points compared to 100,000 then. We will have to spend $3,000 within three months to earn these points. However, not only will that be easy, I intend to do it with a single transaction this week.
How we will earn 140,000 Hilton points thanks to a deer
I have a steadfast rule when it comes to earning points and miles from credit spend: don’t spend money you would not otherwise spend simply to earn rewards. The benefit of these cards, despite what Dave Ramsey thinks (though I imagine he would frown on opening and closing 24 credit cards in four years!), is that you get incremental value on money that you are spend anyway. Occasionally, there are opportunities to effectively make a large purchases at “no cost” as I did when I put part of my down payment for my car on a credit card. I was going to be money down on my card, so, rather than write a check to the dealer, I charged it and send the cash to the credit card company. Turns out, I am going to to rack up a lot of points from the same car with assistance from a new deceased whitetail deer.
I hit said deer recently coming home from work one night. Repairs are nearly complete and I should have the car back later this week. My bill will be just over $5,000. The good news is that the insurance company sent the check for the repairs to me rather than directly to the body shop. Rather than sign the check over to them, I will pay with the new Hilton Honors card. Doing so, I will earn 3x points on the spend and, more importantly, 125,000 points by satisfying the spending required for the signup bonus. I certainly would rather have not needed to repair my car given I am out the deductible plus had the inconvenience of driving a rental for over a month. But the silver lining is that I can earn a signup bonus with essentially no effort and move on to a new card and signup offer without delay. Over time, that means more points and, ultimately, more free or discounted travel!
By signing up for cards in my wife’s name, we will be able to get a second signup bonus from a product that I already hold in my name. Focusing on cards for her in 2019 will keep allow me to keep my 5/24 status “clean” in case a great offer comes along from Chase. The timing of switching my efforts to cards for her coincided with what will be a very large payment for my car repairs. Using that to satisfy a signup bonus makes what was a bad situation one with a very silver lining. Getting huge numbers of points for no effort is always welcome!