Accepting credit cards online has become the most common way to get a card. They are especially handy with limited time offers. Although limited time offers pop up all the time, they often don’t stick around for very long. Experienced points and miles travelers know that when a great offer comes around, time is of the essence. And since credit card and airline miles credit card companies usually offer higher bonuses or better benefits with their limited time offers, they also tend to increase the annual fee or raise the spending requirement. It’s up to you to decide whether the offer is still worth it or not.
When it comes to accepting credit cards online and limited time offers, I like to look at each limited time offer on a case by case basis to see how it will benefit my overall points and miles balance and determine whether it’s worth it or not. Most limited time offers usually last a month or two and some banks will even let you know when you need to apply by. But for all the rest, we don’t know exactly when they’ll end. So the sooner you apply, the better. This is when applying and accepting credit cards online can be good.
If your application goes down to the wire, you should still be eligible for the limited time offer as long as you get your application submitted before the offer ends. You’ll still need to be approved but a pending application doesn’t mean you missed out on the offer. It only means that the bank needs more time to review your application (but you will get the higher bonus as soon as you’re approved).
Sometimes you’ll apply for a standard credit card offer and a better offer will go live within a few weeks. In this case, you can often get your old offer matched to the new offer as long as the other terms (minimum spend, annual fee, etc.) remain the same.
Chase is one of the best when it comes to matching higher offers while with Amex it can be more difficult. The easiest way to get an offer matched with Chase is to just send a secure message from your account dashboard. Amex’s public stance is that they won’t match offers but I’ve had success getting them to give me ‘goodwill adjustments’ if better sign-up bonus offers come out within a month or two. You just have to pester them a little bit.
Citi still does it the old fashioned way: you’ll have to fax in a copy of the new offer if you want to get it matched.
Some people like to apply for cards in bunches but that could lead them to miss out on a limited time offer. There isn’t any real hard evidence that this strategy will help you either. Every application will cause a credit inquiry and I think it’s better to spread out the spend requirements so that you don’t have to do it all at once.
If you do decide to use this strategy though, you should apply to the most stringent banks first. Out of the big four banks, Barclaycard is usually the strictest so I like to apply with them first, Amex and Chase are somewhere in the middle of the pack and Citi is usually the easiest to get approved with, so I save them for last.
The last thing you’ll have to watch out for with limited time offers is increased spending requirements. In general, when credit card companies are giving out more points, they want you to spend more. One recent example of that was the Citi Executive AAdvantage card.
Normally this card comes with a 50,000 point sign up bonus after you spend $5,000 in 3 months. But over the summer, they actually had a limited time offer of 100,000 points after $10,000 in spending (within 3 months). That’s a whole lot of points but it’s also a whole lot of spending.
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Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on CreditCardIdeas.com is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.