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Where Hollywood has its awards season, I have a card applications season and as I mentioned the other day, I’m in the middle of application season right now and I intend to make it a good one. Last year’s season was a bit of a flop but a little patience and luck have helped me get this season off to a flying start with a successful application for the one card that I’ve been after for a very long time.
I’ve wanted the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card (review) for as long as the card has been around but a combination of bad timing, indifferent welcome bonuses (not recently), and a concern that Chase wasn’t going to take the application seriously and decline me, had all kept me from trying to get the card.
By last fall, however, I had been building up a new business for a couple of years and I felt confident that it was the right time to submit an application.
As I’ve said before, it would be more than a little disingenuous of me if I didn’t admit that the massive 100,000 point welcome offer that the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card has been offering for a while didn’t play into my decision to apply for the card, but the welcome bonus was far from being the only reason the card appealed to me.
I needed a new business credit card to help me keep the spending of my newest business separate from my other business spending, and the earning rates and select benefits that the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card offers make it the perfect card to use for the new business. Applying for this card had never made more sense.
My 2020 Application Season
Last year, I said that I had three cards on my shopping list, and applications season 2020 got off to a good start when I was approved for the World of Hyatt credit card (review) without too much drama. There was no instant approval but after I moved my credit lines around, Chase was happy to give me what has turned out to be a very useful card to hold and one I’m delighted I have (Hyatt seems to like targeting World of Hyatt cardholders for bonus points and promotions).
From that high point, things went downhill disappointingly quickly.
My plan had been to apply for the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card (review) next, and to then follow that up with an application for the Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card (review) 45 days later (what can I tell you? I love Ultimate Rewards Points).
Unfortunately, that plan crumbled the moment that Chase decided that my 800+ credit score wasn’t good enough to get the Ink Preferred Card and I couldn’t get the reconsiderations team to change their mind.
Chase’s reason for declining the application was that it couldn’t verify that I had a business to justify the Ink card (the business is a sole proprietorship), but as I could point to two years of accounts and tax filings, that clearly wasn’t the real reason I was declined.
I’m pretty sure that Chase was still in full-on “must take no risks” pandemic mode last fall, and that it wasn’t approving any business card applications that weren’t absolutely bulletproof (in its mind), and this put me off from following up the Ink Card application with my planned Freedom card application – I was annoyed at having taken one hit to my credit score with nothing to show for it so I wasn’t about to risk a second.
At that point, I decided to sit out the rest of my application season and was planning to do nothing more to persuade Chase that my newest business deserves an Ink Business Preferred card until a very tempting offer fell into my lap.
Chase Gave Me an Idea…and Cash
Earlier this year, Chase sent me an email as well as a mailer in the post offering me a $750 bonus in return for opening up a business checking account and hitting a few targets.
Specifically, I had to keep $10,000 on deposit in a new business account for 60 days and I had to push 25 transactions through the account (ACH credits or debit card charges) within 90 days of account opening in order to earn the bonus.
I hadn’t planned on opening a new business checking account but what better way to prove to Chase that I have a real business than by opening up a Chase checking account for that business and letting Chase see the business trade? The $750 bonus (which was the easiest cash that I’ve ever earned) was just the cherry on the top.
The 2021 Application Season (so far)
I’ve had my business’ checking account up and running for over 4 months so as I entered my 2021 application season I knew that Chase had some reasonably solid evidence that I had a genuine business and a verifiable need for the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. All that I now had to do was to decide when to apply.
Should I apply early and hope that I don’t get turned down again and ruin a second application season in a row? Or should I apply late and risk my other applications giving Chase a reason to decline me for a second time?
I knew that I wanted the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card more than any other card that I have in my sights so I decided that to give me the best chance of having Chase say yes, it would have to be the first application that I made this year.
I pulled the trigger on the application a few days ago and after waiting for what seemed like an eternity while Chase verified the information I had submitted…
…a screen I genuinely wasn’t expecting to see appeared.
Before I submitted the application I thought that I had a pretty good chance of being approved eventually (I wouldn’t have applied otherwise), but I was also pretty sure that it would take some negotiating with Chase and some more moving around of my credit lines. An automatic approval was completely unexpected.
Locking In the Welcome Bonus
I now have 90 days in which to lock in the 100,000 point welcome bonus by putting $15,000 of spending on the card within that time frame, and that’s not going to be a problem at all.
There’s a reason that I consider this time of year my “application season” and it’s because my organic spending always skyrockets around now making it the perfect time to apply for credit cards and earn their welcome bonuses.
Better yet, because the Ink Business Preferred Card’s earning rates dovetail so nicely with my business, all $15,000 of the spending that I’ll be putting on this card to earn the welcome bonus will be made in categories in which the card offers enhanced earning rates.
Not only will I earn 100,000 Ultimate Rewards Points for hitting the welcome bonus spending target, but I’ll also earn a further 45,000 Ultimate Rewards Points along the way.
As I value Ultimate rewards Points at 1.5 cents each (based on the value I know that I can get out of them with next to no effort), the Ink Business Preferred Card will effectively give me over $2,100 worth of Ultimate Rewards Points in the first few months that I hold it, and that’s the kind of return that makes the miles and points game so worthwhile (and fun!)
My failed attempt to get the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card last fall effectively put an end to my 2020 application season so to be approved for the card with no reconsideration call and no need to move around credit lines, is a great way to get my 2021 season started. To play it safe I’m going to hold off making any more applications for a few weeks but then it will be time for application number two and I’ll report back how that goes when the time comes – I’m hoping for no dramas but with the banks being as they are, that’s far from guaranteed 🙂