I just applied for three cards:

I’ll earn 165,000 very valuable miles after spending $10,000 in three months on these cards. Miles that I value at around $3,000. Miles that can get me back into Cathay Pacific First Class or Emirates First Class.

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My Cathay Pacific First Class Bed

It had been about three-and-a-half months since my last applications, and I always like to wait at least 91+ days between applications. (Last time I got the ThankYou Premier and Arrival Plus.)

I always suggest that people figure out how they would want to use their miles before they open any cards. Think about the exact trip you want to take including cabin class. Then work backwards from there to figure out the best type of miles for that trip and then the best card to open to get those miles.

Since I don’t have any specific trip goals in mind, and since I already have miles on hand, I just picked the best cards to pad my current balances.

  • Why did I pick these three cards?
  • What will I do about the high minimum spending requirements?

Why These Cards

AA Executive

My number one priority was to open the Citi Executive American Airlines card because it’s the number 1 current card on my top ten travel cards list. I was instantly approved online for the card.

The card comes with 100,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $10,000 in the first three months. It also comes with lounge access at Admirals Clubs worldwide.

The downside is that the card has a $450 annual fee. The card does come with a $200 statement credit after the first $200 in spending, though, so this year the effective annual fee is only $250.

I am willing to pay a $250 annual fee and spend $10,000 in three months to get that bounty of American Airlines miles. Right now American Airlines miles and US Airways miles are the most valuable miles because they are the last two airlines who haven’t devalued their award charts recently.

Downsides

Since American Airlines and US Airways have merged already, I expect their frequent flyer programs to merge in early 2015. At that point, I think we’ll see a combined, worse chart. I hope to use my American Airlines miles on the current chart for travel this year or next.

I normally only spend about $1,500 per month on credit cards, so $10,000 in three months will be a challenge. I’ll probably make a large deposit with Kiva in the third month of having the card when I know how much of the $10,000 I’ve gotten through with normal spending.

Alaska Cards

I wanted to earn more miles but I didn’t have more money to spend on minimum spending requirements. That’s why I chose to open another Alaska personal card (my third) and business card (my second).

Neither card has a minimum spending requirement. Miles are posted to your frequent flyer within a few weeks of account opening.

I was approved instantly online for the personal card.

For the business card, I got the screen that said my application was being processed. Normally I advocate calling in the bank’s reconsideration line immediately in this case, but I was busy, so I didn’t.

The next morning, though, I had a missed call from Bank of America. The reconsideration line proactively called me.

When I called back, I was connected to an analyst who asked a few questions about my business and put me on hold.

She came back and noted I already had an open Alaska business card and asked whether I wanted more credit. I said that I didn’t need more credit and was happy to split the first card’s credit line in half to approve this new card. She split my credit line into two halves for my two cards and approved me.

That’s 55,000 Alaska miles for $150 in annual fees.

The personal card is 30,000 miles with a $75 annual fee. The business card is 25,000 miles with a $75 annual fee.

I will soon have 140,000 Alaska miles, which I plan to use in Emirates First Class or Cathay Pacific First Class.

Recap

That’s 165,000 miles–after spending $10,000–in two very valuable mileage programs. I will get a few First Class trips out of the $400 in annual fees I’ll have to pay.

These cards were right for me, based on my travel goals, the cards I already have, and my spending levels. Different cards may be right for you based on your goals, current cards, and spending.

I recommend my Free Credit Card Consultation before you apply for any cards.

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