How to Have Your First Credit Card “App Party” and Start Traveling for Free

Utah Ski Trip on Frequent Flier Miles from Credit Card Bonus

Our recent ski trip. Flights were free thanks to a credit card signup bonus.

You’ve heard of using credit cards for cash back rewards, airline miles, and other perks, right?

I’ve dabbled in this strategy (using credit card vs them using you). Last year I earned 100,000 airline miles through credit card signup and spending bonuses. But I’m just scratching the surface.

I know a guy who earned over 1,000,000 airline miles last year. I recently sat down with him. His name is Geoff Whitmore and he runs a site I follow regularly called Noob Traveler. Geoff does what he calls “App Parties” (multiple credit card applications at once, sometimes called an app-o-rama or app spree) to maximize the amount of rewards or miles he can earn at once.

My App Party Consultation with Geoff

In the consultation, Geoff asks me about my current credit situation. He wants to make sure I’m the type of person that is responsible with my credit and aware of my score (yes, I reveal my credit score in the video).

We then discuss my travel needs. He doesn’t want me earning miles or hotel rewards if I’m not going to use them. I explain where I’ll be traveling for business and pleasure and he takes that into account when suggesting cards.

Next, we talk about my monthly spending. He wants to make sure I’m spending enough to justify signing up for some of the cards with spending bonuses (i.e. spend $1,000 in the first six months to earn the $250 bonus).

Finally, I tell him that my current cards are the Chase Freedom, Chase INK Cash, and British Airways Visa from Chase. This way he doesn’t recommend these cards for my app party.

Recommendations for My App-O-Rama Party

CardSpending RequiredSpending BonusNotesAnnual Fee
Chase INK Plus for Business$5,000 in 3 months50,000 Points5x earning potential (office supplies, services, etc.)Waived first year. $95 after that.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card$3,000 in 3 months40,000 PointsPoints transfer to Southwest Airlines milesWaived first year. $95 after that.
Citi Platinum Select/AAdvantage Visa Signature Card*$1,000 in 3 months30,000 PointsOne free checked bag$95
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American ExpressFirst Spend
$5,000 in 6 months
10,000 Star Points
15,000 Points
Points transfer to American AirlinesWaived first year. $65 after that.
US Airways from BarclaysFirst Spend40,000 Dividend MilesPotential connection with American Airlines$89

*In the video he shares a different card but later advised this card due to my frequent American Airline use.

Geoff shares some great insights in the video above. You’ll want to watch it all to find out:

  • how you can avoid future annual fees by asking or by down-grading the card;
  • what are the elements of a perfect app party so you can have your own;
  • how this affects your credit score;
  • how to do a reconsideration phone call when you aren’t immediately approved;
  • and much more.

Transcription: Just click show

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About Philip Taylor, CPA

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of the personal finance industry conference and trade show, FinCon. He created this website back in 2007 to share his advice on money, hold himself accountable (while paying off over $75k in debt), and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence. He uses Personal Capital to track his wealth. All the content on this blog is original and created or edited by PT.