130,000 Points for the Win: Results of My Second Credit Card App Party

Second App Party - Valley Forge

We used travel rewards to go to Valley Forge this last Summer.

When the new year rolled around and my reward point balances started to dwindle I knew it was time to once again think about doing a credit card app party (see the results of year one). An app (application) party is when you sign up with several credit cards all at once to maximize your bonus points and minimize your credit score impact.

Note: I don’t have any consumer debt (credit cards, student loans, or car payments) that isn’t paid off in-full, automatically each month. If you’re in that same position and don’t have an immediate use for a top notch credit score (like getting a mortgage), then I say consider looking into doing an app party.

App parties (also called credit card application “sprees”) help me travel for free. In the past two years my family and I have flown to Disneyland, Deer Valley (Utah), Portland (Oregon), Connecticut/New York/Pennsylvania, St. Louis (2x), New Orleans, and Tucson, for free.

Consider me hooked on the idea of credit card travel rewards.

My goals for this year’s app party:

1. Earn the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass. If you earn 110,000 miles with Southwest in less than a year’s time, you get a companion pass. The companion pass allows you to bring one other person along with you for free. It lasts for the rest of the year in which it’s earned, plus an additional year. So if I earn it in early 2014, it will remain active until Dec 31, 2015. Earning 110,000 miles isn’t easy. But it can be done easier when you sign up for a couple of Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards. As you’ll see below I chose a personal and a business card.

2. Start stockpiling Southwest Rapid Rewards points before the Wright Amendment expires. The Wright Amendment restricts travel from Love Field (Southwest’s hub here in Dallas). It’s annoying to fly anywhere other than within the state or to an adjacent state, because it requires a layover. That law expired in October of this year and I want to be ready to fly a lot more with Southwest. Getting the companion pass will certainly help, but having the 110,000 points that comes with earning it is going to go along way for future flights.

3. Earn some US Airways Dividend Miles before the airline goes away. American Airlines (who has a hub here in Dallas) merged with US Airways. The US Airways miles system will roll up into American Airlines AAdvantage Awards system. I think this is a great time to take advantage of this expiring airline and associated cards.

Based on these goals, I decided to apply for these three cards:

I was immediately approved for the Barclays card since I’m new to them. I wasn’t immediately approved or denied for both Chase cards. I had to call the reconsider line for both applications (personal first). Both cards were approved on the calls after shifting some of my credit lines around.

Here’s what I get with each card:

CardSpending RequiredSpending BonusNotesAnnual Fee
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Visa by Chase$2,000 in 3 months50,000 PointsCounts towards companion pass$99
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Business Premier Visa by Chase$2,000 in 3 months50,000 PointsCounts towards companion pass$99
US Airways Dividend Miles Premier World Mastercard by Barclays$130,000 PointsOne complimentary US Airways Club day pass$89

As you can see, it was a small party and I had to pay to play. The $300 in annual fees isn’t pretty. But these miles will no doubt be used for travel within the next couple of years. And those 100,000 Southwest points are going to go a long way once I have the companion pass earned.

After this app party I’ll be tapped out on applications for a while. We’ll need to start relying more in Mrs. PT to continue to enjoy free travel. I could see her applying for a couple of Chase cards (Ink and British Airways), plus a Barclays card by the end of the year.

Have any questions about my app party? Fire away in the comments below…

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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.


  1. travellearner says

    How do you manage/bare the fees for all the 3 Credit cards after the first year. Do you cancel it ? Its not wise to pay 300 the second year without any benefits

  2. travelbloggerbuzz says

    I am not trying hard, it is that other darn job that is holding me back 🙂
    At this point I may have travel plans during Fincon14…working on it

  3. Philip Taylor says

    travelbloggerbuzz  Hi George. Thanks for sharing your travels for people to see what is possible with a full-on effort. Kudos to you, my friend. Hope to see you in New Orleans this Fall.

  4. travelbloggerbuzz says

    Hi PT

    In 2013-14: 

    Family of 4: Mega trip in Amtrak cabins AnnArbor-Chicago-LosAngeles-Seattle. 3 nights in Seattle. Flew to NYC. Business class on LAN to Santiago for 2 nights at the W. Business class to Buenos Aires and 5 nights at the Hilton (Brought brother/wife from Brazil for 5 nights too). LAN economy to NYC. AA flights to Detroit.

    Trip to Calgary area (Banff Springs/Lake Louise/Jasper) on UA miles Detroit to Calgary. 11 hotel nights. Lovely place, highly recommended for a family vacation

    Going next month to Maui. Staying in Andaz and Fairmont Kea Lani

    Sent wife and daughter to Paris business class for 5 nights.
    Sent wife and daughter to Malaysia economy class.

    I went to Greece business class on Lufthansa and Aegean.
    Took a trip to Norway and hiked up to Preikestolen/Pulpit Rock

    Business trips to Orlando, San Diego, Las Vegas, Dallas, St. Louis (Fincon13).

    I am treating myself a trip to Hong Kong flying First class and staying in the Intercontinental and Conrad for 5 nights in October 2014.

    Planning a daddy-daughter trip to Australia burning the last of my Delta miles.

    All of the above were done with frequent flyer miles and hotel points. Just to give you an idea of what is possible. I am sure I have forgotten a few trips 😉

    The miles game is changing, you are getting into it kind of late. The airlines have finally pretty much caught up with us miles addicts.

    Sorry I never sent you that email I promised you, I got busy.

    This is George the CFP from Michigan

    This has been my hobby for almost 20 years…more like an addiction actually.

    I am not sure about Fincon14