If you read other travel blogs, you have undoubtedly heard about an App-O-Rama or Credit Card Churning.
A few Readers have asked what exactly is an App-O-Rama, should they be doing it, and how exactly do you do one, so I thought I would go ahead and cover it.
What Is An App-O-Rama?
An App-O-Rama is a nickname that people have given for the process of signing up for a bunch of Credit Cards all at once, and thus submitting lots of Credit Card Applications.
Typically when people do this, they apply for anywhere from 5 - 7 to different Credit Cards in a single sitting.
Apparently there is even a Wikipedia Page for the term.
Credit Card Churning is “technically” different.
It is when you do an App-O-Rama every 3 months or so and you apply for the same Credit Cards over and over again while continuing to receive a large Sign On Bonus.
Although they don’t allow it anymore, up until a few years ago, it was possible to apply for an American Airlines Personal & Business Card from Citibank every 3 months and earn 25,000 Miles or so for each Card.
Thus in 1 year, you could easily get 200,000 AA Miles for doing nothing.
App-O-Rama and Credit Card Churning are technically different but many times they are used interchangeably.
Advantages Of App-O-Rama
The personal reasons for doing an App-O-Rama are fairly simple.
By signing up for a bunch of Credit Cards all at one time, you can easily earn up to 250,000 Airline Miles in one sitting.
The reason that you apply for all the Card at one time as opposed to spreading them out over a week or month, is because Credit Reports aren’t updated instantly, therefore you can use that to your advantage.
Chase for example can’t see that you also applied for a Citi, Bank of America, AMEX, and Barclays Card all on the same day because your Credit Report doesn’t update fast enough.
App-O-Rama can also provide other benefits to your Credit Score, although every case is different.
While there is the impact of having 5 - 7 Credit Card Issuers check your Credit Report, 9/10 times over the long run your Credit Score will actually go up because you have more Available Credit.
If you only have 1 Credit Card that has a $10,000 limit, your total Credit Utilization Ratio is based solely on that $10,000 of Available Credit.
So if you spend $3,000 on your Credit Card, then you are using 30% of your total Available Credit.
However if you did an App-O-Rama and were approved for 4 Credit Cards each with a $10,000 limit, that $3,000 you spent is now is only 6% of your total $50,000 of Available Credit.
Who Should Do An App-O-Rama?
App-O-Ramas are not for everyone!
If you are in debt, don’t pay your bills on time, have a low credit score, planning on buying a house or car in the near future, or are just bad at keeping track of things, then I would not recommend doing an App-O-Rama.
However if you have a mortgage and have no foreseeable large loans to apply for, I’d definitely recommend doing an App-O-Rama because it will help you earn a large amount of miles in an extremely short period of time.
How To Do An App-O-Rama?
1. Check Your Credit Score
First thing you want to do is check your Credit Score to make sure your score is high enough and nothing funny is going on with it.
As a reference point, I’d say to do an App-O-Rama, you need to have a score of 720 or above.
2. Pick Out Your Cards
With an App-O-Rama you want to make sure you are getting as many points as you can.
Remember that most Credit Card Issuers only give you a Sign Up Bonus once, so don’t apply for Cards that you have had in the past unless you are 100% certain that they will give you a repeat Sign On Bonus.
Additionally you want to spread out your applications across different Credit Card Issuers, so don’t apply to 5 Cards from Chase because Chase will obviously pick up on that and deny you.
Instead try and pick one from every Credit Card Issuer like AMEX, Chase, Citi, Bank of America, US Bank, and Barclays to name a few.
I’d also recommend applying for both Airline and Hotel Cards, so you can have your Flight and Hotel paid for in Miles / Points!
If you need ideas for Cards, I have posted my favorites in the Best Current Credit Card Deals Section.
I personally wouldn’t recommend applying for 2 Personal Cards from the same Credit Card Issuers, however I would recommend applying for a Personal & Business Card from the same Credit Card Issuer.
So for example with AMEX, on the same day you could apply for the Personal SPG AMEX and the Business SPG AMEX.
Finally, you can choose to do as many or as few Credit Cards as you want in your App-O-Rama.
I gave the example of 5 - 7 Cards above, but you could easily only do 2 applications if that is what you are comfortable with.
3. Check The Minimum Spend Requirements
Really the only limitation on App-O-Ramas is the Minimum Spend Requirements.
So once you have a rough idea of what Cards you want to apply for, calculate just how much money you have to spend on the Cards to earn all the miles.
This is an extremely important step because if you apply for all these Cards and don’t meet the Minimum Spend Requirements, then you won’t get all your miles!
Although this sounds REALLY nerdy, I would suggest making an Excel sheet to keep track of this stuff.
Then you can be 100% certain of the Minimum Spend Requirements and that you completed them on time.
4. Apply Away
Ideally, you want to apply for all the Cards in one sitting.
The more in succession you do them, the more likely you will be to get approved instantly online.
In the event that you get a “Pending Approval” message online, it is important to call the Bank’s Reconsideration Line and get yourself manually approved.
9/10 times you will get approved anyways even if you don’t call in, but it is always better to speed up the process and make sure there are no other issues.
Real Life Example
Now that you know what an App-O-Rama is and how to do one, I will share a recent example of one that my travel buddy Chris did last week.
Chris is going back to Grad School, so he knows for the next 4 years he won’t be buying a house and his Student Loans have already been processed.
Luckily for him, he school allows him the ability to pay tuition and other expenses on a Credit Card without any additional fees which is awesome!
So 2 weeks ago once he found out about that, he emailed me asking me how to do an App-O-Rama as well as recommendations on what Cards to apply for.
I came up with the following list for him:
Anyone that reads FFU know that the Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of my favorites.
Chris had the MasterCard Version of this Card in the past, however because this one is a Visa, he will be eligble to get the Sign On Bonus again!
While this is a Business Card and Chris doesn’t have a Business, using the outline I had made a while ago, Chris was able to get approved for the INK Bold without issue.
While the $10,000 requirement is certainly a stretch for many people, he will be able to charge his tuition and housing on that Card.
After he completes the Minimum Spend Requirement, from this Card alone he will have earned 60,000 Ultimate Rewards Points!
While Citibanks Card offerings aren’t as good as Chase’s, they do have some good AA Cards.
Additionally, this AA Card is great because the Minimum Spending Requirement is only $1,000!
Given that AMEX bumped the bonus from 25,000 to 30,000 Starpoints, it was hard to pass this Card up.
Also because Chris applied for the Citi AA Card and AA is a SPG Airline Transfer Partner, in the event he needs more AA Miles, he can simply transfer them from this Card.
Chris did get stuck in the same situation that happened to The Points Guy, in which if you apply for both a Personal & Business AMEX at the same time, they put 1 of the applications in a mandatory 4 day waiting period before they approve you.
I don’t know why they do that but after 4 days, Chris was approved without issue for the Business Card.
Although no one thinks of Barclays as a Travel Credit Card company, they are in fact the ones who underwrite US Airways Credit Cards.
Although US Airways can be a pain in the butt to deal with, their miles are valuable because they can be used for Star Alliance flights on United, Lufthansa, etc!
Additionally, for January - February, US Airways cuts the cost of Economy Tickets to France to only 35,000 Miles Round-Trip!
So basically by signing up for this Card, if Chris can go to France for 35,000 Miles this Winter which is pretty cool.
Also similar to AA, US Airways is a SPG Airline Transfer Partner, so if needed Chris can build his US Airways balance by transferring Starpoints.
Chris’s App-O-Rama Summary
So all in all by signing up for 6 Cards and agreeing to spend $24,000 in the next 3 - 6 months, Chris received the following:
- 103,000 Ultimate Rewards Points
- 31,000 AA Miles
- 70,000 Starpoints
- 30,000 US Airway Miles
From sitting at his computer for 30 minutes, he picked up around 234,000 Miles / Points!
What is really neat about Chris’s App-O-Rama is that because he now has a huge stockpile of Ultimate Rewards and Starpoints, he really can really go anywhere in the World for free since both programs are extremely flexible in terms of transferring to partners.
For example he could redeem his Ultimate Rewards Points on United and then use his Starpoints to cover his Hotel.
Or he could use his Starpoints and transfer them to AA or US Airways, and then use his Ultimate Rewards Points with Hyatt or Marriott to cover the Hotel.
The possibilities are really endless!
Also one final thing, as I stated above about your Credit Score potentially increasing, after Chris completed his App-O-Rama and was approved for all his Cards, his Credit Score actually went up by 15 points!
While Chris’s situation is fairly unique in that he can meet his large Minimum Spend Requirement by paying his tuition bill, if planned out properly almost anyone can do an App-O-Rama.
Of course you don’t have to apply for 6 Cards at once, you could simply do 2 like the AA Card and the US Airways Card.
That would get you 60,000 miles and you would only have to spend $1,000 in 3 Months.
Quite a few FFU Readers who are planning honeymoons or just want to go an extremely luxurious vacation have emailed asking for help doing an App-O-Rama, and I have had no problem helping them.
So if you are planning an App-O-Rama or would like help setting one up, feel free to email me with any questions and I’d be more than happy to help get you on your way to earning a quarter of a million miles!