Rookie Wednesday: To earn bonus points is it “apply by” or is it “approved by” date that matters?

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RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

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Let’s face it – most of us get travel cards due to whatever amazing offer the banks are willing to give us to get the card. Then, depending on how good the value of the travel points are, we will continue to use the card as a normal every day spend card to keep earning points. If the value of the points are not that great – into the “sock drawer” it goes.

Many folks are procrastinators. I get this (well sorta). Others are maybe waiting due to spreading out applications and want to wait as long as possible to go for some offer and maybe go for other travel cards on that same day (I normally go for several cards each time I apply for travel cards).

But that brings us to the question of the day. To earn bonus points is it “apply by” or is it “approved by” date that matters?

Notice, in the expanded information about the current amazing Delta AMEX card offers what the wording says:

“Acquisition Offer Details with Expiration Date. If your application is not received by 06/30/2015, you will not be eligible for the 50,000 bonus miles and $50 statement credit even if your application is approved. American Express reserves the right to modify or revoke offer at any time.” – [offer has expired]

So for this current Delta AMEX offer  you have until  Tuesday the 30th  to get your application in (procrastinators rejoice). You do NOT have to be approved before that date, just have the application received by AMEX. But is this always the case?

Not always. There are card offers that the approval date matters to get the bonus. It those cases, if you are not instantly approved, you should make an effort to call the bank to see what else is needed for an approval the same day you have applied.

Personally, for both my wife and I, we often need to call to get final approvals. It can mean moving credit lines from one card to this new card or even perhaps closing another card to get this new one approved. Whatever it takes, we get it done the SAME DAY we apply so that we have screen shots of the offer, often times approval e-mails later THAT SAME DAY and also we write down the names of the reps at the banks we talked to as well as the date and time of the call. All of this will confirm we were 100% in line to get the current bonus offer that was valid at the time of the application to get the card.

So now we know to check, before we apply, if it is application or approval date that matters and what do to in either case.

The next issue, just because it is good to think about, is how long you have to meet the minimum spend to get the bonus points. Most times it is 3 months but not always. Some have shorter time ranges and some as long as 6 months to meet the spend. With some banks your “spend clock” starts the DAY you are approved for the card NOT the day you get the card – please keep this in mind. I tend to always try to knock out the spend in the first month or at maximum by the second month I have the card. Lastly, be VERY careful with returns. I one time forgot what card I got something on and ended up just short, after return, from meeting my bonus spend and it cost me the new card bonus. I will NEVER make that mistake again.

Got any other questions about getting new cards and new card bonus deals? Fire away! – René


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