Results of First Post-Bankruptcy Rewards Card Applications

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A few weeks ago I posted details about my husband making his first top tier rewards credit card applications in ten years, since his bankruptcy finally fell off his credit report.  Other than the bankruptcy, his credit report is and was stellar, so he jumped in head first as soon as that negative public record became old enough to no longer be displayed on his credit report.

Some thought we went in too aggressively, some thought we didn’t go in aggressively enough.  However, we did what felt right for us and applied for three very good rewards cards from three different banks.  Truthfully, it was kind of hard picking which cards to get when everything is wide open!  Of course, that is a great problem to have!  While I hope none of you have to deal with old bankruptcies or other negative things on you or your partner’s credit reports, the good news is there is hope at the end of the tunnel even in the event you had some bumps in your past…or at least that was true in his case.  I do want to mention that none of the banks we applied with were ones that were involved in his bankruptcy.  Here are the results of his three applications made the month after the bankruptcy came off his report – none of them were instant approvals.

Read this post to see why we selected these three cards and to get more details about the offers we applied for with the cards.


United MileagePlus Explorer Card (read this thread, too)

About 48 hours after he applied he received a phone call from Chase verifying some basic identifying information and then he was told over the phone that he was approved with a pretty substantial credit limit.  This was easy as pie and we were very happy to receive this approval so quickly and easily.  The card arrived in the mail a couple of days later.

American Express:

Platinum Mercedes-Benz Amex

While you can check the status of American Express applications online, I don’t think that we noticed this one was approved until it arrived in the mail roughly a week or so after he applied.  I think it is pretty awesome that you can go from pretty much no rewards credit cards to getting an Amex Platinum card so quickly.  I think it goes to show that his credit was very strong outside of the old bankruptcy.  I think he was kind of proud to get this one approved.  There were no phone calls or anything else required for this approval.



Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® This approval was very slow, but did not require any follow-up or phone calls.  It took about two weeks to get the approval email and the card still has not arrived in the mail.  We will likely be done with the minimum spending requirements on the first two cards before this one ever appears!  Even still it was an easy approval in terms of him not having to lift a finger other than filling out the initial application.

Total value of approvals:

Not counting the points earned from hitting the minimum spending requirements, he will earn the following points for his first post-bankruptcy rewards credit card approvals:

55,000 United miles (we value at around $1,000)

50,000 Amex Membership Reward points (valued at around $850)

40,000 miles from Barclays (valued at $400)

The Chase and Barclaycard annual fees are waived the first year, and while the Amex annual fee is quite substantial at $475, it is mostly off-set by the airline fee credits for the first two calendar years. Taking into account our valuation of the Amex airline fee credit, that means that he got about $2,250 of travel out of three card approvals for less than $100 out of pocket in first year fees.  Not bad for a “first timer”.

I’m honestly really proud of him for being patient and taking care of business the last ten years to get to this point.  The world of rewards credit cards is now wide open for him, and our family now officially has two full miles and points earners on all fronts.  Bring on the world!


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The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. I appied for the Barclays Arrival card, they denied me after penidng status for too many inquires in the last 12 months. My experian score is 785, and they also rejected me from a Barclays US Air card in mid April 2013. They are getting stingy with credit!!

  2. I’ve been having the same experience with the Barclays Arrival — going on three weeks since I applied, last week I got the approval e-mail, I can see it online, but still no card.

  3. I am a little surprised that you chose the amex platinum at this time. If you had picked that card in November, then you could have gotten three years of credits for 14 months fee (something like $554) as Amex prorate credit card fees.

  4. That’s really awesome Mommypoints (i guess we can start calling your hubby Daddypoints?)
    @Jeff, if you don’t mind me asking, how many inquiries did you have in the past 12 months?

  5. Forgive my ignorance, but what is “airline fee credits” on the MB Amex? Does that mean if you purchase airline tickets with the card, they will give you a credit of $200 per year? Are there any restrictions on the types of tickets you buy? I have tried looking at this on the AMEX site, but can’t seem to find that info.

  6. Barclays is notoriously difficult with credit card aficionados. Glad Mr MommyPoints got it. As for others it seems you just have to pick your spots on when to apply.

  7. Jeff, eek! US Bank and Barclays both seem to be more sensitive to inquiries, though they seem to tolerate some…just not “too many”.
    Trevor, yeah they sure seem to take their time!
    Carsten, it made sense for us right now. Not sure I personally would feel good milking a third year of fees out of one annual fee, but very glad you found a schedule that works for you! Great offer no matter when you get it. 😉
    Joey, ha ha.
    LMR, that benefit is very poorly advertized for the MB Platinum, but it is a benefit just as it is for the personal Platinum. The official Amex statesment is “Enroll and select a qualifying airline to receive up to $200 annually in statement credits for incidental fees, such as checked bags and airport lounge day-passes, charged by the airline.” This thread on FT can give some good real life situations.
    MileageUpdate, agree that some banks like US Bank and Barclays are good ones to go for after you have laid low for a while.

  8. another great post – quick question on the Mercedes Benz card though… when they say:
    where do you find the definition? I.e. if I am planning to buy a new Mercedes, it would make sense to get this card and charge it… but I wonder if they just mean oil changes and wipers in the 5x 😉

  9. Our family is rather the opposite. No matter how much I talked about credit and only applying for the cards that I vet, my husband has just ruined his credit. He applied for a Target card, a Steinmart card and had a 2 year old ding from a collection agency for a $51 medical bill that his insurance company didn’t pay. Wrong: store credit cards and not checking his credit report. I will be sitting up front sipping the bubbly without him.

  10. @Zippy, some people get it, and some people don’t. Hopefully he will see the light soon.
    @MP, congrats to your husband. During the 10 years when he was not applying for CCs, did you add him as an authorized user? Did that help his credit score over the years?

  11. Generally speaking and from a long term perspective shouldn’t one get a no annual fee credit card from each of the card issuers first and then work on the reward cards?

    That way if at some point circumstances dictate the need to retire from the points game one can roll over your limits to the no fee card and not lose any limit availability?

  12. Wow, DaddyPoints went 3 for 3! How long do you expect to wait until the next round of applications? I wait about 6 months unless an amazing offer comes around, but I’ve heard 3 months is more typical.

  13. Congratulations to you both!

    To DaddyPoints, for “marrying up” to a CC expert.
    To MommyPoints, for sticking with him through those years of no cards.

    Now the other wait begins, for “Little C(hurner)” to get her first card 🙂

  14. Simona, yes it should pay at 5x, but you may find some difficulty in charging a very large amount…you may have to negotiate that. I have read of folks charging at least 5k ish though, which should result in 25k points.
    glen, 😉
    ZippyPam, I would try to get him to take care of that medical bill for sure – especially since it is so small. I have family members who have had that trouble as well thanks to insurance mishaps.
    Grant, yes he was the AU on several of my cards. It may have helped some. He also had some of his own cards, but just not the top tier rewards cards.
    John, you can usually switch to a no-fee version of rewards cards at any time, so I wouldn’t start with no-fee versions for that reason.
    Mitch, general rule is at least three months.
    Miles, ha ha – thanks!

  15. I admit I only skimmed the TCs, but I saw no minimum age requirement. So here’s what I’m thinking: Your blog is a business. Little C plays a starring role in it. So if you hired Little C as an independent contractor for her contribution to the blog, she could use that income in her apps for Ink Bold, and Amex Bus Gold cards. About time she started paying her own way to Disneyland, don’t you think? 😀

  16. @ZIppy. Dispute that medical bill with the credit bureaus, dont pay it. Persistence is the game.
    Target is not such a bad card, but Steinmart? yuck. He will survive, no worries.

    • Jason, very true. Personally I would not have my credit drug in the mud for a while for that amount, even if it wasn’t my fault, as I leverage my credit for way more value than that, but you certainly can fight it.

  17. Agreed that paying the $51 will be paid back hundreds of times over and is well worth it. However do NOT pay it without having the collection agency or the Dr. Office (whomever you are paying) agree IN WRITING to remove the negative because just paying it does NOT take the negative away from your report. This is a very important lesson (that I learned only after paying 😉

  18. As everyone knows, fighting with a collection agency over an issue that wasn’t even caused by you, is a huge battle. Rest assured, we will not double pay it just to make it go away. They were paid and need to get their paperwork straightened out. What it has done to my husband’s credit is the issue. Anyone had results in getting it fixed after such a mistake?

  19. I am new to the rewards credit cards. In fact just opened my first 4 this month — Chase Sapphire, Citi Hilton Reserve, Amex Hilton and Citi Executive AAdvantage. My husband is 7 years post bankruptcy but since then has no negatives on his credit report. He applied for Amex Hilton Honors and was not approved. I looking for suggestions on which rewards credit cards he may have more success applying for over these next 3 years until the BK is gone?

    • Erica, my husband had the best luck with Barclays, but that was a little bit ago now so I don’t know if that some of those cards have gotten harder to get since then or not.

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