Strategy to obtain US Amex

Tiki

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Is there any way to MS for these cards? I was planning to use the cruise payment to do the minimum spend for the Amex. But I am really worried the cruise to PNG may get cancelled or swapped to something boring I wouldn't want to do. I use Wise to transfer funds to the US but I can't see any way to get some MS out of it.
 

maxie2020

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Nothing out of the ordinary. But my credit file was in order — high credit score, address on application matched address reported by other agencies, already had a Cap One checking account (easy to open online), etc. You also need a low velocity for a VX card, so I suggest not doing it if you've been churning through a lot of cards recently. Best to start early in your journey rather than late, or after a time off churning.
How did you open a Cap1 account online?
I applied online with my ITIN but was prompted to call in for verification and when I did, they said I need to go into a branch to fill out some tax papers as I'm not a permanent resident.
 

maxie2020

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Also for people having issues receiving verification texts for identity verification from banks, I tried all the big carriers and MVNOs, had prepaid lines with them with an E-Sim and used it in Australia via Wifi Calling (works fine for both calls and texts).
But was still unable to receive these smses. I got a postpaid line with AT&T and I still wasn't able to get verification texts, the representative said "I wasn't able to send a text message" in my last call with US Bank.
So I researched a bit online and it looks most people who are having the similar issue didn't have "SMS Short Codes" active on their lines.
It's not postpaid or prepaid related. You need to have SMS short codes activated on your line.
I got AT&T to enable it on my line and will report back if it's successful next time.
You can perhaps contact your carriers and ask them to enable this and try again?
 

maxie2020

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I can’t log into my core credit equifax account anymore . I believe it’s an Id verification issue because when I called they asked me to submit my id docs .
Does this mean at this point I will be rejected for any further cards ? I ask as I was also rejected for the curve card with no reasons provided .
I don't believe you'll be rejected, it's just you can't access your information online until they verify your docs.
I have the same issue, I haven't been able to access my account online, they sent a verification code by mail which I verified but still unable to login. They said there's a discrepancy in my credit file and I need to send in documents.
There is several services to send local letters in the US by uploading your PDFs. I tried DocuPost and they're good.
 

Finale

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Also for people having issues receiving verification texts for identity verification from banks, I tried all the big carriers and MVNOs, had prepaid lines with them with an E-Sim and used it in Australia via Wifi Calling (works fine for both calls and texts).
But was still unable to receive these smses. I got a postpaid line with AT&T and I still wasn't able to get verification texts, the representative said "I wasn't able to send a text message" in my last call with US Bank.
So I researched a bit online and it looks most people who are having the similar issue didn't have "SMS Short Codes" active on their lines.
It's not postpaid or prepaid related. You need to have SMS short codes activated on your line.
I got AT&T to enable it on my line and will report back if it's successful next time.
You can perhaps contact your carriers and ask them to enable this and try again?

That didn't work for me in the past. I gave it up long time ago. In my opinion, those verification texts aren't important and not worth investing time and $$. I'm holding 11 US cards from Amex, Citi, Chase and Cap1 and the only one with such text was Chase and no issue when I couldn't receive it.
 

blacksultan

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I don't believe you'll be rejected, it's just you can't access your information online until they verify your docs.
I have the same issue, I haven't been able to access my account online, they sent a verification code by mail which I verified but still unable to login. They said there's a discrepancy in my credit file and I need to send in documents.
There is several services to send local letters in the US by uploading your PDFs. I tried DocuPost and they're good.
Thank you so much for your response and info !
 

Tiki

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998
How did you open a Cap1 account online?
I applied online with my ITIN but was prompted to call in for verification and when I did, they said I need to go into a branch to fill out some tax papers as I'm not a permanent resident.
I heard that Cap One is fussy about verification. And there aren't that many branches around either, not in all states. I have a SSN and use a friend's address in Orlando but I would still have the short SMS code hassle as I use TextNow.
 

maxie2020

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I heard that Cap One is fussy about verification. And there aren't that many branches around either, not in all states. I have a SSN and use a friend's address in Orlando but I would still have the short SMS code hassle as I use TextNow.
Right, might be easier with SSN cause they usually assume that you're a citizen or a permanent resident if you got an SSN.
I have an ITIN which makes things more complicated.
 

levelnine

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Since cap 1 do not accept cmra , are you using a friend or relatives adresss Witth them ? Or is a cmra acceptable to them only as a mailing address and not residential ?
I use a relative's address. I believe you're correct that they don't send to CMRA. The Capital One threads on FlyerTalk may have more information about getting around this limitation.
Is there any way to MS for these cards? I was planning to use the cruise payment to do the minimum spend for the Amex.
I would be careful with Amex. They are very aggressive in clawing back sign up bonuses if you don't meet the minimum spend requirements. They are also sensitive to very obvious forms of MS (eg large amounts of gift card purchases). Can you prepay utilities/bills to meet the minimum spend?
How did you open a Cap1 account online?
I applied online with my ITIN but was prompted to call in for verification and when I did, they said I need to go into a branch to fill out some tax papers as I'm not a permanent resident.
I have a SSN, which may have made life easier for me, though I didn't have the address I used on my credit file when I applied. If you can, I would line up a bunch of bank account applications to do before your next trip to the US. Then if any require you to go into a branch, you can do that. Once you have one or two bank accounts tied to your identity, it is so much easier to open new credit cards because you can ask one bank to call another bank to verify your address, etc.
 
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Finale

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Chase Inks don't count towards 5/24, but you need to be under 5/24 to apply. That's why I'm especially interested in hearing contrary opinions. P2 and I deliberately stay under 5/24 to make use of Chase Inks, but if Amexes offer a better ROI, I'm all ears.

I just can't see how Amexes work (outside of special cases like the Aspire) if you aren't able to make use of most credits and offers.

There are, of course, scenarios in which they make sense. For example, if you can't access Chase products for some reason. But if you're willing to put in the effort to get a US Amex, it's not a lot more effort to get a US Chase or US Cap 1.

I have 3x Bonvoy, 1x Aspire and 2x MR cards. I like Bonvoy cards as I get 30 elite nights and all of them give free night cers and I use them at properties costing $250USD+ (annual fee from $95 to $150). I also keep an MR card to transfer points from Australia. With the exchange rate now, I get almost 2 airlines points per $1USD spend which is better than most US cards (and AU cards) for non bonus spend.

I also make use of FHR a lot. Got $2,000 value last trip alone. Another good thing about them is they give me $0 plan it fee quite often. I make use of that a lot. It's not for cash flow but I can keep cash in my offset account making a profit off that.

In my opinion, Chase cards are disappointing. My favourite US cards for spending are Citi + Cap1. Chase needs to up their game.
 

levelnine

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I have 3x Bonvoy, 1x Aspire and 2x MR cards. I like Bonvoy cards as I get 30 elite nights and all of them give free night cers and I use them at properties costing $250USD+ (annual fee from $95 to $150). I also keep an MR card to transfer points from Australia. With the exchange rate now, I get almost 2 airlines points per $1USD spend which is better than most US cards (and AU cards) for non bonus spend.

I also make use of FHR a lot. Got $2,000 value last trip alone. Another good thing about them is they give me $0 plan it fee quite often. I make use of that a lot. It's not for cash flow but I can keep cash in my offset account making a profit off that.

In my opinion, Chase cards are disappointing. My favourite US cards for spending are Citi + Cap1. Chase needs to up their game.
Fantastic reply. Thanks so much.

I completely agree that many of the Amex hotel cards are no brainers. The credits and certificates are easy to use and more than offset the annual fee.

Turning to the MRs, this is where it gets interesting in my opinion. Which cards do you have? Are you able to make use of any of the credits (apart from FHR) outside of the US?

Let's compare airline spend using the CSP (2x for $95 AF) with the Amex Gold (3x for $150) and Amex Platinum (5x for $695).

For the Green, you need to spend at least $USD5,500 on flights per year just to break even with the CSP (I would say $USD10,500 because it is dead simple to get the CSP AF down to $45 with a refundable hotel booking).

For the Platinum, you need to spend at least $USD20,000 on flights per year to break even with the CSP.

That $USD5/10/20K spend is best used to meet the sign up bonus for another card. Eg if I have $USD7,500 to spend on flights, I'd rather get a whopping 95,000UR with an Ink + referral over a measly 37,500MR with the Platinum. Unless you are unable to churn, I just don't see the value.

Why do you use FHR over Virtuoso? I've always gotten similar or better benefits for the same price through my Virtuoso agent.
 
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Finale

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Fantastic reply. Thanks so much.

I completely agree that many of the Amex hotel cards are no brainers. The credits and certificates are easy to use and more than offset the annual fee.

Turning to the MRs, this is where it gets interesting in my opinion. Which cards do you have? Are you able to make use of any of the credits (apart from FHR) outside of the US?

Let's compare airline spend using the CSP (2x for $95 AF) with the Amex Gold (3x for $150) and Amex Platinum (5x for $695).

For the Green, you need to spend at least $USD5,500 on flights per year just to break even with the CSP (I would say $USD10,500 because it is dead simple to get the CSP AF down to $45 with a refundable hotel booking).

For the Platinum, you need to spend at least $USD20,000 on flights per year to break even with the CSP.

That $USD5/10/20K spend is best used to meet the sign up bonus for another card. Eg if I have $USD7,500 to spend on flights, I'd rather get a whopping 95,000UR with an Ink + referral over a measly 37,500MR with the Platinum. Unless you are unable to churn, I just don't see the value.

Why do you use FHR over Virtuoso? I've always gotten similar or better benefits for the same price through my Virtuoso agent.

I think the value of these cards depends on your spending pattern and lifestyle. I travel a bit and leave the country 4-6 times a year. I also spend a lot on food/drinks and got a good friend who regularly use my card for his company drink/dinner. Amex platinum and citi Prestige are great for me but no value for a lot of people.

I have a personal platinum and business gold. I signed up for business Gold for SUB only. I was planning to drop platinum after this year hoping for an upgrade offer on the Gold business which I already got, 140k with 10k Spend. I paid $550 last year so $200 airlines credit and $200 hotel credit were great. I used saks credits to buy stuff for my work colleague whose address I use for these cards. There were also a couple of other one time credits I made use of. I don't put much spend on MR cards and agree it is not that great. Most of my points there are from AU Amex.

I can still see the value at $695 due to airlines credit, hotel credit, FHR, Virgin lounge access (I use peacock also). I also got a retention bonus every 2 years. Will try 2 years in a row this year and make sure it's over 13 months.

Ink isn't for everybody due to a very high minimum spend. I'm only comfortable with max 10k in 3 months, not 15k. How do you get 95,000 UR with just $7500 spend?

I like FHR due to no interaction with human :p $200 credit can be used and Amex from time to time offer statement credits for prepaid booking ie spend $800 get $150. Let me know if there is any agent I can do it all online.

PS I'm not a churner. Since 2016, I applied for 13 US cards and only cancelled 2 so far.
 

levelnine

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I think the value of these cards depends on your spending pattern and lifestyle.
This is such an informative reply. Exactly what I was looking for to help evaluate the value of different approaches. Thank you!

I can see one sweet spot, which both you and sudoer mentioned, which is earning AU MR then converting to US MR for redemptions. I think the AU Platinum is a rip off for new applicants (I know it is different for old cardmembers that get multiple travel credits per year — unfortunately I missed that boat), but I could see the value proposition in using an AU Plat Edge or AU Express Explorer to acquire AU MR at 3x/2x then convert to the US for redemption.

It isn't attractive for me at the moment because I devote my spend to churning, but that is a useful strategy for those not interested in churning -- thanks for the tip.

The generous retention bonuses do help make Amex a better long term hold, though I find in Australia you tend to get better value from cancelling the card for 18 months to get another sign up bonus (and earning points through other cards in the meantime).

It is pretty easy to get 95K UR if you have a partner — each referral earns 20K on top of the 75K sign-up bonus.

I communicate with my Virtuoso travel agent by email, but can understand if you want a completely automated system, FHR is preferable.
 

Finale

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This is such an informative reply. Exactly what I was looking for to help evaluate the value of different approaches. Thank you!

I can see one sweet spot, which both you and sudoer mentioned, which is earning AU MR then converting to US MR for redemptions. I think the AU Platinum is a rip off for new applicants (I know it is different for old cardmembers that get multiple travel credits per year — unfortunately I missed that boat), but I could see the value proposition in using an AU Plat Edge or AU Express Explorer to acquire AU MR at 3x/2x then convert to the US for redemption.

It isn't attractive for me at the moment because I devote my spend to churning, but that is a useful strategy for those not interested in churning -- thanks for the tip.

The generous retention bonuses do help make Amex a better long term hold, though I find in Australia you tend to get better value from cancelling the card for 18 months to get another sign up bonus (and earning points through other cards in the meantime).

It is pretty easy to get 95K UR if you have a partner — each referral earns 20K on top of the 75K sign-up bonus.

I communicate with my Virtuoso travel agent by email, but can understand if you want a completely automated system, FHR is preferable.

I was looking at Ink prefered only before. For Ink cashback, even though no fee and lower min spend for 75K SUB, there is a 3% foreign transaction fee. Great if you have $7,500 US spend or $225 in fee. Actually $225 for 75K is not bad.

Maybe I try to churn later but not sure how easy it is to get approved for Chase business cards these days. I also need to cancel some of the cards I have. Managing almost 20 cards is getting difficult. A couple of months ago and forgot to pay cap1 (a week overdue). Had to pay interest + $25 overdue fee.

In case anybody forgets to pay and it's the first time, Cap1 is happy to waive the $25 overdue fee (not interest though). You just need to give them a call and it's done in a couple of minutes. I believe some other banks do the same as well.
 

Tiki

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I would be careful with Amex. They are very aggressive in clawing back sign up bonuses if you don't meet the minimum spend requirements. They are also sensitive to very obvious forms of MS (eg large amounts of gift card purchases). Can you prepay utilities/bills to meet the minimum spend?
I was afraid of that. The only bills I have that take Amex are Vodafone and Foxtel. I am taking the car for servicing on Monday but not sure if they take Amex. (Just called, they don't) I may have to buy Coles and Woolies gift cards to push it up to $2000 USD. They would post as supermarket spend. It's so hard to make these spends when our dollar down. It's like almost $3000 for us.
 
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Finale

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I was afraid of that. The only bills I have that take Amex are Vodafone and Foxtel. I am taking the car for servicing on Monday but not sure if they take Amex. I may have to buy Coles and Woolies gift cards to push it up to $2000 USD. They would post as supermarket spend. It's so hard to make these spends when our dollar down. It's like almost $3000 for us.

or pay a bit of fee 1.5% and use sniip to pay bills?
 

Tiki

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or pay a bit of fee 1.5% and use sniip to pay bills?
I just googled sniip. It seems it's an app/wallet thingy? I am afraid that would just trigger the fraud depts on these banks. I do have the B of A Air France card spend to make but that is easier as I allocated AGL, Origin, car rego and mechanic to finish that one off.
 

Tiki

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I am thinking of this card next, probably apply end of July to have until end Oct to do the spend.

The intitial $3000 will be covered by the trip to Turkiye and the dental crowns I am doing. So my 60k SUB will be safe. Then the cruise payment would go towards the extra spend $6000 in 6 months for an extra 10k and includes cancellation insurance and all that.

Then after that spend is done, I can wait for an elevated bonus on the CSP. It was up to 80k last month, back down to 60k but they will probably run the special deal again in a few months.
 

http_x92

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I just googled sniip. It seems it's an app/wallet thingy? I am afraid that would just trigger the fraud depts on these banks. I do have the B of A Air France card spend to make but that is easier as I allocated AGL, Origin, car rego and mechanic to finish that one off.
Ohh I have used Sniip for my US Amex and they accept it, didn't get any calls about the transaction. Not a cash advance as well thankfully got the points.
 

DC3

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Ohh I have used Sniip for my US Amex and they accept it, didn't get any calls about the transaction. Not a cash advance as well thankfully got the points.
Yes, Snip can be good use. I use it when paying some bills.
 
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