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Signup Bonus Harvesting

I'm signing up for a checking account with you guys, but I don't want to order a pack of checks. How would I do that? –Me

Chase Sapphire Reserve only gives 1% back on purchases (1.25% if redeemed for travel). While it's worth it to spend $4K for the signup bonus of $500 or so (12% return), it's not competitive for amounts beyond that! I'd rather get 2% in cash with a different card, even if it doesn't have a signup bonus!

  • So that's why Chase has such high referral payments to bloggers ($100)…because they charge 1.5%-2.5% in processing fees to the merchant and only have to pass along 1.25% to the card holder!
  • So all these blog folks that are hawking free first class everything travel…for folks to actually get the other $500 they have to spend ~$40K on their Chase card instead of $25K on a 2% cash back card! I wonder why they don't talk about that…

Personal Expenses on Business Card

T&C's say not to do it, but the worst they can/will do is cancel the card?

Separate credit bureaus, less consumer protection against purchases, higher interest rate. No big deal to me…

However approval is trickier. Requires an actual business? (sole prop?). And EIN (does SSN count?). Can apply for one with IRS?

No just called them and they insisted on business documents! They even tried to validate with the state webiste. I have wasted two hard pulls in the last 8 months with Wells Fargo and US Bank business credir cards!

Applied for BofA card with sole proprietorship and $500 sales / year, but was rejected.

  • Will get a letter. Maybe it says to do a secured card instead?

Money Transfer

When transferring a large amount of money (probably > $10K?), it raises a lot fewer questions when the money is sent from the holding bank to the new bank, as opposed to the new bank requesting the money from a holding bank. Same sort of thing for writing a check.

Re-Bonus Limitations

  • Wells Fargo is once every 6 months, 15 months per card.


Running out of cards to apply for, so I probably want to refocus on big ones only.

Choosing to wait for Jan 2022, at which point I should be able to apply for higher <cash> bonus cards. Chase doesn't care when you close the card, so closing existing annual fee cards a little later is ok.

Doesn't limit me from applying for a few cards until then, but needs to be ⇐ 5 over 24 months. So let's make an arbitrary reward of … $400? Should be fine. Not all vendors do 5/24, so I can sign up for them in the meantime. (Wells Fargo, etc).


  • Lacks being specific or doing another option, current balance. Thankfully on the next screen, it clarifies it will charge the lesser of your statement balance or your current balance. But it really should be statement balance - payments against it, or “whatever is needed to prevent me from getting interest”.

Please note: If your current balance is less than your scheduled repeat payment at the time we process your payment, we'll reduce or cancel your payment accordingly. Also, when your selected amount is less than your minimum due, to ensure your account does not go past due and that you remain in good standing, your repeat payment will be increased to the minimum due amount. If you do not wish to have this amount increased, please contact us by 7 pm on the scheduled date.

Case 2708728.

Brokerage Accounts

Even though the signup bonus looks small, you can keep your money invested! (so still free money, just not very instant).

However, you want to use ACAT transfer to keep your cost basis. Even a 2% bonus isn't worth it if you have to liquidate.

Place Deal Result
Chase YouInvest $25K/$200, invested for 90 days
Keep checking account for 100 free trades every year, although probably pulling out money before that
But don't fully deplete or else face $75 account closure fee?
Buying VTSAX 11/28/19 ish
Sofi Invest $1000/$100 $100 received Nov 22-ish.
Wait for a while?
Sofi Invest #2 1%. MINTAX, will refund $75 of closing external account.\\90 days minimum\\$75 to close the account Pursuing ACAT transfer soon.
Etrade $25K/$200 Purchasing VTSAX 11/28/19 ish
Ally Bank Trading $25K/$200 $18K transferred
Was under $25K by $500 >.< Must have forgotten about it mid-transfer
Only $50, reward received already
Schwab Nice N/A for me since I opened brokerage already
PNC $25K/$125 or $50K/$250, invested 1 year?
Requires calling on phone, which is ok, but too much time and $ now
Requires managed acct (2%/year AUM)
TD Ameritrade $25K/$100 or $50K/$200, invested 1 year
Merrill Lynch Decent bonus, but requires large balance checking account with Bank of America
Fidelity $50K / $200
Tastytrade $2000 → $200 in stocks Need to keep for 90 days.
Any account fees?
Want to do it

Checking Accounts


Some are not that annoying! Usually maintain balance / account for 90 days.

  • US Bank (done). No fees if doing direct deposit. But want to stop at some point…
    • Bwhahaaa. $200 external electronic transfer limit for your “safety” and $3 fee per transaction. Nooooo thank you! Hopefully they can get me cash or a bank check today.
  • Huntington: $1000 transferred in. $5/month charge unless 5k balance. Keep account open for 90 days.
  • HSBC Choice Checking ($1500 transferred in (not necessarily direct deposit, maintained for 90 days). By March 31.
    • $5 monthly fee for balance < $5K.
    • $25 early termination fee if before 180 days. Well, bummer.
    • Would I do the work for $150, less tax? Not really…
    • Just need one direct deposit. Can close afterwards. (one month)?
  • Capital One 360. $25 * 3
  • Wells Fargo, direct deposit of $3k each month for 3 months for $400. Don't seem to be electronic transfer fees, also no fees if you have DD's.
  • KeyBank, big bonus but need to be invited.
  • Bank of America

Maybe more useful ones here, but already scanned through.

Bank Reward Fine Print Date
Chase $300 + 2% of $15K for 90 days of mucking around. 8% risk free return, before interest taxes $500 direct deposit in checking monthly. $15K in savings for 90 days. Transfer $25 monthly to savings from checking.
Don't bail out before 6 months or else you will get billed for bonus.
Accepted Aug 20 2019
Got $300 early, $300 later on Nov 28.
Waiting for 6 months
Closed May 18 2020
PNC $300, but no acct minimums Within 60 days: 10 debit card transactions (use square cash or Amazon balance reload, $1 min for free), $5K of direct deposit
Fee avoidance: $5K in direct deposit per month? Or $25 early account closure fee
Bi-weekly pay is $3k.
Can use Paypal, what is their routing number?
Accepted 8/22/19
$300 deposited a while back. Still maintain $5K/month through Paypal or $25 account closure?
Closed May 18 2020
HSBC $200 Still waiting…DONE!
To transfer, go to top menu My HSBC, then Bank to Bank Transfers
$1 per paycheck
Still doing DD until December minimum to get $100 ,
signed form is in Dropbox under…2020 taxes
US Bank $300 Started when? (check email) Closed w/ no fee
Wells Fargo $400 When should I stop transferring $500 in per month?
Capital One 360 Performance Savings $200/$10000 deposit for 90 days Approved 11/15
Received bonus Feb 24
Discover $200 for $25000 cumulative deposits (can be in and out) Applied & approved 11/14
$6k transferred 11/18 from NWPCU
$6050 transferred back 11/23
Bonus received in 2019
Not closed as no fee
BBVA Expired one day earlier :-/
$200 for one $500 DD, $50 for savings keeping
Keep account open until 1 year later Applied July 24 {{ :everyday:money:disclosure.pdf |}}
Bank of the West $1000 DD per month for 3 months = $250 Any DD per month avoids fee.
One $500 DD per month to avoid fee (paypal ok) ?
Worried that outgoing transfer will cause fee. Use Zelle instead?disclosure-oregon.pdf
Stopping transfers end of February after 91 days. Maybe transfer $1 per month from DD at that point?
Bonus of $250 received April 15
Leave open?
Still doing DD for no reason
Homestreet Bank $350 $3K direct deposit in 90 days
Hold $2.5K per month for no fees
Keep acct open for 240 days for $350 reward
Don't cancel before 365 days or else they reserve the right to ask for bonus back
Can transfer money using Paypal
Approved Nov 19 2019
Waiting for signature card to send in DD
Columbia Bank Have to go into bank
Do $1 DD from work per month
Deposited March 13
Keep $1 DD / mo
Removed $200 bonus in April
Still doing DD for no reason
KeyBank or use Dad's referral code $500 direct deposit for $400
$500 worth of transactions a month to avoid fee
Money within 60 days, don't close before 180.
$500 DD'ed, need to transfer out using Paypal.
December 15, transfer $500 in/out
Didn't actually DD $500, did $400 :-(
Trying to close account in July
Citi $15K for 60 days, $10K for 90 days to avoid $25/mo fee. $400 Cancel after 90+60 days Transfer $14999 into savings, $1 into checking.
Bonus received April 15.
Cancelling once money is mostly transferred out
Closed May 19 2020
Charles Schwab $1k deposit / $100 Keep account open to not get bonus charged back
Incredible Bank Two $300 DD within 30 days (maybe NW Priority would count?)
Wait until $175
First Tech Credit Union Started. Should be ok for 60 day thing. Keep up direct deposit for 120 days total
but don't need to keep balance in checking
SoFi Bank $75 for two $500 DD within ?? days
Also 5% back on debit card for first 90 days
Signed up May 5 and set up DD
Rivermark Credit Union $100 for signing up with checking account
Note to self, write down T&C. I missed doing a $100 opening deposit?
Done May 5. Need to transfer some money

Speaking of which, early account closure fees for the other banks I've done…?

Credit Cards

After talking with Glenn, we realized that for me it's not about the money. It's about “if there's a better way to do something, I want to know about it” / “puzzle solving” / “winning”. At some point it becomes unwise to spend hours optimizing a few dollars. But if it's boring stuff, paying me money won't help.

Interesting side note, different names for the same thing:

Name Feeling
Losing money Oh no! Panic
Inflation went up 2% this year Bummer, but can't do anything about it
I will pay you money for work Ok, kinda cool. Is it boring work?
Type Fee
Cash (N/A) No fee
Debit Card (from a large bank) 0.05% + $0.21 per transaction
Debit Card (from a smaller bank) 1.15% + $0.15 per transaction (capped at $0.35)
Basic (no rewards) Credit Card 1.22% + $0.05 per transaction
Traditional Rewards Credit Card 1.48% + $0.10 per transaction
Signature Credit Card 1.48% + $0.10 per transaction
Signature Preferred Credit Card 2.10% + $0.10
  • So cash and debit users end up financing the rewards points of high interchange fee users, to the tune of ~$130 per person per year flowing to $1200 per high rewards card user per year. (10X more cash/debit people than “rich”??!)
    • On the other hand, lots of money is flowing from the rich to the poor in the form of progressive income taxes and luxury goods taxes. So it kinda evens out?!
  • Interesting looking paper that I'll probably never get to: “The Economic Effects of Interchange Fees”, by Al Frankel and some other guy. Also the original DOJ paper:

CARD Act of 2009

Pretty cool…

Relevant for me: No fees for not using card (inactivity fee), clear statement of how long it will take to pay off debt with just minimum payments and how much money goes to interest. Cool.

Business cards

Yes you can, and can use personal expenses somehow, but need >$1000/year in revenue.

Magic American Express Number

My Delta card had a $1000 credit limit for the first 60 days. However, if you called 1-800-230-1284, they were able to deduct from my checking account on file immediately the amount needed to book my flight so I could get a increased credit limit! I.e. transferring in money so you have a balance and thus more of a credit limit, except instantly and magic-like.

Yearly Fee

Can supposedly transfer the points to a non-yearly-fee card or downgrade your account? Will need to look into.



From Ally Bank:

    • How short is too short?


  • No more than 2 in 2 months, 3 in 1 year, etc. Something like this.

Capital One:

  • Based on your credit report from Trans Union,number of bank cards tradelines opened in the

last 24 months

  • Means 5/24?

Also credit score is 750 right now. Not great, better lay off for a while…next spring maybe.

Credit Score / Underwriter Eyebrows

There are 2 main different scores. FICO and VantageScore. FICO seems to be 10 points less than the others. is excellent for explaining these visually. CalcXML has a good calculator to play with knobs, MyFICO has less accessible knobs. CreditKarma has a good simulator too. “Credit Score Simulator”

No real difference >760 when applying for most normal loans.

Thing Details
AAoA (Average Age of Accounts ) Older = better, and averaged based on the number of open accounts
AR: Leave several open for a long time so new CC offers don't affect it. >7 years is best
Closed accounts Let you sign up for the card again ~2 years later. But, actions stay on your account for 10 years. Increases AAoA by removing new accounts, but indicates you are not loyal. Might want to keep a few more open than just 1.
Hard inquiries (needed to get loans / CC of any kind) Low impact to score, but go away after 2 years. So if you have a looming house purchase, think twice.
Also, don't let car sales people do a hard inquiry on you each time for a loan. Tanks your score!

Credit Card

  • Don't close them! Age of credit is much more important than getting the rewards again. You don't want the hit to your credit score…

Can close accounts, as long as you have an old account….something like that. We'll see. Do it after Poland trip since it seems easier on the mind.


Name Notes State Number
Capital One Quicksilver Keeping for long age of accounts. $12 remaining 4463
Capital one Savor Close next week to get big Capital One card
Can only have 2 Capital One cards at a time
HSBC Cash Rewards Keep open for AAoA and end of year bonus. $20 credit remaining 6155
Bank of America MLB Keep open? 6831
Bank of America Cash Rewards Keep open? 3734
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Keep open? 7850
BarclayCard $5000 / $700 (70k points) Approved! Feb 9 2019 7647
Citi AAdvantage … can apply separate from Citi Premier and still get signup bonus avoiding 24-month rule.
Having issues redeeming.\\Want to create an AAdvantage account, but it says there's already one with my name on it.\\Need to call…
Annual fee
US Bank Cash Plus $150/$500, but rewards expire in 36 months
Approved Aug 2018
Wells Fargo Propel $300 / $3k. $0 annual fee Approved July 2019
Use to churn on tax payment
0% APR until August 2020. Autopay min
Schwab $2000/$200
Approved October 2019
0% APR until … May 2020
$200 bonus deposited
Fidelity Card? $1500/$150, no annual fee
2% cash back, Quicksilver replacement…
Approved November 2019
No APR reduction
Received $180 Dec 31 2019
Alliant Credit Union targeted? offer $3K/$200
Not much, but not much else either
Approved Nov 19 2019
Need to probably spend in Q1
When will it show up?
American Express Delta Gold Targeted $2K/70K miles + $50 statement bonus + perks
Got because of work delta purchase
~$100 annual fee
Approved Dec 31 2019
$2K reached on Feb 11 Feb 25.
80K points deposited
PNC Bank Core CC Targeted? $1K/$100 Approved Jan 13 2020
BBVA Bank $1500/$100 :-( Approved Jan 28 2020
$100 received


Name Notes State Number
Citi Premier, maybe AA cards? $4000 / $625 on airfare, $850 if on preferred list, which includes AA.
Have to book through Citi Travel center for 1.25X points, but doesn't seem to have exact flight, but can book individually for about the same price.
So decide if you really want to come back that day or stay longer…
Closed Jan 2 2020 7682
US Bank Altitude Reserve $400 annual fee, but $375 in travel credit + 50K points
Doctor of Credit
Approved July 2019
Apply for Global Entry on receipt, wait to churn on tax payment
Priority pass lounges (4 free for cardholder, 4 for guests) $28 value each
flight on same day
Cancelled July 2020, supposedly posted annual fee is cancelled
Sarah 200708026136

On Deck

Maybe I just want to just save up for Chase 5/24 for FI! Maybe do one good card a year for travel, otherwise do cash quarterly tax payments. Most of the cards only give .5c/point for cash and they're just not as good as chase.

Annual fee is 0 for first year.

Maybe annual fees are worth it sometimes.

  • Only if you're planning on doing the traveling. Otherwise it feels like a pain. If you pay it with after-tax money and if you pay it from the bonus miles, then you have to pay up…now!

Check this site for latest:

Can also sign up for several smaller cards…

Name Amount Notes
First Tech CC's $2000/$300 Rejected Jan 2020, no reason The usual
Length of time revolving account established
Lack of recent installment loan
Too many inquiries last 12 months
Length of time accounts have been established
Too many accounts recently opened
Discover It Miles $0/$100 referral + 3% Rejected Jan 2020
Keep a paid off travel card on hand for surprise trips? One with no annual fee
US Bank Cash 365 $500/$150 cash, no annual fee Rejected Nov 2019, too many tradelines opened in past 12 months. Wait for 6-12 months?
US Bank Radisson $3K spend / 120K+15K points = ~$400 towards Radisson hotels
or $200 in cash
Could use for Germany, but not sure I will have points in time
and probably won't get approved
Blue Cash Preferred $1000/$300, but $95 annual fee
PenFed Must be military $2500 / $220 in gift cards + $100 in airfare.
Elements Financial $1000/$200 Applied. Need 10 payments totaling $1000. Also savings account active with direct deposit. No closing before 6 months. Not a problem.
Denied Oct 2019
Lack of recent installment loans
Too many inquiries & lack of time opened
Time since most recent account opening is too short
Amex Blue Cash
Also cash magnet card
$1500?/$200 Denied Oct 2019
The number of creditors who have reviewed your credit report.
The length of time you have been a customer with American Express is too short.
US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa $2000/$375 travel No annual fee 1st year
Wells Fargo Cash Wise $500/$150 cash No annual fee. Eligible in … 15 months … Nov 2020
PNC Premier Traveler Visa Signature (only non-OR states) $3000/$300 travel No annual fee first year
Frontier Card ? 40K points, but $75 annual fee
HSBC Premier World $3000 / $400 airfare Nope! Need to be Premier checking, which is a lot of hassle at this point. $5K monthly transfer in
Capital One Venture / Savor $500/$3k, $500/$3k Shortly? Denied Fall 2018. Denied June 2019.
American Express Always have annual fee, no waiver
Capital One Business $500/$3k Save for after Venture is done?? That'll work…\\want to keep quicksilver open
Bank of America Premium Rewards $500/50K + $200 unnecessary flight stuff, but annual fee of $100 Rejected July 2019 due to
Too many recent accounts
Limited deposit and/or investment balance

List of Potentials

Use friend referral bonuses from reddit or something, split them?

Name Bonus Period used
Chase higher spend cards for tax payment (Chase Sapphire Preferred)
buy through someone else
2-3X * $500/$4000 Basically when used for travel, can get 2-3X cash value
Chase Cards, including Amazon, AARP. and Chase Freedom (non-unlimited) card $50/$0, $200/$500, $150/$500
But they follow 5/24 rule, 5 cards from ANY bank in last 24 months. Sign up for them next. ???
Southwest!! $200/$500 + 10K points (2 one-way flights to CA) - $79 annual fee Don't need yet, but probably will someday
Southwest cheaper yearly fee (
Invitation Number: 5650 1948 3298
$100 + 40K points / $1K in 3 months - $69 yearly fee
HSBC Advance Mastercard® credit card $0 intro. $250/$1500, or $400 air travel / $3000
BankAmericard Mastercard (Susan G Komen, MLB, WWF, etc) $150/$500!! Wow…
And…it gets better! If you have $100K with Merrill Edge account, then you get 75% bonus on rewards, maybe even the $150 initial reward. That's all of … $100 ?? Hmmm.
Also, you can't buy VTSAX from it, but you can transfer it. Hmm…
MLB got Feb 10 2018 in advance of medical bills and California trip.
Received 6 days later!
However they limit to 2 cards in 2 months, 3 cards in 12 months, etc.
Applied in May and August 2018, rejected both times
American Express Blue cards, some have no annual fee $200/$1000
Barclaycard CashForward Expired $200/$1000
TD Ameritrade Bank (TD Ameritrade Client Rewards and TD Cash Credit Card ) $150/$500 Apply for Poland trip, no foreign transaction fee. 1-888-751-9000
Have to be in a state with TD Bank help page article
BMO Harris $100/$1000
Key Bank No signup bonus
Ally Bank Credit Card $100/$500 Password is your childhood self-assigned nickname.
Applied in March 2018 , got rejected for too often.
HSBC Platinum Mastercard® Cash Rewards
Rewards card
$150/$500 / $150 points / $500 Got the cash one!
Not sure about points one, but seems good
Reviews online say setting up account sucks.
Santander Bank $100/$1000
Bank of America Cash Rewards Card $150/$500 Got it, spending now. Set up e-bill so it'll pay automatically.
Capital One Premier Dining Rewards $100/$500 Have it already
Citi cards 25-30K miles / $750 Maybe I do want miles…hmm…AA.
Capital One VentureOne Rewards 20K miles / $1000
Macy's Card a good bit Closed 7/8/2017
Wells Fargo Cash $200 for $1000 10% bonus if deposited to their checking account, but requires minimum balance of $1500 to avoid $10/month service charge. For $20, not so worth it. Bonus hasn't showed up yet, wait a billing cycle or two (mid-august), also might need to spend $500 more to get $7 to get $25 multiple of redemption. But might not be worth it!
Chase Freedom Unlimited $150/$500 Closed 7/10/17 Don't close unless you're paying a fee! Not worth it
Capital One Quicksilver ??? Long-term


  • The clock apparently starts ticking when you are approved, not when you activate the card.
  • Also, it can be not very fun after a while to just churn cards. Takes time and energy.


Nice search: and maybe nerdwallet, or support Mad fientist:

An alternative is to go for the cash cards. Which, I just did. Chase card for $150, spending $500 in 3 months. And just need to cancel after that and wait 24 months to reapply and get bonuses.

  • Let's just do one per quarter for now to make sure I meet it.


Pretty good article:

  • Basically is only helpful for the sign up bonuses. So if you know you want to fly 6 months to 1 year in advance, you can sign up for a new card, spend $1,000 in 3 months (manufacturing spending or paying taxes with 1.87% fee (but you can't do it with Intel at least)), wait 8-12 weeks to get the bonuses, then cancel within 30 days of the yearly fee showing up.
    • I think in my case, I don't know that I will fly that far ahead of time. And…I really value simplicity.
    • It's kinda like “candy/lust now” or “satisfying real food / relationship after lots of hard work”

NerdWallet does a decent job of comparing cards, but neglects to mention the Citi Double Cash, but the rewards expired at 1 year if you didn't spend more than $25 worth of rewards.

  • Dropping PNC.
  • Ask people over the phone, “is there anything else I should know about the card?”, or, See if they will admit to points expiring, etc, other fees
everyday/money/credit_cards.txt · Last modified: 2020/08/19 22:30 by admin