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If I sign up for a credit card that has a sign-up bonus (i.e., spend $500 in 3 months and get $100 cash; spend $1000 in 3 months and get 30,000 miles), pay the specified amount and earn the reward, and close the account, how long would I typically have to wait to perform the same maneuver again, on the same card? Is this even possible?

Assuming the credit card companies allow a customer to sign up again every 12 months, let's say I sign up for a card, get the bonus, and close the account. If I apply again the following month, will the credit card issuer A) deny me outright with no hard inquiry into my credit; B) deny me with a hard inquiry into my credit; or C) approve me but not grant the sign-up bonus, perhaps because there is a line in the contract which states this will happen?

Once I get the sign-up bonus for a given credit card, will that sign-up bonus forever be gone on that particular card? Must I wait for the issuer to issue a new card with a different sign-up bonus offer?

  • You're asking for speculations based on nothing - to what end? – littleadv Oct 4 '14 at 3:47
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    You need to specify which card you are talking about. I'm sure they all have different terms and conditions on those offers. – JohnFx Oct 4 '14 at 15:26
  • Terms and conditions will say : Only valid for customers that have not been pre approved withing last 3 months blah blah blah – Victor123 Oct 9 '14 at 21:03
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Each company will have rules regarding their new account program.

The goal is to bring in new customers. Their data shows that if they can capture a new customer with the proper age, income, and credit score; in one year they will generate X in fees, and interest. They also know that a certain percentage will just meet the minimum usage, and then bail. Others will stay a year then quit. Others will stay for decades.

They will put in place time limits, where if you want to get another new customer bonus you will have to wait. They will happily give you a new card before the lock-out-period ends, but it won't get the new customer bonus.

Yes it is possible to game the system to maximize the new card bonuses. But that takes time, it generates hard inquiries every year. It means that the card shouldn't be used to recurring transactions, or those will need to be changed every year. Your credit score will take a hit because you will always have new credit.

Remember to cancel the card or the clock doesn't reset. Also expect that the canceled card will contact to try to bring you back. They may offer a new deal, but they will call you, email you and send you offers in the mail. Also if you don't cancel the card the amount of credit you have available could eventually hinder your ability to get credit.

Decades ago a family friend did this with bank accounts. They did the minimum deposit to get the toaster, set of drinking glasses or $10. Not many do this, become a serial new customer, but there is nothing to forbid this.

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