My Credit Score History | A Real Life Example of the Credit Score Impact

Today we open the doors wide on my credit score history so you can see how applying for multiple credit cards impacts your credit score.

Because I really want to make it easy for you, I’m going to be transparent and list the cards I applied for between each application.  That way you can see the direct relationship between frequency of new applications and your credit score.

In order for this to be valuable to you, you should know that I pay off my balance every month.  In fact, if I couldn’t pay off my balance, I wouldn’t be doing the miles hobby, as it wouldn’t be profitable.  This game is only for the responsible and organized.

Also, if you are planning to get a large loan like a house mortgage in the next few years, you probably wouldn’t want to apply for this many credit cards.  I’ve read reports where people who extensively apply for credit cards still get decent loans, but it might not be a risk you want to take.

Note: These are my actual FICO scores, not approximate scores from Credit Sesame or Credit Karma.

In the list below I list the date of the score and the change from the period before.  I also list all the credit cards I applied for between each credit score inquiry.

How Multiple Credit Card Applications Impact Your Credit Score

7/7/11 – 786 to 751

10/5/11 – 751-772

  • Citi Premier

1/3/12 – 772 – 771

  • Chase Southwest personal
  • Chase Southwest business
  • Hilton American Express
  • Capital One Venture Rewards
  • American Express Platinum
  • US Airways Barclays

4/9/2012 – 771-759

7/7/2012 – 759 to 768

10/5/12 – 768 to 771

Credit Score and Credit Card Impact Summary Notes:

In the last 18ish months, I’ve applied for 19 credit cards.  My score was as high as 786 at one point.  My score is now 771.  This means my credit score is now 15 points lower than it was some time ago.

Through those sign up bonuses on those various cards I’ve earn approximately 970,000 in miles and points.

Thus, each point drop in my credit score has resulted with an average of 64,666 miles.

Yes, your credit score is impacted by applying for multiple credit cards, but it won’t be as drastic as you might think.







  1. Jason says

    This isn’t the point of the post, but just curious how did you apply for Citi AAdvantage Visa and Starwood American Express twice?

  2. Jason says

    Are there any other cards where you can reapply and get the bonus again after a set period of time(Chase Sapphire, Chase United, etc.)? For the Citi AAdvantage, for instance, once you get the miles, should you close the account, or is it simply based upon 18 months from the application date even if you just close it a day before reapplying?

    Thanks for your help! I didn’t realize some cards allowed you to get the bonus again after a set time.

    • says

      The Chase cards are the hardest to get multiple bonuses for and I haven’t tested anything yet.
      For Citi you need to cancel your card before applying for your second one. You need to wait at least 18 months after you applied for the first card before you apply for the second card.
      For American Express their terms and conditions seem to indicated that you can get a bonus if you haven’t had one in 12 months (depending on the card). I personally usually wait 24 months.

  3. Keola says

    Hey Craig,
    Thanks for the blog, first of all. I’m wondering how you applied for two Hawaiian Visa cards. I’ve been a small time point junkie (only taking advantage of Hawaiian miles) for the past year or so and wanted to know if you used the two browser trick or if you just waited 18 months. This is the exact post I was looking for as credit score was a concern for me.

    Also, do you apply for all of these cards for your wife too? I’ve been doing that to get double miles.



    • says

      As for the Hawaiian cards I did apply for them both on the same day using two different browsers.

      My wife applies for credit cards as well, but sometimes they are different cards as we sometimes want to stagger the benefits of the different cards.

      • KeolaLessary says

        Damn, wish I heard about the 2 browser trick earlier. Do you know if we are allowed to reapply after 18 months for all cards? If so, I’m going to reapply to my BOA Hawaiian miles card as I’ve had it for some years now.

        Thanks for the help and for responding!

        • says

          Every 18 months is not for every credit card brand, just Citi. However, with BOA you can do it more frequently from what I’ve read. For sure if you’ve had it for years you should be able to cancel your current card and get a new one with the bonus.

          • KeolaLessary says

            Thanks! It’s a little scary to do as i’ve had this card forever and my credit line is pretty decent ($15K).

  4. dj says

    hi im curious how you jumped from 751 on 7/7/11 to 772 on 10/5/11…by simply paying on time & not getting any new cards? i got 7 cards this past 30 days, am wondering how long will it take to recover, so i can apply again.

    • says

      Honestly I’m not sure. I didn’t offer much commentary on what impacted the score, but it’s clear that there are a lot of factors at play. You’ll just need to check every month or so to see when the score goes back up.

    • KeolaLessary says

      one of the biggest factors in credit score is your hard inquiries. The more you aply for credit cards the lower your score will be. If you sign up for a credit card monitoring account it will tell you everything. You can also adjust things on your credit score to see how high or how low it will drop your score. I subscribed to the service from It’s about $8 a month. I breifly tried the score estimator and put 7+ hard inquiries in and it dropped my score 9 points. Not bad for free miles.

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