Author Topic: First Foray into CC Churning!  (Read 1174 times)

frugalfoothills

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First Foray into CC Churning!
« on: October 02, 2018, 12:57:50 PM »
The CapOne Savor card is ridiculous as far as rewards go. First of all, 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, so for a single pringle Millenial like me (whose major non-critical spending goes to food/drink/fun), this card is a DREAM.

Secondly, there's a $500 cash back signup bonus if you spend $3K in the first 3 months of opening the card. I have rarely seen a cash back bonus that high for such a low spend! $1K a month? Most people hit that with basic utilities/groceries alone!

Anyway, I just got my $500 dropped into my bank account, and I'm hooked on the churn! Next up is a Wells Fargo cash back card, $200 bonus for spending $1K in 3 months!

I'm a newbie so I'm curious--to the veterans around here, what's the most you've made in a year off CC churning?

ketchup

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Re: First Foray into CC Churning!
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2018, 01:29:47 PM »
Very  nice!

Last year GF and I (2-player mode) made about $300 in cashback and $7,000 in various travel redemptions.  Still sitting on a few hundred thousand points of various flavors too.

HAPPYINAZ

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Re: First Foray into CC Churning!
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2018, 09:32:17 AM »
We have been doing travel hacking for a couple years now and it's amazing how much free money is out there!

In case you don't already know it, some CC companies are harder to get approved for than others.  For example, Chase has an unwritten rule that they won't approve a card if you have had more than 5 credit cards opened in the last 2 years (commonly referred to as the 5/24 rule).  So you might consider reviewing the Chase cards to see if any of those appeal to you and open those first.  Otherwise you might get shut out of getting any of the premium chase cards. If you want to do some traveling, many people think Chase cards are the best. Their bonuses are large and the points are super valuable because you can transfer them to so many partners. 

I highly recommend the travel hacking course https://www.travelmiles101.com/travel-rewards-course-registration

I am up to about $3700 in credit card bonuses this year.  In the prior two years I had a total of $9355.  Many of these are not cash rewards but points and I converted the points to a cash value to come up with what I make doing these cc bonuses.  You might also consider bank acct bonuses.  I have done about $2000 of those.  So in total for credit card bonuses and bank acct/brokerage bonuses, I have made $15,230 in the last 2-3 years.  And that is just on bonuses....doesn't include continuing value I get one some cards (like cash back cards or Barclay card where you remove travel related charges). 
« Last Edit: October 03, 2018, 09:38:52 AM by HAPPYINAZ »

ducky19

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Re: First Foray into CC Churning!
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2018, 11:03:04 AM »
I currently have $8500 worth of travel benefits across all programs, and have a $1500 first class flight booked that's not included in that. I like the simplicity of the cash back cards and will churn them every chance I get, I feel like I get the best value out of hotel and airline programs. We love to travel and we would definitely not be staying in the hotels we stay in or flying as often without them.

Trifele

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Re: First Foray into CC Churning!
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2018, 11:36:14 AM »
We churn only travel cards, and we cash in points for plane tickets -- it's where the value is for us.  (We usually don't stay in hotels when we travel).  We get the equivalent of $2k-$4k per year this way.   

BTDretire

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Re: First Foray into CC Churning!
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2018, 06:05:21 PM »
 Curious about how you handle the income re taxes.
Do the CC companies send out a 1099Misc?

jamaicaspanish

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Re: First Foray into CC Churning!
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2018, 07:55:19 PM »
We earned (. . . checking my spreadsheet . . .) $7500 combined bank + credit card bonuses last year.
Also . . . $4000 of airline points.

CC bonuses are not taxed.
Bank bonuses are taxed as interest income --1099-int

I will second the travelmiles 101 course -- fantastic intro.

The per hour return for a little bit of bookkeeping (and some manufactured spending) is ridiculous.

Welcome to the club.

kpd905

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Re: First Foray into CC Churning!
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2018, 11:51:28 PM »
Curious about how you handle the income re taxes.
Do the CC companies send out a 1099Misc?

No tax for credit card bonuses, which makes them even better.  I should end up with about $5,000 cash back from credit cards this year, plus about another $5,000 worth of miles and points.  I would have needed to earn an extra $13,500 or so of extra pre-tax income to be equivalent.

If you get into bank bonuses, keep a detailed spreadsheet.  Many banks will not send out a 1099, but you are still responsible for reporting that income.

Duke03

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Re: First Foray into CC Churning!
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2018, 06:07:14 PM »
I know you are new to CC churning but please do a bunch of reading or ask more questions before you open any more accounts.  I'd pass on that Wells Fargo CC because $200 is a lousy bonus.  Most decent cards will pay you $500 and it's not very difficult to find ones that pay between $750 and $1500 if you play your cards rights.  Since you are new you will be under 5/24 so each slot is very important to you at this point of your CC churning.  If you have any questions just pm me.  I don't mind helping people out
« Last Edit: October 08, 2018, 06:29:33 PM by Duke03 »

frugalfoothills

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Re: First Foray into CC Churning!
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2018, 12:29:44 PM »
I know you are new to CC churning but please do a bunch of reading or ask more questions before you open any more accounts.  I'd pass on that Wells Fargo CC because $200 is a lousy bonus.  Most decent cards will pay you $500 and it's not very difficult to find ones that pay between $750 and $1500 if you play your cards rights.  Since you are new you will be under 5/24 so each slot is very important to you at this point of your CC churning.  If you have any questions just pm me.  I don't mind helping people out

Thanks for the advice! Some of you guys are so hardcore... I'm admiring these stories of $5,000+ bonuses in a year! I don't think I'm ready for that yet, but it's nice to pocket a little extra cash for spending money I'd be spending anyway. I'm surprised to hear that "most" cards offer the $500 cash back bonus... I haven't seen that many... but I'm not really deep in the weeds like y'all are :) If I decide to keep going I might take you up on that offer!

therethere

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Re: First Foray into CC Churning!
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2018, 01:09:16 PM »
I aim to get one card per quarter, and rotate quarters between DH and I. Usually, this only makes 3 cards a year though as I put them off. I don't like to mess with manufactured spending too much. So the 3k-4k in 3 months goes right along with our spending. I think we average cashing in around 1000-1500 in rewards per year. I do find it hard to cash them in, mainly because our travel is hostels and not nice hotels. And we don't plan our vacations more than a month in advance.

I'm guessing those churning 5k a year in rewards are doing much more manufactured spending, or have higher expenses that make it easier to hit the minimums. I'm very interested in what these "not difficult to find" $750-$1500 cards are. Since $500 travel cash seems to be on the higher spectrum of CC rewards that I've encountered.

Duke03

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Re: First Foray into CC Churning!
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2018, 01:41:40 PM »
I aim to get one card per quarter, and rotate quarters between DH and I. Usually, this only makes 3 cards a year though as I put them off. I don't like to mess with manufactured spending too much. So the 3k-4k in 3 months goes right along with our spending. I think we average cashing in around 1000-1500 in rewards per year. I do find it hard to cash them in, mainly because our travel is hostels and not nice hotels. And we don't plan our vacations more than a month in advance.

I'm guessing those churning 5k a year in rewards are doing much more manufactured spending, or have higher expenses that make it easier to hit the minimums. I'm very interested in what these "not difficult to find" $750-$1500 cards are. Since $500 travel cash seems to be on the higher spectrum of CC rewards that I've encountered.


You need to get on the AA gravy train!! That or start doing business cards....  Case in point I just referred my wife for a second CIP.  I get a 20k referral bonus and she gets an 80k sign up bonus.  When I transfer those 100k UR points to my CSP I get a 1.5 multiplier.  Those 100k points are now worth $1500 in free travel...all for one credit card.  Granted there are a couple steps involved but if you are going to be a churner you have to squeeze penny out of a point to make it worth your time.  So far in October I've made over $6000 in bank account churning, credit card churning, with some MS thrown in there for a good measure.

therethere

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Re: First Foray into CC Churning!
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2018, 02:17:14 PM »
Yeah, I don't do airline mile cards. Mainly because I did the British Airways card and then found it impossible to find any flights to use them on! Wasted the $95 annual fee. I have never done referrals.Looks like I missed out on an easy $300 as I just applied for the CIP. ):

Duke03

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Re: First Foray into CC Churning!
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2018, 02:29:05 PM »
Yeah, I don't do airline mile cards. Mainly because I did the British Airways card and then found it impossible to find any flights to use them on! Wasted the $95 annual fee. I have never done referrals.Looks like I missed out on an easy $300 as I just applied for the CIP. ):

In 3 months get CIP#2 and do a self referral....they will give you the 20k bonus then

px4shooter

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Re: First Foray into CC Churning!
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2018, 08:25:16 PM »
Yeah, I don't do airline mile cards. Mainly because I did the British Airways card and then found it impossible to find any flights to use them on! Wasted the $95 annual fee. I have never done referrals.Looks like I missed out on an easy $300 as I just applied for the CIP. ):

Their fuel surcharges, alone, devalue their point system completely. I paid a cheaper airfare than it would have been to use miles and then pay their fuel surcharge.


kpd905

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Re: First Foray into CC Churning!
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2018, 05:19:45 AM »
A sweet spot for British Airways is to use them to fly on American airlines planes within the US.  It is a distance based chart, so there are some really good deals, and no fuel charges.

I don't know if I would consider what I am doing manufactured spend in order to hit $5k in bonuses.  However, I do have $300/week daycare expense that gets thrown on whatever card I am using at the time.  I have also thrown about $10k at our mortgage using Plastiq (don't tell boarder), in order to get rid of PMI.  I only have a few thousand to go there and then the PMI will be gone so I'll stop.

If the spending is the hard part, find out where you can accelerate spend rather than manufacturing it.  Buy gift cards for your grocery store, gas station.  Prepay your cell phone, utilities.  Try Plastiq to make rent/mortgage/car payments.

« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 05:24:45 AM by kpd905 »

Michael in ABQ

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Re: First Foray into CC Churning!
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2018, 05:52:54 AM »
I switched to cash/debit a few years ago when we finished paying off all our debt. I just received the Savor card as well and I'm looking forward to that $500. Travel bonuses are worthless to me as we don't travel so I'm looking at the Navy Federal Credit Union card next. $500 cash back for $4k spend in 3 months.

baloncesto

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Re: First Foray into CC Churning!
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2018, 08:38:34 AM »
PTF. I am new to churning as well. @Duke03 I am going to message you for some advice, if you don't mind helping another newbie out!