Author Topic: Credit Card Churn/Airline Points Case Study  (Read 3239 times)


  • Stubble
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Credit Card Churn/Airline Points Case Study
« on: November 03, 2014, 08:20:11 AM »
I'm hoping some credit card churning geniuses will chime in here and help give me a roadmap for accomplishing my goals. I've read a lot about manufactured spends, but at the moment we're building a house and regularly able to make large charges, so this is the perfect time to take advantage! What I'm not finding particularly clear is how to figure out how many points I need and where, and can you transfer points from one airline to another??

I have family in South Africa that I need to get back and see with a family of four. One child is two, so just became a paid ticket, and the other is 2 months, so would be a lap child. Flying from Seattle to Johannesburg. What cards should I apply to to get there?


  • Stubble
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Re: Credit Card Churn/Airline Points Case Study
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2014, 08:39:50 AM »
Oh, and if it matters, DH and I can both apply for cards. Can you double up that way? Excellent credit.


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Re: Credit Card Churn/Airline Points Case Study
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2014, 08:24:04 PM »
If each of you gets a Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Plus, and one of you also picks up a United Mileage Plus Explorer, that should give you enough for three round trip tickets on United.

Bear in mind though that this strategy will require a total of $17,000 in spending within 90 days of opening the cards. One of you will also be applying for three premium cards from the same bank at the same time, which may be a tough sell- you'll almost certainly have to talk them into it on the reconsideration line if they let you at all.

If you have the time, I'd suggest the following alternative:

Immediately: Husband opens a Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus. Wife opens a Sapphire Preferred.
In late March/early April: Husband opens Mileage Plus, wife opens Ink Plus.

That would spread out the minimum spending, and also make it less likely you get rejected.

There may be other, more efficient ways to get there and back, this is just one option. You might try searching FlyerTalk for posters asking a similar question- you're bound to find some true expert advice there, though it might be hard to decipher all of their terminology. Good luck and have an awesome trip!


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Re: Credit Card Churn/Airline Points Case Study
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2014, 04:42:42 PM »
I am far from an expert, but it seems like you need to determine what airline you want to fly first. 

For example, we fly to Australia, so we have an American Airlines citibank card to collect miles for that since American Airlines partners with Qantas.

I looked up who flies to South Africa and there are quite a lot of options, though it appears that Delta is the only airline that flies that right? 

Delta is about to change their miles/award system starting in January and it's crap.  I researched it when I was looking for my upcoming trip (bc they partner with Virgin who also fly to Australia) and it's bad.  So, I decided to stick with American/Qantas.

With small children, I'm guessing you are flexible with dates, which will make it a lot easier to get award tickets.  It's harder when they hit school age (mine are 6 and 9). 

But, once you figure out the airline options, you can look up the award charts on their websites to figure out how many miles are needed for a return ticket. 

United might be the way you want to go (as LifestyleDeflation suggested), but you might want to look at their routes first.  For example, I prefer flying Air New Zealand (who is partnered with United), but I don't because you have to stop in Aukland on the way to Australia.  With small kids, I prefer to get a direct flight when I we go Qantas. 

Those are just some thoughts on the things I would consider when getting started on choosing which card to go with.  For me, it depended on those several things.  Hope it helps. 


  • Bristles
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Re: Credit Card Churn/Airline Points Case Study
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2014, 09:23:10 AM »
Not to hijack a thread, but am I missing something about Delta's miles changes?  I used to travel a lot for work, so I currently have 140k banked miles with Delta.  The way I read their new program made it look like getting new miles would be harder, which should make my 140k miles more valuable/useable.  Is there something else I'm missing?  I've been keeping them figuring it should be enough for a good round trip flight to Europe for my wife and I in the future.  If the value is going down, I might use them for domestic flights that I had planned to use other means to pay for.


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Re: Credit Card Churn/Airline Points Case Study
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2014, 08:20:29 PM »
Go to and email Brad.  He will help you out, for free.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
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