Author Topic: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)  (Read 28739 times)

Toad

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Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« on: August 22, 2018, 11:56:07 PM »
So I have recently gotten myself into the world of churning and it has been quite the eye opening experience for me.  I have been aware of the travel hacking / credit card churning aspect of it for a few years but mostly just ignored it since I always thought it was essentially just for people who travel (I don't).  I started looking into it earlier this year, and in an effort to maximize the money I am making and minimize expenses, I jumped in.  After immersing myself in the new world I discovered bank account churning and jumped in there as well.  I like free money.

I did a few searches and did not find any global threads dedicated to tracking these activities and so I figured I would start one.  I think it will be interesting to see just how much money we really can generate/save from these activities.  I suspect for people that have been doing these for a long time, the profits/perks taper off as your credit and chex. reports start looking like a war zone.  In an effort to perhaps open others eyes to this world and to start us off, for this year my numbers are as follows (got into CC churning in April and BA churning in June):

Received = reward in hand
Pending = reward criterion met but reward not in hand
In progress = reward criterion not met yet
Denied = :(

Credit Card totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 8/22:
Cash: $1,480 - all received
UR Points: 178k - 53k received, 125k pending
MR Points: 325k - 55k received, 105k pending, 165k in progress
SW Miles: 116k - all received
AA Miles: 127k - 53k received, 74k pending
AA Gift Cards: $400 - $150 received, $50 pending, $200 in progress

Bank Account totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 8/22:
Cash: $1,955 - $505 received, $650 pending, $800 in progress

Fees & associated expenses: $1,570


Assuming 30% tax on the bank account totals, CC & BA cash net after expenses: $1,280

Redemptions: 23,860 SW points redeemed for $366 of travel

I don't like to assign values to points until they have been redeemed, but since UR can be redeemed directly at 1 cpp and MR can be redeemed directly at 1.25 cpp, I feel those are pretty safe valuations:

Minimum cash equivalent value of UR & MR: $5,840



So by my calculations, currently I have/have in progress in my BA/CC stash for the year:

$7,120 cash
92k SW miles
127k AA miles
$400 AA vouchers
and have redeemed to save $366 in travel expenses


Total CCs to date:
12 approved (9 business, 3 personal)
1 denied

Total BAs to date:
9 approved
2 denied (failed ID verification & ran out of time to pursue)

I intend to update my "stats" each month and encourage fellow churners to do the same.  Tax free money is the best kind, and that is what CC churning gets you.  Of course, I don't discriminate as I also accept taxable money which is what BA churning gets you.  So if you are a Mustachian and are not churning, open your eyes to the possibilities and try to top me!
« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 12:33:36 AM by Toad »

Pizzabrewer

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2018, 09:25:39 PM »
I got here by following your link on KPD's thread.  I thought I was doing well (we'll net around $4 to 4.5k this year in bonuses) but you guys are killing it.

I feel like I've already picked the low-hanging fruit.  Discover savings and Capital One savings (both hyper-fast bonus payments with no min balance/no fees); TD Bank checking $300, BofA checking, M&T checking $200 (fast posting), Citizens Bank $400 (taking its time to post), Chase Sapphire Preferred ~$600 cash redemption, a couple other Chase cards (I'm now way over 5/24 and will probably never qualify for Chase cc again), etc etc.

But looking at what's left out there it's mostly checking accounts with high deposit requirements for months before bonus posts.  Plus credit cards I'm increasingly unlikely to get approval for, as I've built up a lot of hard inquiries in my credit file.  So I don't know that I can ramp up my game to your level.

Thanks for all the info.  I'm still digesting it.

Toad

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2018, 12:39:00 AM »
I got here by following your link on KPD's thread.  I thought I was doing well (we'll net around $4 to 4.5k this year in bonuses) but you guys are killing it.

Free money is free money.  $4k-$4.5k is certainly no small amount.  There is more risk and work to going at an accelerated pace, and I doubt it will be sustainable long term (for CCs at least) as you have indicated.  Fortunately there are a few good options to MS some CCs when letting your credit cool down.  An option I am open to as long as I can hit ~4% back after fees.  Certainly more work involved for less with that though.  Will see when I get to that point if I feel like messing with it or just taking a complete break from CCs for a while.

Toad

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2018, 07:42:28 PM »
Perhaps I set the bar too high since no one is joining in :P

Things seem to be slowing down for me on the CC front - 2 denials with failed recon and 2 approvals for Sept.  Probably will hold off on all CC apps. for Oct. (I say that now...).  Also starting to get denials at Chex sensitive banks, but I don't intend to slow down on that front.  Update through the end of Sept:

Received = reward in hand
Pending = reward criterion met but reward not in hand
In progress = reward criterion not met yet
Denied = :(

Credit Card totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 9/30:
Cash: $2,130 - $1,580 received, $550 pending (may possibly only be $400...unclear right now)
UR Points: 178k - 53k received, 125k pending
MR Points: 325k - 155k received, 170k pending
SW Miles: 116k - all received
AA Miles: 127k - all received
AA Vouchers: $400 - $200 received, $200 in progress
HH Points: 128k - all pending
Saks 5th Ave. Gift Cards: $50 - all in progress

Bank Account totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 9/30:
Cash: $3,680 - $955 received, $800 pending, $1,925 in progress

Fees & associated expenses: $1,963


Assuming 30% tax on the bank account totals, CC & BA cash net after expenses: $2,743

Redemptions: 44,085 SW points redeemed for $682 of travel

Assuming UR cashout of 1 cpp and MR cashout of 1.25 cpp:

Minimum cash equivalent value of UR & MR: $5,840



So by my calculations, currently I have/have in progress in my BA/CC stash for the year:

$8,583 cash
72k SW miles
127k AA miles
$400 AA vouchers
128k HH points
$50 Saks 5th Ave. gift cards
and have redeemed to save $682 in travel expenses


Total CCs to date:
14 approved (11 business, 3 personal)
3 denied

Total BAs to date:
14 approved
7 denied
« Last Edit: October 14, 2018, 02:44:12 PM by Toad »

Toad

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2018, 07:40:21 PM »
Update through the end of Oct.:

Received = reward in hand
Pending = reward criterion met but reward not in hand
In progress = reward criterion not met yet
Denied = :(

Credit Card totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 10/28:
Cash: $1,960 - all received
UR Points: 178k - all received
MR Points: 350k - 340k received, 10k in progress
SW Miles: 116k - all received
AA Miles: 127k - all received
SW Vouchers: $200 - all in progress
AA Vouchers: $200 - all received
HH Points: 128k - all received
Saks 5th Ave. Gift Cards: $50 - all received

Manufactured Spending totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 10/28:
Cash/Cash Equivalents: $100
HH Points: 12k
HH Free Weekend Night Cert.: 1 - in progress

Bank Account totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 10/28:
Cash/Cash Equivalents: $5,790 - $1,415 received, $3,175 pending, $1,200 in progress

Fees & associated expenses: $2,000


Assuming 30% tax on the bank account totals, CC, MS, & BA cash/cash equivalent net after expenses: $4,113

Redemptions:
51,673 SW points redeemed for $948 of travel
137,000 HH points redeemed for $1,008 of travel
25,440 UR points redeemed for $318 of travel

Assuming UR cashout of 1 cpp and MR cashout of 1.25 cpp:

Minimum cash equivalent value of remaining UR & MR: $5,900



So by my calculations, currently I have/have in progress in my CC/MS/BA stash for the year:

$10,013 cash
64k SW miles
127k AA miles
$200 SW vouchers
$200 AA vouchers
3k HH points
$50 Saks 5th Ave. gift cards
1 HH free weekend night certificate
and have redeemed to save $2,274 in travel expenses


Total CCs to date:
15 approved (12 business, 3 personal)
3 denied
1 pending

Total BAs to date:
21 approved
12 denied
1 pending

Onion

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2018, 10:36:28 AM »
Update through the end of Oct.:

Received = reward in hand
Pending = reward criterion met but reward not in hand
In progress = reward criterion not met yet
Denied = :(

Credit Card totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 10/28:
Cash: $1,960 - all received
UR Points: 178k - all received
MR Points: 350k - 340k received, 10k in progress
SW Miles: 116k - all received
AA Miles: 127k - all received
SW Vouchers: $200 - all in progress
AA Vouchers: $200 - all received
HH Points: 128k - all received
Saks 5th Ave. Gift Cards: $50 - all received

Manufactured Spending totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 10/28:
Cash/Cash Equivalents: $100
HH Points: 12k
HH Free Weekend Night Cert.: 1 - in progress

Bank Account totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 10/28:
Cash/Cash Equivalents: $5,790 - $1,415 received, $3,175 pending, $1,200 in progress

Fees & associated expenses: $2,000


Assuming 30% tax on the bank account totals, CC, MS, & BA cash/cash equivalent net after expenses: $4,113

Redemptions:
51,673 SW points redeemed for $948 of travel
137,000 HH points redeemed for $1,008 of travel
25,440 UR points redeemed for $318 of travel

Assuming UR cashout of 1 cpp and MR cashout of 1.25 cpp:

Minimum cash equivalent value of remaining UR & MR: $5,900



So by my calculations, currently I have/have in progress in my CC/MS/BA stash for the year:

$10,013 cash
64k SW miles
127k AA miles
$200 SW vouchers
$200 AA vouchers
3k HH points
$50 Saks 5th Ave. gift cards
1 HH free weekend night certificate
and have redeemed to save $2,274 in travel expenses


Total CCs to date:
15 approved (12 business, 3 personal)
3 denied
1 pending

Total BAs to date:
21 approved
12 denied
1 pending

Can you list which business credit cards you did and the bonus for each? I just went under 5/24 and got the cip but three weeks later applied for Chase business cash and got denied. I am looking at what other business cards I can apply for without bumping to 5/24 and then go back to Chase in a month or so and hit up other Chase business cards.

Toad

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2018, 12:06:04 AM »
Can you list which business credit cards you did and the bonus for each? I just went under 5/24 and got the cip but three weeks later applied for Chase business cash and got denied. I am looking at what other business cards I can apply for without bumping to 5/24 and then go back to Chase in a month or so and hit up other Chase business cards.

You need to wait 30 days minimum between Chase business apps.  You can only get approved for 1 every 30 days at most.

AMEX Business Platinum - 100k MR
AMEX Business Green - 10k MR + 20k MR (self-referral)
AMEX Business Gold - 50k MR + 20k MR (self-referral)
AMEX HH Business - 125k HH points + $100 statement credit
AMEX Blue Business Plus - 10k MR + 15k MR (self-referral)
Bank of America Business Cash - $350 statement credit
Barclays Aadvantage Aviator Business - 50k AA miles (has been up to 60k AA miles)
Chase Ink Business Preferred - 120k UR points (used mailer - no longer exists)
Chase SW Business - 60k SW miles
Chase Ink Business Cash - 50k UR points
CitiBusiness Aadvantage Platinum - 70k AA miles

Capital One Spark Cash for Business - $1k (this ones DOES report to your personal credit history and so counts against 5/24)

Onion

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2018, 09:27:30 PM »
Thank you

What has been your best way to meet spend requirements on amex? The rest I have down.

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2018, 02:47:26 AM »
I keep trying to get started in this but fail too. I have one card now a citi cash back card that pays the 1% when you buy 1% when you pay.

If you were two pick 1 card to start with and 1 bank to start with what would they be. I have put starting this for over a year now. Im always buying airline tickets but just go on Travelocity or SW website and get the best fare and put on my cit card. We also stay in hotels obviously a lot. Most of this is travel for visiting kids in college and or running kids around for soccer. So any yearly saving would be great.

Thanks,

Pizzabrewer

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2018, 05:49:02 AM »
I keep trying to get started in this but fail too. I have one card now a citi cash back card that pays the 1% when you buy 1% when you pay.

If you were two pick 1 card to start with and 1 bank to start with what would they be. I have put starting this for over a year now. Im always buying airline tickets but just go on Travelocity or SW website and get the best fare and put on my cit card. We also stay in hotels obviously a lot. Most of this is travel for visiting kids in college and or running kids around for soccer. So any yearly saving would be great.

Thanks,

You should strongly consider one of the Chase Sapphire cards if you do a lot of traveling.  The time to get them is now, before you've gotten many other cards as they'll deny you after you're up to 5 cards total.

With the Sapphire Preferred you get 50,000 points after $4000 in spend, worth $500 in cash or more in travel credits.  The $95 annual fee is waived the first year and they offer 12 months of 0% interest.  It's a great starter card.  The Sapphire Reserve has more benefits but a much higher annual fee (not sure, $300 or $400?)

I can provide a link to the Sapphire Preferred card if you like...   ;)

Pizzabrewer

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2018, 05:50:46 AM »
...and as for bank account bonuses, the Discover Savings is a great place to start.  You can get $150 or $200 signup bonus and the account earns 2.0% APY.  One huge advantage is the bonus is paid within a few days.  Many of the other bank accounts take months. 

Onion

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2018, 02:57:48 PM »
I keep trying to get started in this but fail too. I have one card now a citi cash back card that pays the 1% when you buy 1% when you pay.

If you were two pick 1 card to start with and 1 bank to start with what would they be. I have put starting this for over a year now. Im always buying airline tickets but just go on Travelocity or SW website and get the best fare and put on my cit card. We also stay in hotels obviously a lot. Most of this is travel for visiting kids in college and or running kids around for soccer. So any yearly saving would be great.

Thanks,

You should strongly consider one of the Chase Sapphire cards if you do a lot of traveling.  The time to get them is now, before you've gotten many other cards as they'll deny you after you're up to 5 cards total.

With the Sapphire Preferred you get 50,000 points after $4000 in spend, worth $500 in cash or more in travel credits.  The $95 annual fee is waived the first year and they offer 12 months of 0% interest.  It's a great starter card.  The Sapphire Reserve has more benefits but a much higher annual fee (not sure, $300 or $400?)

I can provide a link to the Sapphire Preferred card if you like...   ;)

Where does csp offer 0 percent 12 months?

Toad

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2018, 09:36:36 PM »
What has been your best way to meet spend requirements on amex? The rest I have down.

Grocery store manufactured spending.  My grocer does not report L3 data to AMEX, so it is fairly safe.

I keep trying to get started in this but fail too. I have one card now a citi cash back card that pays the 1% when you buy 1% when you pay.

The Double Cash is a great card if you are not churning.  One of the best there is for keeping it simple and not churning.


If you were two pick 1 card to start with and 1 bank to start with what would they be.

Although this is not the "simplest" place to start, I would start with the Chase Ink Preferred.  It is best to start with business cards because they do not report to your personal credit report (for the most part).  It is also best to start with Chase since they have some of the strictest limits for getting approved with regards to how many cards you have.  The Chase Ink Preferred has a standard 80k UR bonus for $5k spend which if directly cashed out is $800.  If used for travel is $1,000, or $1,200 (if you have the CSR at the time of redeeming).  It also has a fairly low annual fee of $95, and earns 3x on phone bills while providing insurance on your phones if you pay your phone bill with the card.  Yes I do have a referral for this card, however, it really is the optimal place to start.

There are some other business cards that match the CIP in terms of value, but they have higher spend requirements and/or higher annual fees --> AMEX Business Platinum -- 100k MR / $10k spend in 3 months is an offer that I have a connection who could get it for you.  This card does have a $450 annual fee though but also has some perks like a $200 airline statement credit as well as other perks.  100k MR can be directly cashed out for $1,250 although it is not straightforward to do and involves opening another card to do it.

Another good one that comes up from time to time is the Capital One Spark Cash for Business.  They actually just increased their bonus to $500 + $1,500.  The catch though is the spend requirement is $5k in 3 months for the first part and $50k in 6 months for the second part.  The annual fee is waived for the first year on this card.

My recommendation to you though would be to develop a plan and just go for it.  There are plenty of tricks that can be done to help optimize your card selection and so I would read up for a bit before starting, but the longer you put it off, the harder it gets because the banks keep introducing more rules.  I didn't know what airline or hotel I was targeting when I started out so I went for the cards with the flexible points first (MR, UR mostly).  If you are willing to, stick to business cards and Chase personal cards until you are done with Chase.  Once I figured out how to MS it became fairly clear that the best hotel for me to target was Hilton with Hyatt as backup.  American Airlines is the best airline to target because their miles are the easiest to get.  Southwest is good as well because you can get a companion pass getting the business and personal cards (plus a bit more spend).

As far as bank account bonuses -- there are so many.  Some banks are inquiry sensitive so it is best to start with those first.  As a result, for anyone that is starting churning credit cards and bank accounts, the first one you should do is Schwab.  The bonus is only $100, and it will be a hard pull to open, but you will want this account later on if you are churning AMEX cards and want to cash out MR points.  They are inquiry sensitive, so you will be shooting yourself in the foot if you start churning bank accounts and don't open them as one of the first ones.

https://www.doctorofcredit.com/charles-schwab-100-checking-account-bonus-no-monthly-fees-no-international-atm-withdrawal-fees-atm-fee-reimbursements/



Where does csp offer 0 percent 12 months?

https://www.doctorofcredit.com/chase-sapphire-preferred-now-offering-12-months-0-introductory-apr-50000-points/


If you are planning on getting the CSP I would advise to try and get both the CSP and CSR.  Chase killed the standard double dip (getting both cards in the same day).  However there is a modified version of this that is currently working (although likely will not be for much longer).  You apply for one card the first day (whichever one you want more), and then less than 24 hours later, but the next day, you apply for the other one.  Do the first in the PM -- hope to get auto-approved, do the second in the AM the following day -- hope to get auto-approved, and hope no one looks at your account.  A lot has to go right for it to work, but if you get it to work, it is the best move.

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2018, 02:54:12 AM »
to get the business card though don't you have to prove you own a business?

Tass

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2018, 02:13:51 PM »
"Maximize" is probably setting to high a bar for me, but I would at least like to get slightly more involved. I have a relatively low income, don't spend much, and I'm reluctant to do a lot of manufactured spending, so I've been scoping out cards with lower spend requirements. $1k in 3 months is easy; $3k is a stretch.

I have a 2% back Fidelity card and I've gotten the Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire Preferred bonuses already. (Met the CSP spend with one-time travel expenses for myself and my partner, so we split the bonus too.) I've made $625 since May. Small change compared to some here, but that's why I'm here to learn where to go next.

I applied for the Bank of America card but was rejected for having too many cards open recently + not having a bank account with them, so I'm keeping an eye out for a checking offer. Since the current 5% back category on the Chase Freedom is ChasePay (which I can connect to SamsungPay, which I can use for the majority of my in-person transactions), I thought I might wait until January before directing my spending to a different card.

Toad

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2018, 08:58:24 PM »
I have a relatively low income, don't spend much, and I'm reluctant to do a lot of manufactured spending, so I've been scoping out cards with lower spend requirements. $1k in 3 months is easy; $3k is a stretch.

Yeah, most mustachians I figure will have a difficult time meeting the higher spend requirements organically.  Also, CA is one of the toughest states to MS in, but some areas are ok.  It would be impossible for me to go at it this hard/meet some of the spend requirements without MS so I can understand where you are coming from.

I applied for the Bank of America card but was rejected for having too many cards open recently + not having a bank account with them.

BoA is all about the relationship.  If you have an established account with them, you likely won't have as difficult of time getting approved.  I always read about BoA being inquiry sensitive and giving very low credit limits.  This was not the case with me, however I have a very well established banking relationship with them.

to get the business card though don't you have to prove you own a business?

Answering for the benefit of others.  Not exactly.  If you apply as a Sole Proprietor you do not need proof of business/a DBA or anything of the sort.  You can get an EIN to make it more legitimate, but don't need to.  You can simply apply for business cards as a sole proprietor with your SSN.

happymuzh

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2018, 04:03:56 PM »
Thanks for the useful thread, Toad.  As a newbie, it would be helpful if you could decipher some of the code you're using.  In particular, what is meant by:

  • UR
  • MR
  • HH
  • CIP
  • cpp

There are others that are unknown to me, but this would be a good start, to help me follow along.

Thks!

Toad

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2018, 01:57:11 AM »
Thanks for the useful thread, Toad.  As a newbie, it would be helpful if you could decipher some of the code you're using.  In particular, what is meant by:

  • UR - Ultimate Reward points -- this is Chase's flexible point system.
  • MR - Membership Reward points -- this is AMEX's flexible point system.
  • HH - Hilton Honors points -- this is Hilton's point system.
  • CIP - Chase Ink Preferred -- this is a business credit card with a high sign up bonus.
  • cpp - cent per point -- this is a metric used to normalize and put a value to various point systems since they are not all equal.

There are others that are unknown to me, but this would be a good start, to help me follow along.

Thks!

Toad

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2018, 10:02:41 AM »
Update through the end of Nov.:

Received = reward in hand
Pending = reward criterion met but reward not in hand
In progress = reward criterion not met yet
Denied = :(

Credit Card totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 12/2:
Cash: $1,960 - all received
UR Points: 232k - 178k received, 54k pending
MR Points: 493k - 370k received, 58k pending, 65k in progress
AR Points (US Bank Altitude Reserve): 55k - all in progress
PR Points (Pathfinder Rewards): 25k - all in progress
SW Miles: 116k - all received
AA Miles: 169k - 127k received, 42k in progress
SW Vouchers: $200 - all received
AA Vouchers: $500 - $200 received, $300 in progress
HH Points: 128k - all received
WoH (World of Hyatt) Points: 60k - all in progress
Saks 5th Ave. Gift Cards: $100 - $50 received, $50 in progress

Manufactured Spending totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 12/2:
Cash/Cash Equivalents: $100
HH Points: 25k
HH Free Weekend Night Cert.: 1 - pending

Bank Account totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 12/2:
Cash/Cash Equivalents: $7,140 - $2,115 received, $3,025 pending, $2,000 in progress

Fees & associated expenses: $3,400


Assuming 30% tax on the bank account totals, CC, MS, & BA cash/cash equivalent net after expenses: $3,658

Redemptions:
51,673 SW points redeemed for $948 of travel
137,000 HH points redeemed for $1,008 of travel
25,440 UR points redeemed for $318 of travel

Assuming UR cashout of 1 cpp and MR cashout of 1.25 cpp:

Minimum cash equivalent value of remaining UR & MR: $8,230



So by my calculations, currently I have/have in progress in my CC/MS/BA stash for the year:

$11,888 cash
55k AR points
25k PR points
64k SW miles
169k AA miles
$200 SW vouchers
$500 AA vouchers
27k HH points
60k WoH points
$100 Saks 5th Ave. gift cards
1 HH free weekend night certificate
and have redeemed to save $2,274 in travel expenses


Total CCs to date:
22 approved (12 business, 10 personal)
7 denied
3 pending

Total BAs to date:
24 approved
13 denied

soccerluvof4

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2018, 06:32:38 AM »
Update through the end of Nov.:

Received = reward in hand
Pending = reward criterion met but reward not in hand
In progress = reward criterion not met yet
Denied = :(

Credit Card totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 12/2:
Cash: $1,960 - all received
UR Points: 232k - 178k received, 54k pending
MR Points: 493k - 370k received, 58k pending, 65k in progress
AR Points (US Bank Altitude Reserve): 55k - all in progress
PR Points (Pathfinder Rewards): 25k - all in progress
SW Miles: 116k - all received
AA Miles: 169k - 127k received, 42k in progress
SW Vouchers: $200 - all received
AA Vouchers: $500 - $200 received, $300 in progress
HH Points: 128k - all received
WoH (World of Hyatt) Points: 60k - all in progress
Saks 5th Ave. Gift Cards: $100 - $50 received, $50 in progress

Manufactured Spending totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 12/2:
Cash/Cash Equivalents: $100
HH Points: 25k
HH Free Weekend Night Cert.: 1 - pending

Bank Account totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 12/2:
Cash/Cash Equivalents: $7,140 - $2,115 received, $3,025 pending, $2,000 in progress

Fees & associated expenses: $3,400


Assuming 30% tax on the bank account totals, CC, MS, & BA cash/cash equivalent net after expenses: $3,658

Redemptions:
51,673 SW points redeemed for $948 of travel
137,000 HH points redeemed for $1,008 of travel
25,440 UR points redeemed for $318 of travel

Assuming UR cashout of 1 cpp and MR cashout of 1.25 cpp:

Minimum cash equivalent value of remaining UR & MR: $8,230



So by my calculations, currently I have/have in progress in my CC/MS/BA stash for the year:

$11,888 cash
55k AR points
25k PR points
64k SW miles
169k AA miles
$200 SW vouchers
$500 AA vouchers
27k HH points
60k WoH points
$100 Saks 5th Ave. gift cards
1 HH free weekend night certificate
and have redeemed to save $2,274 in travel expenses


Total CCs to date:
22 approved (12 business, 10 personal)
7 denied
3 pending

Total BAs to date:
24 approved
13 denied




This is just awesome!

dlawson

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2018, 12:34:22 PM »
I'll join in and add some simple data:

2017

- Paid $2,358 in credit card annual fees
- Earned $3,800 in cash from bank account bonuses
- Earned $12,859 in cash from credit card signup bonuses
- Redeemed $1,898 worth of travel from credit card signup bonuses

Net profit for that year was $14,301 in cash plus $1,898 worth of travel expenses.

2018

2018 was much slower on the churning front, due to a very busy period with work + family between October 2017 and June 2018. Still, the 2018 numbers are pretty good for only ~half a year's worth of activity:

- Paid $2,425 in credit card annual fees
- Earned $1,000 in cash from bank account bonuses
- Earned $5,105 in cash from credit card signup bonuses
- Redeemed $933 worth of travel from credit card signup bonuses

Net profit for this year was $3,680 in cash plus $933 worth of travel expenses. Additionally, 2018 generated most of the following unredeemed points:

Current Balances

Amex MR: 158,124, to be redeemed for $1,976.55 in cash
Avios: 106,193, worth approximately $1,592 in travel expenses
AA: 160,000, worth approximately $2,240 in travel expenses
Marriott: 123,282, worth approximately $986 in travel expenses (earned in 2017)
Southwest: 121,000, worth approximately $1,694 in travel expenses (earned in 2017)
« Last Edit: December 28, 2018, 02:18:10 PM by dlawson »

Toad

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2019, 03:57:04 PM »
@dlawson -- very nice number.  I'm assuming 2017 you did primarily UR and MR and cashed out?  Also, I would value your SW 'stach closer to $1,800 -- 1.50 cpp is reasonable with SW, all my redemptions have been in the 1.50 - 1.70 cpp range (not factoring in companion pass benefits).

Update through the end of Dec.:

Received = reward in hand
Pending = reward criterion met but reward not in hand
In progress = reward criterion not met yet
Denied = :(

Credit Card totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 12/31/2018:
Cash: $2,100 - $2,060 received, $40 in progress
UR Points: 232k - all received
MR Points: 515k - 505k received, 10k pending
AR Points (US Bank Altitude Reserve): 55k - all in progress
FP Points (US Bank Flexperks): 22k - all in progress
PR Points (PenFed Pathfinder Rewards): 28k - all in progress
FR Points (NFCU Flagship Rewards): 54k - all in progress
CN Points (CNB City National): 80k - all in progress
GF Points (Wells Fargo GoFar): 33k - all in progress
SW Miles: 116k - all received
AA Miles: 255k - 127k received, 128k in progress
SW Vouchers: $200 - all received
AA Vouchers: $1,350 - all received
Other travel credits: $625 - in progress
HH Points: 296k - 128k received, 168k in progress
HH Free Weekend Night Certificate: 1 - pending
WoH (World of Hyatt) Points: 66k - all received
Saks 5th Ave. Gift Cards: $200 - $100 received, $100 in progress
Cheesecake Factory Gift Cards: $120 - $20 received, $100 in progress
Uber Credits: $400 - $175 received, $225 in progress

Manufactured Spending/Other totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 12/31/2018:
Cash/Cash Equivalents: $200
MR Points: 25k
UR Points: 20k
SW Miles: 3k
HH Points: 25k
HH Free Weekend Night Cert.: 1
WoH Points: 10k

Bank Account totals earned & in progress for 2018 through 12/31/2018:
Cash/Cash Equivalents: $6,550 - $4,040 received, $2,260 pending, $250 in progress

Fees & associated expenses: $4,315


Assuming 30% tax on the bank account totals, CC, MS, & BA cash/cash equivalent net after expenses: $2,570

Redemptions:
51,673 SW points redeemed for $948 of travel
137,000 HH points redeemed for $1,008 of travel
25,440 UR points redeemed for $318 of travel

Assuming UR cashout of 1 cpp and MR cashout of 1.25 cpp:

Minimum cash equivalent value of remaining UR & MR: $9,270



So by my calculations, currently I have/have in progress in my CC/MS/BA stash through the end of 2018:

$11,840 cash
55k AR points
22k FP points
28k PR points
54k FR points
80k CN points
33k GF points
67k SW miles
255k AA miles
$200 SW vouchers
$1,350 AA vouchers
189k HH points
76k WoH points
$200 Saks 5th Ave. gift cards
2 HH free weekend night certificate
$120 Cheesecake Factory gift cards
$400 Uber credits

and have redeemed to save $2,274 in travel expenses


Total CCs to date:
29 approved (13 business, 16 personal)
10 denied (5 business, 5 personal)
1 pending

Total BAs to date:
27 approved
12 denied

Although I don't like assigning values to these, since it is the end of the year, to put this all in perspective what I would consider floor values of everything in my 'stach is:

55k AR --> $818 (1.50 cpp)
22k FP points --> $330 (1.50 cpp)
28k PR points --> $234 (0.85 cpp)
54k FR points --> $540 (1.00 cpp)
80k CN points --> $640 (0.80 cpp)
33k GF points --> $330 (1.00 cpp)
67k SW miles --> $1,005 (1.50 cpp)
255k AA miles --> $3,570 (1.40 cpp)
$200 SW vouchers --> $160 (valuing at 80%)
$1,350 AA vouchers --> $1,080 (valuing at 80%)
189k HH points --> $851 (0.45 cpp)
76k WoH points --> $1,216 (1.60 cpp)
$200 Saks 5th Ave. gift cards --> $160 (valuing at 80%)
2 HH free weekend night certificate --> $600 (valuing at $300 each)
$120 Cheesecake Factory gift cards --> $96 (valuing at 80%)
$400 Uber credits --> $400 (valuing at 100%)

Which leaves my activities at a fairly conservative cash equivalent value of $23,870 remaining and $2,274 redeemed in 2018 for a total of ~$26,000 in value obtained in 2018.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 04:13:01 PM by Toad »

dlawson

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2019, 04:33:23 PM »
@dlawson -- very nice number.  I'm assuming 2017 you did primarily UR and MR and cashed out?  Also, I would value your SW 'stach closer to $1,800 -- 1.50 cpp is reasonable with SW, all my redemptions have been in the 1.50 - 1.70 cpp range (not factoring in companion pass benefits).

Yes, 2017 was primarily spent earning UR and MR and then cashing out.

As for the SW stash, I prefer to use slightly conservative cpp numbers for a couple reasons: 1) I'm a fairly inflexible traveler that never flies F, so I rarely redeem for sweet spots that fall on the higher end of cpp ranges, and 2) it discourages me from thinking too highly of the value of my unspent airline/hotel points, which I feel is a common churner trap to fall into ("I have all these points worth $xxx,xxx, might as well take a trip that I wouldn't have otherwise to extract maximum value!"). That said, I do have a CP (and will earn another one for 2019/2020 shortly) so I guess I could probably value my SW points way higher given that we'd always be using a companion fare when flying with them.

Toad

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2019, 05:34:30 PM »
As for the SW stash, I prefer to use slightly conservative cpp numbers for a couple reasons: 1) I'm a fairly inflexible traveler that never flies F, so I rarely redeem for sweet spots that fall on the higher end of cpp ranges, and 2) it discourages me from thinking too highly of the value of my unspent airline/hotel points, which I feel is a common churner trap to fall into ("I have all these points worth $xxx,xxx, might as well take a trip that I wouldn't have otherwise to extract maximum value!").

Completely agree with this and it is why I don't particularly like assigning values until I make redemptions, or have made enough to know about where the floor value is.  For SW, it is pretty much directly tied to ticket price so provided no devaluations take place soon which is reasonable for SW I think 1.50 cpp represents a fair floor value.  I think you will find it very hard to get lower than 1.45 cpp value on them.  My lowest was something like 1.49 cpp and highest was 1.70 cpp (really 3.40 cpp considering the CP).  The 1.70 was a ticket I bought during a sale but all others were just standard fares not really bought at optimal times.  All were the Wanna Get Away fares.

I only plan on doing business/first for overseas travel which I rarely do -- I can't sleep on planes so ponying up the points for the business/first tickets in that situation would be worth it to me since the alternative would be losing 1-3 days of my vacation recovering from lack of sleep and neck/back aches.

There are also the intangible benefits that go along with churning that actually have been extremely useful and have surprised me quite a bit.  Things like:

  • With the Citi AA cards (and probably Barclays AA cards), you get early boarding -- super useful in my opinion

  • Priority pass -- Every premium card under the sun gives this now, but I have used it 3 times on my first "churning" trip for ~$115 in food of which I paid $23 for (I am very liberal with my tips when the food is free).  Would I have bought $115 in food otherwise?  Hell no, but I certainly would have bought more than $23 and would have been far less satisfied.

  • Hotel status with Hilton Aspire -- Room upgrades (unnecessary and mostly useless but still nice) and free breakfast -- saved me ~$80 in food expenses.  Again, I would not have paid that much, but would still say I got at least $30-$40 of value out of it in addition to having a much nicer breakfast than I otherwise would have had.


This hobby truly still amazes me at just how much value you can get.  When I started I was hesitant to get a card with an AF, but now I fully plan on keeping several that do, just because I can directly extract at least the cash equivalent value of the AF from those cards through MS or other creative means.  For example with AMEX Gold, I will get 100k MR/yr which is $1,250 directly at an AF cost of $250 - this doesn't even factor in all the benefits of the card.

dlawson

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2019, 09:04:32 PM »
Thanks for the data re: your SW redemptions. My point redemptions with them have also averaged about 1.5 cpp, but I only have one or two data points since the majority of my SW flights have been paid for with travel credit GCs.

Hotel status with Hilton Aspire -- Room upgrades (unnecessary and mostly useless but still nice) and free breakfast -- saved me ~$80 in food expenses.  Again, I would not have paid that much, but would still say I got at least $30-$40 of value out of it in addition to having a much nicer breakfast than I otherwise would have had.

Oh man, the Hilton Aspire. That card has an insane value proposition... I picked one up last month and it's already cost neutral due to cashing out two airline credits, and I still have one more airline credit, the two $250 hotel credits, the two free nights, and all the perks of Diamond status (will be using that in a couple weeks for a family business trip).

I've also been impressed with all the extra value this hobby generates. Obviously I'm in the game to increase my bank/investment balances, given all my "low-end" cpp UR/MR redemptions, but all the free luxury stuff on the side is kinda fun... i.e. Centurion lounges! Not something I'd ever pay for, but a great experience to have while it's free.

Toad

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #25 on: February 05, 2019, 11:24:05 PM »
It is getting a bit tedious tracking received/in progress/pending separately so going forward, I will just be tracking the totals along with their "value".  I may amend the "value" metrics I use later on after making some redemptions.  Again, although I don't particularly like assigning values like this, due to the volume of point systems I now have, some normalization is needed to keep it in perspective:

Item"Value"       Quantity       Total "Value"       
Membership Rewards1.25 cpp535,266$6,690.33
Ultimate Rewards1.00 cpp234,871$2,348.71
Thank You Points1.00 cpp51$0.51
Altitude Reserve Points1.50 cpp3,352$50.28
Flexperk1.50 cpp2,292$34.38
Pathfinder Rewards0.85 cpp28,773$244.57
Flagship Rewards1.00 cpp6,569$65.69
City National Points0.80 cpp15,892$127.14
GoFar Points1.00 cpp0$0
AAdvantage Miles1.40 cpp147,542$2,065.59
Rapid Rewards Miles1.50 cpp74,355$1,115.33
Hilton Honor Points0.50 cpp253,066$1,265.33
World of Hyatt Points1.60 cpp76,095$1,217.52
AA Vouchers85%$1,350.00$1,147.50
SW Gift Cards85%$200.00$170.00
Hilton Free Night Cert.$200.001$200.00
Uber Credit100%$190.00$190.00
Saks 5th Ave. Gift Card85%$100.00$85.00
Cheesecake Factory Gift Card100%$30.00$30.00
Cash (Credit Cards)100%$1,860.00$1,860.00
Cash (Bank Accounts)70%$4,650.00$3,255.00
Cash (Manufactured Spending)100%$471.00$471.00
Cost (Credit Cards) $3,680.00
Cost (Bank Accounts) $18.25
Cost (Other) $642.00

Total Net Value: $18,293.61

At this point, nearly all the spend requirements have been met for the cards I picked up in November and December.  The majority of these points are pending and will post this month.  Unfortunately I was unable to get any cards in January (not from a lack of trying though -- 12 denials).  I only added one bank accounts but that is mostly because I have funds tied up in other accounts and am starting to toss funds at my retirement accounts again since it's a new year.  Some funds come free soon so I will try for a few accounts this month.


Total CCs to date:
29 approved (13 business, 16 personal)
23 denied (7 business, 16 personal)

Total BAs to date:
28 approved
12 denied

Redemptions:
51,673 SW points redeemed for $948 of travel
137,000 HH points redeemed for $1,008 of travel
25,440 UR points redeemed for $318 of travel

soccerluvof4

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2019, 04:00:32 AM »
Your killing it @Toad ! I am slowly figuring it out have finished my 3rd card and have 1 approved coming and 2 waiting approval and 1 bank account. I will post my numbers once I get 5 done!.

Jim Fiction

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #27 on: February 06, 2019, 08:07:47 AM »
Had anyone tracked how opening all of these new accounts and the accompanying credit pulls has affected their credit scores? I ask because I am extremely interested in doing some churning, however my wife and I will most certainly be buying a house in the next few years so we want our credit scores to remain as high as possible. We don't have a specific timeline - the earliest we would be looking to buy would probably be sometime next year, but we may wait an additional year or two.

katsiki

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #28 on: February 06, 2019, 08:10:01 AM »
How did I miss this thread?!  Toad is awesome and has helped me a ton with CC and bank bonuses.

Tass

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2019, 12:08:52 PM »
Had anyone tracked how opening all of these new accounts and the accompanying credit pulls has affected their credit scores? I ask because I am extremely interested in doing some churning, however my wife and I will most certainly be buying a house in the next few years so we want our credit scores to remain as high as possible. We don't have a specific timeline - the earliest we would be looking to buy would probably be sometime next year, but we may wait an additional year or two.

I have an excellent credit score (currently 766) that drops ~20 points down to "good" every time I open a new card, because it lowers my average age of credit back below two years. I just wait until it climbs back up to excellent before I open a new one - it only takes a few months. I have five cards on my report currently, waiting for the sixth to show up. As my history gets longer, the impact of the new card on my average age of credit will be less.

I know that's not very detailed, but I am pretty new to the churning scene. Someone who churns more aggressively may be able to give you an idea of the effect of that strategy.

dlawson

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #30 on: February 06, 2019, 02:27:00 PM »
Had anyone tracked how opening all of these new accounts and the accompanying credit pulls has affected their credit scores? I ask because I am extremely interested in doing some churning, however my wife and I will most certainly be buying a house in the next few years so we want our credit scores to remain as high as possible. We don't have a specific timeline - the earliest we would be looking to buy would probably be sometime next year, but we may wait an additional year or two.

After a large number of apps in December/January, I've now opened 25+ new credit cards in the last 24 months and my score is still in the 760 range. Based on experience, in about ~six months of no new apps my score would be back up to about ~800 where it normally sits. This is because on-time payments and utilization are a massive part of your FICO score (iirc 35% and 30% respectively), and those only get better as you open more cards. The benefits of lowering utilization generally cancels out the short-term hit from lowering your AAoA (~20%) and adding to your inquiries (10%) after a few months.

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2019, 03:13:30 PM »
I've been playing various credit card games for 12 years.  I had an excellent FICO score before I started, with a spotless credit record dating back to 1987.  Today, according to creditkarma, my FICO scores are 839/838.

I would caution, however, that credit scoring depends on the entirety of your history and data, so what others have had happen may not be directly applicable.  For example, yes, overall utilization drops as does AAoA when you open new cards, but by how much depends on your other cards and limits and ages.  It is generally advised that you be careful (which I interpret as not opening new credit lines) for a while before buying a new house.  I think "a while" = 6 months to a year, which sounds about right to a bit on the conservative side.

Jim Fiction

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2019, 06:41:27 PM »
Thanks for all of the replies!

My credit score was over 830 for the longest time, but then dipped about 40 points after I paid off my student loans. That's what made me wonder what the impacts of credit churning would have. Thankfully it has been ticking back upwards - its currently in the 815 range now. Obviously I'd like to keep it as high as possible, though I have read that pretty much anything above 760 should qualify for the best mortgage rates, giving me some wiggle room.

I guess its probably safe for me to at least start to play around with account churning, particularly since the window to purchase a home is fairly wide and since I will start out slowly. I can always track my credit to see how it responds and adjust accordingly as circumstances change.

Toad

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #33 on: February 06, 2019, 09:23:04 PM »
Thanks for all of the replies!

My credit score was over 830 for the longest time, but then dipped about 40 points after I paid off my student loans. That's what made me wonder what the impacts of credit churning would have. Thankfully it has been ticking back upwards - its currently in the 815 range now. Obviously I'd like to keep it as high as possible, though I have read that pretty much anything above 760 should qualify for the best mortgage rates, giving me some wiggle room.

I guess its probably safe for me to at least start to play around with account churning, particularly since the window to purchase a home is fairly wide and since I will start out slowly. I can always track my credit to see how it responds and adjust accordingly as circumstances change.

To add my information in, I tracked exactly this since I was curious about it as well.  Basically churning has/will increase my score.  I only had one account for like 14 years prior to starting and you really can't go at it much more aggressively than I have.

https://www.reddit.com/r/churning/comments/ajbdba/data_points_central_thread_week_of_january_24_2019/ef42l5t/

Although I have no firsthand knowledge, I would concur with what @secondcor521 said about ~6 months as a cool off period before mortgage shopping.  Also, if you are churning bank accounts, toss the majority of your funds in one account about 6 month prior and only provide that one to the mortgage company so they don't need to wonder about your 20 other accounts with $100-$2000 in them.  These are the recommendations I have seen time and time again when this question comes up.

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #34 on: February 07, 2019, 04:25:22 AM »
Thanks for all of the replies!

My credit score was over 830 for the longest time, but then dipped about 40 points after I paid off my student loans. That's what made me wonder what the impacts of credit churning would have. Thankfully it has been ticking back upwards - its currently in the 815 range now. Obviously I'd like to keep it as high as possible, though I have read that pretty much anything above 760 should qualify for the best mortgage rates, giving me some wiggle room.

I guess its probably safe for me to at least start to play around with account churning, particularly since the window to purchase a home is fairly wide and since I will start out slowly. I can always track my credit to see how it responds and adjust accordingly as circumstances change.

To add my information in, I tracked exactly this since I was curious about it as well.  Basically churning has/will increase my score.  I only had one account for like 14 years prior to starting and you really can't go at it much more aggressively than I have.

https://www.reddit.com/r/churning/comments/ajbdba/data_points_central_thread_week_of_january_24_2019/ef42l5t/

Although I have no firsthand knowledge, I would concur with what @secondcor521 said about ~6 months as a cool off period before mortgage shopping.  Also, if you are churning bank accounts, toss the majority of your funds in one account about 6 month prior and only provide that one to the mortgage company so they don't need to wonder about your 20 other accounts with $100-$2000 in them.  These are the recommendations I have seen time and time again when this question comes up.




So far after a half dozen mostly cards and 1 bank account my credit score has gone down 1 or two then goes up 1 or 2. Hanging right around the 821 mark.

Toad

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #35 on: March 06, 2019, 11:04:10 PM »
Totals through 2/28/2019:

Item"Value"       Quantity       Total "Value"       
Membership Rewards1.25 cpp567,215$7,090.19
Ultimate Rewards1.00 cpp234,871$2,348.71
Thank You Points1.00 cpp51$0.51
Altitude Reserve Points1.50 cpp54,533$818.00
Flexperk1.50 cpp30,261$453.92
Pathfinder Rewards0.85 cpp28,773$244.57
Flagship Rewards1.00 cpp8,099$80.99
City National Points0.80 cpp15,892$127.14
GoFar Points1.00 cpp3,006$30.06
AAdvantage Miles1.40 cpp188,865$2,644.11
Rapid Rewards Miles1.50 cpp74,850$1,122.75
Hilton Honor Points0.50 cpp275,710$1,378.55
World of Hyatt Points1.60 cpp84,668$1,354.69
AA Vouchers85%$1,350.00$1,147.50
SW Gift Cards85%$200.00$170.00
Hilton Free Night Cert.$200.002$400.00
Uber Credit100%$379.75$379.75
Saks 5th Ave. Gift Card85%$200.00$170.00
Cheesecake Factory Gift Card100%$40.00$40.00
Cash (Credit Cards)100%$2,110.00$2,110.00
Cash (Bank Accounts)70%$6,325.00$4,427.50
Cash (Manufactured Spending)100%$828.56$828.56
Cost (Credit Cards) $3,680.00
Cost (Bank Accounts) $18.25
Cost (Other) $1,021.00

Total Net Value: $22,648.23

I'm starting to get approvals again fortunately.  I was able to pick up another personal AA card, DiscoverIT, and AMEX Ascend.  I intend to try Terps again as well as another personal AA card, AMEX Green, and maybe a couple other in the next week or two if I keep getting approvals.

I opened up a couple new bank accounts and will be opening up a few more in the next few weeks as well.

Through 3/3/2019:

Total CCs to date:
32 approved (13 business, 19 personal)
25 denied (7 business, 18 personal)

Total BAs to date:
28 approved
12 denied
2 pending

Redemptions:
51,673 SW points redeemed for $948 of travel
137,000 HH points redeemed for $1,008 of travel
25,440 UR points redeemed for $318 of travel
« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 11:06:33 PM by Toad »

Toad

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #36 on: April 04, 2019, 08:57:58 PM »
Totals through 3/31/2019:

Item"Value"       Quantity       Total "Value"       
Membership Rewards1.25 cpp622,789$7,784.86
Ultimate Rewards1.00 cpp256,281$2,562.81
Thank You Points1.00 cpp961$9.61
Altitude Reserve Points1.50 cpp1,794$26.91
Flexperk1.50 cpp30,761$461.42
Pathfinder Rewards0.85 cpp28,773$244.57
Flagship Rewards1.00 cpp0$0
City National Points1.30 cpp40,515$526.70
GoFar Points1.00 cpp35,713$357.13
AAdvantage Miles1.40 cpp191,393$2,679.50
Rapid Rewards Miles1.50 cpp53,227$798.41
Hilton Honor Points0.50 cpp217,875$1,089.38
World of Hyatt Points1.60 cpp25,456$407.30
AA Vouchers85%$910.00$773.50
SW Gift Cards85%$0$0
Hilton Free Night Cert.$200.002$400.00
Uber Credit100%$259.75$259.75
Saks 5th Ave. Gift Card85%$200.00$170.00
Cheesecake Factory Gift Card100%$50.00$50.00
Cash (Credit Cards)100%$2,185.00$2,185.00
Cash (Credit Cards)100%$2,185.00$2,185.00
Cashout (Credit Cards)100%$1,704.55$1,704.55
Cash (Manufactured Spending)100%$1,208.28$1,208.28
Cost (Credit Cards) $3,775.00
Cost (Bank Accounts) $18.25
Cost (Other) $1,077.00

Total Net Value: $23,284.91

I made several redemptions the past month -- booking travel for myself and family (and fiancee's family) for our wedding.  Mostly booked at ~half cost for my family and free for her family.  I guess I'm a nice guy.

Through 4/4/2019:

Total CCs to date:
35 approved (13 business, 22 personal)
28 denied (7 business, 21 personal)
1 pending

Total BAs to date:
29 approved
13 denied


Redemptions:
73,296 SW points redeemed for $1,628 of travel
377,000 HH points redeemed for $2,665 of travel
25,440 UR points redeemed for $318 of travel
60,000 Hyatt points redeemed for $1,951.64 of travel
50,377 CNB points redeemed for $654.90 of travel
$440 AA Vouchers redeemed for $440 of travel
$450 SW GCs redeemed for $450 of travel

$8,107 total travel redemption "value"

Cashouts (included in summary value):
53,239 USB points (AR) redeemed for $798.56 of cash
58,099 NFCU points redeemed for $589.99 of cash
« Last Edit: April 04, 2019, 09:00:05 PM by Toad »

Tass

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #37 on: April 06, 2019, 11:53:55 AM »
My churning for the year so far consists of the $300 Chase Checking bonus and $102.91 in cashback.

I just had a card roll over the 2-year mark, dropping me below the 5/24 limit, so I am thinking of going for the Chase Freedom Unlimited.* The standard offer is $150 on a $500 spend, but doctorofcredit suggests that you can ask to be matched for a $300 bonus if you apply in branch. Does anyone have experience doing this? It also looks like they're doubling the cashback for the first year, so 3% on all purchases, which would make this my primary card until that ran out.

*This is the only remaining chase card within reach for me; recall that I have a relatively low income for this board, so I'm sticking to lower spend targets for now.

Toad

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #38 on: April 06, 2019, 03:37:48 PM »
I just had a card roll over the 2-year mark, dropping me below the 5/24 limit, so I am thinking of going for the Chase Freedom Unlimited.* The standard offer is $150 on a $500 spend, but doctorofcredit suggests that you can ask to be matched for a $300 bonus if you apply in branch. Does anyone have experience doing this? It also looks like they're doubling the cashback for the first year, so 3% on all purchases, which would make this my primary card until that ran out.

I'm not sure where that recommendation came from -- I believe some people were able to get pre-approval offers of a higher amount or something like that.  Really since the bonus changed to the 3% on the card for the first year up to 20k spend, I believe the pre-approval offer is the same -- there is nothing to match to in branch since they have the same offer.  Note that there is no cashback after spend bonus associated with the card anymore, it is strictly 3% back in the first year (or first 20k spend).

It is a solid choice if you are trying to keep it simple.  I'm long past the point of no return for Chase, but I am just starting my SO into churning now and was considering this as well.  Thinking I will go a different route however since I can easily manufacture spend, so there are higher targets for me currently.

Tass

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #39 on: April 06, 2019, 06:52:03 PM »
Note that there is no cashback after spend bonus associated with the card anymore, it is strictly 3% back in the first year (or first 20k spend).

Oh, thanks for catching that. This is why I asked... doctorofcredit is useful but often out of date. I didn't notice the lack of spend bonus. I may still want the 3%, but I'll evaluate other bonus options too.

Toad

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #40 on: April 06, 2019, 08:40:37 PM »
I may still want the 3%, but I'll evaluate other bonus options too.

I would suggest getting two cards -- get the Chase unlimited, then get another one for the spend bonus (unless of course you are trying to stay under/around 5/24).

Not sure what you spend level is, but NFCU has some moderate bonuses for moderate spend levels -- Cash Rewards is $250 for 2.5k spend in 3 months.  More Rewards is 30k points (points can be cashed out at 1cpp so $300) for $3k spend in 3 months.

More rewards gets 3x back at grocery -- so it is effectively a 3% grocery card with no annual fee.  Could use the More rewards for the first 3 months to hit the spend bonus then use your unlimited for everything other than grocery and the more rewards for grocery to be getting 3% back the entire year after that (and beyond for grocery) if you wanted.  Of course...seems like a waste to me with so many good sign up bonuses ripe for the picking :)

Other decent smaller spend requirement SUBs I am aware of on no/low annual fee cards are:

 - US Bank - FlexPerks Travel 20k points for $2k spend (1cpp as a statement credit, 1.5 cpp as travel so $200-$300 value bonus).  AF waived first year...something around $50 beyond that.

 - PenFed Pathfinder Rewards 25k points for $2.5k spend (~0.8 cpp value, more for travel but these ones are difficult to get a firm value one -- something around a $200 value though).  No AF and card has a $100 airline incidental credit per year as well as gives a credit for global entry.

 - BMO Harris Platinum Rewards 25k points for $2k spend (points are worth up to 1cpp when redeeming for a BMO gift card -- their redemptions are a bit funky, but it is worth about $225-$250)

 - BMO Harris Cash Back $200 for $2k spend

 - BoA Cash Rewards $200 for $1k spend

I'm sure there are more, but I don't normally dip into the $200 and below pool.

Tass

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #41 on: April 07, 2019, 01:54:38 PM »
$1k spend in 3 months, is easy, $2k spend is a stretch, $3k spend is only possible in special circumstances. I fly a bit but I almost never stay at hotels, so my interest in travel cards is limited. I don't care about 5/24 in the long run, I just thought I'd take the opportunity to grab a Chase card.

I'm interested in the BoA bonus, but last time I applied for a card with them I was denied. I was vaguely waiting to be targeted for their $300 checking account bonus; I have been in the past, but didn't jump on it. But perhaps they would like my application better now that it's been longer since I last opened a card? ETA: But not if I get the Chase card first!
« Last Edit: April 07, 2019, 01:56:55 PM by Tass »

dlawson

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #42 on: April 16, 2019, 12:05:09 PM »
A quick quarterly-ish update:

2019 - through 4/15

- Paid $2,342 in credit card annual fees
- Earned $1,100 in cash from bank account bonuses
- Earned $4,441 in cash from credit cards (signup bonuses and miscellaneous credits)
- Redeemed $3,145 worth of travel from credit card signup bonuses

Net profit so far this year is $3,199 in cash plus $3,145 worth of travel expenses.

Current Balances

Amex MR: 584,638, to be redeemed for $7,307.98 in cash
AA: 350,201, worth approximately $4,902 in travel expenses
Southwest: 175,682, worth approximately $2,635 in travel expenses
Avios: 109,468, worth approximately $1,642 in travel expenses
Hilton: 269,209, worth approximately $1,346 in travel expenses
Marriott: 123,282, worth approximately $986 in travel expenses

I'm pretty happy with these numbers, as we've nearly surpassed our cash profits for 2018 and it's only the second quarter. If you count the stash of MR waiting to be cashed out (~1/3 will be redeemed in June and the other ~2/3 in December) then we've nearly surpassed our cash profits for 2017 as well. We've also gotten a ton of use out of our SW Companion Pass, a decent amount of which was for business travel. So a good chunk of the travel expenses number can rightfully be considered cash (since we would have paid for business trip flights out of pocket anyway).

Tass

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #43 on: April 16, 2019, 01:11:44 PM »
Hope it's okay if I cross-post from my journal to ask the experts. My sister is a student in veterinary school and asked me for advice on churning:

I got her set up with creditkarma (her score is excellent), advised that she always set up autopay and use Mint or similar to track balances in one place, and sent her my Chase Freedom Unlimited referral code... and she was immediately rejected. Upon further questioning, I am reasonably confident this was because she entered her annual income as $7,000, which is roughly what she makes from part time and summer jobs. I was hoping she could count a student loan as income, since she does live off of it somewhat, but that looks to be a no-no. She might have some scholarship money she could count, though.

If so, does anybody know the protocol for re-applying? Is, say, a $17k income more likely to be approved? Can she apply again immediately, or would it be better to call them when she gets the official rejection and explain she made a mistake?

Also, is there any basic churning advice I forgot to tell her?

Basically, is churning viable for a student with very little "real" income? She already has a non-rewards card that she has proven responsible with and she understands the importance of paying off the card before it accrues interest.



For myself, I should be able to cash out 40,000 of American Airlines points at the beginning of May, after several months of delays due to misinformation given over the phone. Bah.

I also applied for the Chase Freedom, as discussed earlier, and never got official word of approval, but a new card appeared on my Chase account. So I guess I'm just waiting to see if it appears in the mail? Maybe I should use that as an excuse to call and ask some of the questions about my sister's application, since I did refer her after all.

Toad

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #44 on: April 16, 2019, 01:33:51 PM »
Basically, is churning viable for a student with very little "real" income? She already has a non-rewards card that she has proven responsible with and she understands the importance of paying off the card before it accrues interest


If she is 21 or over she can claim your parents income on an application -- anything that can reasonably be used to repay basically.

A student loan is a type of debt so I don't see that as being able to be used for a basis of repayment of another loan/debt (credit card).  I would imagine scholarship funding should be ok to claim.

I also applied for the Chase Freedom, as discussed earlier, and never got official word of approval, but a new card appeared on my Chase account. So I guess I'm just waiting to see if it appears in the mail? Maybe I should use that as an excuse to call and ask some of the questions about my sister's application, since I did refer her after all.

If it's in your profile, you were approved.  You can also call 800-432-3117 which is an automated line you can check the status of you application with.

I wouldn't bother trying to get in contact with them until you have the denial letter.  It could be as simple as address verification.  Also it is unlikely they will talk to you since it is not regarding your application.  Your sister would need to give consent for you to speak on her behalf.

Tass

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #45 on: April 16, 2019, 01:38:10 PM »
If she is 21 or over she can claim your parents income on an application -- anything that can reasonably be used to repay basically.

Are you certain about this? I have read the opposite. Also, I doubt my parents would agree to it.

Thanks for your other comments.

Toad

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #46 on: April 16, 2019, 02:00:25 PM »

Are you certain about this? I have read the opposite. Also, I doubt my parents would agree to it.

Not really something I have to deal with, but yes I am quite certain and know people who do it.  The worst that will happen is they come back asking for proof of income.  If they don't allow "household" income to be claimed as the basis for repayment they will just rejected the proof you submit and you will be at the same place you started at.  Really though I think they are legally obligated to allow it as a basis if you are 21 or over.

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #47 on: April 16, 2019, 03:48:32 PM »
$1k spend in 3 months, is easy, $2k spend is a stretch, $3k spend is only possible in special circumstances. I fly a bit but I almost never stay at hotels, so my interest in travel cards is limited. I don't care about 5/24 in the long run, I just thought I'd take the opportunity to grab a Chase card.

I'm in a similar boat. I travel cheap and want to stay away from MS, so I'm going for simple bonuses with low-spend requirements. If I have advance notice of large medical spend, I'll try to time it with a better Chase card. My credit score is just over 800, so I should qualify for some decent cards.

I have an additional caveat that I'm on FIREbattical and have no income outside investments. I plan to go back to work next year. Can I even apply for cards right now without lying? Use my most recent salary or next predicted salary?

If this is a proxy for "can they afford to pay their balance," my savings more than make up for no active income.

dlawson

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #48 on: April 16, 2019, 04:07:57 PM »
I have an additional caveat that I'm on FIREbattical and have no income outside investments. I plan to go back to work next year. Can I even apply for cards right now without lying? Use my most recent salary or next predicted salary?

If this is a proxy for "can they afford to pay their balance," my savings more than make up for no active income.

I would think that whatever is on your tax return would qualify. And since retirement account distributions fill up your ordinary income bucket, I'd expect you could put that number on a CC applicaton and legitimately back it up if they ask for documentation.

But the truth is that the bank will almost certainly never ask you to prove your income. I've opened around ~45 cards just for myself, and another ~30 for my spouse, and we've never been asked.

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Re: Maximize Your Churning (Bank Account & Credit Card)
« Reply #49 on: April 16, 2019, 04:30:52 PM »
I have an additional caveat that I'm on FIREbattical and have no income outside investments. I plan to go back to work next year. Can I even apply for cards right now without lying? Use my most recent salary or next predicted salary?

If this is a proxy for "can they afford to pay their balance," my savings more than make up for no active income.

I would think that whatever is on your tax return would qualify. And since retirement account distributions fill up your ordinary income bucket, I'd expect you could put that number on a CC applicaton and legitimately back it up if they ask for documentation.

But the truth is that the bank will almost certainly never ask you to prove your income. I've opened around ~45 cards just for myself, and another ~30 for my spouse, and we've never been asked.

AMEX sometimes will ask for permission to get your tax transcript from the IRS to verify income.  I'm not sure what the triggers are...maybe high income and/or high credit limits.  Hasn't happened to me, but I've read about it.