Million Mile Madness, Credit card planning: Chase

Background: Early in January, I introduced the idea of challenging myself (and anyone foolish enough to join me) to earn a million points in one month. So, starting March 1, I’ll do everything I can to earn as many points as I can while keeping within my ethical boundaries. As a reminder, I don’t expect that a million points will have been credited to my account by March 31st: points often take quite a while to get credited. Instead, I’ll track all of the points that I expect, and I’ll declare victory if the expected total is over a million. Oh, and to keep things challenging, I will try to keep my net costs below $1,000.

Previous Million Mile Madness posts include:

 

Credit Card churn planning

In order to earn a million miles in a month, I plan to sign up for lots of credit cards with the best signup offers.  These won’t get me all the way to a million points, but they’ll go a long way.  First, though, I need to plan carefully.  In this post, I’ll discuss my thoughts and plans concerning Chase credit cards, and I’ll follow up in future posts with similar discussions about Amex, Citi, and others.

Current cards

With Chase, if you already have a particular credit card, you can’t get the same exact one again.  Even if you cancel the card, you are not eligible for another signup bonus if you get that card again.  Some say that you can get the bonus again if you wait two years after cancelling, but I don’t have personal experience with that, nor do I have time to wait two years for this challenge.  One area where that rule isn’t followed is with business cards.  In my experience, you can get another card and get the signup bonus again if you sign up with a different business.  In my case, I have two businesses, so I have successfully signed up (and received the bonus) for two Ink Bold cards.  Another case where the rule doesn’t hold is where there is a card with the same name, but it is considered a different product by Chase.  For example, there are two versions of the Sapphire Preferred card: one is a Visa and the other is a MasterCard.  While Chase doesn’t seem to like people to have both, they will award the bonus for each if you manage to convince them to give you a second card (or if you cancel the other card first).

Anyway, that was a long winded way of saying that its necessary for me to review the Chase cards I already have (or have recently cancelled) before planning a new churn. Here’s what I currently have:

  • Ink Bold, business 1
  • Ink Bold, business 2
  • Sapphire Preferred Visa
  • British Airways Visa
  • Marriott Premier Visa
  • Priority Club Visa

I also cancelled an Ink Bold card last year, but it was a prior generation of the current Ink Bold card and so is not relevant.  Of the cards listed, only one of the Ink Bold cards is due soon for its annual fee.

In order to get approved for new cards, its usually necessary to give up old Chase cards or let Chase move credit from one to another.  For this churn, I’m willing to give up the Ink Bold card that will soon be due for its annual fee.  I’m also willing to give up my Marriott card now that Marriott has severely devalued their program.  I used to highly value the category 5 free night certificate earned each year with this card, but now there are far fewer desirable category 5 properties.  See this post by LoyaltyLobby for details.  I also wouldn’t mind giving up my Sapphire Preferred card (since that will free me up to get the MasterCard version in the future) or my British Airways card.

My Plan

I would like to signup for the following offers:

  • United MileagePlus Explorer card 55K bonus + $50 statement credit
  • Freedom card, which offers 5X this quarter at gas stations, drug stores, and Starbucks for up to $1500 in spend.
  • Ink Plus 50K bonus after $5K spend, business 1
  • Ink Plus 50K bonus after $5K spend, business 2
 
United MileagePlus card

This FatWallet thread details how to get targeted for the United card offer.  I just tried it and it worked.  I’m hoping that it will still be available on March 1!

Freedom card

In my experience, Chase won’t usually approve two new personal cards in the same month, so my thought here is to downgrade an existing card to the Freedom rather than apply new.  That means giving up the 10K signup offer for the Freedom card, but I think its worth it to avoid a credit pull.  In the next few days I’ll call Chase and ask to downgrade one of my cards (probably the Sapphire Preferred).  That way, the Freedom card will be ready to go in March.  Plus, if the United card offer is no longer available in March, I’ll be well positioned to sign up for the Sapphire Preferred MasterCard.

Ink Plus cards

I don’t know if this will work, but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to qualify for two Ink Plus cards on the same day.  The primary difference between the Ink Bold and Ink Plus cards is that the Bold cards are charge cards that have to be paid in full each month, whereas the Plus cards are credit cards in which you can run a balance from month to month.  I think it will be an easy argument to make that I want the ability to run a balance on my cards which is why I want the Plus cards (even though I don’t plan to actually use that feature…).  After applying for these cards, I’ll call Chase’s business reconsideration line.  In order to free up credit for these new cards, I’ll offer to cancel one of my old Ink Bold cards, and I’ll offer to cancel or move some credit from one of my personal cards (most likely the Marriott card).

For all of the above cards, once approved, I’ll ask Chase to rush the cards to me since I need them right away for planned purchases.

My hopeful tally

If I manage to sign up successfully for all of the cards listed above, I’ll qualify for signup bonuses totaling 155,000 United miles and Ultimate Rewards points.  Now look at the spend I hope to put on each card:

  • United card: Requires $1K spend = 1000 additional miles.
  • Ink Plus cards: Require $5K spend each.  If spend is entirely within 5X categories (e.g. office supplies, etc), then total would be 2 X 5000 X 5 = 50,000 additional points.  In future posts I’ll speak more to how I hope to achieve this.  You can get some ideas from this post.
  • Freedom card: If I spend $1500 within its 5X quarterly categories, then I’ll earn 1500 x 5 = 7500 additional points

So, all-in, I can earn up to 155,000 signup bonus miles & points plus 58,500 additional miles & points for a grand total of 213,500 miles & points all from Chase!

Reader Feedback

Please let me know what you think about the above plan.  Do you have other ideas or suggestions?

Related Posts & Pages

 

Frequent Miler is on vacation

Posts have been scheduled in advance. See you in September!

Pingbacks

Comments

  1. Hi FM. Sounds a good plan, the only thing I am curious about within the confines of the challenge is how to get the cards, make the spend and have the statement close and get the miles to post all in the same month? If you activate the card on say 3/2/2013 I’d assume the first closing won’t be until 4/2/2013. I don’t know about Chase but with Citi bringing the closing date forward had unintended consequences and did not result in earlier posting.

    • Scott: Yes, that’s true. In one of the earlier Million Mile Madness posts I mentioned that I would have to go back to credit card churning to achieve this goal.
      Prabir: You can simply cancel the Explorer card to avoid the annual fee.
      Chris: I know 7500 points is puny, but ever bit counts and I see this as a way to get those points without another credit card signup
      Paul: It will certainly be the biggest churn I’ve every done (by far), but I’m sure this won’t be the biggest in history. I would like to get a logo for this challenge. If anyone is artistically inclined, please email me some ideas!
      Steve: Yes, exactly my thinking

  2. I have the Chase United Explorer card and Sapphire Preferred. I want to keep the Sapphire Preferred despite the annual fee. Is there something I can do to avoid the annual fee on the Explorer card or switch to a different Chase product?

  3. Why the Freedom? 7500 points seems like a pittance compared with other offers, even when it affects the bonus on the other UR cards. Is there something big I’ve not seen?

  4. I know you said you were done with Churning, but if we are talking four products from Chase alone, I smell one of the biggest CC Churns in History!

    I think I’m really going to enjoy watching this MMM unfold. (Just had a logo Idea for Million Mile Madness – rock out the M-cubed)

  5. @Chris – if he’s already getting a Chase personal (United), he won’t be able to get another Chase personal card. If he could, he should do Chase United AND Chase Sapphire Preferred MC, but that probably just won’t happen.

    Don’t think of it as another application. Think of it as a way to get an extra 7500 points closer to the goal. it’s either get that 7500 points, or nothing.

    • Grant: Thanks
      Ben L: Yes, if there are fees I will count them!
      Matt: Good catch! That’s an error and I’ll fix it in the post.
      brian: Thanks for that suggestion!
      Geoff: As long as you or your spouse has CSP, Ink Bold, or Ink Plus the Freedom points can be transferred freely

  6. Small nitpick – you say “I’ll qualify for signup bonuses totaling 155,000 Ultimate Rewards points.” However, the 55,000 from the United card are United miles, not UR points. Of course, the best use for UR points is typically transferring them to United miles, but again, it’s a small nitpick 😛

  7. Just an FYI if that method doesn’t work for the United Explorer card. One other way that I have found is to search for an award ticket and get to the point that it makes you sign in. AFTER you have signed in (but before you enter traveler info) there will be a link on that page to the 50k+5k and $50 statement offer. Good luck!

  8. I’m not clear on how you can get two ink Plus business cards, let alone in the same churn. I can understand one, but what’s the justification for. Two of the same card for business purposes?

    • kiddad: I was able to get two separate Ink Bold cards by signing up under two separate businesses. I expect/hope that the same will be true with the Ink Plus
      David/philly/steve/Victor: That’s great to hear that you’ve each had experience with being approved for two personal Chase cards at once! I still like the Ink Plus 50K bonuses, though, so I don’t think I’ll change my plan here, but its definitely good to know for the future!

  9. You mentioned that it is unlikely that you would get approved for 2 personal Chase cards, but I just recently applied for the Sapphire Preferred and the United Explorer card and got approved for both. I just had to call the reconsideration line to transfer some of credit from my Chase Freedom card. That could be a strategy to try first to get more points, before falling back on the Freedom card.

  10. FM,
    Don’t say never on a 2nd Chase card & bonuses. I know someone who closed her Chase Sapphire Pref. less than a year ago & recently got approved for the exact same card, a Visa, and her 40K UR recently posted!!

  11. Fm, Looking forward to your methods in the Million Mile. I can also add another data point in support of David above of 2 personal credit cards from Chase. Last night I was approved for the Chase Marriott and also applied for MC version of Shaphire. All I had to do was call in and move around credit line and cancel an old card. Keep up the good work.

  12. Just another data point, but I’ve applied for and received two personal cards from Chase twice. First time was the easy 100k BA offer over the summer (50k after first purchase & 50k after 1 year) and the Priority Club 80k. I just applied for and received (after calling the reconsideration line) the Freedom and Sapphire Preferred in MasterCard versions (I said I was evaluating Chase’s credit products for a potential retail banking move from BofA). I also have the United Explorer and had to transfer some credit from a couple cards to fund the Freedom and Explorer, but it’s definitely not out of the realm of possibility to do two cards at a time multiple times.

  13. It is my understanding that since the Ink Bold is a charge card and has no credit limit, there is no credit line for Chase to move to a new card (such as Ink Plus which does require a credit line). I’m not sure if offering to close the Bold would be enough of a horse trade if it comes down to it.

    • Elizabeth: With my last Ink Bold application and recon call, you are correct that the agent told me that I couldn’t move credit from my old Ink Bold to the new one. However, when I offered to cancel the old one altogether, he said that would work. I definitely got the impression that it was a one-off situation, though, so I don’t know how repeatable it is.

  14. Brian – I tried doing both, butneither worked for me. I am getting the 30K + 5K + $50. It may be because I only have 100 miles in my account.

  15. Neither worked for me either on United. I transferred some UR points to it, so I may have to wait for a few days and see what happens.

  16. FM & Brian – Failed when trying both methods for United card…still getting 30K + 5K + $50 even though I transferred 10K UR points to United MileagePlus account few months ago.

  17. After you maximize points earning getting gift cards, (using money, UR mall, Ink, etc.) and end up with a thousand bucks worth of useless gift cards, trade them for United Miles. You missed the 40% promo, but it should still get you about 330000 miles.

  18. @KT,howard, bam: Did you try to manually change the URL from 30k to 50k? Replace the “30” by “50” in the URL that showing the 30k+5k+$50 statement credit offer, then the offer will change to 50k+5k+$50. I did this a week ago, and it is still working for my spouse’s united account.

  19. @FM: I think you should have no problem getting 2 personal Chase cards at once. Both my spouse and I had done it before. For me, I had to call recon and moved some credit around, but my spouse got instant approvals for both cards applying back to back within minutes. My spouse even applied for 3rd personal Chase card on the 31st day after her last application. She had to call recon for the 3rd one to get it approved. I think the rule is 2 personal cards within 30 days.

  20. @Steve re: Freedom card – Ah! Makes sense. I guess I skipped over that in the post, but that bit of info might change my next churn…thx!

  21. I would like to get the UA Explorer card, but I already have a very old (20+ years) regular UA card. So I can never get an offer for the Explorer to show up. I like having the old card for longevity purposes though.

  22. I thought you said you were not going to spend more than $1000 during this challenge? $5,000 for 50,000 points is $0.10/point, that’s very expensive points considering you can buy points from the airlines directly at about $0.02/point..! Think you might be missing the wood for the trees here.

  23. Gin: yes same SSNs but different businesses.
    Bruce: I said that my net costs wouldn’t exceed $1000. I’ll spend much more than that but I’ll get most of it back. See the strategy post for more info

  24. what cards do u already have? why not do AA 50k x 2 w/ personal and biz, since double browser for personal doens’t work consistently anymore?

  25. @ umc

    I even tried to manually paste in the 50k offer link suggested by people in fatwallet and still no go. It keeps redirecting me to 30k link, and people in FW are saying the same thing. Deal looks to be dead for United for now.

  26. FM, can you put a header at the top of your page and link all the MMM posts to that button? It will be helpful to x reference posts.

    TIA!

  27. Hi FM, I know I’m a few days late to the game here, but you should try this strategy for the Freedom card, as long as (1) you drink coffee, and (2) frontloading purchases is kosher under the rules that you’ve set for yourself, which, if I remember correctly, it is. This’ll net 9900 points rather than 7500, but it depends on whether you can get the Chase “Exclusives” program up and running in time.

    http://www.pointsonthedollar.com/when-youre-hooked-on-both-points-and-caffeine-this-happens/

  28. I just got the AirTran and the Southwest personals from Chase on the same day (and a Southwest biz card next day). I’ve previously gotten 2 personals from them on the same day also. (I’m a little late getting my Companion Pass).

    I’ve heard the best Sapphire switch is to call and ask that the Visa you hold be changed to a MC. Then later apply for a new Sapphire Visa. It would seem just applying for the MC fresh from the MC site would be better since one would be a prior cardholder in the first example but evidently people do this and get the bonus but have trouble applying for a MC if they hold the Visa.

    • Would like to the the “before” and “after” FICO credit scores for some of you folks… LoL. 18+ apps in any time-frame less than 3 years will surely tank credit scores. It’s not just the number of inquiries, but also the average age of open accounts will be reduced, and that has a big impact. How are you going to track the real costs? Credit scores not only impact lines of credit and the interest rate you pay but also things like auto and homeowners insurance and so forth. Pretty much all personal risk products are priced off your credit score.

      • Bruce, we’ll see what happens, but I don’t expect any problems. I just closed a refi, so I’m good there. The inquiries will hurt my score about 20 points for the next 90 days, no big deal (dropped 747 to 729 so far.) In that range, my extra costs on insurance and interest is going to be be zero. The effect of the average age is going to be very blunted since I’ve been at this for awhile and have a large number of existing open, old accounts. Even if all my new accounts are approved, I can’t go below 2 years average age, so I don’t expect a score hit there.

  29. So I started following this and some of the other miles/points blogs a few months ago and I’m planning my first “app-o-rama” for next week. So far I just have an ink bold that I got three months ago and a chase marriot rewards card I cosigned for a few years ago. Credit score is 750. Any tips/ advice on the following plan? I want to get a priority club and British airways visa card as well as SPG. Anyone think there would be a problem with this, or there are any cards missing that would likely be approved? Thanks in advance

    • Mike W: It might be hard to convince Chase to give you three cards at once. If you want to make life easier, I’d recommend just applying for two of those now and wait on the other. If you don’t already have them some other cards to definitely consider are: AA personal 50K, AA business 50K, and US Airways 40K (or 35K depending on which links are working).

  30. clayd333: I’ll see what I can do
    DavidS: I don’t drink that much coffee! Also, I think it is too late to get the Exclusives program. I believe they stopped offering it to new Freedom customers late last year

  31. Bruce: I will report before and after FICO scores. So far my experience with credit card churning has been that my credit score takes a dip for a few months and then bounces back to a bit higher than it was before.

  32. Hi FM,

    When you apply for 2 Ink Bold (or Ink Plus) cards under 2 business names, do you have to have 2 different tax ID? Can you use your SSN for 2 different business names?

    Thanks.
    JR

  33. My wife and I just down graded our Visa Sapphire Prefereds to Freedom cards. No issues from the phone reps. Same account numbers and UR account. I also thought it was worth to save the hard pull and then apply for a Sapphire MasterCard down the road.

  34. All
    I am currently not a Chase customer and would like to apply for the Sapphire Preferred & United Explorer at the same time in branch. Should this be ok or likely to be declined after first ?

    Also would I qualify for both bonuses ?

    Thanks

    WC

  35. Wildcat: Yes, if you’re approved for both cards, you would qualify for both bonuses. Its not uncommon for people to get approved for two cards at once, but you might not get automatically approved for both. The second one may require a conversation with Chase to get approval.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>