Million Mile Madness, Credit card planning: US Bank and others

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 quite a few 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.

Here are the plans I’ve reported so far and my latest thoughts:

Chase cards: I plan to go for two Ink Plus cards (with separate businesses) and the United MileagePlus card if I can get a 50K or 55K offer, or the Sapphire Preferred MasterCard with its 40K offer.

Amex cards: I plan to go for both the Platinum Mercedes 50K offer, and the Premier Rewards Gold 50K offer.

Citi cards: I plan to go for the AA business 50K offer and the ThankYou Preferred 6K offer (which gives 5X at gas stations, grocery stores, and drug stores for a year).

Barclaycard cards: I plan to go for the US Airways personal (35K) and business (25K) cards.  I might even try to get two business cards for two separate businesses.  I’ll also go for the NFL card ($400 bonus) and the Arrival World MasterCard ($220 or $440 bonus depending on which offer I get).

In this post, I’ll discuss my thoughts and plans concerning US Bank cards and other bank cards.

Current cards

I currently have the following US Bank cards:

  • Cash+:  This was once my favorite cash back card, but it has since fallen quite a bit (see “Cash+ comes down to earth“)
  • FlexPerks Select: This is the free version of the FlexPerks cards.  It’s not a particularly good rewards card by any means (the $49 TravelRewards version is decent, though), but I keep it in order to keep my credit history and my remaining FlexPerks points alive.

My Plan

US Bank really only has one product that I’m excited about: the new Club Carlson cards. To see why I’m excited about these cards, please see “Club Carlson rocks our world… Again.”  As to other banks, there are two cards that offer 35K Hawaiian Airlines miles, one from Bank of America and the other from Bank of Hawaii.  I could go for those, but I think I’ll pass on this round.  The reason is that I don’t want to introduce additional banks to this churn.  I’m already planning to apply for cards from Chase, Amex, Citi, Barclaycard, and US Bank.  For each of those, I expect that multiple credit pulls will be combined into one (when they hit the same credit bureau).  For example, when I apply for three Chase cards, Chase will most likely issue 3 hard credit pulls.  If all three go to the same bureau (Experian, for example) on the same day, then the bureau will combine the three into one. If I add additional banks into the mix, then there will be additional hard pulls without consolidation.  I don’t think that the 35K Hawaiian Airlines offers are good enough to warrant that hit to my credit score.

Rapid Travel Chai proved that its possible to get the signup bonus for both the personal and business Club Carlson cards.  So, here are the cards I plan to signup for:

  • Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature: 85K points after $2500 spend.  $75 annual fee not waived first year.
  • Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa: 85K points after $2500 spend.  $60 annual fee not waived first year.


My hopeful tally

The Club Carlson cards offer 5X points on all regular spend (and 10X points at Club Carlson properties), so after spending $2500 I’ll have earned an additional 12,500 points.  In total, I should earn 2 X (85K + 12.5K) = 195,000 points.  The Club Carlson award chart tops out at 50,000 points per night, so this total is just 5000 points short of being enough for 4 nights at their best properties in the world.  Even better, by using the credit cards’ Bonus Award Nights feature for two night stays, this tally would be just shy of enough for 8 nights at any top property or 44 nights at Category 1 hotels! (Note: The Bonus Award Night feature was discontinued as of 6/1/2015.)

Note that PointChaser has been running a series of posts about the best Club Carlson properties.  You can find all of those posts here.

Reader Feedback

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

Related Posts & Pages

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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19 Comments on "Million Mile Madness, Credit card planning: US Bank and others"

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Hi Miler – first, I appreciate your work. Current endeavor, while both whimsical and fraught with perill, is at least entertaining.

Question, and apologies for the basic nature, but do I still get the points if I pay off my balance in full before the statement closes? Goal, of course, is to attain high spend without impacting CS with high statement balances.

Thanks, and Keep Miling!


195k is a good step toward your goal, but doesn’t CC require you to have the points in order to book? So having 200k isn’t really good for 8 nights, once you make 3 stays of 2 nights you would only have 50k left and be unable to take advantage of the free night promo.


@Skyhigh – yes you do get the point, irrespective of when you pay off your balance. I normally pay quite a bit of the balance just before the card closes so that they don’t report a huge monthly balance to the agencies (and trigger possible questions later from other credit card companies when applying for new cards).


@jason you are incorrect you can book 2 for 1 card bonus with only the points for one night in your account. I know because I just did it.


Will all three Chase pulls combine into one even though some are from the business side and one is from the consumer side of Chase?

Max Scoville

Ditto @Jeremy – I have done this as well.


@bluto @FM
Wondering the same thing. According to Citi Identity Monitor, when I applied for 1 Chase personal (Marriott Premier) and 1 Chase business (Ink Plus) I received 2 inquiries. At least they are listed separately. I’d love to know if that is because of the specific cards I applied for (i.e. the personal is a hotel affiliated card and the business is a credit card, not a charge card), or if I did something wrong. I applied for both on the same day (within 20 min of each other), was not instantly approved, called in the same day for both cards and was approved for both cards (via reconsideration) on the same day (literally within an hour of each other). Pooling of pulls is something all the blogs talk about so either I did something wrong or this just isn’t true or I just got really unlucky. That was my 1st AOR, so I have no previous data to evaluate.


Are people still having trouble with US Bank approvals when there are a lot of inquiries over the past year?

My experience with Chase has been that applying for a Personal and Biz card (or multiples thereof) on the same day results in 2 inquiries.


Thanks for the info.
It’d be great to hear others experiences with 1 personal & 1 biz from other creditors (Citi, BOA, USBank, Amex). Since no creditor allows you to apply for 2 biz or 2 personal on the same day, it would seem then that doing a AOR on the same day is not really necessary.


FM, so how many cards are you going to churn this time around? If I remember it right, you have mentioned more than 10 cards from 4-5 different banks already. Are you going to apply for them all at once? If so, I really really want to know the outcome and how it went. 🙂


Has been a boring read recently


@FM – I am sure that, in 2 different churn events, Chase Biz and Personal inquiries did not combine. I have also read of the same for others.

@Ben – I would recommend doing both the Biz and Personal on the same day. When calling for reconsideration, my experience has been, in some instances, that the CSR does not see the other inquiry.


good luck on US bank churn. I was a reject wen I approached them for LAN visa card citing too many card activities away

Well Traveled Mile

Looking forward to see if you can actually pull this off! Good luck!


[…] US Bank Club Carlson personal (85K bonus after $2.5K spend) and business (85K bonus after $2.5K spend) cards.  For more details, see: Million Mile Madness, Credit card planning: US Bank and others. […]