My credit card churn dilemma

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When the best laid plans go awry due to too much opportunity… 

My intent this year was to go easy on new credit card signups and focus instead on earning elite status, points, and miles through gift card churns and other schemes.  Of course, I always knew that if a giant signup bonus offer came my way I would leap on it.  Plus, there are still several cards I want that I don’t yet have.  For example, both the new Chase Ink Bold (I have the old one) and the Chase Freedom would be excellent compliments to my Sapphire Preferred for earning Ultimate Rewards points.  And, I’m still tempted to follow through on the Hacking Hyatt idea, but that would require the Chase Hyatt card.  And, that’s not all!  The Hilton HHonors cards are tempting because of their very generous bonus categories.  I also like the bonus categories available for the Amex Premier Rewards Gold card…

My plan had been that once a great new offer came along, I would signup for it and pile on a couple of other credit card signups on the same day.  I thought the plan was simple until reality struck:

The Offer

A few weeks ago a giant offer showed up in my mailbox:

100,000 Membership Rewards Points

I was given a targeted offer of 100K Membership Rewards points to signup for the business version of the American Express Platinum card.  Even though the card costs $450, this signup is a no-brainer.  The card pays for Global Entry which I’ve been meaning to get anyway so I’ll save $100 there.  Plus, the card offers $200 back for incidental airline fees each year.  I’ll make sure to use all $200 in 2012, and again in the beginning of 2013 for a total of $400 back!  The card also provides airport club access.  That will be nice if/when I fly airlines other than Delta (my Delta Reserve card provides Delta Sky Club access).  And, maybe I’ll even take advantage of the Fine Hotels and Resorts program.  We’ll see.

The main downside is that to get the 100K points, I will need to spend $10K on the card by June 8th.  By itself, that wouldn’t be too hard for me (thanks to gift card churning, free after rebate software, etc.).  But, with my ambitious goals for spending $110K this year on my Delta cards, this will be a bit of a stretch.  This one is too good to pass up, though, so if I have to I’ll scale back spending on my Delta Platinum card.

So, what is the dilemma?  Shouldn’t I go ahead and pick a couple more cards to signup for and get it over with?  Well, American Express gave me until March 10th to apply.  I’ve been waiting to see if another mega-offer comes along before pulling the trigger.  My thought was that if I wait until March 10th I might have yet another great offer to add to my one day app signup.  Plus, there have been rumors of a Capital One offer coming soon…

The Rumor

Last year, Capital One launched a big promotion in which new Venture cardholders would be given points equal to the number of miles they held in a major airline program, up to 100K.  Plus, they would get a 10K signup bonus.  So, naturally, frequent flyers jumped on this offer to get 110,000 points worth $1100 in travel.

Lately, there have been several hints and rumors that the Capital One offer will return soon!  See, for example, this thread on FlyerTalk.  I didn’t get the card last year, but I would love to do so this year.  Even better would be to get both the personal and business cards for a total of 220,000 points!

So, far, so good, right?  All I have to do is wait until March 10th to apply for the Amex card and hope that the Capital One offer comes out before then.  I was happy with that plan until I read this post in the same FlyerTalk thread:

..The terms are not known yet but the ads are going to start running around March 11th

March 11!  If this is true, the Capital One promotion will start one day after my targeted Amex offer ends!

Decision Time

One option is for me to signup for the Amex card as soon as possible so that I can let a month or so go by before signing up for the Capital One card.  With that option, I think I’m better off signing up for the Amex by itself without doing any other signups that day.  That way, when Capital One looks at my credit report they’ll see only one recent signup.

Another option is to apply for the Amex and a couple of other cards right now, and hope that the Capital One offer (if it really exists) will still be available about 3 months later.  That way I can keep to a regular 3 month cycle of credit apps.

Of course, it’s quite possible that the March 11th start date is wrong.  If it actually starts earlier, I’d hate to miss out on signing up early.  It does seem like a reasonable start date, though:  Last year, Gary of View from the Wing first wrote about the promo on March 9th.

What would you do in this circumstance?  What do you think I should do?  Please, comment below!

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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17 Comments on "My credit card churn dilemma"

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It seems like I get targeted offers that I don’t want from Amex multiple times over successive months, so two questions to think about: What is the likelihood that you’ll get targeted again? Is there any chance Amex would honor a recently expired offer if you called in and asked? March 10th is on a weekend, so they may have some leeway with the expiry.


A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Is the Capitol One offer really better than the Amex one? Better enough to risk being wrong?


take the 100K MR points now. You’ll get another $200 in airline credit on Jan 1, cancel the card Feb 1 before the next annual fee hits. That’s a no-brainer

I’m near certain there will be a good MR to Skymile conversion this year (I’m holding on to my 100k MR points for that) that will hopefully include an MQM bonus as part of the conversion like last years’. You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of MR points to maximize the possible MQMs you might be able to earn.

There really aren’t any AMAZING untargeted offers out there right now. Wait for Chase Ink Bold (you may miss out on 10-25K UR points if you wait). I also would wait on Chase Hyatt, unless you have a use for 2 free nights at any Hyatt in the next 6 months or so? I’m waiting to get that card until I travel to Europe and want those two nights (for Paris or somewhere in Italy @$500+/night)

If CapOne has another huge 100k promo, consider applying for multiples then.


I agree with taking the 100 MR points now. Do a larger churn a little bit down the road if/when the Cap One promo comes back. I got that exact same Amex offer last year and it was great!


when Amex sent me targeted offers for the Amex gold last year, they kept sending me incrementally better offers as each previous offer would expire unused. it’s a gamble but I think it’s likely you will get another one.

that said, I value the Amex mr points more than the cap one, so I would go ahead and apply.


Call AmEx and ask for an “extension”. You never know. If anything I also recommend applying for the AmEx offer now, and see how things play out with the other card offers. Don’t lose out on a for sure offer for a “rumor mill” offer (Capital One). This is an excellent offer – 100k MR points! Can’t beat it.

Peter S

Easy decision. Who says if you have only one recent inquiry, then other banks will deny you?


I received the same 100K targeted Business Platinum offer from Amex last year. I got the offer twice. The first offer expired in October. The second offer was the same offer, and expired in December, 2011. I just applied last month, after the expiration date to apply, but before the due date to spend the $10K by, and I cannot get Amex to honor the 100K offer. I have tried messaging MR, Social Media, and calling, but no luck. They eventually offered 7K MR points as a “courtesy”. Bottom Line: Take The Offer ASAP, and definitely before the deadline, so that the system automatically gives you the points, and you don’t have to try to get a rep to give them to you manually.


For those who got this targetted offer in the past, did it arrive via email or snail mail? And did you recall that you signed up for such offers?

In other words, how do I get me a piece of that?! 🙂


Seriously! How can I get targeted?

I would take 100K MR points over the Cap One offer any day of the week. Those 100K points are worth way more to me than $1100.


I would apply for the Amex 100k deal now and then save the rest of your churn for the day the rumored Cap One Venture Card promo returns. This will give you more time to reach the $10k spend requirement.

Keep in mind that Capital One pulls all 3 bureaus for each card, so you will end up with 6 credit pulls for 2 cards (personal and business). The previous Venture Mile promotion was limited to the first 10,000 sign ups and had a very limited run. Luckily I got on it early and netted 440k+ for hubby and me and another 220k for my parents. It is doubtful that this one will last very long since so many people are waiting for it, and certainly not 3 months.


Everyone: Thanks for your help in figuring this out! I will go ahead and apply for the Amex and then we’ll see what happens with Cap One and others down the road. I did seriously consider asking Amex to extend the offer, but I’m concerned that just because one rep tells me the offer is extended, the computers might not agree with him/her. I’d hate to get in a situation like the one Chris described.

Regarding how to get targeted: I don’t know the answer to this, but I am working on it. My offer came via snail mail and was addressed not to me but to the name of a web site I setup a while ago. I’m trying to track down where I might have registered that web site name… By the way, yesterday I received another targeted offer from Amex: 50K for the business Gold Rewards card. I plan to stick with the 100K offer for now though.


Three day ago I received in the mail a 50K targeted business Gold Rewards offer with no spend requirements. It came in the name of an LLC I have owned for many years. I’m not sure what triggered the offer. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a card with this entity. I recently picked up an Ink Bold in the name of another LLC, and a Sapphire and two AA Citi’s personally. I felt I had done enough and was prepared to step back for 90-120 days when the Gold Rewards offer arrived. As it was targeted to an LLC, I decided to apply. I was instantly approved. I am curious if it included a credit pull given the targeted LLC solicitation and my long history with Am EX(25 years). Any guesses FrequentMiler or others? By the way, I think you’re smart to take the 100K offer now rather than read the tea leaves.


@FrequentMiler, thanks for answering about how you got targeted. If you can crack that code so that it’s reproducible, that will be another feather on your cap (for which your readers will be very very grateful!)


I just checked the AMEX website by putting in my information to see if I had any special offers. I was pleased to see that I had a premier rewards gold offer of 75k after 1k spend in 3 months + 175 fee waived for first year. I am not ready for my churn yet (need another month). Does anyone know how long the offer will stay? It wasn’t a mail offer so they don’t show offer expiration date. Any help would be appreciated.


[…] mentioned recently the rumors that Capital One will bring back it’s mega signup promotion from last year.  Some […]


@Piecerate My experience was the same. The 100K Amex Business Platinum offer came in the mail, to the company name and address registered to an LLC that I own. I applied for a Business Amex card for this entity about a year ago, and was denied. However, Amex sent me the targeted 100K Business Platinum offer about 10 months after being denied. So, my best guess, is that the information from my original application, was entered into some Amex database for future targeted offers. When I later applied for the targeted offer, it was instantly approved. Now, one inquiry shows on my personal Experian report, and one on my business Experian report, for this card.