Churning miles the old fashioned way

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On Tuesday, I earned 240K miles the old fashioned way: credit card churning. 

I love dreaming up creative new ways to earning points and miles other than signing up for credit cards.  For some examples, please see “How I earned over 1 million points and miles in 6 months”.  That doesn’t mean, though, that I’m against credit card churning!  It is still one of the best perpetual point machines out there.  It’s been a while since I’ve signed up for any cards, so I finally decided it was time… 

Choosing cards

I started with my “Best credit card offers” page.  My approach is to simply pick one or two cards from each table on that page: Chase, Amex, Citi, and Other.   Usually, if I want two cards from one bank I would pick one personal card and one business card (yes you can get business cards even if you don’t have a business).  With Citibank, though, you can get two personal cards at once (and I did so).  Here’s what I chose from each section:

Chase: British Airways Visa

This was, by far, the toughest decision to make.  Chase has so many great offers and so many great cards that I really just want them all!  The decision came down to two things: 1) July 18th is the last day to get in on the publicly available British Airways 100K offer; and 2) I’ll be in Europe next month and again in November so I’d really like to have a smart-chip card. 

I applied online and received a pending decision, so I called the reconsideration line.  The agent wanted to move credit from my other Chase cards in order to setup a credit line for this one.  He was very accommodating: based on my suggestions, he moved bits of credit from 3 different cards in order to setup a $15K line on the BA card.  Result: SUCCESS!  50K BA points after first purchase and another 50K after $20K spend.

American Express: None

I already have both personal and business SPG cards and Delta cards.  And, I have the Amex Business Platinum card.  At some point I’ll get the Premier Rewards Gold and the Hilton Surpass, but I’m not in a hurry to get either (I’m flush with MR and Hilton points right now).  Instead, I’ll wait to see if Amex sends me any more great targeted offers.

Citi: Aadvantage Two Browser Trick

When booking award flights, I tend to look mostly to United and Delta because I have ready access to miles in both programs.  Sometimes, though, the best availability is through American Airlines and their One World partners.  Sadly I have only 13000 AA miles (queue the sad violins).  Luckily there’s an easy way to get lots of AA miles quickly: the famous two browser trick.  There are two 50K AA bonus offers available from Citibank, but you’re only supposed to be able to get one of them.  With the two-browser trick, you can apply for both at the same time (in two separate browsers) and qualify for the 50K bonus for each card. 

I did the two browser trick using Chrome and Firefox.  I wasn’t instantly approved, but one browser popped up a chat window and the other gave me a number to call.  So, I chatted in an on-screen window while I talked on the phone and answered the same simple questions in each.  Result: SUCCESS!  100K AA miles are mine once I spend $3K on each card in 4 months.

Other: Barclay’s US Airways MasterCard

This one was an easy choice.  The card offers a 40K sign-up bonus after first purchase, 10K bonus miles each anniversary, $99 companion passes, and more.  I don’t currently have many US Airways miles to build from, but I’m hoping the Grand Slam promotion comes back this fall.  This card will provide an easy Grand Slam “hit” and the sign-up bonus will give me a great start towards racking up valuable US Airways miles. 

When I applied, I received instant approval (yay!).  Result: SUCCESS!  40k US Airways miles are mine after first purchase!

Totals

I was approved for all 4 cards.  Once I meet the minimum spend requirements, I’ll earn 240K miles.  That’s a respectable 60K per card average. 

Have you churned lately?  How did you do?

Terminology

It used to be the case that the term “credit card churning” referred to signing up for the same cards over and over and receiving the sign-up bonus each time.  This has become more and more difficult to pull off as banks have learned how to stop that practice.  Many people now use the term “credit card churning” to refer to the act of signing up for a bunch of (mostly different) cards every 3 months or so.  It is the latter definition that I use in this post.

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