Diary of a Successful Churn

Like many other bloggers (and most of my friends and family at this point), I churn credit cards. When I first say that to someone, they say, “What is a churn?” Well, I just so happen to have a guide on churning, but I thought I’d share a real-world example of a recent churn of mine…

This week’s churn:

On Sunday, after seeking, pondering and weighing the best signup bonuses featured on my favorite blogs and various threads in the Flyertalk credit card forum, I applied for these 6 credit cards:

Chase Intercontinental Hotel Group Visa for 80,000 points after spending $1,000 in 3 months, no annual fee first year

Citi AAdvantage Mastercard for 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in 3 months, no annual fee first year

Barclays US Airways Mastercard for 40,000 points after spending $1, with an $89 annual fee

Wells Fargo Propel World AmEx for 40,000 points after spending $3000 in 3 months, no annual fee first year

Bank of America Alaska Airlines Personal Visa for 25,000 points after spending $1, with a $75 annual fee

Bank of America Alaska Airlines Business Visa for 25,000 points after spending $1, with a $75 annual fee

If all of these were to get approved, I’d be earning 260,000 points/miles for spending $7,003 in 3 months and paying $239 in annual fees.

Normally, about 60-80% of my applications in any given churn get approved, and only a handful get “instant approval”. If you don’t get instantly approved, don’t worry, you can call the reconsideration line right away to get a decision!

This time around, I got instant approval on the Barclays card and both Bank of America cards (surprise!). I churn the B of A cards every 3 months, literally. I always get approved for at least the business one; the personal one only seems possible every 6 months. I’ve been churning the Barclays one every 6 months with ease for about 2 years now (but don’t push it — Barclays will black-list you very quickly if you apply more frequently than that — I know from personal experience back in 2012).

For the other ones, I called the reconsideration lines for the respective banks and I didn’t even have to talk my way into anything! They just had to verify some information about me, and then they gave me instant approval over the phone!

So I went 6-for-6 for a whopping 260,000 points, and I’m pretty darn happy about it. For the record, I don’t recommend that you do that many unless you are an expert and you know all the potential consequences of messing it up (see warning below). Start slowly and build your way up to big churns like this.

Warning/Disclaimer: During any given churn, I always err on the side of less rather than more, because being greedy can be the death of your credit score, and nobody wants that. There are always more points to be had in a few months, so don’t overdo it.

For my overview on risks and rules of churning, refer to my Credit Card Churning page.

Good luck folks!


4 thoughts on “Diary of a Successful Churn

  1. How do you do it?
    You are always getting the same cards over and over. I’m running out of cards to get and I get very few compared to you. Even calling Reconsideration, it is always too many applications or you have had this card and/or one of our cards before.

    • I space out my Chase and Barclays churns by 6 months these days, not 3 months like BofA, Citi AA Business, and AmEx. And maybe it also just comes down to a difference in credit score… I recommend that you dig deep into Flyertalk to get the churning rules of each bank, and that should help you a lot!

  2. I did dig deep into Flyertalk but never could find banks’ churning rules. My credit scores are high. Always too many applications or I once had one of their cards.

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