Some of the best things in life are unexpected, and my most recent credit card churn day probably falls into that category (well probably not truly in the “best thing in life” category, but you know what I mean). I often map churns out in detail beforehand, but did it a bit differently this time around and I kind of liked it. It all started because of a Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card that was available via the CARDMATCHTM feature on creditcards.com with a sign-up bonus that is approximately twice as generous as the standard bonus. It was a card on my radar, I didn’t know how long the offer would last, and so it became an unplanned churn day. It had been approximately two months since my last application, but that one was just for one card (the Ink Plus Business Card as I was worried the minimum spending requirement would go back up), so I wasn’t too concerned about recent inquiries since I had been pretty conservative on the application front recently.
If you are unfamiliar with credit card churning and how to prepare for one, then check out this detailed post. I quickly went through the main steps in that post, just to be safe. That means I checked my estimated FICO scores and they were all above 750 according to Credit Karma and my Citi IdenityMonitor service (see this post for more details on those services). I then surveyed the available offers and gave preference to those that were above the normal sign-up offer for that card, and/or were limited time offers. Finally, I looked at how the offers lined up with my travel goals and which types of points I wanted for future trips. Looking back at my 2013 credit card churning plan also helped! I recommend everyone write down a churning plan so you can quickly reference it when good offers pop up.
Here is what I decided to apply for, and why.
1. Amex Premier Rewards Gold
The standard offer these days for that card is 25,000 Membership Reward points after spending $2,000 in the first three months, however via creditcards.com and their “Card Match tool” linked above I was offered a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Membership Reward points after spending $1,000 in the first three months. In both cases there is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175 in subsequent years. I wanted to boost up my MR balance so I could be ready if there are future transfer bonuses to British Airways and/or to transfer to a Star Alliance airline such as Singapore Airlines or ANA. There are lots of options with Membership Rewards and I have pretty much drained my balance, so time to build back up.
I got a “pending decision” answer for this card, and then was called by Amex the next day to verify I had applied for the card and to give my approval. Woohoo! If you are curious, for me in Texas Amex pulled my credit report from Experian.
EDIT: The offer I applied for and wrote about below has expired, but the best offer now is 50,000 Avios after spending $1,000 in the first three months. There is a $95 annual fee.
This is a limited time offer that I think will be ending in the near future, so I wanted in before it potentially goes away. My husband and I just recently had a very good experience on a short British Airways flight from Dublin to London (breakfast and tea on real plates and glasses on a 50 minute flight?!), so we wanted to up our stash of Avios to potentially use on a long-haul BA flight. There are hefty fees associated with doing that, but might still be worth it for us.
We certainly wanted the 50,000 Avios that are awarded as a sign-up bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. If we want to go “all in” we can also get 25,000 bonus Avios after spending $10,000 in the first 12 months of account opening, and an additional 25,000 bonus Avios if we spend an additional $10,000 in purchases also within the first 12 months of account opening. I’m not sure how much we will end up putting on this card this year, but I know we will certainly at least get the easy 50K Avios for $1K of spending! These points are super handy for short flights on BA partners such as Alaska and American Airlines, so don’t discount this just because you don’t fly on British Airways. Very helpful for domestic travel as well. There is a $95 annual fee for this card.
I am still awaiting a decision on this card and will call the reconsideration line if I don’t get approved by early next week. I often get “slow approvals” with Chase that happen without my intervention, but take a few days. Some prefer to just call reconsideration immediately, and there is some merit to that approach as well. I will note that the last two times I have applied with Chase they have pulled my credit from both Experian and Equifax. I don’t like getting two pulls for one app, but it has now happened twice in a row for me with Chase. Anyone else seeing something similar? Once was for a business card and now for this personal card. Both happen immediately on the same day and aren’t related to a reconsideration call.
I wanted this card since it was introduced a couple of months ago as it comes with 85,000 sign-up bonus points (50,000 after first purchase and 35,000 more after $2500 spend within 90 days) and it gives you the last night on your award redemptions for free. This means that if I had a two night award stay at a hotel like the May Fair in London that costs 50,000 Club Carlson points each night, that a two night stay now only costs me 50,000 points instead of 100,000! That is huge. I also appreciate the automatic Club Carlson Gold status and 40K points annually for renewal. That is worth the $75 annual fee in my book, so I plan to make this card a keeper.
I was worried about getting approved for this card since US Bank is notoriously a bit tough on approvals since they don’t like to see a bunch of recent inquiries. However, I got approved for their FlexPerks card back in August without issue, and I got approved for this one instantly, so who knows. I will point out that I am a pretty conservative churner and did not have many recent inquiries on my report until this churn so that probably helped. Here in Texas they pulled my credit from Equifax.
If all goes as planned, I can potentially get as many as 235,000 sign-up bonus points from these three cards (if I want “all in” on the British Airways card’s spending for the full 100K). I’m pretty happy with the three cards I went for, and look forward to getting them in the mail so I can start making progress on the minimum spending requirements. Are any of these cards on your radar? I’d love to hear about what your next churn will look like. Also stay tuned for more details on how churning is impacting my credit score.
Disclosure: I do receive a commission for the British Airways card or Amex Premier Rewards Gold card if you are approved using my affiliate link. As always, all offers are the best available public offers that I am aware of. Thanks for your support!