My First Churn Ever

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Credit Cards' started by rodeojones, Nov 14, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. rodeojones

    rodeojones Silver Member

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    I just finished my very first churn on Nov 10th. Below are the details with some comments.

    Chase Ink Bold ($5000 in 3 months = 50k points)
    Chase Hyatt ($1000 in 3 months = 2 free nights)
    Starwood Preferred ($5000 in 6 months = 25k points)
    CitiBank AA Visa and AmEx (two browser trick, $5000 in 4 months for = 100k points)

    I am new to rewards and got my first card (Chase Sapphire) in September. Completed the minimum spend quickly and decided not to wait for 90+ days and jumped in with both feet as listed above.

    Chase Ink Bold and Hyatt were both pending approval. Called the personal line (Hyatt) and was surprised to find it had been declined. My credit is in the 780's but found since I had applied for the Sapphire in Sept., Chase automatically declined my app due to too many applications. The csr instantly approved the card and I moved to the Bold. Called the business line and frankly was unprepared to answer questions on three years of profit, total earnings, etc. Felt like I butchered the interview and expected them to decline my app but was surprised it was approved! I strongly recommend people being prepared for the interview if applying for a Chase business card. Know your last three years of expenses, profits, projections for the current year, etc.

    Starwood Preferred instant approval.

    CitiBank AA Visa and AmEx using two browser trick instant approval on both. Recieved an email today stating I was approved for the Visa but I have not recieved anything regarding the AmEx. I recall there was an option on the app to be notified via email regarding the decision. I checked one but on the 2nd app I did not.

    On a sidenote, I recieved both my Hyatt and SPG yesterday as they were both overnighted to my front door (two business days from application). My wife got both these cards last month and neither of them were overnighted. My Hyatt came in a very nice folder with all kinds of welcome materials.

    My theory behind getting the listed cards were two fold. 1. To complete my wife and I's 20 year anniversary trip to Kauai next July. To get there, we both needed to complete the Chase Sapphire, Chase Hyatt, and Starwood Preferred. That will give us 2 round trip tickets from Seattle to Kauai and 7 nights on the island. 4 at the Hyatt and 3 at the Starwood. We have everything completed except for my Chase Hyatt and SPG. 2. The remaining cards I got (Ink Bold and Citibank AA Visa/Amex) was based on Milevalue valuing the points highly. Even though I was not able to get on the VR bonanza, my family spends $400.00 a month in cellular/cable/internet thus the Bold will be a valuable asset. Maybe not the best thing to do but was the method to my madness.

    Next I get to attempt to book my first awards flight. I have done a couple dry runs using United and the options from Seattle to Kauai in July are virtually non-existant. I will be doing plenty of studying with the hope of learning all the tips and tricks.

    Thanks all for your role in a fantastic message board. Everyone has been very cool and I have learned alot here.
     
  2. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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    Congrats. Don't forget that UR points can also transfer to British Airways, and you can use Avios for Alaska Airlines flights by calling in. Alaska has a direct Seattle - Kauai flight (as well as to other Hawaiian destinations). You can also book Alaska with AA miles.
     
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  3. rodeojones

    rodeojones Silver Member

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    I forgot about that! Thanks for the tip.
     
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  4. Slow_Mustang
    Original Member

    Slow_Mustang Silver Member

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    Congratulations on getting your feet wet. Next, set your sights on an overseas destination in FC, and work towards getting a taste of that.
     
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  5. rodeojones

    rodeojones Silver Member

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    Love your username. Reminds me of a Red Hot Chili Peppers song called "Slow Cheetah". :D
     
  6. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    Yours reminds me of a song by the Seattle band Sunny Day Real Estate.
     
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  7. Jett Rink
    Original Member

    Jett Rink Silver Member

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    Thanks for sharing your experience, rodeojones!
     
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  8. gpaya
    Original Member

    gpaya Gold Member

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    For your Starwood property in Kauai, choose the St. Regis over the Westin, without question. The Sheraton is quite 'meh'
     
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  9. rodeojones

    rodeojones Silver Member

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    Favorite band of all time. :)
     
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  10. sharris503

    sharris503 Silver Member

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    I think this is probably the way to do it. Although you may be hard pressed to find a direct flight at the saver award level, you will probably be making a connection somewhere. I have noticed that AS tends to release the direct to Hawaii saverawards about 1-2 weeks before departure if they flight has not sold out.
     
  11. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    They're in my top 10 too, perhaps top 5, but I've always been too lazy to actually formalize any list like that. I saw them in the 90's in Cincinnati, and saw them again in ATL in late 2009 on the reunion tour and they sounded better on the reunion tour than I remember from the early 90's. [/thread derail]
     
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  12. rodeojones

    rodeojones Silver Member

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    I have never been able to see SDRE for various reasons but have seen Jeremy Enigk twice. Once during the mid 90's for his Return of the Frog Queen Tour (Portland, Oregon) and saw him again a couple years ago in Seattle for his OK Bear tour.
     
  13. rodeojones

    rodeojones Silver Member

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    **Update**

    So I have recieved all my cards in the mail and today, the two Citi AA cards arrived. I used the two browser trick clicking through a well respected (at least I think) blogger who admitted they were ghost links but stated "Hundreds or thousands of people have successfully used these links" and gotten the offer which was 50k points (per card) after spending $2500.00 in four months.

    I called and activated the cards and spoke to a csr to confirm the spending requirements and the award. Both csr's stated the same thing. No awards attached to either card.

    I fully understood the risk I was running and have no issues with the blogger who posted the links. I sent him a message making him aware of the links and my lack of success with them.

    Moral of the story...there is risk clicking through ghost links regardless of the reported success.

    3 out of 5 on my first "app party / churn" and a very valuable lesson learned.
     
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  14. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    I think Citi would at least be able to match the standard offer on each card right now. Also, call back and speak to another rep. Some button pushing on your end may work in your favor. Rule #2 of card churning is don't take 1 "no" as gospel.
     
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  15. rodeojones

    rodeojones Silver Member

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    Great piece of advice and I took it. I never thought of asking for them to match their existing offer during my original call of they of course didn't offer. :D

    So I called AmEx first and spoke to someone in SD. They couldn't match the existing offer but gave me two options. Cancel existing card and apply again via their link (25,000 AA points for spending $750.00) or they would give me 20,000 points with no spending required. I wasn't sure if the additional pull would look good if I canceled my card and applied again so I took the 20,000 points.

    Visa next and spoke to a csr in Maryland. I asked for the current offer and was put on hold twice for a total of about 5 minutes. Outcome was that they sent the request to someone else and it would take about a week to see if they could simply give me the current offer. I asked if there was anything he could do for me and he stated no.

    So...as it stands I will wait to see if they will honor the existing offer which shows on their page. Is it worth canceling that card and applying again??
     
  16. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    Yeah, I've run into a few issues with some of these phantom offers. Applied for a couple of AA cards with no visible offer page and turned out they were only for first time customers (I had an existing AAdvantage card, though not one of these ones) and so each of these applications was rejected. Since this resulted in a couple of pulls it accomplished nothing other than punting my next churn farther down the road.

    Oh well, lesson learned. It does look like in many cases there is at least a T&C or something you can click on in some of these applications, which should at least warn you of things like this, even if you have to wade through a lot of small text.

    General guideline for Citi and most other issuers is to wait 91 days between applications. And with a couple of credit pulls on your report already you probably want to wait that long really. You could also run into the issue that they'll consider that you've had this product previously, and can't apply for it again until a year or whatever has passed. Not sure. I'd want to make sure any CSR put notes on the account if I was going to try this.
     
  17. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    That's a tough one that is probably best to be answered as well by a more long-term experienced member.

    My opinion is that if reapplying causes brand new hard pulls to all 3 credit bureaus (because that's what I got for those 2 cards, they used all 3) then I wouldn't risk it. If they can use the credit reports from the first application, with no additional pulls of credit, then I'm still not sure I'd do it, because there are cheaper ways to get 5k miles in AA without spending $750. The 20k offer with 1st purchase is decent. I'd probably just make that 1st purchase, see that the miles posted and cancel it so you can start the clock on churning that one. However, I'm flabbergasted that they wouldn't even honor the standard offer on the card. If they said you could reapply and get the 50k, then that's another story, and might be worth the new hard pulls.

    If it were me, I might call the Visa line back again and act as if you didn't call the first time, and see what you're offered now. I know it's a hassle, but sometimes getting what you want takes some work. I wouldn't expect to get the 50k offer at this point, but the standard 30k offer should be (logically) easy for them to do. Waiting a week for what seems like a simple answer doesn't sound right to me, but then again, it IS Citibank.
     
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  18. rodeojones

    rodeojones Silver Member

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    **Update**

    I ended up canceling both cards. The 20,000 points hadn't shown up in my account (csr said within 24 hours) and when I called about it, they had no record of offer being made to me.

    I called AmEx and there was no attempt to keep me so I closed the account.

    I know that Citi AA cards can be churned (there is a new thread on it) but since I canceled my cards without using them, would I have to wait the 12-18 months or could I apply during my next "app party / churn"?
     
  19. particlemn

    particlemn Silver Member

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    in the future you might consider just making the 2.5k spend on both cards and seeing what happenes, you already took the inquires, and you already are in the citi aa system for applying for and being approved for the AA cards, you may likely be rejected for another AA card as haveing been approved before. we all take risks in this game, nothing is garenteed except death and Citi sending you a 1099 for taxes on any bonus from a checking account
     
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  20. norge
    Original Member

    norge Silver Member

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    But you need triple the Avios to fly in First compared to Coach I believe. That would be 37500 x2 each for SEA-LIH-SEA. Coach would be 12500 x2 each. Maybe use Avios to fly Coach to SFO area & grab a cheap cash fare.
     
  21. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

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    Alaska first class isn't worth any extra miles. Their seats are downright uncomfortable.
     

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