When do you start planning your next App-o-rama? (also churn advice)

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Credit Cards' started by servo, Oct 25, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    I'm planning a Black Friday churn (even though my 90 days since the last one would be around 11/10), mainly because I have read that sometimes card companies will run short term sign-up specials around that time. I've got an idea of what cards I'm interested in for this run (4 or 5 cards). There's a new rub that I just found out yesterday. My wife wants to "help out" with 1 card, but isn't comfortable with an AoR (at least yet - she initially didn't want to help at all). So, I need to consider what 1 card she can get that will maximize our miles/points.

    My scores: Eq - 770 Ex - 762 Tr- 780
    # Inquiries Eq- 8 Ex - 3 Tr - 4

    Our balances:
    Me:
    United - 2k
    US Air - 45k
    AA - 117k
    PC - 120k

    My cards:
    AA Amex and Visa (opened 8/12)
    US Air DM MC (opened 8/12)
    PC Visa (opened 7/12)
    AmEx Blue Sky (opened 6/12)
    Navy FCU Plat (opened 7/08)

    Lady type:
    PC - 81k

    Her cards:
    Citi Diamond Preferred (opened 5/11)
    PC Visa (opened 9/12)

    Travel goals: 2014 MCO-> Europe in the summer. My initial plan was to use 120k AA for 2x Econ tix to MAD on IB, but one of the bloggers said I should consider using *A for it, so it got me rethinking.

    2015 summer -> 4 city Asian trip, including PEK, HKG, SIN, and HKT, departing from MCO, preferring to be 2 tix in business class or above. I'd also love to fly SQ for a portion of that trip as well, but it's not a requirement.

    Looking to also use Hilton properties as well as our PC points for these trips, but we plan to also use hotel points for domestic stays in the interim as well.
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    My initial thoughts for churn:

    - 65k Amex Hilton NAF (I'd want to keep this one as a long-term NAF card, so would I lose out on the Surpass if I kept it and refused the "upgrade" offer? If so, then might be wiser to get the Surpass first and downgrade to the NAF if I can get whatever bonus it offers at that time, right?)

    - 2 Hawaiian 35k for conversion to 140k Hilton

    - 40k CSP for xfer to United (but concerned about the min spend)

    - 55k Chase United Explorer (if still available by then - doesn't appear likely though)
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    For her, I was initially thinking the US Air DM MC for 40k (b/c of the no min spend) and assuming she'd get the same add'l 15k offer for $750 spend in 3 months later on, but if she is only doing that card, I'd have to get a Membership Rewards card at some point to top her account off (via Aeroplan xfer on points.com), or just simply buy the points needed during a strong promo. Would there be a better plan, considering that our combined income/expenses is what meets the min spend on cards in my name, we wouldn't have the additional expenses to add more cards that require much.

    My other thought was to have her get the CSP rather than me. I could meet that spend for her, and she could then xfer those points to me when I end up with a card that earns UR points, and maybe downgrade her to the Freedom card before the annual fee hits on the CSP.

    I'm not really considering the SPG Amex because I'd rather have the Hilton points for now, and I'd like to hold out for a better bonus offer than 25k (even though it seems like the "best" is only 5k more).

    Also, what if a better offer hits on the day of the churn? Is your churn planning a living document, as in you start planning a month in advance, and tweak as the offers change, or do you sit down a day or two before and assess your situation a little closer to when you plan to pull the trigger?

    So many thoughts....
     
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  2. Dad to GO

    Dad to GO Silver Member

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    I think the number one thing is to have a goal in mind on where you want to go... which it seems like you do. I know for me and my wife after our upcoming Europe trip we've already planned to make our next big trip to Australia and New Zealand. I'll try and steer my future App-O-Ramas in a direction that will allow me to benefit the most for that trip (Bus/First class flights, hotel, etc.). BUT... at the same time if there is some offer that comes along that is too good to pass up then you just gotta do it some times. I think you are in the right mindset that planning in advance is a great thing to do. Being prepared will help you MAXIMIZE your travel and minimize your cost. Plus... since you have lots of time before your planned trips hopefully you can get your lady friend to increase her participation in future App-O-Ramas! ;)
     
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  3. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    What I do is I make a list of the best cards that fit my goals ... and try to separate them out by issuer (no more than 1per etc etc). If something comes up (Super huge bonus blah blah blah) if it is not useful for my next trip or the next one after that I don't even bother.
     
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  4. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    You need to be flexible in your planned applications.....and leave room for spur of the moment needs. Offers come and go all the time. For example, the Citi Thank You 50K offer had been on the table for a long time but all of a sudden it was pulled. You might find that your planned hotel for a trip is not available and need to find a backup. That happened to me for a trip to Europe next year. Wanted a Marriott but it was showing as no awards so needed to jump on IC to get points (wound up also needing to buy some points but it was the best I could do).

    As for the Hilton AMEX, they have a requirement that you not have had a Hilton Personal AMEX for 12 months in order to get a "new" bonus. So if you did not take the offer of the "upgrade" (if it is offered), you will need to cancel and reapply after 12 months in order to get a new bonus.
     
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  5. MrAlexMoore

    MrAlexMoore Silver Member

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    I guess it depends on your personality. I'm a planner, so I've got scenario's all setup for both me and the lady. I create multiple trip possibilities and a map of cards to get there. But sure enough, deals disappear, new ones show up, and I end up with a completely different plan the morning of the AoR. It doesn't really matter how you do things though, just jump on the best offers when the day comes.

    If she's willing to do 1, try to sell her on 2, and make sure to talk to any CSRs for her. It will make her feel way more comfortable about it. I was in the same boat. First time around I convinced her to get 2, the next time around, she's at 4 and now she's on board thinking about what we can do for our next trip.

    As for what cards to get, maybe wait on the CSP until february, that way you can get your 7% bonus to cover most of the year without paying the fee. Good luck
     
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  6. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    Great point on the CSP. Thanks!
     
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  7. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    Is the 55k Chase United Explorer offer still around? I'm only seeing an offer for the 30k offer in my United account (I do have United miles in my account).
     
  8. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    It appears to be.

    http://www.unitedexplorercard.com/premier
     
  9. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    Using that link I was actually eligible for the 55k offer (as were both of my parents once I got miles in their United account). Not sure why the banner ad in my account was only showing 30k.
     
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  10. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    Yeah I couldn't get the offer to come up for me either, though it had come up for my wife's account no problem. I had a second United account I'd created for an extra Netflix bonus and I tried it on that, and it came up there as well, so I could have applied for it if I wanted. Suspect others could do the same.
     

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