Where to focus next churn?

Discussion in 'Other Credit Card Programs' started by travelgirlut, Oct 15, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. travelgirlut

    travelgirlut Active Member

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    Up to this point my husband and I have just randomly applied to whatever cards had amazing bonuses, so after using some for a few trips we have a motley collection of points. But now we want to earn with a goal in mind. We would like to take our family of four to Europe in business class in 2014, so I'd like to start now building up the points we'll need. I was hoping to use the Grand Slam and build up US Air miles, but it hasn't happened yet, so looking for plan B.

    Here's what we have so far:

    ME:
    BA: 33,722
    DL: 49,993
    UA: 11,117
    AA: 155,000 (going to be using 100,000 for a trip soon)

    HIM:
    BA: 205,721
    DL: 9,611
    AA: 33,000

    We've both had the BA card. I've already had both personal CitiAA cards, him only the Visa (denied the Amex). I had a CO card but cancelled before it became UA. I have a no-fee DL Amex from a long time ago. He had an Amex Gold but cancelled before the fee. Each have a Marriott card. Haven't applied for anything in over 8 months.

    So where would you go from here? What programs/cards would you focus on to get a family to Europe in comfort from the west coast (Bay Area)? Thanks in advance for any help you can give me!!!
     
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  2. Jimgotkp
    Original Member

    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    Considering hotels are expensive in Europe, I would look into getting HHonors points since there are a lot of cards you could apply for at one time.

    There's an AMEX Hilton for 60K HHonors points, Citi Hilton for 50K HHonors, and the BoA/BoH Hawaiian Air for 70K Hawaiian that can be transferred 2:1 to HHonors. Four cards for 250K HHonors points and if you have HHonors Gold status you could do a GLON award.
     
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  3. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    I would do the no fee Amex Hilton now, then a year later 10/13 "upgrade" to the surpass for the additional points.
     
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  4. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    I have only seen links for 50K Hilton AmEx cards. Can you point to the 60k one, and when is that offer supposed to expire? I planned on doing my next churn early December, but I could do it in mid November if necessary. I already missed out on the 55k Chase UA card, so I'm going to be seeking input based on what's available at that time.
     
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  5. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    The 40k NAF sometimes goes for 50k. When that occurs the Surpass usually goes to 60k
     
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  6. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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  7. Jimgotkp
    Original Member

    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    Good call on the no fee for right now. If the OP does the Surpass next year they should have the Gold status for their trip.
     
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  8. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    That's my plan as well
     
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  9. Jimgotkp
    Original Member

    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    One person should concentrate on hotels while the other should concentrate on airlines. For airlines just focus on getting miles in programs that you already have balances in. Personally, I recommend the Chase cards such as the United and Sapphire Preferred. If you can do a business card then the INK Bold. Chase Ultimate Reward points are very valuable, imo.
     
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  10. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    A few things to remember. Most banks have time limits on how often you can apply for a CC. For example, AMEX states that you can not apply for the same CC if you have had it in the last 12 months (i.e. you can not apply for a card within 12 months of cancelling the prior card). For the HHonors Surpass card, there is no guarantee that if you apply for the "basic" HHonors AMEX card you will be offered the 50K to upgrade to the Surpass card. If you are not offered the upgrade you need to wait at least 3 months from cancelling the regular card to applying for the Surpass card.

    For Hilton, my opinion is that the best bet is to use the 2 browser trick to apply for the Citi HHonors card. Will give you 50K points X 2 with a spend of $1.5K each (which can be churned). You could also apply for other cards that transfer to HHonors. Will give you more than enough points for 5 or 6 nights at a top of the line Hilton. However, beware that many hotels, especially in Europe, only allow 2 people per room.

    Does not sound like you will be able to get the AA cards unless it has been over 18-24 months since your last AA application.

    You might try to both get the US Airways card. 40K for the first purchase. These cards can be churned so you might be able to get 80K each before you need to make your reservation. They are *A so the points could compliment your UA points. To add to your UA account, you can apply for the UA card as well as the Chase Ink cards.

    You have numerous problems with your goal of 4 business class seats to Europe in 2014. Remember that you will need to have a minimum of 400K miles in one alliance for all 4 of you to fly on one flight (or 200K each if you fly one alliance outbound and a different alliance on the return). Since Citi has stopped churning on AA cards, that will be next to impossible. The other problem is getting 4 business seats on any one flight. It seems like UA and AA have both limited the number of premium seats that are available on any single flight - especially during the summer.

    Also, make sure you can complete the minimum spends. They can add up quickly.

    Good luck.
     
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  11. travelgirlut

    travelgirlut Active Member

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    Thank you all for your help!

    Aren't there airlines that are less than 100K for business class? I know US Air has 60K off-peak, but would I not be able to get 4 seats on a flight using that rate? Are there others with lower mileage redemptions?

    I think I would focus on getting the airline points/miles that we need first. Hotels are sadly not going to do us much good if we don't have flights. Do you think we'd be better served to focus on cards that give us points that can transfer to multiple airlines, like Sapphire Preferred, Starwood, etc., rather than trying to get them on a specific airline?

    I haven't even ventured into the world of status with anyone at this point. That's all more than my brain can handle at this point. :)

    Thanks again!
     
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  12. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    So, if I was to chase Hilton points, rather than getting the NAF AmEx (which I really want a solid NAF card that I can build history AND points with) and the 2 Hawaiian cards, would you say go for the 2 Citi Hilton cards, and the 2 Hawaiian cards (I'd probably also throw in CSP since that would be 4 total pulls) for a 5 card churn? I don't want to limit myself if I get the NAF AmEx. Can I downgrade from Surpass to NAF and still get the bonus on the NAF if I wait 3 months or more after canceling Surpass?
     
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  13. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    I've had the naf Amex since may. If I Goto view all cards there's an offer to upgrade the surpass. It's a 50k surpass. Which I guess equals out since I got 50 on the naf
     
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  14. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    Make sure you look at the "Offer Terms". My wife also has the NAF card and when you look at "view all cards" or "special offers" it show the Surpass card. However, when you click on the "Offer Terms" it states: "Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have had this product within the last 12 months or any other Consumer Hilton HHonors® Credit Card account within the last 90 days." It does not state that she is eligible for an "upgrade". Make sure you call AMEX and get it documented that you will get the 50K for the Surpass card.
     
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  15. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    Key question is when are you planning on traveling? Also, is it 4 adults that are traveling or 2 adults and 2 children?

    All airlines have capacity controls on "saver" award seats so no one can tell you if there will be 4 seats available to the destination you want to go. You might want to, just for fun, take a look at 330 days out and see if you can find flights with 4 business award seats available for the destination you are looking for. This may give you an idea of the challenge you have in front of you.
     
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  16. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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  17. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    I would also think about different Amex cards that have big sign up bonuses for membership rewards, as they can be transferred to BA. It seems that you have a decent amount of BA points already, and you can set up a family account to combine those points for travel.
     
  18. 77Pat

    77Pat New Member

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    Where in Europe?

    On some blogs it is mentioned you can redeem Avios on Aer Lingus to avoid high fees and that could get you most of the way there. But then it might not be worth the savings needing to catch a connecting flight.
     
  19. particlemn

    particlemn Silver Member

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    US off peak is really off peak in the winter and during school time, im not sure how old your kids are or if you are thinking of taking them out os school for the trip, also winter time in much of europe is very cold, i dont mean bay area cold, more like tahoe cold, while it can be very fun even in the cold, stroles along the seine in paris during a late night in may when it warm and beautiful are really nice.
     
  20. particlemn

    particlemn Silver Member

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    I would also recommend looking at airlines that book one ways, so with aa or ua you can get 4 one ways bussiness seats for 200k, so you need to just get 200k in two different programs instead of 400k in one, we have booked our trip for next spring going over using BA and coming back using UA miles to fly on Lufthansa.
    the other beenfit of using 2 one way tickets is often i find one carrier is stingy with hte saver seats in one direction and another carrier is stingy with saver seats in the other direction, so i look at the best routing. this make you give up your stopover ability but its sometime necessary to get the tickets you want
     
  21. travelpye

    travelpye Silver Member

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    This thread also discusses the upgrade bonus http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/50-000-points-to-upgrade-to-surpass-card.16165/ Looks like several got bonus after accepting upgrade even after having received bonus on the NAF card.

    OP might also look at Priority Club. The 80k sign up bonus with initial purchase frees spending potental for other cards, and those points can be stretched to cover multiple nights with points and cash if need be. Holiday Inns may not be exciting, but they seem at least to be plentiful in UK at least.
     
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  22. travelgirlut

    travelgirlut Active Member

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    We are two adults and two kids. The time of year is pretty much open to when we can find flights since the kids are homeschooled. Though I have been to Paris in the winter twice and one time it was gorgeous and the other rainy and miserable, so if we could do a time other than winter, I won't complain. The destination is not set in stone either. I'm willing to go most anywhere that I can find availability for, which will make finding flights easier, though we would like to fly in a more comfortable business class (lay flat, etc.) than not.

    I think we'll probably go with two different airlines, one for each way. It will definitely make earning points easier. Though with the number of BA miles we have, it shouldn't be too hard to use the bounty of Chase cards that will transfer over to get the other 200K. But I was hoping to avoid the fees you get on BA going to Europe, which I know you can do on some partner airlines.

    I will for sure be looking into the Hilton and Priority Club cards. I'm not too proud to stay at a Holiday Inn, especially with my kids. We always feel out of place in "fancy" hotels.

    You've all given me a lot to think about, and I thank you very much!!
     
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  23. travelpye

    travelpye Silver Member

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    Just a word on Chase and the BA...don't forget about UA also as a transfer partner for your UR (if you get the CSP or Ink Bold). Also you can you can book one ways....I had planned to use my sizable stash of US miles to get us to UK next summer, but instead found flights that would meet our schedule by going outbound on AA and return on UA. The BA miles can be great though for building in stopovers...stop say in Zurich or Vienna for a few days on way to or from UK, for example. Or easy to USE BA to travel within Europe, I believe, if you are looking to country hop. That isn't what we booked due to limited vacation time, but there are some interesting options there. The mile value blog has some pretty clear instructions on maximizing that option with BA as well as options for adding in stopovers or adding on free one ways on UA and AA. I consider myself to still be pretty much a newbie in these matters, and found his explanations very clear. Re hotels on points and traveling with family-- one nice thing about some HIs is that they may have onsite laundry, as do Marriott residence inns. We booked the HIs in London to stretch points, and chose the Marriott residence inn in Edinburgh in part for the onsite laundry. Being bookable on points didn't hurt, either, and nor did the free breakfasts. My main purpose in looking for onsite laundry was to insure I could travel with the minimum luggage. I thought this might be helpful for you too, since you are traveling with kids. (And the breakfasts are included at RIs.) Happy points collecting and happy travels!
     
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  24. travelgirlut

    travelgirlut Active Member

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    Well, here is what I ended up doing today:

    US Air Barclays - 40K (and hopefully 15K more with a spending offer)
    United Chase - 55K
    Hilton Amex NAF - 50K
    Citi Hilton x2 - 100K

    Approved for all!! I was going to do the Ink Bold while the spend was $5000 in 3 months, but missed it by this much! Hopefully that will come back. Husband will probably do the same minus the Citi Hiltons since that would be way too much spend for us for now. Maybe add in something else for him.

    I hope to get the Ink Bold, Sapphire, Priority Club, Hawaiian x 2 in future churns and possibly Amex Gold, Ink Plus, and maybe another round of Citi AA since it's been almost 2 years since the last. Hope to be able to upgrade the Hilton Amex to Surpass also.

    Thanks again for everyone's help!!
     
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  25. mo26

    mo26 Silver Member

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    Well done!!!! any immediate plans for the points?
     

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