Friday, May 17, 2013

May Credit Card Churn

So it's been about 3 months since my father last round of credit card applications, so he was starting to prepare for the next one later in May 27 - when it was exactly 91 days after his last round.

Then suddenly, an amazing offer started to circulate from American Express for their Business Rewards Gold Card on May 9.

Normally, this business credit card usually offers no Membership Reward points, but sometimes would offer 50,000 MR points. However, for a (very) limited time, they were offering 75,000 points after spending $5,000 in 3 months. And of course, the $175 annual fee would be waived for the first year.

So after hitting the minimum spend requirement of $5,000, my father would have 80,000 MR points for free. What can you do with 80,000 MR points?
  • Get $800 in gift cards or credits against your Amex bill
  • Transfer to British Airways Avios frequent flyer program and get 108,000 Avios miles (using a current extra 35% transfer bonus) which could get him 7 round trip tickets from NYC-Chicago (worth at least $1400+ assuming $200+/ticket)
  • Transfer to Air Canada Aeroplan (a Star Alliance member) and fly round trip to Europe 
So last week, he jumped on this limited time offer and was approved for the card that same day. Then later that day later, the offer was pulled, so he was lucky to get in while he did. As Amex usually does, once they receive the target number of applicants they wanted, they pull offers, sometimes in a matter of days or even just hours!

But now he was going to have a credit inquiry on May 9 which might impair his credit card churn on May 27th (having a recent inquiry makes you slightly more risky than if you didn't). So he did what he normally does and applied for another card that same day.

He had already used up his free first year of having the Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa card ($95 annual fee waived for first 12 months), but he found out that he could get the Mastercard version and get 40,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points after spending $3,000 in 3 months and get the annual fee waived because the Mastercard was "a new card" for him. (Note: Chase is not promoting its Mastercard version officially, so you will have to find an old application link to get the card. Even has removed the card from it's website.)

So he applied and was approved after calling Chase's reconsideration line. He was initially "pending review" because he already had about $40,000 of available credit across the 5 other Chase credit cards he had, so Chase was willing to give him another card, but not extend any additional credit. Fine with him! 

He just shifted $5,000 of available credit from one card to the new Sapphire Preferred Mastercard and he was approved.

Now he has 91 days to spend $8,000 to get 123,000 points (75,000 Amex bonus + 5,000 spend + 40,000 Chase points + 3,000 spend). Let the games begin!

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