Is credit card churning worth the hassle

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caligas

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Several of my partners swear by it, flying business all over the world etc.

Worth the hassle? Really as easy as they make it out?

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I'm interested to hear how other docs are doing this. My wife and I did this a bit in med school and it covered most of my travel for residency interviews, but we found it to be too big of a hassle to continue, especially because we had young kids and didn't do a ton of traveling in residency.

Might be more worth it now that our spending is higher and our ability to travel has improved significantly with our kids getting older.
 
I’d be interested in a cheat sheet version also on this
 
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I subscribe to the Amex plat Facebook forums. Lots of useful information. Lots of trolling also. Those guys (and gals) are ruthless with some of their comments how to max the redemption games.

It’s all a game this credit card points system.

Whatever suits ur boat. I’m incredibly cheap sometimes like I will suffer flying middle seat over seas while my buddies will splurge $6000 no questions ask full price for biz class seats (no points)

But remember if u family. It’s super tricky to start redeeming 4x biz or first class seats

So the credit card games work better with 1-2 seats for air fare.
 
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I’m not up for it if it’s a hassle to both earn the points AND secure the flights
 
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Companies are cracking down. Points are being devalued like crazy. An international business class flight bought with points a few years ago is now the same as an economy flight now. Also they are making it harder to churn cards, especially amex.

I'm actually considering canceling my amex platinum in favor of the boa travel card as the benefits barely seem worth it. The centurion lounge experience has gone severely downhill and the staff are horrible. I keep it for the purchase protection and ability to get tough reservations on short notice.
 
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The most useful card I’ve found is Costco visa due to gas for my 3 cars. IMO it’s worth it.

But I need a primer on a solid and worthwhile card and tips and tricks as I’m anticipating more travel
 
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I personally feel like picking one card that suits your needs and putting everything on that card is the easiest way to keep your head straight but also reap some benefits. We recently switched to the platinum this year and are enjoying the benefits of it. Sure I could maximize benefits if I micromanaged multiple cards but I enjoy having one, tracking all my spending on it, and then paying it off at the end of every month and still getting some premium benefits. The key is finding one that you think you can use most of the perks that they offer. I agree with the above posters that some of these companies are cracking down on gaming the system.

some of the perks that these cards don't advertise often make them really worth it. For example, amex will extend the warranty of any purchase made with the platinum. So next time you buy your new iphone, don't pay for the apple care and you'll have an extended 12 month warranty from amex that will reimburse you for any damages (or replacements) that occur in that time frame. Understanding little things like this can make the card much more valuable beyond the basic benefits. Same goes for rental car coverage etc.
 
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I personally feel like picking one card that suits your needs and putting everything on that card is the easiest way to keep your head straight but also reap some benefits. We recently switched to the platinum this year and are enjoying the benefits of it. Sure I could maximize benefits if I micromanaged multiple cards but I enjoy having one, tracking all my spending on it, and then paying it off at the end of every month and still getting some premium benefits. The key is finding one that you think you can use most of the perks that they offer. I agree with the above posters that some of these companies are cracking down on gaming the system.

some of the perks that these cards don't advertise often make them really worth it. For example, amex will extend the warranty of any purchase made with the platinum. So next time you buy your new iphone, don't pay for the apple care and you'll have an extended 12 month warranty from amex that will reimburse you for any damages (or replacements) that occur in that time frame. Understanding little things like this can make the card much more valuable beyond the basic benefits. Same goes for rental car coverage etc.
Agreed.

The churning doesn’t get you that much (for “free”) and it’s a lot of effort for meh rewards. Your time is better spent working a couple extra hours rather than trying to get a year of HBO max for free.

As for the business class seat rewards and such - it seems like it’s getting harder and harder to score a deal. I have an Amex platinum and have in the past lucked out for on good points deals for business class to Japan. But now basically everything on the airline and hotel vendor side is so well price differentiated and optimized that it’s hard to stumble upon a deal. Stuff now just priced at what it’s worth (/on what they think it’s worth).

So for me I just keep my Amex platinum and use the points when it makes sense to do so. Churning, for me, isn’t worth the time or effort.

Also the extended warranty, phone, and travel protection warranties are for real. I got about $500 for an iPhone that had a terminal malfunction. I wanted to upgrade anyway so it worked out great. I had a travel delay once too where Amex platinum paid out for my hotel, food, and Uber costs.
 
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I don't think churning is worth the hassle as an attending. However it is worth taking the time to find credit cards that fit your needs. Currently have:
Venture X: 2-10% back travel. 2% everything else. This card is simply amazing for the fee, which ends up being negated by the yearly travel reward.
Savor: 3-4% restaurant and entertainment
Delta amex: free bags and companion pass make this well worth the fee
Amazon: no fee and 5% back on Amazon
Used to have more but canceled them for simplicity. When I use a credit card, I always think if I can get more than 2% back for a category, if not then I use the venture.
 
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I did a deep dive on churning recently. Many of the churning “experts” recommend doing 1 card every 6 month (to avoid getting flagged) and they recommend going through the Chase cards first. At certain intervals you can close the card and reopen to get the bonus again. So going by this you can safely earn about $1-2k a year in points. Not worth it for me. But if you are good at managing your credit card bills and navigating your finances then it might be worth it.
 
Back when I was churning, I used travelmiles101 as they had a free course to teach you the ins and outs. Seems it's changed a lot since 2016. Now my wife and I just use the Chase Sapphire Preferred. May get the Chase Sapphire reserve in a couple years as we increase travel. Those cards come with all the above mentioned extended warranty (1 year added to manufacturer warranty), trip cancellation protection, rental car insurance, baggage/trip delay insurance. Definitely have taken advantage of their perks. Also the chase portal is pretty easy to use for booking things.
 
Agree with most of the above. I had an old high-school friend who was a wizard at churning 5-7 years ago. Even he says that the juice isn't really worth the squeeze anymore. Use the Amex platinum for most purchases and pay it off every month cause Atlanta is a frequent destination and so we use the Delta perks pretty efficiently. Also have the Chase Hyatt and Disney cards mostly for vacations/Disney cruises. Trying to game anymore than that is just way too much effort these days.
 
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I just use the card where I might use the rewards the most. American is the major carrier in our area and provides the best routes to our common destinations, like Fla and Texas, so I have an American Mastercard. I rubbed the numbers off of my Cabela's card for a couple years and got a pair of Swarofski binoculars for $500. I don't have the time or the patience for churning.
 
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I have been in the game for well over a decade now, back when anyone I would tell about it just assumed I was committing some sort of credit card fraud. It’s a different landscape today largely due to program devaluation, less award availability, and more people joining in.

The best approach these days is through spend and focusing on a few high value cards. We end up collecting a lot of Amex MR points which we redeem for business class flights through the IAP program. Most daily spend goes on regular Chase cards to transfer to Hyatt and otherwise we only keep a couple Hyatt and Hilton cards open for the free anniversary nights. Just that alone allows us to take one nice vacation per year which would otherwise cost $25k and have an occasional weekend getaway to nice resort.
 
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I wouldn't consider doing this for the purpose of solely securing the welcome bonus and then moving on. It just doesn't seem worth all the effort and time that would go into it. I personally am doing the same as @rick roller pump. I have the Capital one Venture X card (400 per year membership) and the Capital One Savor. The Venture X pays for itself because you get 300 in travel credits every year and 10,000 miles, so that right there is 400. In addition you get access to essentially every airport lounge, free TSA precheck, and importantly 2x miles for every single purchase. The cherry on top is 10x miles for hotels/rental cars and 5x miles for flights. So this card truly does pay for itself as long as you go on a vacation once a year. In addition, it is just a way for you to save for vacations by building up those miles as opposed to redeeming your points on your credit card statement. The savor one card just compliments the venture X because it's capital one so you can gain miles by using it as well, but you will get 3x miles for dining, entertainment, and grocery stores. Since it is free, it is a no brainer. On your capital one online page you can link both credit cards so the miles you earn on each credit card gets added together into one total amount.
 
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I'm actually considering canceling my amex platinum in favor of the boa travel card as the benefits barely seem worth it. The centurion lounge experience has gone severely downhill and the staff are horrible. I keep it for the purchase protection and ability to get tough reservations on short notice.

The lounge is probably one of the least valuable perks of the card. FHR and IAP can save you hundreds on hotels and flights. Hilton Gold also gets you free breakfast.

The annual fee is easy enough to recoup via credits ($200 airline, $200 hotel, $200 Uber, other gym and streaming credits) that keeping the card is worth it, even if you don’t spend much on it.
 
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I don't think churning is worth the hassle as an attending. However it is worth taking the time to find credit cards that fit your needs. Currently have:
Venture X: 2-10% back travel. 2% everything else. This card is simply amazing for the fee, which ends up being negated by the yearly travel reward.
Savor: 3-4% restaurant and entertainment
Delta amex: free bags and companion pass make this well worth the fee
Amazon: no fee and 5% back on Amazon
Used to have more but canceled them for simplicity. When I use a credit card, I always think if I can get more than 2% back for a category, if not then I use the venture.
Agree with this and that Amazon 5% applies to Whole Foods as well if you shop there.
The Amex bluecash preferred ($95 annual fee) has 6% cash back at grocery stores. We buy A LOT of food, so we've already earned that this year.
 


I am sticking with my 2% cash back cards and not changing brokerages. I have Amex Cash Back cards (6% for groceries) and Amex Business Cards.
 
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I've never done the math on using miles to get business class seats vs having elevated airline status, buying coach seats with money, and using status to upgrade, but I do the latter and have had decent luck when it really counts. I chose a card (Chase Quest United) that, in addition to the usual miles accumulations, has a higher credit card spend applicable toward status points. I can usually get to gold with a pretty modest amount of flying coupled with my enormous overall credit card spending. I can't imagine having the mental bandwidth to churn cards, and it kind of goes against my nature to do so. I'm probably leaving some money on the table.
 
It's a hobby. And like any hobby, there's a time investment, and you need to have a good amount of flexibility for your travel plans. For example, I used about 200,000 Amex MR points to fly myself and my spouse around the world all in business class through ANA's around-the-world travel program. But it took me about a month to find the flights, and I had to book the trip a year in advance. Earning credit card rewards and travel points isn't really the problem for most people anymore -- the hard part now is finding a good value way to use them.

reddit.com/r/churning
reddit.com/r/awardtravel

these are 2 good resources to check out. There are lot more in depth details depending on how far down the churning rabbit hole you want to go.

Bottom line -- always be checking for award availability (there are no some paid online tools/services that you use to do this), have flexibility for when to travel, and this mostly only works for 2 people at a time (award travel is really hard if you have kids or are traveling with a large group).
 
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The most useful card I’ve found is Costco visa due to gas for my 3 cars. IMO it’s worth it.

But I need a primer on a solid and worthwhile card and tips and tricks as I’m anticipating more travel

If you have platinum honors (100k with boa or merrill lynch) you can get a ccb no annual fee. Visa 5.25% on gas for that category, 3.5% for Costco. (3%/2% plus 0.75% bonus). The best part is that you can get your bonuses monthly and not have to wait for a year. Then you can get interest on that too. Way better than the Costco card itself although I do have executive membership.

I use boa a lot (have another ccb set to online shopping) and utilize amex gold for the rest of typical daily spend. Use Uber a lot and like shake shack so it's basically free. I have chase freedom and unlimited but I hate dealing with them so I don't use them. I use the amex platinum for big purchases because of the protection that other people talked about already.

I considered the other cards for the free nights or companion passes (especially the ritz Carlton card which you cannot get directly anymore) but I already spend too much time trying to track all my spend. I like boa for the cash back as the travel card is like 2.6% back for most spend with no foreign transaction fees but amex has done a lot for me in the past so it's hard to let go. Problem with amex is a lot of places refuse it.

Robin hood is a scam
 
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Used to be a big churner a few years ago, and have now simplified the whole CC game to minimize headaches and nightmare. Had a bunch of Chase points which we converted to Hyatt points as they still retain the best value for the points. Now I only use the following:

1) Amex Plat for travel related purchases
2) Amex Gold for restaurants, groceries
3) Fidelity 2% Rewards Visa for everything else

Despite the higher annual fees, I find that I am actually coming out slightly ahead by using (aka PAYING for) the current extraneous benefits and rewards with Amex Platinum (eg 300 gym, 200 airline credit, 200 hotel statement, 200 uber cash, etc) with only marginal effort and I enjoy the lounge access (better overseas than here) plus some of the travel/purchase protection features. Personally feel that Amex platinum is more of a premium 'coupon book' kind of card that benefits users that care about some of the above features. If not traveling a lot or not living in an urban environment with access to some of these features, probably not worth it. Similarly, the effective annual fee for Amex gold is $10 because I do take advantage of the $10 monthly for Ubereats and Grubhub each.

The Fidelity card is underrated imo. No AF, no foreign transaction fee, no nonsense 2% back and deposited directly into your account and automatically swept into SPAXX which is currently returning like 4.9%. Do keep in mind it's managed by Elan Financial..
 
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My wife and I collect points using the Amex platinum business card for all our anesthesia/real estate investment expenses and use the Chase Sapphire Reserve for all our personal expenses. We definitely enjoy the no credit limit feature on our Amex business card.
 
I've done well into the eight figures worth of churning, all types and varieties of schemes during residency and then continued a bit as an attending. Not worth the time as an attending as many mentioned above. And not nearly as lucrative as it used to be. And if there is some gem out there, you sure as hell aren't going to find it on a forum.

There are secret private groups, teams, true professionals out there constantly trying new schemes and strategies. It's exhausting.
 
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I've done well into the eight figures worth of churning, all types and varieties of schemes during residency and then continued a bit as an attending. Not worth the time as an attending as many mentioned above. And not nearly as lucrative as it used to be. And if there is some gem out there, you sure as hell aren't going to find it on a forum.

There are secret private groups, teams, true professionals out there constantly trying new schemes and strategies. It's exhausting.
Over 10 million dollars in churning? Wow, you must spend 200 million on your credit cards.
 
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Venture X seems like a good option. $400/yr is steep. Wonder how hard the $300 travel credit is to utilize.
 
Venture X seems like a good option. $400/yr is steep. Wonder how hard the $300 travel credit is to utilize.
It's easy their travel portal is pretty good. As Dr anon said above, if u travel once per year this card is effectively free and you get a ton of free stuff
 
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IG posts from the single millenials bragging about their trips on points is meh. Trying to score the same for your family of 4-5 with the need to get guaranteed seat assignments and two rooms is a WHOLE different ball game.
 
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Venture X seems like a good option. $400/yr is steep. Wonder how hard the $300 travel credit is to utilize.
It's not hard at all. You can literally use it with any flight. They actually have a terrific travel portal capitalonetravel.com
 
Easily 10M in manufactured spending over a 10 year period. I guess isn’t the same as “churning” so I should have clarified. It’s an exhausting game.

And that’s child’s play compared to the real pros.
 
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I did a deep dive on churning recently. Many of the churning “experts” recommend doing 1 card every 6 month (to avoid getting flagged) and they recommend going through the Chase cards first. At certain intervals you can close the card and reopen to get the bonus again. So going by this you can safely earn about $1-2k a year in points. Not worth it for me. But if you are good at managing your credit card bills and navigating your finances then it might be worth it.
Thanks for the comment.

Agree with others that churning is probably not for most folks - either the upside or the enjoyment.

Contrast with, in most anesthesia practices you will make $1-2k for something like 2-8hrs of work.
 
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Thanks for the comment.

Agree with others that churning is probably not for most folks - either the upside or the enjoyment.

Contrast with, in most anesthesia practices you will make $1-2k for something like 2-8hrs of work.
I think there is a bit of confusion in the original statement.. the $1-2k is value of points based on 1 cent per point (cpp) which is what you would get if you choose to cash out your points. However most churners choose to use these points on business class flights which could net you easily 4-5cpp.

One international business class round trip ticket can be anywhere from several thousand to tens of thousands $. While if you redeem your points, it could be as low as 120,000 points depending on which airline program you're using.
 
Thanks for the comment.

Agree with others that churning is probably not for most folks - either the upside or the enjoyment.

Contrast with, in most anesthesia practices you will make $1-2k for something like 2-8hrs of work.
Credit card points are a game (enjoyment) to most of us in our income tax bracket.

Like locums negotiations have become a game to me.
 
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if you just genuinely enjoy it go for it. if not there are other more fruitful ways save/earn a couple thousand extra a yaer
 
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if you just genuinely enjoy it go for it. if not there are other more fruitful ways save/earn a couple thousand extra a yaer
One of my partners (and seemingly some on this thread) claim it’s TENS of thousands in free travel. But I remain skeptical.
 
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One of my partners (and seemingly some on this thread) claim it’s TENS of thousands in free travel. But I remain skeptical.
I’d like to see someone actually calculate what percentage cash back equivalent they are getting. The average points user gets 1.1-1.3% and even then, they are giving up choice on when to fly to use points. The vast majority of points collectors would be better off with 2% cash back with unlimited spending and no categories.

Yes, you could get a higher percentage by having categories with a higher percentage cash back, but those tend to have 1% on every other category and add up to less than 2% across all expenses unless you have lots of cards with all different categories and are careful about when to use each card. That seems like a lot of trouble to make an extra 0.5%.

Also, points are worse because you are effectively loaning all that value every month back to the credit card company. 2% cash back applied to your statement balance every month or two gives you use of your money which is probably better than sitting on an extra 0.5% worth of points for months or years.

Personally, I have a Yukon with GM Financial financing and the GMC card from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, so I get 4% cash applied to my auto loan with no need for multiple cards, categories, looking for suitable flights, accumulating points for years, etc. I don’t think anything beats that, but you have to have a vehicle financed through GM Financial. Otherwise, you can save up 4% in points toward purchasing a vehicle, but you’ll be sitting on the points for years- still a great deal, but not AS good. The catch is you have to want a GM/Chevrolet/Cadillac. I have 3 kids so a Yukon/Tahoe/Escalade makes sense for me.
 
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I like chase sapphire reserve too. Free lounge access , global entry , tsa precheck , Lyft pink (although Uber is usually cheaper ) , DoorDash plus , no foreign transaction fee, and travel insurance.
 
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I think people are getting confused between credit card rewards/benefits vs the actual act of churning credit cards for reward points.

Most of the time it’s not worth it to compare which credit card has 3 vs 5 percent back on restaurants, groceries etc especially if it’s revolving categories. It’s just not worth the time and effort to remember it all. Lounge access, travel credits etc all still require lots of work to figure them out.

Whereas true credit card churning which is opening and closing credit cards for initial sign on bonuses are still worth it in my opinion. Get your significant other to sign up separately and refer each other for more bonuses. Just have to remain detailed in a spreadsheet when cards are opened, minimum spending requirements (easily hit nowadays with multiple creative methods).

Result - ever since undergrad I have never paid for a flight out of pocket. I routinely open and close 6-10 cards a year. Now as an attending I have accrued probably close to 3+ million miles on Southwest (with dozens of companion passes) and chase UR. Still have to ration my points and not upgrade to business since I don’t think it’s worth it. I have a family of 4 but overall trending to still never having to pay for a flight since my balance stays the same or goes up. As a family we usually fly 3-4 times a year including international trips. I’m sure those crazier can also play the game with hotel rewards but we like to stay in airbnbs or unique places as well.
 
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I think people are getting confused between credit card rewards/benefits vs the actual act of churning credit cards for reward points.

Most of the time it’s not worth it to compare which credit card has 3 vs 5 percent back on restaurants, groceries etc especially if it’s revolving categories. It’s just not worth the time and effort to remember it all. Lounge access, travel credits etc all still require lots of work to figure them out.

Whereas true credit card churning which is opening and closing credit cards for initial sign on bonuses are still worth it in my opinion. Get your significant other to sign up separately and refer each other for more bonuses. Just have to remain detailed in a spreadsheet when cards are opened, minimum spending requirements (easily hit nowadays with multiple creative methods).

Result - ever since undergrad I have never paid for a flight out of pocket. I routinely open and close 6-10 cards a year. Now as an attending I have accrued probably close to 3+ million miles on Southwest (with dozens of companion passes) and chase UR. Still have to ration my points and not upgrade to business since I don’t think it’s worth it. I have a family of 4 but overall trending to still never having to pay for a flight since my balance stays the same or goes up. As a family we usually fly 3-4 times a year including international trips. I’m sure those crazier can also play the game with hotel rewards but we like to stay in airbnbs or unique places as well.
Yeah, that’s true. I was talking about regular rewards credit card use long term. Churning is different. I wasn’t familiar with the term. Seems like it would be bad for your credit, but maybe the benefits are worth a lower credit score if you aren’t getting mortgage soon.
 
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Yeah, that’s true. I was talking about regular rewards credit card use long term. Churning is different. I wasn’t familiar with the term. Seems like it would be bad for your credit, but maybe the benefits are worth a lower credit score if you aren’t getting mortgage soon.
Credit impact is pretty negligible actually.

I wouldn't want to be churning right before applying for a mortgage, maybe taking a short sabbatical of you're anticipating buying a house soon.
 
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I think people are getting confused between credit card rewards/benefits vs the actual act of churning credit cards for reward points.

Most of the time it’s not worth it to compare which credit card has 3 vs 5 percent back on restaurants, groceries etc especially if it’s revolving categories. It’s just not worth the time and effort to remember it all. Lounge access, travel credits etc all still require lots of work to figure them out.

Whereas true credit card churning which is opening and closing credit cards for initial sign on bonuses are still worth it in my opinion. Get your significant other to sign up separately and refer each other for more bonuses. Just have to remain detailed in a spreadsheet when cards are opened, minimum spending requirements (easily hit nowadays with multiple creative methods).

Result - ever since undergrad I have never paid for a flight out of pocket. I routinely open and close 6-10 cards a year. Now as an attending I have accrued probably close to 3+ million miles on Southwest (with dozens of companion passes) and chase UR. Still have to ration my points and not upgrade to business since I don’t think it’s worth it. I have a family of 4 but overall trending to still never having to pay for a flight since my balance stays the same or goes up. As a family we usually fly 3-4 times a year including international trips. I’m sure those crazier can also play the game with hotel rewards but we like to stay in airbnbs or unique places as well.

I’m not familiar with how the rewards were years ago, but now a days there just aren’t many cards that seem worth it to churn. I mean I know the venture X is 75k bonus miles and sapphire preferred is 60k miles and American Express platinum is 80k points, but these all have start up costs. It’s 400 for the venture and 95 for the sapphire preferred and 695 for the platinum card. Otherwise it seems like all the other credit cards hover around 200-300 for a bonus, but on the flip side they’re all free to use. Can you shed some light on your strategy and how you still find success. Are you going for these cards with high tier credit cards that have annual fees? Are you going for all the 200-300 dollar reward cards that are free? Are you going for business credit cards?
 
So I used to be VERY active on this forum... But about 2-3 years ago, I've been kinda disappeared.

Because I have spent all the free time that I used to spend on here to deep dive into churning circa 2021-2023.

I was late to the game, as those who churned 2016-2020 had a lot more bang for the buck due to gamification of the system.

To answer the OP question: worth is very subjective. We don't have all the same information and values.

To me, it's very well worth it. It takes about 10 mins to apply for a card and about 20-30 on the phone to cancel it. I've been getting pretty consistently 10% of my spend as points back (assuming 1 point = 1 cent). I just cancelled two cards as I was typing this. Rough estimate is that my current churning marginal earn rate is higher than my hourly rate as an anesthesiologist, as all it takes is to apply to a new card, switch it out in my wallet and repeat, it's probably 1 hour of marginal work from opening to cancelling.

I have never paid for a biz class ticket. But I've flown many legs on lay flat business class tickets. The advice I have is : ignorance is bliss.

At this point in my life, quitting churning is a luxury I cannot afford. My wife no longer wants anything less than lay-flat business if we are flying across an ocean (she's fine with upgrading to first class). I'm too filial to leave my mother in the back of the plane if she's coming along. I'm not quite at the 10MM in points but I'd say I'm at least half way there in the last 4 years. It's well worth it for me to switch a credit card every month or two.
 
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So I used to be VERY active on this forum... But about 2-3 years ago, I've been kinda disappeared.

Because I have spent all the free time that I used to spend on here to deep dive into churning circa 2021-2023.

I was late to the game, as those who churned 2016-2020 had a lot more bang for the buck due to gamification of the system.

To answer the OP question: worth is very subjective. We don't have all the same information and values.

To me, it's very well worth it. It takes about 10 mins to apply for a card and about 20-30 on the phone to cancel it. I've been getting pretty consistently 10% of my spend as points back (assuming 1 point = 1 cent). I just cancelled two cards as I was typing this. Rough estimate is that my current churning marginal earn rate is higher than my hourly rate as an anesthesiologist, as all it takes is to apply to a new card, switch it out in my wallet and repeat, it's probably 1 hour of marginal work from opening to cancelling.

I have never paid for a biz class ticket. But I've flown many legs on lay flat business class tickets. The advice I have is : ignorance is bliss.

At this point in my life, quitting churning is a luxury I cannot afford. My wife no longer wants anything less than lay-flat business if we are flying across an ocean (she's fine with upgrading to first class). I'm too filial to leave my mother in the back of the plane if she's coming along. I'm not quite at the 10MM in points but I'd say I'm at least half way there in the last 4 years. It's well worth it for me to switch a credit card every month or two.
Do you transfer your points all to the same credit card company after you accumulate them? Which one do you use
 
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Do you transfer your points all to the same credit card company after you accumulate them? Which one do you use
This is too nuanced to answer correctly in this forum, as the answer is: it depends. The initial time investment in understanding is very high.

The short answer: I keep everything in transferable points until I need them.
 
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This is too nuanced to answer correctly in this forum, as the answer is: it depends. The initial time investment in understanding is very high.

The short answer: I keep everything in transferable points until I need them.
Favorite resources for getting up-to-date? We massively benefitted from our lite-churning in med school (covered for all residency airfare, hotels if applicable, rental cars, and a number of vacation hotel stays. Not to mention the southwest companion pass which was magical). Dropped it completely.

Planning several international trips in the coming years and my wife and I were just talking about going back into it right before this thread popped up.
 
I’m not familiar with how the rewards were years ago, but now a days there just aren’t many cards that seem worth it to churn. I mean I know the venture X is 75k bonus miles and sapphire preferred is 60k miles and American Express platinum is 80k points, but these all have start up costs. It’s 400 for the venture and 95 for the sapphire preferred and 695 for the platinum card. Otherwise it seems like all the other credit cards hover around 200-300 for a bonus, but on the flip side they’re all free to use. Can you shed some light on your strategy and how you still find success. Are you going for these cards with high tier credit cards that have annual fees? Are you going for all the 200-300 dollar reward cards that are free? Are you going for business credit cards?
Both a combination of personal and business cards. Take Southwest for example. Right now there are SW plus (50k), SW premier (50k) SW priority (50K) and for business there are Premier Business (80k) and Performance Business (80K). If you wait there can even be promos, maybe 75k for personal and 120k for business (see prior slickdeals postings). Time it well and you can get 400-500k points easily in a year. Personal cards follow a 5x24 chase rule whereas business ones don't. With SW, I usually even book 4-6 months in advance and you can even rebook and get back points if flights get cheaper.

Credit score does drop 10-20 points each time you apply, but I've noticed it to quickly rebound after a 1-3 months. If you're waiting for a mortgage best to wait, otherwise I don't really need such a high credit score anyways since I hover around 760-800. Credit card churning and flight reward maximization are pretty much games at this point, something fun and rewarding to do during down time on call or when supervising CRNAs.
 
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