There’s a lot of gnashing of teeth occasionally whether you can play the churning game over the long haul. Sometimes I’m still amazed at the number of cards out there and strategies. At least in the current form, there seems to be no end to the opportunities.
My background: Excellent, 15-20 year credit history. Scores generally in the 740-780 range. Currently have a few 50% utilization’s on a few cards due to some large charges ran last month on low-limit cards. Significant mortgages due to rental property virtually guarantee the need to talk to a credit specialist (aka no instant approvals). 17 Equifax inquiries, 14 Experian, 8 Transunion before applications which is high but down from as many as 27 Equifax. Latest inquiries were ~75 days old which is a little faster than I like a churn to be.
Honestly, there are tons out there I’ve never touched (Priority Club, Choice, Hyatt, Hawaiian, Alaska, Amex Business Platinum), trim levels I’ve never touched or which have been changed enough to be new products (Ink Plus, Southwest cards, United, Hilton Reserve), or which I’ve been away from long enough that they’re available again (Delta Gold, Amex Premier Rewards). With that large field of cards, this set seems rather odd…
Chase Airtran Visa – 32 credits (2 round-trips) + 2 upgrades to business class – $2k spend in 3 mos
Both my wife and I were targeted for this a few days ago and this is what motivated my churn. Who knew this card would ever exist?!?
Prediction: Risky but likely approved. Chase generally hits Equifax for me but occasionally Experian, both of which have relatively high inquiries but not as high as they’d peaked. Worse, I’d picked up a BA card on my last go-around and already had 3 personal and 1 business card from Chase, each less than 1 year old. I went into this believing I’d get a pending result and have to call in and do some horse trading. Nonetheless, the offer expires on Oct 4th and I was motivated so took the plunge.
Result: Pending. Called in this evening and approved after shifting credit lines. As easy a call as I’ve ever had with Chase.
Tough Choices: I really wanted to swap my Chase Ink Bold for a Chase Ink Plus card for 50k and avoid my annual fee on the Ink Bold card. I decided that I’d likely pay the annual fee as I suspect the Ink Plus card will be around for a long time and I want to show Chase some love via the annual fee. Playing the long game… My Chase Marriott is the only card that’s on the chopping block this winter so I think I’ll be avoiding Chase until late Spring.
Citi AA Business – 50k AA + $150 credit on AA purchase – $3k spend in 4 mos
We’ve built a pretty crazy AA balance thanks to Citi over the last few years via 50k, 75k, and 100k offers. In my last churn, I picked up 2 more AA personal cards and in thus churn I picked up a 2nd Citi AA business card (for a different legitimate business). Flyertalk covers the details here.
Prediction: Good. For me, Citi pulls Equifax exclusively and has rarely had an issue with my high inquiries or other factors. It’d be 60+ days since my last Citi app and 18 months since my last Citi AA business card. I had 3 personal Citi cards and 1 business open.
Result: I rarely get instantly approved for these but you can tell you have a likely approval if you reach the account options page which I did. Interestingly, it did something a bit different and gave me a message at the very end of the process asking me to call in and reference the application identifier. Minutes after applying, I did and was approved though with a minimal credit line as Citi, unlike Chase, couldn’t reallocate credit on the spot. Good enough for me to work with though and they suggested that after I received the card, I could ask customer service to reallocate. We’ll see how that goes…
Barclays NFL (Go Pack Go!) Card – 40000 points ($400) – $1k spend in 90 days
Prediction: 40% chance of approval. In my last churn, I picked up the Best Western card from Barclays and it’s seen minimal use (but not for long) and Barclay’s has been a bit difficult with me lately. I’ve got 2 cards open with them at the moment. Fingers crossed.
Result: Pending. I usually just let Barclays cards ride and will let this one as well.
This was a somewhat limited set and I could have went bigger but I’m playing the long game, like I said… It’s equivalent to a 140k+ point churn if all works out and complements my broader strategy of earning and burning Delta while maintaining high status domestically, taking some pressure off of my Delta miles via cheap domestic award flights on Southwest/Airtran, and building AA/UA/US for long-haul international awards.
Mrs. Points is up next. I’ll probably execute Wednesday and follow-up. The biggest question I’ve got there is how many Citi cards can one have? She has 5 personal and 1 business open right now and I’d like to add 2 personal. There are some clear candidates for closure before but I’ve always been wary of closing and then applying just a couple days later. Anyone have insight to share?