If you want to see how the experiment started, check the July post. Please read the August post if you have questions about the details of my experiment. That’s where I explain my plan for getting the cards (which may change at any time based on changing bonuses), the Rules of Engagement I’ve established for myself, and what I hope to get out of the experiment.
This month I’m still working on snagging the bonus for my first card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred. I expected to be complete in mid-to-late September; spending has been a little lower than normal lately, so it’ll probably be early October.
The bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred* (see bottom of post) is 50,000 points once I spend $4,000 in three months. At the two month point, I’m tracking that I’ve completed a little less than $3,500 of my needed spend. I only foresee about $200 for the rest of September, hence my expectation that I’ll finish the minimum spend in October. Once I complete my spend, I’m told it will take 6-8 weeks to receive the bonus points. Just in time for my 2018 travel planning to begin!
I’m preparing to apply for my next card. I need to assess whether I’m sticking with the next card on my list – the Chase Ink Business Preferred – or if there is a better offer out there right now. Stay tuned!
Month Two Experience
I purchased some plane tickets from my current duty location to my hometown using United Airlines points. When I book early enough, I can usually get these for 25,000 points round trip. That’s what happened this time, which I am grateful for because prices were higher than normal for some reason.
Typically when I price out this trip, tickets are $300-$350 round trip. For some reason, this time the absolute lowest price I could find on any airline was $396. That flight was at an inconvenient time, from an airport an hour away, and I would have to pay for bags if I checked one (which I normally don’t). Ugh. Not a good deal.
Instead, I booked the round trip ticket for 25,000 points, at times that work much better for me, at the airport that is only a few minutes away, on an airline that gives military members free checked bags. Yesssssssssssss.
Points spent: 25,000
Cash cost: $11.20 for the September 11th Security Fee
Points value: 1.54 cents per point ($396 – $11.20 = $384.80. $384.80 / 25,000 points = .01539 or 1.54 cents). Not mindbogglingly good, but not shabby.
Total value: $396, plus an hour of my time each way to/from the airport, plus convenient times
My Month Two Results!!
Everything here is based on my statement date, which happens to be the 17th of each month. You can expect my monthly updates to happen about week three of every month.
- Ultimate Rewards: 2,389
- United: 38,190
- Delta: 12,775
- Southwest: 1,637
Starting Points/Miles as of August 17th: 54,991
- Chase Sapphire Preferred (Ultimate Rewards): 11,635 (includes 10,000 point referral bonus)
- Other: 0 (none)
Points/Miles Earned In Month Two: 11,635
- Ultimate Rewards: 0
- United: 25,000
- Delta: 0
- Southwest: 0
Points/Miles Spent In Month Two: 25,000
New Point/Mile Totals:
- Ultimate Rewards: 14,024
- United: 13,190
- Delta: 12,775
- Southwest: 1,637
Total Points/Miles as of September 17th: 41,626
My Credit Score
As I said last time, I’m not worried about my credit score dropping a few points. That’s because I have no major purchases planned, no need to take out a loan anytime soon, and a high starting score. If you plan to take out a loan soon or are concerned about your score dropping, credit card churning might not be for you.
Last month I reported that I use three free credit score checks: USAA, Discover, and Mint.com. Since I only reported the month-over-month changes from USAA and Discover, I’ll continue doing that today.
I baselined my credit scores in early and mid-July – all changes are reported off that baseline, not by the actual number.
Between July 6th and August 21st, my credit score went down by 7 points on USAA. When I checked this week, it was the same as in August – down 7 points since July, but no change since August.
Looking at Discover, between July 17th and August 21st my credit score fell 4 points. No big deal. When I checked this week there was no change in my score.
Does it seem strange that neither of my scores would change in a month? Yeah, it does to me too. For some reason both are still showing the August scores, even though they are supposed to update at least monthly. There is no explanation why they haven’t updated. Perhaps the Equifax breach is slowing things down? Total speculation – I have no idea.
Everything is going as planned. I started the experiment in July with 52,472 points total across four rewards programs. I still need to buy one more set of tickets before the end of the year, which I plan to do with points. That means I’m on track to finish the year with about 75,000 points, plus two sets of roundtrip plane tickets. Maybe 125,000+ points, depending on exactly when I finish my minimum spend for the next card. Pretty great!
Are any of you credit card churners? What’s the best deal you ever received from a credit card churn?
*Note: The link to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a referral link. If you sign up via that link, I will receive up to 10,000 points per referral, up to a max of five referrals. You will receive an offer to get the same bonus I’m pursuing – 50,000 points after $4,000 spending in three months. You don’t have to sign up via the referral to receive the bonus, but if you sign up through my link you are helping support my little blog experiment.
If you want to use the referral link, great! Thank you so much, you rock! If not, I completely understand. No hard feelings. I’ll literally never know.
One person signed up for the card through my link last month, getting me 10,000 points. Thank you, awesome stranger. You helped me recoup some of the startup costs for this blog (design + hosting + other expenses) by getting me $100-$200 in free future travel!
NOTE: Please do NOT use the referral link or start churning cards if you don’t plan to pay off your balance in full every month. I’ve been through the pain of having credit card debt, not paying off my bill each month, and even a couple late payments. That’s not something I recommend for anyone. Besides, the rewards are only a good deal if you pay off your balance in full each month. If you don’t, the interest you are paying will outweigh the rewards. Use credit wisely!