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The conventional wisdom has always said that when applying for credit cards, you should do all of your applications on the same day.  The reason, so they say, is that the credit inquiries only posted once per day, and so each bank would only see the inquiry to THEIR bank, and not the 5 or 6 others that you did to different issuing banks on the same day.

Sorry, but I just don’t buy it.  Maybe that was true a few years ago, but everything that I’ve seen from credit card companies (not to mention the Internet as a whole), this is no longer the case.

So, when should you churn?

They used to say that you should try and look at 1 credit card from each bank every 90-120 days.  While that can be nice to coordinate all your applications, that’s not how I do it any more.

You should definitely do what’s best for you and your situation, but I can share what I have started doing.  As long-time PWaC readers may already know, my hierarchy for spending is

  1. Spend to hit signup bonuses
  2. Spend in categories with big bonuses (Chase Ink 5x at Office Supply stores)
  3. Barclay Arrival card, or some other cash back cards (new Citi Double card maybe?)

I’m not a huge Manufactured Spending guy, so my basic rule of thumb is when I am running out of cards that I need to meet signup bonuses, that’s when I start thinking about getting some more cards.  My favorite card comparison site is maintained by the Frequent Miler.

So what cards did I end up with?

United Explorer

united-explorer-cardI had seen the posts by various bloggers talking about this new card, and it seems to be one of the ads on the side of nearly every BoardingArea page…

You do have to be careful, because some of the links that I have seen do NOT have the $50 statement credit nor the extra 5,000 miles for an authorized user.

I got a “Pending” call on that one.  I am suspecting that I will need to move around some credit limit with Chase on that one.

Chase IHG card (Carolyn)

chase-ihg-rewards-cardI applied for and was approved for the Chase IHG card as part of a mini-churn back in July.  One of the comments on that post mentioned that if you’re in “2 player mode“, that it’s often good to each get this card at about the same time.

The reason is that one of the benefits is that on your anniversary date (so not this first year, but starting next summer), you get a certificate for a free night at ANY IHG hotel.  So since we will both have the card and our card anniversaries will be close together, we can stay TWO nights at the same hotel.

The publicly shared link is for only 60,000 IHG points, but this Flyertalk thread has a link to an application that will earn 80,000 points.

When “Carolyn” originally applied for the card, she also got a pending notice, but within a day or so, she received an email stating that she was approved with a $25,000 credit limit.

As a rant-y side note, I love how I have to move around credit limit to get cards approved, while the stay-at-home mom with no personal income gets cards with $25,000 credit limits…. 😛

Club Carlson Personal (Carolyn)

I got the Club Carlson Business card as part of my first ever churn, and the “Last Night free” on award stays is probably my favorite ongoing credit card perk.

clubcarlsonvisaSince I realized that one person can not book 2 rooms at once and get the last night free on both rooms, it became more imperative for Carolyn to have one of these cards as well.  That way we can each have a reservation in our name, and each get the bonus.

She actually applied for this card a few months ago, but was denied.  Since then, we froze our IDA and ARS credit reports, and this time she was approved automatically.

Honorable Mentions

I looked at a few other cards, but decided not to pull the trigger just yet.  Here are a few that I considered but ended up not getting

  • The old Amex Blue card.  This card gives 5% cash back on groceries as well as a couple of other perks.  The card is no longer officially offered but there is a “secret” application link.  I kind of wanted to get this card just in case it goes away and I find myself in a situation where I could make use of it, but in the end I just decided to pass (for now)
  • Citibank AAdvantage Executive card.  This was talked about by Phil from Miles Abound at the #FT4RL conference.  The bonus is down to 60K for $10,000 in spending but I’m just not a huge Manufactured Spending guy so decided to pass
  • Amex Delta – this is another card (like the United explorer) that has a limited-time signup bonus increase to 50,000 miles, but I already have one of those cards so can’t get another one (as I understand the rules)
  • I’ve heard that some people have had luck churning the Barclays Arrival card, which I need to look into as it’s one of the better cards out there IMO.

All in all

Not a bad churn – we were 1 for 3 on auto-approvals, and stand 2 for 3.  I will let you know how it goes with Chase about the United card but I have every reason to believe we’ll be successful there.

The other bonus about not packing in a ton of applications all at once is that you don’t have to necessarily wait as long between churns, so if a good offer comes up, I’ll be ready!

What about you?  What cards have you gotten recently?


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