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  • #31
    Been perusing that FlyerTalk site and no one there is a very big fan of spilling the beans on techniques, everyones paranoid and for good reason it seems as CC companies are effectively crushing any simple means of MSing. BB/Serve are both dead now and options are much less. This thread had me all ready to get back into it (and I applied for several cards today, trying to take advantage of Citi AAdvantage before they devalue, 212k miles if you/spouse do it) but it definitely makes hitting some of the spend limits more difficult with posting to account delays.

     

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    • #32




      Has there been an analysis on one of these points cards vs a simplistic 2% cash back card ?
      Click to expand...


      RJ saves $20,000 a year on travel with credit rewards.  He spends some tracking his cards and perhaps manufactured spending, but is well compensated for that time.

      To earn $20,000 in rewards with a 2% cash back card, you would have to charge 1 million dollars to the card in a year.

       

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      • #33




        We churn. I recommend Chase Sapphire Premier and Southwest Rapid Rewards for travel. Transfer the Sapphire points to SW and you have enough points combined for a companion pass.  It allows your spouse (or however you choose) to accompany you on every SW flight for FREE for the rest of the year and an entire full year after that. Perfect for the interview trail.
        Click to expand...


        I go through cards for the signup bonuses. I don't manufacture spending–for better or worse I hit those 3 month spend requirements easily! This is especially true with my new house, which prompted a rash of new cards after closing on the mortgage so as to maximize my benefits.

        As a comment on the above, I note that Chase Ultimate Rewards points do NOT count towards Southwest Companion Pass status. You must transfer them via Hyatt or Marriott (with a corresponding discount), then from there to Southwest.

        For points used for flight booking Ultimate Rewards -> Southwest works fine, and that's 1:1. The rules for the Companion Pass are different, though.

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        • #34
          For us infrequent churners or every so often bonus signers, you can get a pretty sweet deal with the Citi AAdvantage and same business version for 106k after a total of 6k spend in 3 months. Thats round trip business class to Europe if booked before march 22 (then they devalue). Pretty nice deal.

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          • #35
            It seems like a lot of work. Perhaps when I retire from the "day job", I will make the effort.

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            • #36
              If you dont go wild its pretty easy. For 30s of my time I now have a round trip to europe well within my normal spending during the month. I can see where it would get messy, but for the occasional trip, its good stuff.

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              • #37










                Here is an excellent link:  http://www.travelmiles101.com  The site is run by a CPA and Cardiologist.  They have an outstanding free tutorial course on the whole process.  I highly recommend the tutorial.
                Click to expand…


                Is that miles dividend md’s new endeavor? His blog was my primer in the miles game. Here’s an example of the possibilities: my family of 4 is flying first class from clt (Charlotte) to la then after 2 days we fly Singapore suites/biz for the kids to Tokyo for a four day stay. Coming back we are in jal’s first class product. Sounds crazy for a spring break trip huh? All the flights, and 60% of the hotels, are courtesy of reward programs.

                my wife & my credit ratings are still over 800. It’s a fun hobby IMO
                Click to expand…


                Is there any analysis on the “cash back” value of your miles card? For example, if someone used the citi double cash back card vs the miles card for the same purchases, what would the end result be? (ie. $15k cash vs 900k miles) And finally, how would that compare to actually purchasing the same tickets with cash vs miles?
                Click to expand...


                I don't know of any formal analysis but Singapore Suites and JAL first class are two of the finest aspirational travel experiences out there. I could never justify spending the tens of thousands of dollars required to pay for those flights, much less afford them.  Check out this trip report:

                http://dereklow.co/what-its-like-to-fly-the-23000-singapore-airlines-suites-class/

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                • #38
                  I am not a churner though I admit I am intrigued. We don't travel much but I do maximize cash back cards. I use a combo of:
                  1). BoA Visa Travel Rewards. 2.625% unlimited cash back with Platinum honors status (my workhorse card).
                  2). BoA Visa Cash Rewards for 5.25% off gas and 3.5% groceries with Platinum honors.
                  3). Amex Business SimplyCash Business card for 3% on restaurants, coffee shops (we eat out and frequent Starbucks and Dinkin donuts often) and 5% on random stuff like wireless cellphone and Staples (for gift cards for almost anything else)

                  We put 95% of all our spending on CC and pay off in full each month. This includes very high amounts for daycare for four young kids. We try to pay everything with CC, insurance premiums, taxes owed, etc. Anything having to paid by check or direct payment from checking account is considered a waste. I save about $5000/yr in cash back with minimal effort. Admittedly this doesn't compare to $20k/yr mentioned above, wow!

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                  • #39




                    I am not a churner though I admit I am intrigued. We don’t travel much but I do maximize cash back cards. I use a combo of:
                    1). BoA Visa Travel Rewards. 2.625% unlimited cash back with Platinum honors status (my workhorse card).
                    2). BoA Visa Cash Rewards for 5.25% off gas and 3.5% groceries with Platinum honors.
                    3). Amex Business SimplyCash Business card for 3% on restaurants, coffee shops (we eat out and frequent Starbucks and Dinkin donuts often) and 5% on random stuff like wireless cellphone and Staples (for gift cards for almost anything else)

                    We put 95% of all our spending on CC and pay off in full each month. This includes very high amounts for daycare for four young kids. We try to pay everything with CC, insurance premiums, taxes owed, etc. Anything having to paid by check or direct payment from checking account is considered a waste. I save about $5000/yr in cash back with minimal effort. Admittedly this doesn’t compare to $20k/yr mentioned above, wow!
                    Click to expand...


                    It really just depends what you want to do or really enjoy. There is certainly zero wrong with getting a certain % back on everything you purchase. If you like to travel it has up until now been a way to get even more bang for your buck. This thread made me up my game so I could take a fancy trip with the fam this year. Im not a huge churner, but nothing wrong with every now and then and enjoy the benefits. Especially given for our types of purchases these are all normal everyday spending, and now with a larger array of cards, I get 2x on basically everything, and up to 5x depending on the category so its pretty cool.

                    Even at 3% and 100k cc spending thats only 3k back. I got the two Citi AA cards and spent my normal stuff, easily hitting the 3k for each over two months and now have enough to fly to Europe round trip, almost enough for fist class. Thats huge, do that a couple times youre making out. Nothing wrong with cash either of course.

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                    • #40
                      I remember reading a book a couple of years ago written by a guy who espoused the strategy below that I copy/pasted after googling it:

                      In 2011, the U.S. Mint halted the production of silver dollar coins because people were ordering them by the thousands, paying by credit card, only to bring the coins back to the bank and have the value deposited into their accounts (one man claims to have earned 4 million points doing this). Manufactured spend methods come and go as credit card companies do eventually catch on.

                      There is are numerous blogs about the practice which is referred to as a 'hobby'.

                       

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                      • #41
                        I primarily use an Amex card with 5% cash back at grocery/ pharmacy / gas and a sam's club card for 3% back at travel and restaurants. With the amex, I buy a lot of gift cards (primarily Amazon) at Kroger for their fuel points. On a 15 gallon fill-up, this equates to 11% off (4x fuel point specials, which I try to wait for) or 8% off (normal 2x fuel points). I try to use a cash back website whenever possible as well to add to the savings

                        I haven't churned yet, but I likely will in the next couple of years.

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                        • #42
                          We do and have done very well by it. We very easily got 50K points to both Southwest and AA--that helped a ton during residency interviews. I just do 2-3 a year and then cancel the card before the 1 year fee is up, but after we have earned the rewarded. Never taken a credit hit. I'm planning on doing the Southwest card again soon and paying for flights for a family trip in the future.

                          My personal favorite is the Chase Hyatt card with the 2 free nights at any Hyatt in the world, including all-inclusives. We rocked that one. We used one night for a $1200/night suite at an all inclusive in Jamaica for an anniversary. The other we used for a weekend in NYC over the holidays. We stayed at the Hyatt Andaz directly across from the NYC Library on 5th Ave for free. It was a $600/night room. Actually, we used the rest of our AA pointsto cover the flights, so we only paid for our food and one cheaper hotel stay for that whole weekend.

                          The card also gives you Hyatt Gold Passport status, so you often get room upgrades--in fact, we utilized that on our Jamaica trip. We chose a new resort that had a 55% off promotion for our 4 night trip. You had to book 3 nights to get that rate, so we booked the lowest level room, used one free night, and paid for the rest ourselves. Then I requested to be put in the new buildings via the Hyatt Gold Passport reservation (only suites in those buildings) and they honored the request. Hence the $1200/night suite we actually paid $1200 for total over the 4 nights. Best vacation ever.

                          I actually kept this card despite the $95/year fee because you get one free night at a Category 1-4 property on each anniversary. I'm using it for a $180/night hotel stay on an upcoming trip.

                          When not chasing a reward, we use Chase Freedom. In the past 6 years we have earned $4-5k in points on just regular spending.

                          All in all, it isn't that hard. It's a great way to do some cooler travel in residency, too!

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                          • #43







                            We churn. I recommend Chase Sapphire Premier and Southwest Rapid Rewards for travel. Transfer the Sapphire points to SW and you have enough points combined for a companion pass.  It allows your spouse (or however you choose) to accompany you on every SW flight for FREE for the rest of the year and an entire full year after that. Perfect for the interview trail.
                            Click to expand…


                            I go through cards for the signup bonuses. I don’t manufacture spending–for better or worse I hit those 3 month spend requirements easily! This is especially true with my new house, which prompted a rash of new cards after closing on the mortgage so as to maximize my benefits.

                            As a comment on the above, I note that Chase Ultimate Rewards points do NOT count towards Southwest Companion Pass status. You must transfer them via Hyatt or Marriott (with a corresponding discount), then from there to Southwest.

                            For points used for flight booking Ultimate Rewards -> Southwest works fine, and that’s 1:1. The rules for the Companion Pass are different, though.
                            Click to expand...


                            @Toshi can you tell me more about how to transfer my Chase Ultimate Rewards points -> Hyatt -> Southwest?  I want my companion pass!

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                            • #44
                              My wife and I saved a substantial amount to put toward medical school before I started and as it would turn out my medical school accepted tuition payment with credit card and no additional fees. We have accumulated nearly 4 million points/miles over the last 4 years between the two of us.

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                              • #45
                                Yeah, this is a cool game to play. Our household is big into racking up miles and points for travelling... since we've got married 5 years ago, me and my wife have not bought tickets and have traveled around 20,000$ in flights and this is not including all the flights when I was single. We both traveled to India in January and infact tomorrow, we have a flight to Florida to attend the Orthopedic Research Society conference. Her flight and stay was already sponsored by her hospital but I'll be joining her through miles. We open and cancel dozens of cards every year and our credit scores are above 800. It's very easy to game the credit scoring system. I enjoy this kind of stuff while my wife who is a fellow was initially fearful because that's how she was brought up but after flying like crazy initially for free, she's completely on board as long as I'm managing it. You have to stay on top of it and not fool around, and need good discipline. I enjoy it so it's not a problem. Got my excel sheets, alerts and all that.

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