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There is currently a war on churning! It started with the 5/24 implementation from Chase, and it’s latest attack is in the form of sweeping shutdowns of some of our very own readers. It is only time that any one of us gets shut down as well. Rules change, and it’s not to benefit us super users
The points game was created by the big banks to make sure we continue to consume beyond our means, and become debt slaves to the bank at 20% APR. It is about corporate greed and profit, but we have found an arbatage to screw them in their own game. Never forget this!
What we are doing is not in the best interest of the banking industry. The banks have fucked us for 10 years by dragging their feet to implement the Military Lending act of 2007 (MLA). They could have done the right thing and start compliance early, but every bank waited till they were legally required to comply in 2017, by capping interest and fees at a still whopping 36%.
Our mindless consumption for their articles have made them popular “insiders”. Just like an instagram model, these “influencers” couldn’t give two shits about you losing all of your points in an overnight shutdown. The bulk of the articles are to show you what they have and how awesome they live. Their articles are to convince you that this is what you want! They are just pushing whatever product their sponsors want them to. Do not for a second believe that you need any of this bullshit.
The fact of the matter is points earning and spending has gone mainstream. When your grandma tells you about the awesome Visa Black card she has, then you know it’s over. With so many players in the “game”, the points earning is no longer an abartragable situation. You have just become a pawn buying into some bullshit dream though your credit card.
This is not the point of churning for us. By utilizing the MLA you sure as shit better be saving money on necessary travel and leave by using points. You should be then investing money (that you would have spent on travel) for your time after your active duty service. DO NOT LET THESE FUCKERS INFLATE YOUR LIFESTYLE! The minimum spends and rewards of worthless points are their way to get you to consume more.
You need to be strategic in earning these points without lifestyle inflation or manufacture spending to be successful! Otherwise you are falling into their trap.
The other concern I have is the hoarding of points, some of the people that got shut down were in the millions of points! What was the point to amass so many points and not use them for anything? Something has obviously gone wrong with the message. They may have been saving up to fly to Bora Bora in first class. Instead they actually paid for all of the small trips to “save” bullshit points. By doing this all the points ended up becoming worthless, and thousands were spent in cash for trips that would have been free.
Do not be this kind of sucker!
The site has gone private because we want to cater to each other. Mil to Mil is the goal, If you think this site is also run by some asshole shill of the banks, then you have come to the wrong place. I am just a real AD member such as yourself, and I want a community of like minded individuals. To ensure that, I have limited access to those that will contribute to our unique circumstance.
The request for access can be done by filling out form DRF 0001. Be patient with me until your DNA sample, fingerprints, and iris scans verify with DEERS! (j/k).
I have decided to rewrite and release by beginners churning guide to the public. I can be found on the left sidebar as well as right here. Note the article in intentionally vague as well as filled with CYA disclaimers. Hopefully more articles to come in the future.
Currently I am spending two weeks at Bethesda for a course and I ran into my old friend from dental school. He is finishing up some cases, super busy to PCS, and asked if his spouse could reach out to me about credit card advice. I just got a text from her asking:
I have read some military spouse fb fourms would any of these be a good option or do you have another recommendation all together?
Amex Platinum-the annual fee is waived for service members, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Southwest, or another airline?
(sad to see that AmEx plat is the only card on everyone’s mind)
I have know her husband since dental school way back in 2007! He went Army, and I went Navy, but this entire AD time I have been telling him the virtues of churning, especially with the SCRA and MLA waivers. He told me for many years that he was more than happy with his Cabela’s credit card. Now that he has a family, he is starting to see the cost of travel and vacations with kids. His wife says:
We are in the middle of moving to Hawaii and realized we need to make this move work for us – meaning get a credit card or two and put everything on it and earn points, rewards, or whatever for all our purchases. One goal is to also earn enough points/airline miles to be able to fly family out to help out with the kids so my husband and I can do some solo traveling.
Well I decided to write my solutions here. This plan works for her only because she and her husband did not open any new cards in the last 24 months so they are known as 0/24. You can check credit karma to see how many cards you have gotten at any bank. Most of us are over 5/24 as in we have more than 5 cards at any bank. She is very lucky to have entered the game with a blank slate.
Rules of the game:
After each application you will need to go into the secure chat and request SCRA/MLA waivers, this should automatically apply for each additional card. She will promise me that her spends will not increase, and these spends are all organic in nature. She is smart to see that some big expenses are coming up, and these cards are perfect to capture this organic spend.
Also she pledges to me that these accounts are to be paid off on time, and even early if possible. The cards are to be treated like debit cards. Money will not be spent until matching funds exist in a bank account! If the game goes out of control, they are going to stop this game compley and go full Dave Ramsey plans! Also no gift cards are to be bought to pad the spend on these cards, this practice has cause accounts to be shut down for Both AmEx and U.S. Bank!
I optimized the solution to spread out earning over several hotel programs, and focus on Hilton and Delta since they have a lot of Hilton resorts in Hawaii, as well as the Delta companion pass from Hawaii to Mainland.
Step One: The CSR, INK, Freedom(s),
Keep in mind you can only get 2 cards every 30 days for Chase. Also each new personal card counts against the 5/24 count. However business cards do not, but require you to be under 5 cards at the time of application. I suggested this schedule:
Note that there is a current offer of 60k right now for the Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP), but don’t get suckered in since 10k UR is only worth $150 in travel. You need the CSR (reserve) because of the 1.5 cents per point on travel as well as the instant $300 travel credit. Also note that the CSR will have the $450 in annual fees waived for both the spouse, dependant, and service members. However the $95 annual fee will NOT be waived for the Chase Ink Preferred, instead the current 80,000 UR is well worth $1,200 in travel. The Chase Freedom has no annual fee and will be upgraded in one year to another CSR to get another $300 travel credit.
In summary, in three months you would need to spend $13,000 to get the following:
225K Ultimate Rewards worth $3,225 in travel
$300 Travel credit
$95 annual fee on Ink
$450 in fee waivers for the CSR (Per MLA)
In one year you would call and upgrade the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited to another CSR, and then downgrade the Ink Preferred to the free Ink cash. This combo can also be kept intact if you want to just keep earning points in this fashion:
Chase Sapphire Reserve:
3x UR on travel
3x UR on dining
Lounge access at every Priority Pass Location
Chase Ink Preferred
3x UR Travel
3x UR Shipping purchases
3x UR Internet, cable and phone services
3x UR Advertising purchases
Chase Ink Cash
5x UR on Internet, cable and phone services
5x UR on Office Supply Stores
5x UR on rotating quarterly categories
Chase Freedom Unlimited
1.5x UR on everything
Unless you are planning on spending $4,000 a year on the Freedom rotating categories, it is not worth keeping the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited. Upgrading both to a CSR would give you an instant $300 travel credit (worth 20,000 UR). I would argue in keeping the Chase Ink Cash for the 5x for the phone and internet bill, Ink Preferred for 3x in shipping, and have points trickle in. Every year of your active duty status you will get $900 a year in travel credit, double this with your spouse and you will have this to look forward to:
First year: 450k UR worth $6,750 in travel
First year: $600 in travel credits
Every year of AD: $1,800 in travel credits
Travel credits work by charging anything travel related such as:
Taxi rides (including ride-share services)
When charged to each CSR for up to $300 every card anniversary. You will have to keep good track of which cards have been exhausted. I would recommend putting $300 right on to each person’s Uber, then $300 right into your toll transceiver account, then use the rest on airfare. If you don’t use the credit after one year of opening the card it will be lost and reset!
Step Two: Free Hotel Nights With Chase
Chase has their hands in three hotel groups: Marriott/Ritz Carlton, IHG, and Hyatt. You can certainly get all three, but keep in mind you have only 5 cards you can get before Chase cuts you out forever (over 5/24)! This does not count for the business cards (ink does not add to the 5/24 count). So right now you should have 3 out of 5 cards, leaving two slots. I would recommend these two cards because they are the most lucrative:
Hotel redemptions very greatly depending on time and location of your hotel stay. In the first year you could earn:
3 free nights worth 105k Marriott points
50K Hyatt points
125k IHG points
These groups are huge IHG consists of these brands:
And then Hyatt:
After the first year you will call Chase and upgrade the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless to a Ritz Carlton card which you will get the $450 annual fee waived. Now every year you would get (assuming you and your spouse are both follow along):
Two free 50k Ritz/Marriott Nights
$600 in flight credit for seat upgrades, food, lounge access
One Free IHG Night (40k points)
One Free Hyatt night (Cat 1-4)
Step Three: Finish up Chase With Airlines
EIther way you go, you need to fill up your 5 Chase cards, two good choices come to mind:
20,000 points after you spend $12,000 total in 1 yr
Now you are done with Chase because you have 5 personal cards and a single business card. YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO GET ANOTHER CHASE CARD AGAIN. Unless of course you stop getting any new personal cards for 24 long months.
Step Four: The One U.S. Bank Card
Not a lot of people know that U.S. Bank will waive for military, just open a checking account using one of these deals here. Wait a month and then get the U.S. Bank Altitude card. You will get $325 every year to use on travel related expenses. The first year you will get 50k points with $4,500 in the first 90 days of account opening. Each point is worth 1.5 cents on booking airfare.
I keep the card around and link it to my Apple Pay to earn 3x points every time I use my iPhone to pay for anything. You will also get a nice magazine called Andrew Harper wich will give you great ideas on where to vacation to. This card is the most under appreciated card in the military wallet.
Step Five: American Express
Note that some state residents do not get a waiver for military spouses. Florida seems to be the most problematic. Also AmEx watches what you buy and will shut you down if you buy too many gift cards ($5,000 and more).
Finally after after about a year of starting your journey you will get to the one card most military people know, the American Express Personal Platinum card. Note that this is a CHARGE card, and will not count towards the 5 card limit for every AmEx CREDIT card. AmEx has a rule where you can only get 1 card in 5 days, and then only 2 cards in 90 days! Here is the timeline assuming the first card it the Personal Platinum:
40K bonus miles and 10K MQMs after you spend $3k in 90 days
After one year you will get a companion pass good up to first class
After one year you will have (assuming you spouse plays along):
Marriott: 2 Free 50k anytime nights every year
$600 in hotel credits at Marriott (Including Ritz)
Hilton: 6 Free weekend nights at any Hilton (including Waldorf Astoria)
Hilton: $1,500 Hilton Resort Credit
Hilton: $1,500 Airline Credit
$400 Uber Credit Per Year
$200 Saks Fifth Avenue
$400 airline incidentals for one airline
I suggest getting the Charles Schwab AmEx Platinum and/or the AmEx Platinum Business to best use your MR points. The Schwab Plat would let you cash out the 70k points at 1.25 cents for $875. The Plat Biz would be worth $1,050 on a single airline.
Disclaimer: Credit card churning is not without risks. You may be banned for future relationships with banks if your activity is deemed to be too excessive. Manufacturing Spending is closely monitored, and may result in the cancelation of all credit cards with certain banks. Proceed with caution! Proceed with the idea of growth and not EXPLOITATION!
This guide is ment of entertainment purposes only and does not constitute any financial or tax advice. Please do not get any financial advice from internet strangers, you alone are responsible for you own actions!
The games and terms change over time, this information can be outdated. For example, Chase may one day eliminate the annual fee waivers on their products. Or AmEx could shut all your cards down overnight. These things have happened before, and may happen again.
USE THIS GUIDE AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Step One: Chase (Pick up to 5 cards)
Chase will check a rolling 24 month period in the past where no more than 5 new cards can be opened at ANY BANK, this is known as the 5/24 rule. Chase will only allow 5 personal cards to be opened before auto denial of all applications. Therefore Chase must be utilized first before any other bank.
The 2/30 rule says that you can only have two applications every 30 days or else you’ll automatically be rejected. Chase will only give one bonus every 24 months, or 48 months for Sapphire Product.
Refer to your credit karma report and keep track of when cards fall off the 24 month rolling period. This includes being added as an authorized user to someone’s account. It is not a good idea to add authorized users or be an authorized user for an account because it will show up on the AU credit report. Annual fees waived per MLA only for personal cards. Seq # will refer to articles to be written in the future.
The Chase business cards do not count toward your 5/24 count, but you can’t be over 5/24 to get them. Ideally you would be able to get 7 cards from Chase by interspersing the business applications while applying for consumer cards. You would report as a sole proprietor as well as use your SSN as the tax ID number.
Submit a request for SCRA/MLA benefits on the secure messages when you get the card. Annual Fees are waived on the personal cards only for service members, their spouses, and dependants. All subsequent new applications will be automatically considered once approved. Most often the waiver of fee letters come before the actual card!
After one year of ownership of the Marriott, Freedom, Freedom Unlimited or Slate you will call in and upgrade the cards via “product change”. The Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Slate can become yet another CSR that offer a $300 credit travel credit. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant can be turned into a Ritz-Carlton Card that offers $300 in travel benefit as well as a free 50k night per year. I would wait till the free 35k night hits for the Bonvoy Brilliant.
After you get 5 cards from Chase (and two business cards) time to move to US Bank which only has two good cards (for what we do):
You need to have a US Bank relationship to get the altitude. I looked for an offer here and got $400 just to direct deposit $4,000 over three months. They waived my monthly checking fee due to military status.
AmEx has a 5 card limit on personal cards, and no limit on charge cards. You can upgrade a personal card after one year. Business cards have no minimum time limit on when they can be upgraded. Often I have upgraded to a Platinum days after getting the bonus. You can have 2 new cards every 90 days, but people who hit this like clockwork have been shut down after having over 20 cards in less than 2 years! Be patient with AmEx or you will be ruined!
The following are AmEx credit cards, both business and personal count towards the 5 card limit. You can apply for the same card twice, but will not receive the bonus the second time around. There was one time that “super links” were allowed to be generated. These special links would give you the bonus the second time around. No word if this system will return.
To apply for Service Members benefit, click the link at the bottom of the AmEx
The only worthwhile cards from Citibank are as follows:
4th night free on any hotel
5x Thankyou Points on dining
American Airlines AAdvantage Executive
American Airlines Lounge Access for you and 10 AUs
Contact the Citibank SCRA unit. They are often confused and will take multiple tries to get the MLA coverage:
Citi Customer Service SCRA Unit No matter where in the world you find yourself, you need to know your bank, credit card or mortgage is working for you – and your family. Our customer service representatives are ready – 24/7 – to answer your questions and solve your problems. You can even call us collect. Check the link below to make sure that when you have to go at a moment’s notice, you have the right product behind you.
For credit cards, mortgage and other banking products from Citi:Customer Service Contact us at 1-877-804-1082 Outside the U.S. (call collect) 1-605-335-2222
I have had the annual fees charged, then months later, get credited. Citibank is weird and often hit or miss, you just have to never give up! Here is another SCRA contact for Citi:
To request Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) status The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides various protections to our US servicemembers around certain financial obligations, like credit card debt, mortgage payments and more. If you’re entering the military or going on active duty, let us know.
Call us at 1-877-804-1082 or if outside the U.S. (call collect) 1-605-335-2222.
You may also fax, mail or overnight/express delivery to the fax number and address listed below. Please make sure you also send us the proper documentation – this could include a copy of your written Department of Defense (DoD) orders, a letter from your commanding officer, or any other document that the DoD deems a substitute for official orders.For credit cards, mortgage and other banking products from Citi:
Citi Customer Service SCRA Unit P.O. Box 790398 St. Louis, MO 63179 Fax: 1-866-533-0503
Organic spending is the best way to meet spend. If you do a lot of online shopping it may be worth using a portal site like top cash back or ebates (rakuten) to earn cash back when doing your normal shopping. I use cashback monitor to see which one offers the best deals.
The act of buying gift cards is a red flag for fraud. Many consumers that have excessive (Over $5,000) in gift card purchases have had all of their accounts shut down. Merchants report to the credit card companies what goods are bought as part of an anti fraud measure that gives them processing discounts. DO NOT BUY GIFT CARDS!