Sour Grapes Make The Best Whine: Why CSR is a bad card for me


Indeed, still pretty jelly of those who got the deal of the quarter which is 100,000 Ultimate Reward points for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. For those of us who have been hitting the offers hard like 100k MR Plat Amex and a 24k gold MasterCard LuxuryCard that came with $1,000 statement credit. Those who made bank this year already most certainly have been permabanned due to the 5/24 rule. If you want to be embarrassed, call chase recon line at 888-270-2127 (after your inevitable denial letter) where they will list out verbally every card you have applied for by any bank for the last 24 months. You can see them just slowly shaking their head when they recite it back to you.



I should not have any qualms about having FOMO. I did pretty well this year racking up well over 430k (100k Avios, 50k Luxury card *2, 100k HHonors points, and 65k * 2 MR points on PRG) just in the signing bonuses alone. I am so points saturated that I even famously declared this was going to be a shift to cashback only! Lets break down on what I am not missing out on by not being able to get the CSR.

Must Spend $300 on flights and travel (not even sure if MPX works)

The $300 annual travel credit would be an additional burden to spend between the $300 from the Ritz Carlton Card, $1,000 from 5 AmEx Platinum cards (2 normie, 2 MB, 1 business, $200 from 2 PRG cards, $400 from 2 Gold Luxury Cards. That’s $1,600 I got to spend in one way or another.

Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre®

Well at this point I don’t even know what sucker even pays for global entry. I’m pretty sure you can ask any military churner and you have your application for free. These are the cards I have right now that already give me that benefit:

This benefit counts for all of the AU cards as well so between the three of us we have more global entry reimbursements that we know what to do with. Why would I need one more?

Lounge access with Priority Pass

I already have Priority Pass with all 3 AmEx platinums as well as Chase’s own Ritz Carlton Card. I even have a terrible deal with my Hilton Honors Surpass card. There also have been reports that the Priority Pass on the Chase Sapphire Preferred doesn’t have a digital version, so very basic…


Additionally I get Lounge Club membership with my Delta Reserve as well as my Gold Luxury Card and don’t forget the awesome Centurion Lounges you get with your AmEx Plat. There is no value add here.

Earning UR Points

Now on a pure cashback view the UR points are not the way to go as you can earn a consistent 3% cashback on Zero, if it ever happens. You can get 6% cash back on groceries with the Blue Cash Preferred and 3% Cashback on gas with the same card. The current categories for UR points are as such:

  • Earn 3X points on travel worldwide from airfare and hotels to taxis and trains
    • Already get 3x MR with PRG and 2x with the CSP
  • Earn 3X points on dining at restaurants worldwide from fast casual to fine dining
    • Already get 2x MR on PRG, plus I’m drinking soylent which I get 6% cash back
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Well that is my sour grapes interpretation of why I retroactively didn’t even want the card after being denied twice. There is no doubt that this would be an excellent card to start with for those with an unflagged, untainted credit history. Now it’s apparent that even a super high credit score is not enough to get credit cards, you have to prove your not a churner.

Another nail in the coffin of my points career, been looking at the Citi CostCo card to round out all my cash back categories:

3% Everything on Zero (vaporware?)

2% Currently on everything Gold LuxuryCard MasterCard

4% Gas on CostCo

3% Currently on Blue Cash Preferred

3% Restaurants on CostCo

6% Groceries on Blue Cash Preferred

So I got to catch up in spend of these points before getting any more. Thank Goodness FOR the 5/24, it’s Chase’s intervention so I’m not buried alive in points.



AmEx Making a Comeback with AmEx Tier One Charge Card*

*rumor has it on reddit


Davey Nelson has accused me of lazy journalism because all I do is just post stuff I read from reddit and I don’t have a single unique thought in my head. Valid, I have become the drudgereport of churning, On that note, I am happy to report that someone posted on reddit that AmEx has a super Platinum Card (Unubtanium???) coming out to compete with the CSR soon. So all you out there taunting me with your CSR approvals you can just suck it because AmEx always wave fully for all fees for active duty. On the more sold note I called amex and confirmed that I have always been getting 6% cashback on Blue Preferred at the Great Lakes commissary.

great-lakes confirmed

This new card may be my only good news since I was dumped by chase. I was suspecting something was around the corner as I was being sent surveys regarding my how my AmEx platinum compares to other elite credit cards such as Chase Sapphire and Gold Luxury card.


another gold pen for a satified derpreport reader!

Seriously 22kt gold pens for yourself and all your friends go a long way. Take note AmEx, you got a lot of catching up to do! Hope this response to the CSP doesn’t suck. I enjoyed having Hotel elite status with the Amex Platinum but was always disappointed with the lack of  point categories. If they could combine the 6% cashback (in the form of 6x points) of the Blue Cash Preferred with the categories of 3 X points for airfare purchased directly from airlines, 2X points at US restaurants, 2X points at US gas stations of the PRG and then airline elite status of the centurion card. Sprinkle in some gifts every so often, then you can truly crush Chase.

AmEx, I hope you do come out with another metallic card, I would be so happy!


Honeydicked by Chase Private Client: No sympathy for the Churner


Motherf**kers at Bank One Bear Stearns Washington Mutual JP Morgan Chase Manhattan Bank totally honeydicked me! Can you believe a multinational banking conglomerate would use such questionable tactics to get people to open new accounts? I thought I met some cool bros that we could hang and play hacky sack with, but it turns out they just wanted my money and to open new accounts. 🙁  If you can’t trust a giant faceless bank who was a main character in Hollywood movies, then who can you really trust any more?

only for cool kids

only for cool kids who don’t churn

When Chase Sapphire Preferred hit the streets with 3x on travel, gas, and dining a month ago I was bummed because I knew about 5/24 and I would have zero chance in getting the CSR. However the smooth talking banker and his even better looking Private Client Banker buddy convinced me that Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Infinite would be in my hands no problem. They said a fresh deposit of new capital would grant me super duper special consideration for my application. They coxed the fifteen thousand dollars out of me for a $500 bank and checking bonus all under the premise that they could use special relationships to overlook my promiscuous past of having over 5 card partners in the last 24 months.

Like a sucker I handed over the $15,000 with happy thoughts of 3x UR points for  travel, restaurants, and flights in my hand only to get this letter today:


Sure I was initially unfazed because my new extra cool buddies at Chase (whom I just met for 5 mins and handed over thousands of dollars to) would take care of it. It pretty much ended up right right out the movie the big short. With a chortle they said that that old deal of “calling in one for a bud” no longer exists, and I was just shy of getting that special consideration. They even got another private banker to tell me, even if I was a Private Banker Client with $10 million in assets there would be no special consideration for slutty churners of the likes of myself. I mean 5 credit cars in 2 years? Why you have been all over town racking up bonuses!!! We don’t deal with your kind!messages-image326258594

They thanked me for my money and pushed me out the door. I believe they were counting it and laughing as I walked away. Don’t get suckered in, the golden days of churning are over. There have been past reports of special privileges for these existing client relationships, but count this as a datapoint as even a modest deposit for fifteen thousand dollars won’t help you here. This may be my churning intervention. Maybe its time to quit the Credit Card game and do the direct deposit bank bonus game.


Best of luck out there!


Unlock Gold Marriott Status with AmEx Platinum



With your military fee free AmEx Platinum you can now get Hilton Gold (and diamond) , SPG Gold, and Marriott/Ritz-Carlton Gold at least through 2018! Which means you never have to pay for Marriott/Renaissance Breakfast or Hilton Breakfast again!


The merger between SPG and Marriott is complete and now each Marriott/Ritz point is worth 1/3 of a SPG point. Effectively you can use both Ultimate reward via Marriott and Amex Points via SPG to book a hotel room of your dreams! Inevitably everything will get diluted and crappy and each brand will unfortunately become diluted much like the Eurozone where I can’t really tell any of the member nations apart. So spend these SPG points now!

This merger of points programs between SPG and Marriott means elite status matching, not sure exactly what platinum status will get you but more information on reddit here. I’m assuming that you are not a n00b and already got several platinum AmEx cards like any good military churner has.


Since you get Gold SPG with your AmEx Platinum, you now get the Marriott Gold match for free when you link accounts here. I’m just glad I didn’t do any spend on my Ritz Card to try to earn gold after my previous spend of $10k bought me gold into 2017. Besides the room upgrades and the recognition, I value the gold membership in the Marriott and Hilton world for their complementary, otherwise overpriced, breakfasts buffets:


free breakfast, lunch, dinner at Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon

free breakfast, dinner at Okinawa Chatan Hilton Resort

free breakfast, dinner at Okinawa Chatan Hilton Resort

giant sausage party at St. Louis Airport Hilton

giant sausage party at St. Louis Airport Hilton


free breakfast and cocktail hour at Rockville Hilton

Never pay for breakfast again! Amex Platinum still has its shine for the elite hotel status! Some thing that not even the Chase Sapphire Reserve can come close to!


Finally A Credit Card Endorsed By Dave Ramsey? ***


***please refer to Betteridge’s Law (the answer is no) Use code EARLY4050 to get 1.5% cash back at

Zero card is a FREEKING METAL 3% cashback Debit Card for those who have joined the cult of Dave Ramsey, or those with qualms about carrying any debt. Click here to sign up for the first round of applications and get graphite status (1.5% cashback)!

Looks like the same idea as RobinHood we have brought simple app banking to unbanked otaku millennials. Zero Card is an app based bank that has a linked “hybrid metallic credit card” that acts as a debit card linked to an interest bearing account. This is not new as we normal folks have always known such a tool as a secured credit card, made for people with terrible credit and no self control. You load an amount on there and then you get to spend only the amount you load in hopes of one day having a real credit card. If your in this position you have most likely lost your military security clearance and this blog doesn’t really appeal to you.

The card is pretty much catered to those that suffer from Ramsey’s dysphasia where you feel you have lost all control of you life, and must turn to a higher power for some semblance of financial control. The Zero Card is the perfect tool for those that have pledged to a rigorous lifestyle of cutting up all credit cards, entering a complete budget to the cent, and carry around cash in multiple category envelopes.


try to act normal carrying your paycheck around in envelopes stuffed with cash

When you feel weird about carrying stacks of cold hard cash in envelopes with rubber bands around them and paying for your tinder date, you may feel you need a card to better blend into society that has a de facto ban on carrying around cash. This is your shabbatt elevator to satisfy your devotion to an ultra orthodox lifestyle But want to be practical and baller with a metal credit card in our modern world.

What I find unique with Zero Card is the cash back is you get cashback at 1% and then get a boost the more you spend according to the FAQ:

There are four levels of Zerocard, which vary in terms of the cash back rewards percentages they earn. The entry-level Zerocard Quartz earns 1.0%, Zerocard Graphite earns 1.5%, Zerocard Magnesium earns 2.0% and Zerocard Carbon earns 3.0% cash back. Moving up to a higher level Zerocard allows you to earn more cash back for purchases.

Current minimum annual spending requirements are $25,000 for Zerocard Graphite, $50,000 for Zerocard Magnesium, and $100,000 for Zerocard Carbon.

Notice the appeal to new wacky material names and metallic base much like the Barclay Gold, Black, Titanium line up. Its almost like they are cramming this branding down our gullets. We get it, only basic bitches have plastic cards now, eww…. Ever worse are those posers at chase that have a laminated metal cards. As explained in this scathing article in the wash post, whic says you truly are not a whole person until your card is 24kt gold plate.

You can finally get 3% rewards on a “debit card” that  looks and feels like an AmEx Centurion Card to the cute but shallow Subway Sandwich Cashier (of which you end up swiping the card yourself anyways). Best feature yet is the pre-loading of money making it not a credit card by function, so it is a loophole you have been waiting for.

Since there is no new debt your not violating the key Ramsey rule, and 3% Cashback (after $100,000.00 spend) on all categories is even better than my $995 Barclay Gold Card Master Card. I doubt I will ever do anything higher than graphite which you can get by a simple referral made by this link here, use code “EARLY4050”. You don’t even need to spend the $25k with code EARLY4050. Looks like there is some Ramsey millionaire out there that will go for the 3% cashback carbon card after he buys $100,000 in official Ramsey gear, most likely the man himself.

Looks like there are a lot of doubters on reddit in this new technology, but hey DoC has an open mind about it so I’m going for it, at least for my salaryman allowance.


Checking Account Bonus Season!


My daily commute brings me past about 5 different banks which opens up a whole new world of churning. One place I passed is PNC bank which is offering $300 for a new virtual wallet, 10 transactions on the card. Which seemed like a lot of work. The chase down the street was offering $250 for a checking and savings, so stupidly I went for this deal thinking it was pretty good.

Turns out I screwed myself out of $300 by not reading the Hustler Money Blog which is currently showing $300 bonus to open a Chase Premier Plus Checking account with Chase with direct deposit. Best part of this deal is that military members get the free safe deposit box as well as a waiver of the $25 monthly account fees even when the direct deposit is no longer maintained. I ended up opening an account for their $150 for checking and $100 for a saving account with $10,000 deposit. Don’t do what I did, and go for the $300 deal by 15 October 2016. I guess the $250 isn’t bad but it just locks up more money in savings for 90 days at least.


I was pretty bummed about not getting the deal so I went back to the bank with the new $300 checking offer and they said I had up to 21 days to switch coupons! Unfortunately the emailed coupon could not be backdated to my open dated, just to the coupon request date. I went ahead and looked around for a coupon code, even got desperate enough to look on ebay for some coupons. However I came across a post in r/churning that mentioned the movers package by USPS gives a $500 coupon ($300 for checking and $200 for $15,000 in savings for 90 days). I logged in and switched from my old FPO address to my new address and sure enough I got a $500 chase coupon code without backdate. I dont think I even had to finish the address change!


I went back today and sure enough, they honored the new coupon and will give me $500 for the new checking with direct deposit and $15k in savings for 90 days, so about 3.3% return on investment.

Great Lakes Commissary Coded as “General Store”, but Soyent = Groceries!


Sadly my plan of using the AmEx Blue for 6% cashback has been foiled as some genius decided that a grocery store is actually a General Retail store. This is unique to only this Commissary as I had enjoyed 3 years of 6% cashback in Okinawa at all four of their commissaries: Courtney, Kadena, Kinser, and Foster. So back up plan is using my Gold Luxury for a general 2% cashback.

Naturally this made me explore my shopping choices, and I found an amazing deal for the Costco across town at the intersection of I-94 and route 60. Costco is offering $50 worth of coupons when you buy a $55 membership for military here. So I might start shopping at one of these big box like every suburban dad is destined to do. The $1.50 hotdogs with drink are legit, but sadly this place doesn’t even take AmEx or Master Card! Tempted to get the Citibank Costco card, but that would violate my personal hatred for all things Citibank. Looks like its going on the Sapphire Preferred.


Of course there is one last option which is a liquid food replacement called soylent, this surprisingly is coded as a grocery store that takes AmEx Blue Cash Preferred, giving me back 6%! Just a fair warning, its not for everyone, but it sure makes feeding quick and easy (think adult food formula). Use this link for 50% off your first order of course you get 6% off on top of that if you use Blue Cash, which if you use this link you get another $150 when you spend $1k! You don’t have to spend it all of some bland drink, and remember the card fee of $95 is waived for military.



I have had the AmEx blue since 2006 in some form or another and its generally a good cashback card. You will start to see my blog shifting to maximizing cashback and less points for travel as I slowly transition to my final form of a typical American Suburban Salaryman, taking a single vacation once a year. Next step for me is buying golf clubs at costco, going to bed at 9 pm after drinking a warm glass of milk.


Avios AmExit: Good way to burn your points


Thanks to an O-5 reader of the blog who informed me of the ongoing bonus transfer of 250 MR points into 300 Avios Miles that is going on right now until October 10. This is a 50% increase to the usual 200 Miles for the same amount of points.

avios miles

As you already know Davey and I had huge redemption for using 12,500 Avios miles at 13.6 cents per mile for a $1,700 flight from Tokyo to Ho Chi Minh city with the Japanese salarymen at 2 am arriving at 6 am on JAL. This deal can potentially make a single AmEx MR point worth 16.32 cents, which is a hell of a lot more than taking the cash back like some sucker.

I’m seriously considering cashing out the whole bulk of points to top off my Avios account to half a million miles! The power of Avios is using them to book on other One World partner airlines. I have never set foot on a BA plane yet I have a lot of uses for their miles. I earned 100k when they offered it for $20k spend back in the day on the Chase Avios Card.

Since I’m back in the states some great uses for Avios is on American Airlines. For 7,500 Avios miles you can fly a short haul segment on American Airlines in coach. This means the distance is in account for the cost of miles, for example LGA is 733.2 miles they charge 7.5k. An airport that is 1,846 miles such as SFO is running about 10,000 miles. You can plug and chug with their calculator here.

What does that mean in terms of redemption? I casually looked at the direct flight from ORD to LGA for $343.20 round trip in coach.

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I then looked at the same flight using Avios to book, be sure you use the avios site as the BA site says they don’t fly that route (it’s true) but the avios reward search will allow you to use the Avios for AA flights. I could not find the same days but I made it work for other days:

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I’m calculating 2.2 cents per Avios mile or 2.64 cents per MR point with this bonus. So might not transfer all my MR points, but certainly a good bulk. If you have been reading this blog you should have 240,000 MR points with you 65k PRG card offer, 75k MB Plat offer, and 100k Regular Plat offer (all expired). Cashing them in with this bonus time will give you 288k Avios worth $7,603.20 in domestic short haul flights on American Airlines.

You’re welcome!