Hard To Quit The Churn, Taking a Break

There was a Churnout Burnout confession on r/churning today that kind of touched my heart. I has been almost three months since my last new card, and a full month since my last travel. User aksurvivorfan  laments:

Psychologically I think I’ve become a “worse” person since I started churning. I find myself looking at the world through a lens of churning which is admittedly very exploitative and selfish. I’m constantly thinking of little ways I can score a few dollars here and there in deals and it’s not healthy. I’ve done some scaling back (I don’t do little deals that DoC posts about that are under $50) and would like to do more. Overall I think churning is something that has gone beyond where it belongs in life (for me) and I need to step back so it’s literally only a hobby that has some time devoted to it (much like time I set aside for going rock climbing or watching Survivor or other hobbies), instead of letting it permeate my entire life like it has been.

My three month break from the game certainly has realigned my perception of reality. Have my super aspie ways finally caught up to me? Had I just become so immersed in the numbers and valuations game I had forgotten what was truly important? Meh, maybe, but certainly it hasn’t made me anymore of a calculating maximizer asshole than I was before. I just have more time for other stuff once I have no card to meet spend.

I have met the minimum spend months ago on my Iberia card, I switched back to my old cards for once, and this has been one of the biggest time savers by just putting all of my purchases on these categories:

  1. Dining & Travel: Chase Sapphire Reserve for 3 points worth 4.5% Cashback in flights
  2. Supermarket: 6% AmEx Blue Cash Preferred for 6% Cashback
  3. Costco: Citi Costco Anywhere card for 2% back on top of another 2% for Executive Costco
  4. Gas: 4% on Citi Costco Anywhere card
  5. Airline Tickets (Direct): American Express Personal Platinum 5x for 7.5% cash back for flights when linked (for 35% pints back) with the American Express Business Platinum
  6. All Amazon locked on to the Amazon Chase card for 5% back
  7. Everything else: 2.5% on the now defunct USAA Limitless Card

I had also gotten a request from reader Calvin who asks:

Hello, can you post an update on your current card collection and what your strategies are? Thanks!

I wrote about my 5 AmEx card strategy here and here is how I look for AmEx, keep in mind you can have only 5 credit cards per person, but unlimited charge cards. Here is where we are and where we are going:

My wife and I: Charge Cards (Unlimited)

  1. Business Platinum x3 [Keep]
  2. Personal Platinum (Vanilla x4, MS x2, MB x2, CS x2, APx1) [Keep]
  3. AmEx Green [Upgrade to Plat in October 2018]
  4. Ameriprise Gold Card [Upgrade to Plat in March 2019]

Credit Cards (5 max including business)


  1. SPG Personal [Product change to SPG Luxury]
  2. Delta Platinum [Product change to another Delta Reserve]
  3. Hilton Ascend [product change to new Aspire]
  4. AmEx Everyday Preferred [Replace with Hilton Aspire]
  5. Freespace for New Delta Reserve or SPG Luxury


  1. Blue Cash [Keep for 12+ years of history]
  2. Delta Reserve [Keep for free first class companion]
  3. SPG Business [Keep for free night or Replace with SPG Lux]
  4. Hilton Honors Aspire [Keep for free night and $250 credits x2]
  5. Delta Platinum [March 2019: Product change to another Delta Reserve]

On the other cards:

  1. Barclay AAdvantage Silver [Keep Because Waived]
  2. Old Arrival+ [Keep because waived]
  3. Wyndham Fee [keep]
  4. Amazon Chase [keep for amazon/wholefoods]
  5. British Airways [close]
  6. Hyatt x2 [close or upgrade or keep for free nights]
  7. IHG [keep for free night]
  8. Chase Ink+ [keep for 5x UR categories]
  9. Chase Marriott [keep for free night or close and reopen for plus]
  10. Chase United Club [keep for lounge access]
  11. Ritz x2 [keep for $300 credit, MLA waived]
  12. Sapphire reserve [keep for 3x and $300]
  13. Iberia [close]
  14. Aadvantage Executive [keep for lounge spit 10 ways]
  15. Costco [keep for 4% gas]
  16. TJ Maxx [keep]
  17. Alaska [keep for companion pass]

Now I have been good with not applying for cards for my wife so she can get these 5 MLA waived annual fee Chase Cards that are 5/24 restricted:

  1. United Club Card (lounge access)
  2. Chase Sapphire Reserve ($300)
  3. Marriott Plus (free night, 100k points)
  4. Southwest card (60k miles)
  5. Chase Freedom (5x transfer to UR)

I am going to take it easy from now on and try to spend down some of these points. I know I tried doing this before, but I am focused on just getting my SPG Luxury card when it comes out in a month.

See you all then!



7 thoughts on “Hard To Quit The Churn, Taking a Break

  1. Trey says:

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Navy UMO says:

    Long time lurker here. I was wondering what your thoughts are on the sporadic Chase shutdowns? You seem to be lol/24 and have had no problem with Chase; your last card with them likely being the Iberia card. I’m 13/24 with no biz cards and itching to get the new Hyatt card, but the shutdown posts on Reddit are giving me pause.

    • uiucderp2011 says:

      I think the only bing keeping me from a shutdown is my Chase Private Client relationship as well as not MSing. Gift cards and multiple accounts to pay off a bill are the red flags for bust out fraud! Just don’t be shady and you should be fine!

  3. rC says:

    Why do you need to have the business platinum linked to get 5x points back on flights? I thought the personal platinum has that anyway?

  4. Ryan says:

    I’m considering getting the US Bank Altitude but didn’t see it in your list. Seems like a no-brainer to get with $300 travel credit and MLA-waived AF. Any reason why you left it out?

    • uiucderp2011 says:

      dang, you are right, it is a good card, its actually $325 and 3x points on Apple Pay! good call, i went in to try to get another and they said no, since I already had one from before MLA was enacted!

      good call

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