Hello from the beautiful Grand Hyatt San Antonio on the River Walk! I was good to see all those readers at both the IAH Centurion Lounge as well as at the AAOMR conference!
There has been some significant updates causing me to update my churning plan. There is still no love from Sebastian Fung from Ask Sebby, I reached out to him after he posted a video on how Active Duty Military should be churning, He brought up some good points that I commented on in my feature of his blog post here. I am going to update my guide found here to reflect these two new revelations:
His video has this slide that sums it up:
I also found out the 12 month rule that prevents upgrading any US card is due to the 2009 CARD act that prohibits changes in the terms of a credit card for the first year. All these new discoveries have given me this humble churn plan for the new service member. Note: that this strategy would not be good for those that are not covered by the MLA or SCRA since you would be on the hook for several thousand dollars in annual fees alone.
Low Experience Credit Card Holders Start here:
- Secure Credit Card from Discover (No AF) for 12 months to establish credit history.
- Freedom or Freedom Unlimited, $500 limit, prepay it mid cycle to keep utilization low.
For the more experienced with good credit history pick 5 of these card that are 5/24 restricted (try to maximize annual fee waiver only for Active Duty Military Members, Spouses and Dependent Children(Per MLA)):
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- United Club Card
- Southwest Priority Card or Southwest Premier Card or Southwest Plus Card
- Chase Freedom (Upgrade to #2 CSR in 1 year)
- Chase Freedom Unlimited (Upgrade to #3 CSR in 1 year)
- Chase Marriott Premier Plus (Wait 24 months to then get AmEx SPG Lux bonus)
My choice for my first 5 would be: CSR, Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, United Club, and Southwest Priority. This would result in $900 in travel credit over 3 CSR cards (by upgrading both freedom cards), Annual United Lounge Access and Star Alliance lounges overseas when flying on *A airlines. $75 and 7,500 points on Southwest credit per year, 4 SW priority boardings per year.
Next I would hit either the non 5/24 restricted Chase Cards, US Bank Cards, or AmEx.
Chase Non 5/24:
- Chase Hyatt
- Chase IHG
These give you elite status and one free night per respective hotel group.
AmEx CHARGE Cards (No Limit)
- AmEx Platinum
- Business Platinum
- AmEx Green then Upgrade to Personal Platinum
- AmEx Gold then Upgrade to Personal Platinum
- Other AmEx Platinum Cards: Morgan Stanley, Ameriprise, Charles Schwab and Goldman Sachs
- Ameriprise Gold to Ameriprise Platinum in one year
- Gold AmEx Business to upgrade to another Busisness
I am working on all of this, because there is no limit. Each Personal Platinum gives you $100 for Saks 5th, $200 on Delta, AA, or Southwest Gift Cards, $200 on Uber. AmEx Business gives you one airline that will get 35% points back when redeeming your MR points resulting in 1.5 cents per point. Each Business Platinum gives 10 GoGo wifi passes and another $200 Airline Gift Card reimbursement (no Sacks 5th or Uber credit).
Keep in mind the gift card reimbursement from AmEx is a hack, and not officially covered, so follow the guides here: AA, Southwest, and Delta. NEVER EVER ASK AMEX ABOUT GIFT CARDS. Between my wife and I, we currently have 12 Personal Platinums and 3 Business platinums. They are as follows: 2x Original Plat, 2x Mercedes-Benz, 2x PRG Upgraded to Plat, 2x Schwab, 2x Morgan Stanley, One Green Turned to Platinum, One Ameriprise Platinum, 2x Business Platinum, One Gold Biz turned Plat. This means $3,000 in airlines, $2,400 in Uber, $1,200 in Saks 5th, 30 GoGo WiFI in flight passes. This took 5 years over 2 active duty members to achieve so take your time!
AmEx CREDIT Cards (5 Limit over both Personal and Business)
- SPG Lux
- SPG Personal (choose personal at bottom) then Upgrade to Lux
- Hilton Aspire (choose at bottom)
- Hilton Honors then upgrade to Aspire (Select Honors At Bottom)
- Hilton Ascend then upgrade to Aspire (select Ascend at bottom)
- Delta Platinum
- Delta Reserve (select at bottom)
- Delta Gold (select gold at bottom) then Upgrade To Reserve #2
My ideal selections are (IN ORDER): SPG Lux, SPG Personal, Hilton Aspire, Ascend, and Honors. Then upgrade all the lesser cards to SPG Lux or Hilton Aspire (respectively). This results in an annual gain with $750 in Hilton Resort Credit, $750 in airline gift cards, $600 for SPG hotels and 5 free nights per year! I find the Delta first class companion cert to be really hard to use from Chicago, but you can certainly get multiple of these to max the companion ticket each year form Delta Reserve.
Then the humble and forgotten US Bank Altitude card for the $325 in travel credit.
I hope that is a better plan, I should update the guide and make it a sticky on the front page bu the end of this week.