Updates on Hitting Chase Hard

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:

  1. Secure Credit Card from Discover (No AF) for 12 months to establish credit history.
  2. 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)):

  1. Chase Sapphire Reserve
  2. United Club Card
  3. Southwest Priority Card or Southwest Premier Card or Southwest Plus Card
  4. Chase Freedom (Upgrade to #2 CSR in 1 year)
  5. Chase Freedom Unlimited (Upgrade to #3 CSR in 1 year)
  6. 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:

  1. Chase Hyatt 
  2. Chase IHG

These give you elite status and one free night per respective hotel group.

AmEx CHARGE Cards (No Limit)

  1. AmEx Platinum
  2. Business Platinum
  3. AmEx Green then Upgrade to Personal Platinum
  4. AmEx Gold then Upgrade to Personal Platinum
  5. Other AmEx Platinum Cards: Morgan Stanley, Ameriprise, Charles Schwab and Goldman Sachs
  6. Ameriprise Gold to Ameriprise Platinum in one year
  7. 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)

  1. SPG Lux
  2. SPG Personal (choose personal at bottom) then Upgrade to Lux
  3. Hilton Aspire (choose at bottom)
  4. Hilton Honors then upgrade to Aspire (Select Honors At Bottom)
  5. Hilton Ascend then upgrade to Aspire (select Ascend at bottom)
  6. Delta Platinum
  7. Delta Reserve (select at bottom)
  8. 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.


18 thoughts on “Updates on Hitting Chase Hard

  1. Joe says:

    So you can upgrade the freedom and get multiple Sapphire products.

  2. Jordan says:

    Say I am 1/24 and already have CSR & Freedom. Would you next apply for the Freedom Unlimited OR take advantage of the current World of Hyatt 60k offer, considering rumors that the Hyatt will soon be 5/24 restricted?

    • uiucderp2011 says:

      Good point! The Hyatt Card is legit with the free night and the explorist status! I got a $5 food credit at the grand hyatt and $4 of bottled water a day!

  3. Pete says:

    I opened CSR 8/2016 with the initial 100K bonus, paid 2x AF’s (2016/2017) and got 3x $300 travel credits before PC’ing to Freedom in 2/2018, rec’d 50% AF refund for 2017. AF was not worth the premium to me. Figured I would PC to Freedom for purpose of retaining UR and the half AF refund, then apply for CSR again after 2 years.

    Chase started with the MLA fee waiver in 2017…then 48 month rule implemented. I’m 9/24 at the moment. I am asking to get MLA benefits applied now (Freedom account is a PC from CSR but has only been Freedom since 2/2018), realizing this is a long shot. But if Chase applies MLA to my Freedom account there is a small chance I can PC back to CSR after 1 year and that’s my way back in, other than staying under 5/24 in the 2 years leading up to 8/2020 when I could apply for CSR outright again. I’ll let you know if it works.

  4. Dan says:

    Not mentioned above: you should also get the amex premier rewards gold card (charge card with signup bonus and $100 annual airline credit ) then upgrade to a platinum 12 months later. I upgrade my PRG to a platinum over a year ago and just this past week decided to open another PRG, which will give me $100 airline credit this year and then another platinum in 12 months. It seems as though this upgrade method will allow one to obtain virtually unlimited platinum cards.

  5. RWHR says:

    Dan, so are you saying you can sign up for personal PRG every year and get bonus offer and then upgrade to platinum and sign up for another PRG the next day and repeat every year?

    • Dan says:

      yes, that’s the idea, except you can only obtain the signup bonus with your very first PRG. the subsequent PRGs are purely so you can get the $100/yr airline credit x2 then upgrade to a platinum in 12 months.

      I am actually waiting for my new PRG to come in the mail so that I can use my PRG’s referral link to open my wife’s PRG and get the referral bonus (i think this should work but not sure).

    • Dan says:

      I should also note that my new PRG was approved without a hard inquiry, just like the most of my 10 other charge cards in the past.

  6. Ty says:

    Any data points that suggest military are are less likely to be shutdown by chase for recent inquiries? I am at 7/24 as well as 7/6 which might as well be 7/3. And I just applied for the IHG 2 days ago (pending 30 days). I was gonna combine it with the Hyatt and be done with Chase but I didn’t want to push my luck. just found out about these benefits on the 4th of July. The IHG application doesn’t violate the 2/30 rule. The Hyatt app wouldn’t have violated either. From Chase, I currently have CSR, CF, and Slate within the 7 recent apps.

    • Ty says:

      I am the ^ this guy ^. Got approved on 03OCT for the IHG (9,000). Applied in mid September. This could be a data point if anyone ever ended up in this situation. Might have to ask for less credit because that puts me at $35,500 with Chase credit.

  7. Ty says:

    Anyone know of any datapoints that suggest Chase wouldn’t shutdown military who played by the rules but just had a lot of inquiries? 7 in 3 months

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