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My Recent Churn, Where I Debunk A Bit of Common Wisdom about Barclay Cards

I got a handful of credit cards for my wife and I my wife and me yesterday and, as always, I start with this caveat: everyone’s card needs are different. I share this information to show what my thinking was rather than (in most cases) to suggest a specific card for you. As I often mention, I help people plan their card churns (free!) — if you’re interested fill out the short form on this page.

Let’s start with rule 1: I see churning as a long game. You can get a ton of cards in any churn – people have gotten 10 or more. But I think about this conservatively: I’ve been churning cards for a few years, and my credit score is roughly where it was when I started (if not slightly higher). I err on the side of fewer cards each churn, and I think you should too.

With that out of the way, here are the cards I got, and why.

The basic strategy was that I have gotten a bunch of Chase personal cards already, so I thought I’d take a bit of a breather there. I know there are a bunch of hotel cards out there that I haven’t gotten (Hyatt, Marriott, Fairmont) but I don’t have any trips coming up where I need hotel points, so I figured I’ll go after them later. (I also have a bit of a different opinion than many about hotels: After a certain level, I don’t really care where I stay. I know that people go on and on about the Hyatt Paris Vendome and whatever, but honestly I’d prefer to rent an apartment through Air BnB. Or if I’m going to get a hotel, I’m happy to Priceline a 4-star place. I know that makes me an outlier in the miles & points world, but there ya go.)

Here’s where we ended up:

Me:

BARCLAYS ARRIVAL CARD (LINK)
I haven’t written anything about this card, but the basic deal is this: After spending $3,000 in 3 months you’ll get “40,000 bonus miles” which is equal to a $400 credit when you redeem those points to pay off travel spend that you’ve put on the card (it’s $200 if you use it toward non-travel spend). You’ll also get 10% of the points back when you redeem, which is why some people say it’s $440 in travel credits. The $89 annual fee is waived the first year. There’s a version with no annual fee, but it only gets you $200 in travel credits. If you’re a churner there’s no reason to get this since the annual fee card waives the fee in year 1.

I liked this card because with my upcoming Hawaii trip my $400 credit will cover my car rental (a convertible!), while my wife’s $400 credit will cover the one-way inter-island flight the 4 of us are taking.

My wife and I had both applied (and received) US Airways cards 3 months ago. The common wisdom about Barclay cards is that you have to wait 6 months to get them (but if you bundle a bunch of apps in one day, you’ll be approved for all of them). Well, apparently that is not true. After applying for the Arrival card I called the Barclays Reconsideration Line at (866)408-4064, where I spoke with a very nice gentleman who asked a few questions about my US Airways card (I see you haven’t used it much, but it’s new; your credit is good; what’s your income; how long have you had your job), and lo and behold I was approved for a 2nd Barclay card 3 months after the first one. My wife did the same (despite having a ding on her credit report due to my being a moron), and they approved her after she assured them that the $6 delinquency was due to her husband being a moron.

I believe the short version is this: Barclays will not AUTOMATICALLY approve you if you apply for 2 cards in less than 6 months, but if you have good credit they will give you the card.

UNITED EXPLORER BUSINESS CARD (Log in to your United account, then go to this LINK).

1) This will sound nutty, but once you’re signed in and click on that link, then click on the Explorer Business Card.

2) Go back to the previous page, then click on it again (I know, this sounds crazy).

3) Click on MILEAGE PLUS CLUB BUSINESS CARD (yes, the CLUB card).

4) Finally, click on MILEAGEPLUS EXPLORER BUSINESS CARD. For some reason, the offer then changes to be 50,000 miles. Voila! (There’s probably an easier way to do that, but I don’t know what it is – if you do, let me know and I’ll update).

I’m getting it for the 50,000 miles (targeted) when I spend $2,000 in 3 months. The first year fee ($95) is waived.

AMERICAN AIRLINES PLATINUM VISA (LINK)
It’s 50,000 miles after $3,000 spend in 3 months, with the first year fee waived.

Here’s the most up-to-date low-down on AA card churning (per this thread):
You can get 2 cards in 65 days, but the 2 applications have to be spaced at least a week apart (people say 8 days). You can apply for the same card twice (the old two-browser-trick no longer works). Instead, you have to apply 8 days apart. You can get a business card once every 90 days. So I got this card now, and in a week I’ll get the same card again. On my next churn I’ll get the business version.

MY WIFE:
Did basically the same churn, though because of my moronic forgetting to pay a $6 bill of hers last year, I’ve been more conservative and I skipped the United Business card this time (on what planet is getting 4 credit cards in a week conservative?)

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23 Comments.

  1. Did you get automatically approved for the chase Biz card? I found they asked me a ton of Qs last time…

    • When this happened, was it you calling them out of impatience or did they call you?

      I found interestingly that if I just wait they approve me. Once I applied for Ink plus for my wife and me. I called for myself and they asked a bunch of questions and denied me because ‘we would like to see you use your cards more’. Did not call for my wife and she got approved (she uses her cards less than me and generally has the exact same credit file as me).
      A few months later I applied again and got approved without calling (took 2-3 weeks).

  2. And couldnt you find cheap award tickets for interisland flights? I think I “paid” just 5K points for one way flights on HA when I did a hop a year or so ago.

    • I was automatically approved for the Chase Biz (as was my wife), but I know that Chase has asked some people a LOT of questions about their business.

      I don’t have any Hawaiian miles left (transferred to Hilton for the Grand Wailea stays). I could move some SPG points over there, but I’d rather save those points. Am I crazy to use the Barclays credit for the $80 flights?

  3. Jared,

    About the AA Citi card churn – I’m mixed up.

    I can get 2 cards in 65 days but…you also say to hold any card for a year so the banks don’t see you doing the churn.

    So get two cards 65 days apart and hold them for a year – your comments make me think I have this wrong.

    Al

  4. Was thinking about doing something similar on my next round, and was wondering if Citi will approve the 2nd one after applying for 3-4 the week before. Can you post an update when you apply for the 2nd one? Thanks!

  5. Jared,

    Nice post! I think to a point you are right in saying they don’t care how many aa cards you have. However, they will eventually reach a point where they will no longer extend you credit (I.e. you’ve reached your maximum credit that will be extended from ______ bank).

    • That’s a great point of clarification – at some point they won’t extend you more credit. But if you’re not going nuts, and closing the cards after 11 months, you should be fine.

  6. I’m completely with you re hotel cards, Priceline or a Paris apartment do quite well for me. I just need the miles to get where I’m going – accommodations are generally easy. However, I do like my priority club and club carlson cards – getting a good annual return is worth the churn.

  7. “I got a handful of cards for my wife and I yesterday…”

    Um, let’s try “for my wife and me” next time.

  8. can chase biz cards be used for personal spend. i heard the t&c says no.

  9. hi jared, is the united explorer card trick still working? i am assuming no since i just tried it and it doesn’t work for me? thanks.

    i am getting 30k while bf has been getting repeated 50k offers in the mail and online when he logs in.

    • Hi – it’s still working (my wife’s account still shows 50k). You followed the steps? Clicked the link. Closed that browser. Clicked the same link again. Clicked “mileage plus club business card”. Then clicked back to “mileage plus explorer card”?

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