One Year Churning Plan

PLEASE SEE THE REVISED EDITION OF THE ONE YEAR CHURNING PLAN HERE

 

 

Disclaimer: Some links in the following post are referral links. I will get a bonus if you use the links. If you have found these posts helpful so far I would be very appreciative if you used my referral links. If you have not found them helpful you can sign up through American Express directly. Some of these referral links will provide you with a bonus that is greater than what I am receiving and greater than applying directly through American Express. I will never post anything that does not benefit you in any way or any product that I myself would not use or do not already have.

Update: this plan is being revised in light of the recent changes to the Business Platinum. Please stay tuned for the revised edition.

As mentioned in last week’s post, we will be going over a one year plan getting us enough points to go around the world in first class. I will provide a yearly timeline at the end of the post. Lets begin:

We will be sticking to the AMEX family only right now. In upcoming weeks we will go over other cards but today let’s stick to AMEX.

We will start by applying for American Express Business Platinum Card:

American Express Business Platinum Card

  • 75,000 Membership Rewards after minimum spend is met (only 40,000 MR without referral link)
  • $5,000 minimum spend in the first 90 days
  • $399 annual fee
  • 25,000 Membership Rewards per referral
  • 1.25 Membership Rewards per $1 spent
  • Lounge access to over 850 lounges worldwide
  • SPG Gold Status

From now on I will refer to Membership Rewards as MR.

If you go to amex.ca you will see that this card usually gives 40,000 MR upon approval. If you use the links provided, you will get 75,000 MR instead. An extra 35,000 MR. The reason we start with this card is because it gives 25,000 (MR) per referral. Remember from last week through AMEX you can self-refer to other cards (except Personal Gold) and get the referral points.

After $5,000 minimum spend we will have 81,250 MR because our $5,000 spend turns into 6,250 MR. Once the minimum spend is reached we get our 75,000 MR Welcome Bonus giving us the 81,250 MR.

On the same day we apply for the Business Platinum, to only have one credit hit, we will apply for the American Express Personal Gold Card:

American Express Personal Gold Card

  • 25,000 MR after minimum spend is met
  • $1,500 minimum spend in the first 90 days
  • $150 annual fee
  • 5,000 MR per referral
  • 2 MR per $1 spent on gas, groceries, drugstores, travel (flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises, etc)
  • 1 MR on all other purchases
  • 5,000 bonus MR when a supplementary card is added upon application

We will go with the Personal Gold next for a couple of reasons: One, the annual fee is lower after a pretty hefty one with our first card. Two, the minimum spend if significantly less and is another break after spending $5,000 in the last 90 days.

You will see that this card gives 5,000 MR if you add a supplementary user in the application. You can use anyone you want, it will not affect their credit and it’s free points. I highly recommend everyone add the user.

This card is also a good card to keep around for an everyday spend card when you are not working on the minimum spend of other cards as it earns 2 MR per $1 in a lot of different categories.

Unfortunately, you can no longer refer from Business Platinum to Personal Gold.

Let’s assume you only use this card at 2x retailers to hit your minimum spend. So you spend $1,500 all at 2x retailers. That gives us 3,000 MR. We now get our 25,000 welcome MR and if you added the supplementary user you got an extra 5,000. From this card alone we get 33,000 MR.

In total, between 2 cards, we are now at 114,250 MR. Enough for a business class trip to Europe. Not bad so far. Let’s keep going:

Next, we will apply for the American Express Business Gold Card:

American Express Business Gold Card

  • 40,000 MR after minimum spend is met (only 30,000 MR without referral link)
  • $5,000 minimum spend in the first 90 days
  • NO annual fee for the first year
  • 2 MR per $1 spent at 3 retailers of your choice (Click here to see which retailers you can choose from)
  • 1 MR per $1 spent everywhere else

Back to the $5,000 minimum spend cards, but this one has no annual fee for the first year which is a nice surprise.

We will assume you don’t spend any money at your 3 retailers for this card as some of the retailers are obscure and not everybody shops at them.

Once we hit our $5,000 minimum spend we get our 40,000 MR welcome bonus. We have spent $5,000 on the card giving us another 5,000 MR. So with this card we earned 70,000 MR including self-referral. Our total is now 184,250 MR. We have one card left.

Lastly, we will apply for the American Express Personal Platinum Card:

To use my referral link, click the link, scroll down to ‘Other Cards’ and click on “The Platinum Card”

American Express Personal Platinum Card

  • 60,000 MR after minimum spend is met (only 50,000 MR without referral link)
  • $3,000 minimum spend in the first 90 days
  • $699 annual fee
  • $200 annual travel credit
  • 1.25 MR per $1 spent
  • Free lounge access to over 850 lounges worldwide
  • SPG Gold Status

A $699 annual fee? Whoa! Let me put you at ease a little bit. Yes, it is a lot, but read the next line, $200 annual travel credit. Note the word ‘annual’, that means you get it once in the year you apply and then once again on January 1 the following year. That’s $400 in travel credit essentially making the annual fee only $299.

To use the travel credit you can book travel through American Express directly, they have amazing customer service and usually are very generous with hotel upgrades especially. Some people have had success in doing a little trick. You need to draw your ethical line accordingly, but you can book a refundable hotel room for months in the future, wait a few days, then cancel it and the refund will post as a statement credit. I suggest using the credit properly but you do whatever you want.

After our minimum spend is met, we will have 3,750 MR from meeting the minimum spend, 60,000 MR from the welcome bonus and 25,000 MR from referring ourselves from the Business Platinum, we are now at a total of 273,000 MR. Enough for 1 person to go around the world in first class with 60,000+ MR leftover. If we do this whole plan twice in one year, we will have a total of 571,000 MR not including any organic spending you have done on the cards or any friends and family you referred on your own.

Here is the timeline, you don’t have to use the exact dates but you get the idea:

January 2, 2018 – apply for Business Platinum and Personal Gold.

April 2, 2018 – apply for Business Gold and Personal Platinum (“The Platinum Card”)

May 2, 2018 – cancel Business Platinum

May 16, 2018 – cancel Personal Gold

July 2, 2018 – cancel Business Gold

July 16, 2018 – cancel Personal Platinum

September 2, 2018 – apply for Business Platinum and Personal Gold again

December 2, 2018 – apply for Business Gold and Personal Platinum (“The Platinum Card”) again.

This just a rough guideline. For example, if you cancel the Personal Platinum you’ll lose the ability to get the next $200 travel credit. That is why it is good to start applying for that card in the fall, get your $200 credit, then get the next $200 credit on January 1, use it, then cancel the card. You will have to adjust the above dates to work for you.

You can also be more aggressive than the above and reapply after 3 months, or less aggressive and reapply after 6 months. I usually like to wait at least 4 months as to not raise any suspicion.

To recap, we will have 571,000 MR after one year and will have only paid $1,696 out of pocket for these cards (assuming you got both $200 travel credits). That works out to 0.3 cents per point (cpp). For reference, most redemptions you will make will be around 2 cpp so paying only 0.3cpp is incredible. This is why welcome bonuses are the best way to get points.

Hopefully, this post has been helpful and you are well on your way to understanding how valuable this can be for your travel dreams.

Next week we will go over valuable non-AMEX cards that you can churn.

Never stop adventuring!

13 thoughts on “One Year Churning Plan

  1. johnm says:

    Is there any reason you haven’t considered the Amex SPG personal and business cards? SPG points transfer to Aeroplan 1:1 or 1:1.25. I also like them for the Marriott Hotel + Air packages.

    Like

    • ennsy says:

      Yes that is our next post called “The Other AMEX Cards” coming in the new year after this Saturday’s coming “The Non-AMEX cards”. They’re definitely very good cards that deserve a mention. You aren’t the first person to mention this to us. Thanks for reading!

      Like

  2. Pingback: The Non-AMEX Cards
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  4. Chris says:

    I am new to churning, will start my first rotation mid-year. Appreciate your article and have a few questions.

    Interested to her why you are not considering the Amex Personal Gold through Perkopolis. FYF v $150 and lower max spend ($500? V $1500).

    Can you confirm how long you hold each card and the time you wait to reapply? It would appear you are suggesting 3-4 months hold. The majority of recommendations I have read is min 6 month hold, wait min 3 months, but 6 is recommended before reapplying.

    On the Persaonzl Plat you say “Note the word ‘annual’, that means you get it once in the year you apply and then once again on January 1 the following year. That’s $400 in travel credit essentially making the annual fee only $299” – I have a number of data points on RFD and Reddit that would indicate 2x credit is YMMV. In your post if sounds matter of fact. I don’t believe the rejections were due to clawbacks on people trying the cancellable booking. Can you share your approach to getting the 2x credit each time?

    Cheers

    Like

    • ennsy says:

      Hey Chris,

      Thanks for reading.

      The Perkopolis offer is tenchnically not public. It’s only for people with Perkopolis accounts, which is why people who don’t have an account, like ourselves, have a hard time using their offers. Yes, there are ways around it but for the general public the most available public offer is the one listed in the article. Of course, if someone has the Perkopolis offer it is far and away the best offer.

      Personally, we hold for about 3 months then we cancel and wait a minimum of 3, usually 4 months before reapplying. We got a little bit lazy on a couple and held closer to 12 months, like our Business Gold but that is because we use Plastiq a lot and get 2x points through them. We also had a lot of Biz Plat referrals which is why we held that card longer also.

      For the annual credit on the Personal Plat we haven’t seen any DPs on people not getting the second one in early January. If you search through the Churning Canada subreddit and go back to early January you will see lots of people getting their credit a second time within the first week or so in January.

      Hope that help!

      ANE

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      • Chris says:

        Thank-you for your response. Looking forward to following your blog. Nice you here about different approaches and personal experiences for Canadians.

        Like

  5. Syed says:

    Hey,
    Great article. I’ve already signed up for the Business Platinum, Business Gold and Personal Gold in the past and just booked my first mini-RTW. Looking forward to doing it again but I thought that he AMEX cards were not churnable and that you only get the signup bonus once. Have you had a different experience? I see that you’ve advised readers to apply again after a few months.

    Like

  6. Gurcharan S says:

    Great write up! I’ve been churning thru a few AMEX cards over the years but not with any sort of strategy like you’ve laid out. Im currently at month 11 with the Gold Biz and wondering what I should do next. Could I apply for Biz Platinum and collect the bonuses and start the process as you’ve outlined? Or do I start in the middle of your plan and go for Personal Platinum?

    Like

    • ennsy says:

      Hey Gurcharan!

      Thanks for reading and the kind words. I would cancel the Biz Gold at this point before the annual fee hits. If it is your only AMEX card you have active you’ll have to either transfer the points to Aeroplan or have another AMEX active.

      We suggest starting the plan right now. Get the Biz Plat and go through the plan from start to finish. Don’t forget to refer yourself from Biz Gold to Biz Plat. Once your referral points post on the Biz Gold, and hopefully before the annual fee hits, cancel it and start the plan from the beginning.

      Also, don’t forget to keep one card active a month or so longer to keep your points. Or, like we said earlier, transfer them to Aeroplan or whatever program you wish.

      Thanks for reading, let us know if you have anymore questions.

      Like

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