Home > Credit Cards > Do I Have What It Takes To Be a Big Time Credit Card Churner?

About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. I love credit card churning =) We both recently churned the Barclay Card for $400 worth of travel each! Not sure what we’re doing next.

  2. I’ve never personally never done credit card churning but it seems like a lot of people are on to it. I guess if you are going to be spending that amount any way it makes sense to make some money from it. I just tend to think that people will go overboard and spend more then they normally would just to get those points.

    • I think it would totally be a temptation. I would not sign up for a $5000 spend if I wasn’t planning on big expenses already.

  3. I haven’t been using my rewards card much lately. I am worried I’ll charge too much and not be able to pay it back. I like the idea of churning credit cards but I do think at times it can be too time consuming. Kind of like couponing.

    • I think both can become over the top if you get carried away. It’s not really worth it if you spend all you time looking for deals.

  4. I really want to try a new card to churn. Currently I just use the same card I’ve had for a while for rewards but I should try something new to get the most from a card.

  5. That’s awesome, I would be totally addicted too. Who doesn’t love a free holiday! The gift card was a brilliant move.

  6. Hmmm that does sound like a lot of work, but there are worse things you can do with your time. Credit card churning is something I really want to look into, and I have heard some really good success stories from people. I guess I’ll just have to try it myself sometime and see how it goes!

  7. As you know, we’ve (well I ) have become addicted to earning rewards points. Thankfully we did not have to do any crazy spending and came at a time where we had a lot of expenses coming anyway. My wife has actually asked me a few times if we’re “done” yet, Lol! However, that trip in January will be so worth it!

  8. Debt and the Girl

    Credit card rewards can be so awesome. As long as you pay your monthly balance, then you can really profit from cards. I have an Amex Blue Cash card and I get cash back every month. I love it!

  9. The ID theft incidents have put a cramp in some of our plans to credit card churn this year, and I don’t want to complicate matters until I’m 100% sure there’s no financial fall-out.

  10. I am nervous about having too many cards open, so would rather stick to a few rewards cards we use on regular basis – usually just 3 for different types of stores. And even that confuses my husband sometimes :-). We get about $2500 cash back a year and that’s good enough for us

    I had to smile a bit though when you said the trip was going to be crazy expensive and then the tickets were $1000, I was thinking in different terms. Our families live in Europe, in 2 different countries (no direct flights to any of those locations), so each time we go even with the most creative and flexible booking it’s $6000+ for us and the 2 kids. At least we’ve agreed that we’ll visit only every second year.

    • The tickets ended up being just over $1500. I guess I should rethink crazy expensive, but it seems crazy to pay that much for a two and a half hour flight. I’m very jealous of people who live near hubs and can get $200 round trip tickets to just about any major city in the US. If we had to travel abroad, that would surely be crazy expensive and we certainly couldn’t do it twice a year!

  11. I’m starting to get into it a lot more, but I have a hard time knowing which things I should buy with which cards to get the max benefit. I did just sign up with a Hyatt card where you get two free nights after spending 1k, which I hope to go towards my stay at Fincon. If not I guess some other kind of travel, but I mostly use my southwest credit card for purchases since I think I’ve put that one to good use. But I wonder if I’m maximizing my spending and if there is another card I should be using. It’s a whole new ballgame out there for this kind of stuff! And if you’re good at it, like Jake at Iheartbudgets, you could get a whole lot for free!

  12. That was a smart idea to get the Southwest gift cards, although I’m sorry it didn’t go quite as smoothly as you wanted! I absolutely love and enjoy reward cards but I don’t actively churn – open additional cards just for the reward points. I think if you do it right it can be incredibly lucrative but as you said, you have to only buy things you would anyway and pay off the bill every month. Credit cards can be a bit like gambling or any addiction. Some people can use them as a tool while others will fall back into old habits. I guess you just need to know which side you fall on.

  13. I’ve never actually ventured down this route, perhaps because the rewards don’t seem as good over here in the UK. I haven’t checked in a while though, maybe it’s time to take another look.

    • I wonder why rewards would be different. Are people in the UK less likely to be influenced by rewards and if so, why would that be?

  14. I applied and received a business and personal credit card for my wife and me. Sure, I accumulated a lot of miles, but it was a nightmare to manage. I do it occasionally to rack up the miles for overseas trips.

    • It does seem like lots to keep up with the business and personal ones. At least with Chase you can transfer all the points to the same account.

  15. I know this is a valid strategy many use to earn reward points. Seems like it works from the many posts I’ve read about it. I don’t use credit cards, nor do I think I would want to put in the time to churn them over and over again.

    • It does feel like you might need some sort of secretary to keep it all straight! I believe there are websites that can do that for you, but I haven’t wanted to take the time to use one of those.

  16. I use credit cards that are paid off monthly in full for the points, but I do not spend my time looking for outlets to increase my points unless there is an obvious and non-time consuming opportunity to. Life is complicated enough as it is, and my brain is cluttered as is.

    • My brain was pretty cluttered after trying to use 11 different gift cards on four reservations. I won’t head down that road again unless someone is giving me a free trip to Paris or something.

  17. I got into churning just last year. $5,000 is a bit tough to get to…but I guess buying that amount of gift cards is tough. Maybe buy prepaid cards where you can use it as cash to avoid the problem with booking the flight with gift cards. Another possibility to meet the spend requirement is to use Amazon Payments, but there is a $1000 a month limit. I also pay my phone bills and put other spending on the card.

    • I know there are tons of workarounds to hit the monthly spend. I just don’t know if I have the energy to pursue them at this point.

  18. Hi Kim! Do you keep these reward cards open or close them after a while? I have a friend that keeps all of them open (those that have no annual fee). He said it doesn’t affect his credit.


    • I really only started this hobby after we paid off all our credit card debt last fall, so I’m not quite at the one year mark yet. I think every card you apply for takes about 5 points off your credit score, but it goes back up within about 6 weeks. I will likely cancel the ones with an annual fee unless it’s something that is worth the fee, like I think the Ink Bold card will be. I think as long as you have more than one card with pretty high limits, cancelling one or two doesn’t do much. If you only have one or two cards, it would likely lower the score. I don’t plan to apply for a loan anytime soon if ever. If you do need to finance something, I would not apply for any new cards for two years beforehand.

  19. Ugh, too much stress for me. Maybe I’ll think differently when we have enough cash to go on vacation. 🙂

  20. I love this idea of credit card churning, but I’m not sure I’m disciplined enough for it yet, it’s going to take some practice. I love that you locked up a cash register! It makes me feel a little better that my movie gift certificates confused the kid at the window and he had to re-do my transaction three times, holding up a blockbuster movie on opening week Friday night! So you aren’t quite alone!

  21. Although dangerous for people in debt (or with a propensity to get into debt) credit card churning can be a great way to effectively reduce expenditure. Also, if you keep them opening, they improve your credit rating should you ever need it.

    The credit card companies are fighting hard for your custom – why not profit from it a little?

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