The Credit Card Rewards Game

Old Mar 10, 16, 8:01 pm
  #1  
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The Credit Card Rewards Game

It seems like the days of churning are slowly coming to an end after changes like the AMEX One Bonus Per Lifetime and Chase 5/24 rules. It's now becoming more important about which cards to keep long term. Everyone has different priorities when it comes to accumulating rewards, but I think diversification is really important nowadays.

I currently earn points in 3 main flexible rewards programs (Membership Rewards, Thank You Rewards, and Ultimate Rewards) and 2 cash back programs (No Hassle Rewards and Sallie Mae Rewards). I think a really good strategy in today's changing financial world is to subsidize annual fee accounts (Chase Sapphire Preferred and Citi Prestige in my case) with cash earned from strictly cash back programs. This is of course, if you really need and use the benefits of the annual fee cards. That way, the rewards from flexible rewards programs can be used for your choice of airline, hotel, or cash options. Ideally, the cash back from cash back only cards should match or exceed the total annual fees paid so flexible rewards would be pure profit.

Any thoughts or opinions ?
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Old Mar 12, 16, 1:53 am
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Originally Posted by steve4 View Post
Any thoughts or opinions ?
Churning is not dead. It simply needs planning.
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Old Mar 12, 16, 5:42 am
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
Quote:





Originally Posted by steve4


Any thoughts or opinions ?




Churning is not dead. It simply needs planning.
+1 (thus who plan are rewarded)
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Old Mar 12, 16, 6:40 am
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
Churning is not dead. It simply needs planning.
Good point.
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Old Mar 12, 16, 12:06 pm
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Don't confuse "churning" with "churning speed". Churning Amex carsd once seven years (Amex "lifetime" is really about 7 years) is still churning. Churning Citi cards every 18ish months is still churning.

So I wouldn't say churning is dead, but it might be valid to say churning is getting slowed down.

Plus no one other than (possibly) Chase is yet stopping you from applying for multiple cards that earn the same thing (multiple cards that earn AA miles or TYP points at Citi, multiple cards that earn MR points or Delta miles at Amex, etc.)
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Old Jul 25, 16, 12:01 am
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I agree. The miles and points game is dying a miserable death. I only wish I had started this hobby earlier, when one could accrue millions of miles over and over again.
I really hope that this is just a phase the credit card companies are going through, and that the rules will eventually be restored to the way they were.
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Old Jul 25, 16, 12:45 am
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Originally Posted by joer1212 View Post
The miles and points game is dying a miserable death.
No. Most people are simply not smart enough to handle this game.
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Old Jul 25, 16, 2:00 am
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
No. Most people are simply not smart enough to handle this game.
I am now ineligible for ALL Chase credit cards because of the 5/24 rule. So, no miles or points there.

I am also ineligible for virtually all American Express cards, due to the 'one bonus per lifetime' rule. So, no miles or points from there either.

That only leaves Bank of America and Citibank. I expect these to soon impose their own strict rules that will completely kill the rewards game for me and many others.

I'm not being sarcastic, but do you know something that I don't? Because, for the life of me, I cannot find a way around these onerous new rules.

Last edited by joer1212; Jul 25, 16 at 2:09 am
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Old Jul 25, 16, 5:44 am
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Originally Posted by joer1212 View Post
I'm not being sarcastic, but do you know something that I don't?
Yes - I know the need of self-discipline to stay under the radar.

Churning can be an endless game if you play it right. Apparently, you did not.

Originally Posted by joer1212 View Post
Because, for the life of me, I cannot find a way around these onerous new rules.
You are not looking ways to go around the rules. You are looking ways to break the rules.
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Old Jul 25, 16, 12:52 pm
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
Churning can be an endless game if you play it right. Apparently, you did not.
"Endless", yes, but at what frequency? Certainly not nearly as frequently as before, and not enough to keep my mileage balances replenished.

Originally Posted by garykung View Post
You are not looking ways to go around the rules. You are looking ways to break the rules.
Sorry, too vague. Sounds like a message I would get in a fortune cookie.
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Old Jul 25, 16, 5:05 pm
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Originally Posted by joer1212 View Post
"Endless", yes, but at what frequency? Certainly not nearly as frequently as before, and not enough to keep my mileage balances replenished.
There is always a trade off.

Originally Posted by joer1212 View Post
Sorry, too vague. Sounds like a message I would get in a fortune cookie.
It is not vague. In fact, many want the same thing that those rules disappeared. Hence, breaking it.
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Old Jul 25, 16, 5:54 pm
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[QUOTE]
Originally Posted by garykung View Post
There is always a trade off.
So, then it's not that I didn't "play the game right", it's that the game has fundamentally changed for the worse, no matter how it's played.

Last edited by joer1212; Jul 25, 16 at 9:32 pm
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Old Jul 26, 16, 12:19 am
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It's true that Chase's 5/24 thing is a negative for churning as is Amex's once in a lifetime thing. But, I suspect that both will be short lived.

There is great pressure on the marketing depts. at card companies to push out the plastic. If apps drop off policies are likely to change.

I've seen several cycles of depression on FT about churning. But, so far, the worm has always turned.
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Old Jul 26, 16, 11:09 am
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Originally Posted by biggestbopper View Post
It's true that Chase's 5/24 thing is a negative for churning as is Amex's once in a lifetime thing. But, I suspect that both will be short lived.

There is great pressure on the marketing depts. at card companies to push out the plastic. If apps drop off policies are likely to change.

I've seen several cycles of depression on FT about churning. But, so far, the worm has always turned.
Let's hope you're right.
By the way, have the credit card rules ever been this strict before?
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Old Jul 26, 16, 12:12 pm
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There are many reports of targeted exceptions to the American Express once-in-a-lifetime practice. There isn't any known way to attract a targeted offer, BUT I would think that if your American Express history showed that you were a desirable customer (using the card on a regular basis for far more than the required minimum spend) it would increase your chances.
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