Welcome to my new Family Travel Miles & Points blog in an already saturated Family Travel Miles & Points blog world!
I’m starting off with a doozy of a post. But first, a brief history.
I started collecting airline miles back in 2002 when I was working for Delta Air Lines. They offered the new SkyMiles credit card with no annual fee to employees. Sure, why not? I used that card, and only that card, for the next 9 years. Fast forward to 2014 and I am sitting on over 300,000 (almost worthless) Delta SkyMiles (aka SkyPesos). Do as I say, people! Do not do as I do! DO NOT HOARD MILES! Earn ’em and burn ’em. We’ll talk more about Delta later.
A short time after my son was born, I realized that it was going to be harder to travel cheaply when I had to buy that 3rd ticket. So I started getting some mileage earning credit cards. I started with United and American. And I kept those cards for a year or two. I didn’t start “churning” cards until about 2 years ago. I was scared of hurting my credit and scared of getting declined. We took some great trips on miles over the last 4 or 5 years. We went to Morocco, Paris, Brussels, Turks & Caicos (twice), Cancun, California, and Arizona. (and I STILL have 300,000 SkyMiles)
What is churning? It is basically finding 2 or 3 (or 6) credit cards that offer a sign-up bonus you are interested in. You apply for all of them (in one day), spend the amount required to get the sign up bonus and then stop using them and cancel before you have to pay an annual fee. Sounds simple enough, right? It is. But it can also be very dangerous if not done correctly. Hopefully within the next week I will organize my “Where do I start” section and map out every step you need to take if you want to try this. I am a very conservative churner compared to most Miles & Points bloggers. But I think I have just turned a corner.
Can I spend $10,000 in 3 months?
Of course I can! Most credit cards have pretty modest spend requirements to get the sign up bonus. Maybe $1000 in the first 3 months or sometimes you get lucky and they give it to you after the first purchase. One and done! But there are a few cards out there that have a very high spend requirement and a high annual fee, but give you the sweetest rewards.
It was a couple weeks ago that this little nugget popped up on my computer screen.
Oh yes. 100,000 miles in one of the best programs out there. But look at the small print “after you make $10,000 in purchases in the first 3 months”. Yikes! But look – they will give you a $200 statement credit! Yay! Oh no, there is an annual fee of $450 that is Not Waived for the first year. (as many are) Yikes! Another Bonus, Admiral’s Club membership for a year! Yay!
Offers like that do not come along every day. In fact, if you Google “Citibank American Executive”, it will take you to an application page that offers you only 30,000 miles. Many times they will have an offer for 60,000 miles. But this is 100,000 miles! How could I pass this up?
Fear. That’s how. If I could not meet that $10,000 spend within 3 months, it would all be for naught. But after doing some math, I figured out that I COULD do it. It will take some effort, some trips to Wal-Mart (ugh) and some careful Manufactured Spending (a post on that coming soon! I promise) But I think I can do it!
The $450 annual fee will be partially covered by the $200 statement credit. If I purchased 100,000 miles from American Airlines, that would cost around $1,800. That is not a good deal. I am paying $250 for 100,000 AA miles and That is a Very Good Deal.
And then there’s the lounge access.
A one year membership to the American Airlines Admiral’s Club costs $500 for a basic Frequent Flyer member. To be honest, I have never been in an airport lounge before. But I know they offer free drinks, snacks and wifi. Some even have showers and children’s areas. That’s good enough for me!
The card has other benefits as well:
- 2 miles for every $1 spent on American Airlines
- Priority boarding and check in
- Free checked bag
- No foreign transaction fees
If you are new to collecting miles and points, I DO NOT recommend getting this card. Start off small with a regular American Airlines Citibank card with a low spend requirement. Don’t get in over your head! You likely won’t get out.
However, if you have been playing for awhile, I suggest going for it if you think you can meet the spend. You may be able to apply even if you already have another American Citi card. I opened this card in Hubby’s name and he just cancelled his previous AA card a few months ago. He was approved after a brief call to Citi to verify his information.
Here is the link. Tread carefully.
Good luck! If you like this post, please share it!