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5 Tips To Churn Your Way To Free Travel

5 Tips To Churn Your Way To Free Travel

Churning is the credit card strategy the banks don’t want you to know about. In fact, it’s so effective, banks have been setting up new rules year after to year to prevent gamers from exploiting the opportunity. The good news is, travel hackers are still ahead of the banks, and we’ll share their secrets.

Churning is simply the strategy whereby you open a credit card, collect welcome bonus miles, use them for a free flight and either close or stop using the credit card. You then do the same thing over and over again. That’s right, you get multiple free flights every year just by signing-up for new credit cards.

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Some people needlessly spend dollar after dollar, day after day, year after year, trying to earn enough points from their credit cards for a free flight. That strategy is needlessly long and inefficient. Why spend $50,000 to get 50,000 miles, when you can get them just by signing-up for a new credit card?

Getting new credit cards is the fastest and cheapest way to exploit credit card incentive offers. While many other industries have high switching costs (mobile you may have a contract, insurance you may have a 1 year term, mortgage you may have a pre-payment penalty), getting a new credit card is easy. In fact, you don’t even have to get rid of your old one. Some people carry over 40 active credit cards! Here’s how to churn your way to free flights.

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1. Find a Credit Card With A Free Flight Welcome Bonus

There are a ton of credit cards that offer sign-up bonuses offering free flights. However, not all bonuses are created equal. For example, some bonuses are large enough for return airfare to anywhere in North America, others are only good for a short-haul flight. Do a little research in advance to figure out the best opportunities.

2. Watch Out For Minimum Spending Requirements

Credit card issuers got wise to churning years ago. As a result, many require that you spend a minimum amount on your credit card within the first 3 months to become eligible for the welcome bonus. Make sure you find out what threshold you have to meet, if any, to become eligible to receive the bonus.

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If the minimum spend requirement exceeds your budget, you may want to consider manufacturing your spend by pulling some of your future expenses forward by purchasing gift cards for gas or groceries. For example, if you’re $400 short of meeting your $1,500 spend requirement, buy $400 of gas and grocery gift cards you know you’ll use the following month.

3. Focus on First Year Free (FYF) Offers

To make churning really profitable, focus on credit cards that waive the first year annual fee—that way the flight is truly free. Before the end of the first year, simply cancel your card to avoid the annual fee.

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That said, there are some cards that never waive their annual fee and are still worth churning. Why? So long as the welcome bonus is worth more than the annual fee, then it’s profitable to churn. That said, with so many first year free offers in the marketplace, you’re best off focusing on those first.

4. Time It Right

Credit card issuers provide different sized welcome bonuses throughout the year. Familiarize yourself with their offers so that when that too good to be true bonus becomes available, you’re ready to pounce. The same issuer can double the size of a welcome bonus from one month to the next, so it pays to keep yourself informed of the best credit card deals in the marketplace.

5. Rinse, Wash, Repeat

After you’ve done it once, do it over and over again. You don’t want to apply for too many cards at the same time, as your credit score will suffer. However, if your credit score is strong to begin with, applying for a new credit card 3-4 times a year is very doable. You can also monitor your credit score throughout the year to ensure you’re not being overly aggressive.

Featured photo credit: ThePixelman/Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Marc Felgar

Marc Felgar is an aging, health & senior care expert focused on improving the lives of mature adults.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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