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Earning Credit Card Points for Travel - Please Comment on My Action Plan

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  • Jul 8th, 2020 8:25 am
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Nov 30, 2017
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Earning Credit Card Points for Travel - Please Comment on My Action Plan

I’m new to churning but not very active, so I want to seek your advice.

When travel is permitted again, I want to bring my parents and wife to Vancouver and Europe on points. Partially because those are places they always wanted to go, partially because I am also trying to get my wife on board to the credit card game. My wife is not very convinced right now, so I hope she will be converted after taking her around with hotel and flights mostly paid for with points.

I have applied for the Amex Platinum and RBC Avion and received the sign up bonus for the first time recently. I had the TD aeroplan VI last year so I have some aeroplan miles, just product switched to cash back since FYF is up.

With the expected devaluation of aeroplan, I will be using all the MR for statement credit during the double double event instead of transferring to Aeroplan, then churn on other Amex and possibly US credit cards with Amex international transfer.

As for my Avion, I’ll convert the points to Avios when a bonus event come up. I’ll also get the HSBC world elite for their 3% on travel expenses. Do you think that’s the best plan or would you have other suggestions?

Is there anything else I can do to get hotel points beside getting the Amex Hilton Aspire card? Thank you in advance everyone!
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RichardMan wrote: I’m new to churning but not very active, so I want to seek your advice.

When travel is permitted again, I want to bring my parents and wife to Vancouver and Europe on points. Partially because those are places they always wanted to go, partially because I am also trying to get my wife on board to the credit card game. My wife is not very convinced right now, so I hope she will be converted after taking her around with hotel and flights mostly paid for with points.

I have applied for the Amex Platinum and RBC Avion and received the sign up bonus for the first time recently. I had the TD aeroplan VI last year so I have some aeroplan miles, just product switched to cash back since FYF is up.

With the expected devaluation of aeroplan, I will be using all the MR for statement credit during the double double event instead of transferring to Aeroplan, then churn on other Amex and possibly US credit cards with Amex international transfer.

As for my Avion, I’ll convert the points to Avios when a bonus event come up. I’ll also get the HSBC world elite for their 3% on travel expenses. Do you think that’s the best plan or would you have other suggestions?

Is there anything else I can do to get hotel points beside getting the Amex Hilton Aspire card? Thank you in advance everyone!
  1. churn all the things?
  2. MBNA Best Western
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titaniumtux wrote:
  1. churn all the things?
  2. MBNA Best Western
There hasn't been a MBNA BW churn opportunity for about 2-3 years now right? I miss those 60k pts bonuses.
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Apr 19, 2017
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I personally think their will be a massive shakeup in the points market over the next 12 months.

I was about to start on the churning train and am very interested in your journey.
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RichardMan wrote: [snip]

Is there anything else I can do to get hotel points beside getting the Amex Hilton Aspire card? Thank you in advance everyone!
Bonvoy points are the easiest obtainable hotel points in Canada. The Amex Bonvoy and business Bonvoy will net you at least 106k Bonvoy points for $3k MSR. If you can somehow max out the 5x multiplier on the Cobalt, that will net you another 180k at least. And you can always transfer from any Amex MR earning card at 1:1.2 if you need to.

If you plan on staying at Hilton properties, then yes, the Amex U.S. Hilton cards (HHonors, Surpass, Business, Aspire) are the ones to sign up for. As for the Aspire, instant Diamond status is nice (as it gives you executive lounge access), but keep in mind that you would need to find a way to somehow use the resort credit and/or the airline incidental credit to make it worthwhile.
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RichardMan wrote: I have applied for the Amex Platinum ... I will be using all the MR for statement credit during the double double event ... then churn on other Amex and possibly US credit cards with Amex international transfer.
Churning Amex is risky business these days.

You risk having your WB clawed back, or even worse having all of your MR's confiscated and your accounts closed.
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It's hard to comment on your action plan without knowing how much money you can put through those cards. You have to put through quite a bit just to recoup the card fees, before you have any benefit. And the churning options are an unknown. I am with your wife for now.

Consider no fee cards with the best cash rewards you can get and put all the fee savings and reward money into a hypothetical savings account. You will have money you can apply anytime for any trip. It is hard to beat that strategy by paying fees and chasing rewards, for a middle income earner.
Last edited by Dealmaker1945 on Jul 4th, 2020 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RichardMan wrote: I want to bring my parents and wife to Vancouver and Europe on points ... My wife is not very convinced right now, so I hope she will be converted after taking her around with hotel and flights mostly paid for with points.
.
Dealmaker1945 wrote: I am with your wife for now.
Hehe, yeah.

Having goals is a good thing. But you have to learn to crawl, before you can walk.

A round-trip overseas family vacation for FOUR travelers (self, wife, and parents) to Europe ... with a side-trip to Vancouver along the way ... with BOTH hotels and flights predominately paid for with points?

That's certainly ambitious.
Last edited by banker8 on Jul 4th, 2020 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Dealmaker1945 wrote: It's hard to comment on your action plan without knowing how much money you can put through those cards. You have to put through quite a bit just to recoup the card fees. And the churning options are an unknown. I am with your wife for now.

Consider no fee cards with the best cash rewards you can get and put all the fee savings and reward money into a hypothetical savings account. You will have money you can apply anytime for any trip. It is hard to beat that strategy by paying fees and chasing rewards, for a middle income earner.
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@RichardMan
You'll need a time machine to make your goal realizable (at nearly $0 annual fees anyways).

You and your wife, were me and my wife, when I started to play the points game. When TD became Aeroplan's primary CC partner back in mid-2014, it was raining down with (nearly) free travel points from most FIs, and we made off like bandits with barrels full of goodies. My wife wasn't convinced at the start but eventually, especially after our first round the world trip in business class and many free hotel stays, she joined in the game and it mushroomed into 1-2 Biz/First class Earth-hoppers each year ever since.

Back to you. It would make things significantly easier if you could get your wife to help. However, even if she did join it will be difficult to get your family of 4 to Europe, especially if using Aeroplans. It usually won't work out, value-wise. And if you DO want to go through with your plan, you'll have to devote a lot of time and energy to make it work. It's just not as easy as the bloggers with their affiliated-links, would like to make you think it is.

I don't have good advice for you, because I've been dialing-down for the past few years. But be aware that you'll have to invest a lot more time and strategy in today's points game, to get satisfactory results.

OTOH, if you're able to put $100K - $500K of spending on your cards, then that's a different story. Which is not my case, thus I had to play the game. Factoring in that many/most opportunities will incur an annual fee, dilutes my interest to keep playing. Is it worth to pay an annual fee? Of course, you'll still come out ahead, but put that into your valuation and weigh it against your efforts.

As for the Avion to Avios conversion promo, aren't we due for one already, in 2020? They usually have an event in the Spring and then in the Fall. The last one was great, 50% during Dec 2019. We're holding onto too many Avions during the ennui of the C-19 shut-in.
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RichardMan wrote: I’m new to churning but not very active, so I want to seek your advice.

When travel is permitted again, I want to bring my parents and wife to Vancouver and Europe on points. Partially because those are places they always wanted to go, partially because I am also trying to get my wife on board to the credit card game. My wife is not very convinced right now, so I hope she will be converted after taking her around with hotel and flights mostly paid for with points.

I have applied for the Amex Platinum and RBC Avion and received the sign up bonus for the first time recently. I had the TD aeroplan VI last year so I have some aeroplan miles, just product switched to cash back since FYF is up.

With the expected devaluation of aeroplan, I will be using all the MR for statement credit during the double double event instead of transferring to Aeroplan, then churn on other Amex and possibly US credit cards with Amex international transfer.

As for my Avion, I’ll convert the points to Avios when a bonus event come up. I’ll also get the HSBC world elite for their 3% on travel expenses. Do you think that’s the best plan or would you have other suggestions?

Is there anything else I can do to get hotel points beside getting the Amex Hilton Aspire card? Thank you in advance everyone!
Your wife is wise
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Messerschmitt wrote: There hasn't been a MBNA BW churn opportunity for about 2-3 years now right? I miss those 60k pts bonuses.
20k pts no MSR + $50 GCR...ok for in betweeen BT's.
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titaniumtux wrote: 20k pts no MSR + $50 GCR...ok for in betweeen BT's.
BT = Balance Transfers?

Do you churn not just for points, but also BT offers?
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Brim WE . ☁️

CTFS CA and Triangle WE .🔻
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banker8 wrote: BT = Balance Transfers?

Do you churn not just for points, but also BT offers?
yes and yes. bt's got me into CC churning. mbna was my go-to until the pandemic hit. i can make more off a BT than pts or cashback WB's.
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titaniumtux wrote: yes and yes. bt's got me into CC churning. mbna was my go-to until the pandemic hit. i can make more off a BT than pts or cashback WB's.
I gather NOT those BT offers where they charge you x% of the amount (such as 3%). Only if the BT fee is waived, or there's only a nominal, fixed Cash Advance fee of $5 or so?

Makes sense if you can get the funds cheap. Then whack them into Tang at 2.8% or whatever's the best rate going around for a HISA promo. Or pump the funds into the sharemarket if you'd like to do even better (and are OK with the risk).
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Preferred cards:

Brim WE . ☁️

CTFS CA and Triangle WE .🔻
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banker8 wrote: I gather NOT those BT offers where they charge you x% of the amount (such as 3%). Only if the BT fee is waived, or there's only a nominal, fixed Cash Advance fee of $5 or so?

Makes sense if you can get the funds cheap. Then whack them into Tang at 2.8% or whatever's the best rate going around for a HISA promo. Or pump the funds into the sharemarket if you'd like to do even better (and are OK with the risk).
usually 1-3% fee, 0-3% interest for 6/10/12 months. i was doing 1% fee, 0%/10-12 months with mbna, also did 0% fee, 0.97%/6 months last year with pcf. profits heavily rely on cl. that's why i pumped cl's with mbna and cibc :lol:
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titaniumtux wrote: usually 1-3% fee, 0-3% interest for 6/10/12 months. i was doing 1% fee, 0%/10-12 months with mbna, also did 0% fee, 0.97%/6 months last year with pcf. profits heavily rely on cl. that's why i pumped cl's with mbna and cibc :lol:
By BT expiration day, you do another BT or pay off the balance?
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The only thing about BT's, is they kill your utilisation threshold with your credit score.

At least in my case, as a relative newcomer without a long-standing Canadian credit history.
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Brim WE . ☁️

CTFS CA and Triangle WE .🔻
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Where are your parents flying from? Going Toronto to Vancouver on points is quite easy (use Aeroplan). Going Toronto to Europe on points is hard.
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One thing I found with points is that you're still paying taxes / fees. Sometimes those fees include a fuel surcharge, such as Aeroplan's Air Canada redemptions (United does not charge this). We were able to fly via IcelandAir for the same price as using our Aeroplan points simply because of the fuel surcharge (and a United option was too many stops for us).

Some thoughts:
a) Canada to Europe for four people is 240,000 or 280,000 points (depending on where you go). For you and your wife to each get 120,000 / 140,000 points you will need to churn 4-5 credit cards each. This is assuming that you have enough time to get the welcome bonus when you churn multiple times, and that you can both qualify for the credit card itself (they will be the higher end cards).
b) It will be tough to get enough hotel points to cover long stays. Unless you like moving hotels frequently, you will end up paying for some nights and having some nights for free. This also means you might end up paying more for those nights (hotel you stayed at for free nights, not because it's a good price).
c) Don't worry about your credit score - it's not an issue at all.
d) The biggest challenge you face is that you'll have multiple programs going at once that don't combine (Aeroplan and Avion / Avios for example).


Overall, I think you're in for a tough battle to get enough points for flights to Europe and some hotels. If you're all coming from the same destination it can be tough to mix and match flights (2 people get Aeroplan points, 2 people pay for them) while being all on the same flights.

This site will be of interest: https://princeoftravel.com/

What you are trying to do is not impossible - I think it will just take some time on your part and if the plan is to have it when the pandemic is over then I suspect you will not have enough time and using your points in small amounts might be more of a hassle / annoyance to your wife.

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