Anyone here interested in credit card signing bonuses?

19 Replies

Could you explain what a credit card signing bonus is?

I've done it this year once, but I'm worried about opening too many accounts, my credit score, and impairing my ability to get more mortgages.  I used the bonus for two round trip tickets from Atlanta to Houston and one from Portland to Orlando by putting $5K in 3 months on the card that I would have spent anyway, so I'm pleased. 

I do observe the die-hards in Churning, though, to see if a bonus pops up that would fit our needs. Those people are serious- signing up for cards only to get bonuses, spreadsheets to record dates they need to call up and renegotiate to prevent annual fees, using Target cards to 'manufacture' spending, and figuring ways to use credit cards to pay for things like mortgages.  

I'm just looking for an easy way to pay for more travel. 

As a regular business traveller, I'm always interested in a good credit card signup bonus. Thanks to them I haven't paid for a plane ticket in nearly two years and I've flown business class at least 25% of the time. If you funnel a lot of money through credit cards already, signing up for the 'right' ones can be extremely valuable. If you're going to try and do the whole 'churn' thing and hold 10+ cards at a time, it may be more work then it's worth - you're better off using that time to focus on finding good RE deals :)

I happen to have 2-3 credit cards at a time depending on which hotels/airlines i'm using - SPG Amex (for hotels), United Explorer (for flights) and my all-time favorite card, Chase Sapphire Preferred (for dining and everything else). I signed up for each of these when they ran their annual promotions, so I racked up a ton of points. From what I can tell, my credit score hasn't been negatively affected from holding all of these - but I do make sure I pay them off regularly and sometimes carry a small balance. If anything, they've helped a young buck like myself build up my credit history. 

I regularly check sites like creditcards.com / thepointsguy.com to see what sort of promotions are going on. If I find a good one, i'll evaluate what to do (cancel one, add one, etc) so that I don't go over my 2-3 card limit. 

Oh yes. I have gotten a few hundred dollars of credit card bonuses since signing up for a few to use for expenses related to the new short sale rental house I bought.

@Adrian 

@Adrian Chu

A topic near and dear to my heart! The relevant keywords to search on google are:

  • credit card churning
  • apparoma
  • manufactured spend

I have been able to fly a family of 4 transatlantic business multiple times, and plenty more in economy. Stayed at places I would have never gone to otherwise, and really just upped my travel game.

Favorite resources to get you started:

FlyerTalk.com

MillionMileSecrets.com

Boardingarea.com

Good luck, you're about to go down the rabbit hole!

I took advantage of the Southwest Companion pass, have a Hyatt card where I earned two free nights and have not paid for plane tickets in a long time through various. If you have the patience and time to dedicate to this, it is absolutely worth it. Just be sure to pay off the balances each month.

Originally posted by @Greg N. :

As a regular business traveller, I'm always interested in a good credit card signup bonus. Thanks to them I haven't paid for a plane ticket in nearly two years and I've flown business class at least 25% of the time. If you funnel a lot of money through credit cards already, signing up for the 'right' ones can be extremely valuable. If you're going to try and do the whole 'churn' thing and hold 10+ cards at a time, it may be more work then it's worth - you're better off using that time to focus on finding good RE deals :)

I happen to have 2-3 credit cards at a time depending on which hotels/airlines i'm using - SPG Amex (for hotels), United Explorer (for flights) and my all-time favorite card, Chase Sapphire Preferred (for dining and everything else). I signed up for each of these when they ran their annual promotions, so I racked up a ton of points. From what I can tell, my credit score hasn't been negatively affected from holding all of these - but I do make sure I pay them off regularly and sometimes carry a small balance. If anything, they've helped a young buck like myself build up my credit history. 

I regularly check sites like creditcards.com / thepointsguy.com to see what sort of promotions are going on. If I find a good one, i'll evaluate what to do (cancel one, add one, etc) so that I don't go over my 2-3 card limit. 

 SPG is the best! Each point generally worth at least 3-4 cents.

(206) 407-5452

@Adrian Chu yeah they are! SPG knows how to treat their customers, especially when traveling internationally. 

I've have done this here and there over the years. Took my wife and I first class to Maui for our honeymoon on Alaska with their companion pass and took us both to London in first class on British Airways.

I haven't done it as much lately, beyond my monthly spending that goes on my Starwoods card, but I'm contemplating signing up for some cards with bonuses in the next 12 months. Really eyeing that Southwest Airlines companion pass to cut down on the cost of traveling with my family. 

I'm curious if any of you out there who invest in real estate also churn these bonus cards aggressively. Conventional wisdom is if you're going to be applying for any kind of home, car or equity loan, you should avoid applying for new credit cards.

Originally posted by @Alexander Felice :

There  is an active BP member who is REALLY good at this stuff and has a site designed to help those who want to travel hack.

@Lee Huffman

www.baldthoughts.com

Thanks @Alexander Felice !  I write all about travel using credit cards.  I currently have about 40-45 credit cards and get new cards every 4-6 months, depending on when I'm doing a delayed financing refi on a rental rehab.  In the last year, I've flown to Puerto Rico, St Maarten, Cancun, Cabo, Hawaii, and St Thomas (not counting domestic), all on miles and points.  Coming up later this year, we'll be flying to Cabo (twice) and Italy.  Again, all on miles.

I offer a free travel consultation on my site, if anyone is interested in figuring out how to travel for as close to free as possible.  Just click on the "FREE TRAVEL ADVICE" link and fill out the form, then we'll schedule a phone call.

Lee

PS:  I don't mean to self-promote, but this is a topic near and dear to my heart, and I'd love to help anyone out.

@Lee Huffman Are you an active REI? Have you ever had issues with getting financing after churning through so many cards?

I met a guy this weekend who runs a management company for large HOA's. They use to pay all their insurance bills individually using a miles earning credit card, to the tune of $800,000 a month.

All the insurance accounts were with the same vendor but separate accounts. One day their accountant suggested they consolidate the accounts into one to make book keeping easier. The insurance company was happy to oblige.

Things were fine for a few months but then the companies CEO called and said they wouldn't be accepting credit cards for payment anymore because they didn't like paying the 2% transaction fee. They explained to him they'd been doing it for years on separate accounts, why did he suddenly have an issue with it. He responded, "When you were using separate accounts, I didn't notice, but now that they are all on one account, I definitely notice the $16,000 charge from our credit card processing company."

Yes, I was there @Neil Henderson . I've been card hacking for 10+ years using Southwest and SPG, but got really heavy into things the last 5 years based on motivation to get to Paris without paying.  I consider the early days of SW and SPG my Bachelors Degree and the past 5 years MBA level.

The only problems I have with mortgage companies are when I do an "app party" in the preceding 3-4 months before a mortgage application.  Even then, it's just a form asking what came about with the recent inquiries.  Since I'm at the stage where I'm just closing one account to open another, I explain it that way and they have been fine with it.

It obviously helps to have good income, size able assets, and great credit from an underwriter's view.

I haven't used a credit card in 6+ years since getting that first mortgage. But lately I've been tempted to go for that lowes 5% off deal.

I'm a big fan of nerdwallet.com for helping wade through the sometimes murky waters of credit card sign up bonuses and requirements.

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