My churn results: 4 for 4 instantly approved! 2

I woke up early yesterday morning and decided right away it was time to do a churn. My last credit card churn was almost four months ago, so I was well past the 91-day waiting period I like to follow. The Villain’s last churn left us with $14,000 in minimum spend requirements, so I was trying to hold off until I felt confident that was under control. Of course, we are primarily using Amazon Payments to hit that number and not actually spending $14,000. I’ve been looking into some of the limited time offers for myself and debating what to do, as only one really stood out to me.

I really wanted the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card. There’s currently a limited time offer, ending June 30, for an increased sign up bonus of 30,000 points after spending $5,000 (normally only 25,000 points). SPG points are very valuable to us, and Caleb could also earn 5,000 points by referrintheg me to sign up for card. (If you’re interested in signing up yourself, we’d be so grateful if you’d email us for an application link –

I was pretty nervous to apply since I’ve previously been denied for the card. In early January of 2013, in what was to be my first real churn, I applied and was denied the SPG card. I had done so much research and was pumped to begin earning points like crazy, and the denial was a pretty big blow. The Villain refers to the incident as “The Credit Crisis of 2013,” since I was in tears and thought all hope was lost for me to be able to churn cards. Maaaaybe I was being a bit dramatic.  It turns out that that’s just a hard card to get, and that my credit was decent enough to be able to get plenty of good cards! The even better news is that after 18 months of churning, my credit score has improved drastically, and today I got redemption by getting instantly approved for the Amex SPG card!

After my successful churn, I took in the view of San Diego from Coronado Island between my work appointments.

After my successful churn, I took in the view of San Diego from Coronado Island between my work appointments.

Here’s the rundown of the cards I signed up for and the bonuses I’ll receive:

1. American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Card

  • Sign up bonus: 30,000 Starpoints® (Ends June 30). Earn 10,000 after your first purchase and another 20,000 after you spend $5,000 within the first 6 months of Card membership.
  • Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65
  • Though I’m an authorized user on Caleb’s SPG Amex, I don’t currently have my own American Express, so I look forward to being able to take advantage of more Amex Sync offers.
  • Result: Instant approval!

2. Citi Hilton Reserve

  • Earn 2 weekend night certificates each good for 1 weekend night (standard room, double occupancy) at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton HHonors portfolio after $2,500 in purchases within the first 4 months of cardmembership (Category 1-10 hotels)
  • $100 statement credit after spending at least $100 at a Hilton within 3 months (This specific offer with the statement credit also ends June 30).
  • Free Gold Elite status (I already have through my Milepoint Premium Membership, but enjoy the free wifi and breakfast at Hiltons).
  • $95 annual fee not waived.
  • We plan to use the free nights for a weekend in NYC, where rooms can easily go for over $400 a night.
  • Result: Instant approval!

3. Chase Marriott 

  • Earn 70,000 Points (usually 50,000) after spending $1,000 in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Receive 1 Free Night Stay after account approval in category 1-4 locations, that’s up to 7 Free Nights
  • Receive 1 additional free night stay at a Category 1-5 location every year after your account anniversary date
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 for first year, then $85
  • This card wasn’t really on my radar but I decided why not throw a Chase card in the mix, and am currently  interested in accumulating hotel points, so this increased offer seemed like a good fit.
  • Result: Instant approval!

4. Lufthansa Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard®

  • Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase
  • Earn an additional 30,000 award miles when you spend $5,000 in purchases within the first 90 days
  • Redeem miles for flight awards and upgrades on Lufthansa, United, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Star Alliance member airlines.
  • $79 Annual Fee, not waived.
  • This card has gotten a lot of hype lately on points blogs because of the increased sign up bonus (typically 20,000 miles). I don’t have any experience using Lufthansa Miles, but read up on Million Mile Secret’s recent series and I think I’ll be able to put them to use for a big international trip down the road.
  • Result: Instant approval!

Total haul (after reaching minimum spend):

40,000 Starwood points (including 5,000 from spend and Caleb’s 5,000 referral)
71,000 Marriott points
1 free night at a Marriott Category 1-4
2 free weekend nights at practically any Hilton
55,000 Lufthansa miles

Total cost

$74= $79 annual fee for Lufthansa card + $95 Hilton annual fee – $100 statement credit

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