It’s been quite a while since I’ve written about churning credit cards. For a refresher, see my post on credit cards and churning, which I wrote a few months ago. Credit cards are one of the easiest ways to get free travel in Canada, since issuers just hand out tens of thousands of points for applications as welcome bonuses, hoping to attract you as a customer.
What is Credit Card Churning?
A simple definition of a credit card churn is that you are applying for multiple credit cards on one day. While the credit inquiries you get to your credit account do reduce your score by a few points, in the long term, having more credit actually increases your score because it reduces your utilization ratio.
Your credit score is determined by several factors, including average age of accounts, credit utilization ratio, and payment history, among other factors. You used to be able to obtain your credit score for free with Equifax up until March 31st, although it seems the website that gave you free access still seems to be up.
Potential Credit Cards Candidates
In this post, I’ll list out a few of the cards I want to get. I for the most part only get one card per issuer, because this will reduce the probability of a denial.
This card, although not a personal charge card, is the single most lucrative card in Canada because it offers 40,000 American Express rewards points as a welcome bonus, with a waived first year annual fee. No other credit card currently offers the same value. For more information, I detailed the offer in this post.
These points are convertible to Aeroplan or Avios. After completing the $5,000 minimum spend, you’ll have enough points for a one-way business class award ticket with Aeroplan to Europe Zone 1. One-way business class starts at $1,5000 apiece, so it’s a magnificent deal. The public offer is only 30,000 points, so my link offers an additional 10,000 points for signing up.
The question I get most from readers is whether you can get a small business credit card, and how to fulfill the fairly high $5,000 minimum spend. I’m not a financial expert, but it does not seem that there are any special requirements for the card, other than your business name and other related financial details. A few readers I know have already applied for the card getting approved on the basis of their personal income and financials.
It should be fairly easy to meet the minimum spend just by moving some of your expenses forward. For example, you could prepay your insurance and telecom bills or buy gift cards in advance for automobile and retail expenses. Breaking it down, you only need $1667 of spending per month to meet the minimum spend, which in my opinion is very reasonable.
The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite is also worth considering, with a first year fee waiver and a 25,000 Aeroplan points welcome bonus after $1,000 of minimum spending within three moths. Again, the public link is worse than the best available signup offer since it does not offer the annual fee waiver.
I wasn’t eligible the last time they had the fee waiver back in November, so I simply haven’t gotten to applying. The offer is supposed to expire May 8th, although I’ve heard that the offer will be extended to late August (although I’m not 100% sure about that). This is quite good for topping up your Aeroplan balance if you’re running low. See my post about the offer for more details and a breakdown of benefits.
This is the other card TD is offering an improved offer on, with a 40,000 points signup bonus and waived first year annual fee. I wrote about this offer two months ago. These are TD’s own rewards points, so are only worth $200, but is a good choice if you already have a TD Aeroplan card, since you can’t hold two TD Aeroplan Visas at once.
This is the other American Express Card I am considering, with a 20,000 SPG points signup bonus. While it seems low, these are one of the most valuable points in the miles and points game because they are so flexible. 20,000 points will get you several nights at a lower tier property, and one night at a luxury Category 6 hotel like the W Paris or St. Regis Singapore.
These points also transfer at a 1:1.25 ratio (in 20,000 point increments) to Alaska or American, which have one of the lowest redemption levels for international first class. Thus, these points in my opinion are great for if you want to top up your airline balances for a First Class redemption on carriers like Emirates or Cathay Pacific.
This card offers a 50,000 points signup offer through the link above, which will get you at least a night at most Marriotts and some Ritz-Carlton properties. While each Marriott points is not very valuable, I would get the card because Chase Canada is the only issuer offering Canadian Dollar denominated credit cards with no foreign exchange fee, which is especially valuable if you’re travelling a lot.
As I mentioned earlier, Alaska points are valuable for international first class redemptions. The Alaska Airlines Mastercard offers a 25,000 point signup bonus, as well as a companion fare. While not a lot, I know that you may be able to get multiple Alaska Mastercards at the same time. This is probably one of the cards that are easiest to be churned, as it is issued by MBNA. The companion fare is quite useful for two people travelling on a cheap cash fare, since your second ticket is only $121 regardless of the price of the first.
What credit cards will you be getting in your next churn?