Alvin writes "What are the rules for CC churning with Barclay, BOA, US Bank? I kind of have ideas about Amex, Chase and Citi after reading your blog."
Excellent question. I haven't written that much about Bank of America, Barclay's and US Bank since on the whole I don't find their cobranded credit cards or the bonus offers for them compelling, but of course they are very compelling to some folks, depending on what they plan to use the miles or points for. So here goes:
Bank of America
One of the favorite Bank of America applications is applying for both the Bank of America Hawaiian Airlines card and the Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian Airlines card. For most, the reason to get both of these cards is to transfer Hawaiian miles to Hilton HHonors, at a 1:2 ratio, as we mentioned in Hilton HHonors: Use Credit Cards to Maximize Points. That said, another decent use is redeeming Hawaiian miles for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class with low fuel surcharges, if you're planning a trip to the UK.
You could also get the Bank of America Virgin Atlantic AMEX, although I'd try to wait for a better bonus since the current one is only 20,000 points, plus 5000 for adding an additional user, and in the past there's been a 50,000 point bonus offer.
Do note that the $79 fee per card is *not* waived, for all of the above Bank of America credit cards.
The most aggressive churn report I've seen is every 90 days, from Flyertalker tassojunior although personally I'd be more conservative than that and try churning twice a year.
With Bank of America, you need to watch out for the fact that you could be approved for a different (lower bonus) card than you applied for.
Barclay's is best known for its US Airways co-branded card and more recently for its Lufthansa Premier Miles & More Card and Barclays Arrival Card but there are actually a slew of other Barclay's cards you can apply for, cobranded with Priceline, Travelocity, Frontier, Wyndham, Choice Hotels, etc.
Barclay's has been known to unilaterally cancel a card they've issued you if it goes several months without being used. Of course, all issuers are within their rights to do this, but it's fairly unusual for most issuers to actually cancel a card simply for a few months of inactivity.
But back to the matter at hand: churning Barclay's credit cards. Experience is definitely mixed, with some asserting they've churned multiple times with no problems and Barclay's cards are "highly churnable," and others getting refused, typically for "enough sources of credit already" or a similar account "recently closed."
For example, see the Flyertalk report from FT-hss, who was instantly approved for a 2nd Barclay's US Airways card within 4 months, only to have Barclay's close the account for too many credit inquiries and too many accounts opened within the prior 6 months.
Those who have successfully churned seem to recommend:
- Aim for few or no credit inquiries within the past 5-6 months
- Space Barclay's applications out every 6-7 months
- You can churn both with still having a Barclay's card open, or with having cancelled it prior to applying again. If you close your existing card, aim to do that a few months before applying again, to avoid being denied for an account "recently closed"
US Bank is known to be very strict, so if you're hoping to get approved for a US Bank card, say one of the new Club Carlson cards, I'd recommend that you lie low for awhile to avoid being refused for "too many recent credit inquiries." Even applicants with high credit scores that have never been denied a credit card have sometimes been declined for that reason.
Also, similar to Barclay's, beware that US Bank will sometimes approve you for a different version of the card you applied for, with a lower bonus, such as a Platinum card instead of a Premier card.
While at least one Flyertalker has gotten approved for two different US Bank cards applied for 3 months apart, the Club Carlson cards are too new to have churn experience with yet. If you've had experience churning other US Bank cards, please post in the comments.
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