Million Mile Madness, Day 1 results


340,000 points earned.  660,000 left to go.

Background: Million Mile Madness is the fun and foolish quest to earn a million points in one month. Throughout March, I’ll do everything I can to earn as many points as I can while keeping within my ethical boundaries. I don’t expect that a million points will have been credited to my account by March 31st: points often take quite a while to get credited. Instead, I’ll track all of the points that I expect, and I’ll declare victory if the expected total is over a million. To keep things challenging, I will try to keep my net costs below $1,000. In case you’re interested, all points earned and expenses incurred will be tracked via this Google Docs spreadsheet. See all Million Mile Madness posts (in reverse order), by clicking here.

Churn results so far

Today I signed up for 11 different credit cards.  I was approved for 7 (after calling about 5 of them).  Three are still pending.  One was denied.  Here are the detailed results:



Spend Req

First Yr Fee (ongoing)


Barclaycard US Airways 35K First Use Free ($89) Approved instantly.
Barclaycard US Airways business 25K First Use $79 Denied.  Initially pending. I called twice and spoke to supervisor. No luck. Too many recent inquiries.
US Bank Club Carlson Personal 85K $2500 $75 Pending. I called US Bank but was told that it was a fully automated process and that I would just have to wait 24 to 48 hours for a decision.
US Bank Club Carlson Business 85K $2500 $60 Pending. See above.
American Express Platinum Mercedes 50K $1000 $475 Approved after calling (initially pending). Will recoup $400 in airline fees in 2013 and early 2014, so net cost is $75.
American Express Premier Rewards Gold 50K $1K Free ($175) Approved instantly
Citi AA business 50K $3K Free ($85) Approved after calling (initially pending). Card include $150 statement credit after first use with AA.
Citi ThankYou Preferred 6K $300 Free Pending. Was told that after approving the AA card, they had to wait 24 hours to approve the second.
Chase Ink Plus 50K $5K Free ($95) Approved after calling. Had to move some credit from another card.
Chase Ink Plus 50K $5K Free ($95) Approved after calling. Initally this was denied as a duplicate application. Told agent that I have 2 different businesses (which is true).
Chase United MileagePlus 55K $1K Free ($95) Approved after calling. Had to move some credit from another card.


Here are the totals by application status:


Bonus Total

Required Spend  Total

First Year fees


Approved (7) 340K $16000 $475 I expect to get $550 in statement credits to more than offset first year fees
Pending (3) 176K $5300 $135
Denied (1) 25K $0 $79


My Thoughts

340,000 points is not an impressive churn.  In January, my wife earned 305,000 points from only 4 cards.  That said, the points I will earn are fantastically valuable.  The collection of 55K United miles, 85K AA / US Airways miles, 100K Membership Rewards, and 100K Ultimate Rewards is awesome!  I’m psyched about the 100K Membership Rewards alone because they are more than enough for another flight on Singapore Airlines Suites class!

And, of course, there is still hope with the pending applications.  This churn could end up with as many as 516,000 points, but I think its unlikely.  I’m hoping to get at least one of the Club Carlson cards approved.  If not, I have a big job ahead to earn 660,000 points through the rest of the month! That’s 33,000 points per business day! Luckily, Chase and Amex promised to have their cards here by Monday or Tuesday so I will be able to get started on those minimum spend requirements right away.  If you’re curious about how I intend to meet those spend requirements and earn many more points, please see “Million Mile Madness: Preparing to buy & sell.”

On Monday, I’ll give an update regarding the pending apps, and some lessons learned from this huge churn.  In the meantime, I’ll be planning more ways to earn miles!

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Thank you for your quick response. That clears my doubts. I am also relatively new to the whole points game and I find myself enjoying it.


That’s a great start!
My question is when I applied about a month ago for the United 50k offer they told me since I earned the mileage bonus from United in 2011 I am not eligible for the bonus anymore because it is one time deal. I am just curious if you have ever earned the United bonus before via the Chase United card(or Continental card before) and how did you get the bonus again this time around? Any tips?


Jonathan: No, I never had a United or Continental card before. With Chase, I recommend looking for different products rather than trying the same card again. For example, the Sapphire Preferred Visa, and Sapphire Preferred Mastercard are different products so you should be able to get the bonus on each. Same with Ink Bold, Ink Plus, Ink Cash, and Ink Classic if you have a valid business.


jada135: That stinks regarding your Hawaiian cards, and the Chase thing!
Blue: MR has a poor transfer ratio to Starwood. I would lose points doing that.


Have you considered transferring your new Amex Premier MR points to Starwood, and take advantage of Starwood bonus points when transferring in increment of 20k pts to an airline?

This will get you closer to the million mile mark


I had to settle for amex,citi,boa,barclays since im blacklisted at chase.Chase has the best cards but i havent been able to get cards from them in 3 years.It sucks even more because that was before i joined the miles game and had no clue about traveling.I got blacklisted and no excuse was given.So i hope you guys take your relationship with chase seriously.


I just found out that in my last churn of 11 cards two of them where boa hawaii and bank of hawaii they gave me the bait and switch and i got the lesser product which is 10k instead of 35k so my switch to hilton will only yield me 40k instead of 140k which sucks.

Steve f

Dave p. the whole point is to do all of it in March.

Dave P

What is the time requirement to meet all of the minimum spend? You’ve got $16,000 to spen on current approvals, and another $5300 pending. $21,300 is a ton of money to spend over a 3 month period.


So how did your wife get 300k miles with 4 cards? What cards??


Siso: See this post:
Dave P: I need to meet all min spend this month in order to meet my goal of 1 million miles in a month


More than a third of the way there. Impressive! Looking forward to how the rest of the madness pans out.


freeze ARS* (drinking and posting do not go well)


And dang 13/13 would have meant 740k!!!

The right strategy for getting approved for Club Carlson is free ARS(not the body part), apply for it. If instant approval app others. If not wait 2-3 business days for recon, then app others on same day the usual way.


So jada time to open a blog. LOL

Congrats though and please list out the cards/details if you can for others. TIA.


@jada135; I also recently was declined when I applied for the Citi AA Business CC. When I called the reconsideration line, I was told the “system” declined me because I had too many open Citi CC accounts(4). I offered to close one of my accounts and was told that was not necessary. The application was approved on the spot. Don’t give up without at least one (or two) calls to the reconsideration department), and if all else fails, a letter to the CitiBank Executive Review Department.


I joined frequent miler in this million mile quest my results were i applied for 13 cards and got accepted for 11 bringing my totals to 605k and 20k spend.I got denied for citi business card and club carlson.I might get to that million myself.


@FM:if each successful application lowers your credit score by 3 points where do you think your credit score will be after the experiment?

am i correct to assume my credit score would not be affected if I am denied for an application ?

I am anxious to see if you (many times card-busier than me) can pull anything off US banks


Big cong FM. so jealous. what is your credit score before filing the applications?


Great Work FM! You are not required to explain all these things about applying for different cards, results etc… but I appreciate you giving a clear detail of the cards you applied for and the results! For all your meticulous planning, I still don’t understand why you applied for all the 11 cards on the same day, can’t you have done each bank’s cards on different days just to avoid the sudden credit inquiries? I know you have only 31 days but still applying for 11 cards on one day will not be liked by all the banks, IMO!


newbiee008: I’m still learning myself about the best way to do this. Hopefully others can learn from what I’ve done right or wrong! I think the biggest lesson is to start with Barcays and follow through with recon calls until all are approved before moving on to any other apps!
ALLAN: 792, 769, 782
PJ: We’ll find out. That is not right. You still get a hard pull even if you are denied.
jada135: Great! Would you like to setup a spreadsheet so that we can track your results along with mine and others? See the “reader participation” section in this post:


FM, On 2/7/13 I was initially declined for the Club Carlson Business Card for too many inquiries. In my case 4 in the past six months. My first reconsideration call went nowhere. I waited a few days, called back and spoke to an underwriter who listened to my reasons for each inquiry. A few minutes later I was approved. Interesting side note: After waiting 10-days and not receiving the card, I called back and was told the application was declined by the system again, so they had to manually approve it a second time. Good luck with your applications.


Your experience and reading the comments over the last couple of days I seriously wonder if the card companies are finally catching up with Apporama’s / churning and changing their processes to block or discourage this.


FM do you cancel your cr cds over time…is that why you did not have many when you began this adventure? Seems like that could impact credit rating unless there is another card with that institution to move CL over to. What is your methodology for getting “rid” of these cards over time relative to your credit rating?


Carol: I had lots of cards when I began. When I cancel cards, yes, I try to move the credit limit over to other cards. I try to keep my long-standing cards. If they have annual fees I usually downgrade to similar cards without annual fees.
Russell: I don’t know why you say that. I only have one denial so far. Things are looking good for the others.
Gil949: Thanks for sharing that info. I’ll be sure to call if I don’t get my card!


What’s the link you used for the Citi AA business? And did you confirm that you’ll get 50K points after the min. Spend? Good luck


Why the neglect of BoA? 2 personal and 1 business gets an easy 100k Hawaiian miles. And the annual fees can usually be mitigated.


dear FM

Could you tell me what credit bureau it pulled from when you applied the us bank club carlson cards?


what did you say to chase about the 6 inquiries in one day? how did you convince them about why you need so much credit, thanks


Janath: I didn’t say anything to Chase about the 6 inquiries. I simply said that I didn’t want more credit and would be happy to cancel a card or move credit over (I did the second)
jesse: I’m not sure. I’ll check in a few days
Rajin: I considered those, but just didn’t want additional hard pulls
stephen: Citi AA business link is in this FlyerTalk thread:


600k left? Its all down hill from here. VR and MOs. you should be swimming in Delta and Alaska miles.


Hi FM,

Would you mind telling me how you verified. I followed that procedure and also wanna verify. Thanks much.

Papa Smurf

Given that you’re doing this in March which coincides with March Madness (aka college hoops), I vote to re-brand your challenge as “Million Miles March Madness” 🙂


Do you think you will be able to get both the Amex Platinum Mercedes 50K bonus at the same time as the Amex Gold PRG 50K Bonus. I thought the T&C’s for the Amex PRG said you could not have a Platinum card within 90 days or does Amex consider the Platinum Mercedes different then a regular Am,ex Platinum for this situation?


ECS: I believe the Mercedes card is considered a different product so yes I expect to get both bonuses. We’ll find out soon!
Papa Smurf: Considered that name, but didn’t want to get sued by the NCAA!
ElTurk: When I called recon, I asked about the bonus once I was approved. They transferred me to a CSR who read the details to me.
MileageUpdate: That would be too easy. Watch for more creative options involving double/triple dips and buying and selling


Lets hope they don’t all compare notes and it all comes crashing down.


Pan: just one recon call for both Ink Plus cards
Ralph: I already had a bunch of Amex cards
Sam: I already had the Ink Bold cards but not the Ink Plus. Ive never had the United card
Shon: see the flyertalk link on my Best Credit Card offers page
ElTurk: Yes I verified the 50k bonus plus 5k for adding a registered user
JB: yes, they still run your personal credit check. I received both bonuses for two different ink bold cards in the past (two businesses) so I fully expect the same to happen here with the ink plus


I am super interested to see if you get the 50K bonus for both ink cards. I mean they still run your personal credit even if you give an EIN?


Hi FM,

How do you know that you got the 55K from the UA card? According to the flyertalk link you provided, you are supposed to get the 55K, but their is no splash screen. Did you confirm with Chase?


do you have a link for the aa card with ethe $ 150 credit


From your former posts, you said chase would combine two inquiries in the same day. I never had this luck no matter how many cards I applied on the same day. I tried two, three application many times and never got inquires combined. Anyone has this experience?


Dearest Sam, bro, honestly, there might be more than one “..INK CARD”. A little knowledge… ermmm, a minisule amount of so-called “knowledge” is a very dangerous thing, eh?
Seriously, the topice of an incredibly valuable blogger’s post would be detailing how many people should simply not partake of this game. Really, for their ultimate benefit.


dear FM

Please don’t mind me asking these simple questions and I expect an honest answer from you and I am a huge fan of your blog.

You have listed number of cards you said you applied and got approved today, but didn’t have you many of those cards already? Don’t you still have the CHASE INK CARD? I am sure you had it for many months. Or you actually never had any chase ink card? With chase, you don’t get sign up bonus on same card twice. That is regardless of weather you currently have or had before.

Didn’t you have the Chase UME?

It is little hard to believe that you never had these cards.
Thanks bro


Hey before you started today did you have any AMEX cards? Do you have to have a clean slate to get two bonuses from them? Thx! I’ll be reading about your madness.


Did you do 2 separate reconsideration calls for ink plus? Or they approved 2 cards in 1 call?


Miler – best of luck on the challenge. 1 day down and ~40% of the way there. I feel better about my own US Air Bus rejection seeing that you had same experience!


FM – I had the same result today with the Barclays US Airways BusinessCard. I applied in FEB, received a letter in the mail a week later – “too many inquiries/recent credit issued”. So today I call reconsideration and they put me on hold, come back ask me all the “what is your business about” questions, put me on hold, come back and tell me “too many inquiries, and you have too much credit extended to me over the last 21-24 months” – so they regrettably cannot issue me a Business Card. Only one that I have lost so far in the game. 🙂


Maybe points earned/to go would make an interesting running counter for the month of March that would show up at a fixed location on top/right :-).


Great job


OK, thanks.

That’s crazy that Barclays was one of your 1st applications, but sounds like they may have pulled later or something to be able to see the “future” aps.

Did anyone else mention a lot of recent pulls on your recon calls?

Thanks again for doing this. I love AOR days and the adrenilin of the day– I feel like a presidential canddate after months preparing on the campaign trail watching state returns come in– Yes, we carried Citibank! Oh no, we lost Chase! LOL.


mjs: Yes, Chase (personal) mentioned that I had 6 inquiries, but they were still happy to let me trade credit from another card.


FM- Thank you very much for the reply/info!



Could you please add a column (or two) to your chart showing the order you applied for the cards and roughly what time you did so?

I think that’d be very useful. I’m about to go on an AOR run of my own, and the biggest logistical issue seems to be trying to stage the hard pulls so the “slower” card companies are toward the end.

Except for Barclays, you look like you didn’t have any dings or really bad follow-ups where they grilled you for a lot of pulls, so the order you applied may be a good template for the rest of us.

Thanks in advance!


mjs: I don’t have much room to add columns. The order in the table is the order I applied except that I often did same-bank apps in two different browsers at the same time. For example, I did both US Airways apps at the same time in two separate browsers. Same is true with Club Carlson, Citi, and Amex. I didn’t do that with Chase. You can see the rough timeline by looking in the comments of my previous post where I posted comments after each set of apps:

David m

How did you Get 55,000 for the chase united card. I had read that deal was dead and only 30,000 was still available . I got the 55,000 in January and would love to get the 55,000 for my wife now.

Andrea Hill

Hmmm, how’d you get the first year fee waived for the Barclay’s US Airways card? I just applied last week and the $89 fee was applied today..


For the same reason – I couldn’t get the Barclay’s NFL card.
The Barclay’s US Airways card is worse…they approved it. They sent me the card. Then they closed the account within a month…stating that I had too many recent inquiries 🙁

Didn’t know what I could do…except let go of that!


Srini: I’m crossing my fingers that the same doesn’t happen to me!
Andrea Hill: The link on my Best Credit Card Offers page is to a US Airways app with no first year fee.
David m: to get the 50K UA offer, carefully follow the instructions here:



By chance did you already have a US Airways card (personal)?


FM- Did you use two different EINs for the two IP cards? I’m assuming so, which would really surprise me that chase can’t recognize those as two different (and intentionally not duplicate) apps. If so, very instructive insight into their systems…
TIA! Also, thank you for meticulously chronicling these exploits. Have a great weekend!


How many Chase cards do you have now?


Randall: I have 5 personal and 4 business Chase cards
J: I used an EIN for my LLC business, and my SSN for my sole proprietorship. I’m glad that my chronicles are useful!
Brian: Yes, this will be my 2nd US Airways personal card. When I called about the biz card, the analysts liked pointing out that they already approved a 2nd personal card for me.


I’m surprised you got two Chase Ink Plus cards in one day, congrats!

Andrew in A2

Wow! Those are a lot of miles in 1 day!


I thought there is a great offer to be bagged 😛 Not saying that 50k is not bad…but 85k is just great!


That’s a great start :). All the best for the rest of the points too.

Do you happen to have a link for the AMEX Premium Rewards Gold card with 85K MR points bonus, please?

That’s an amazing bonus…the best I’ve seen till date for only $1k spend….

Thanks in advance.


Srini: oops, that was a typo! It should have said “50K”. I’ve updated the post accordingly. All of the offers I mention are listed on my Best Credit Card Offers page.