My wife’s 305K application day


In November I described my latest credit card churn in which I focused not on getting hundreds of thousands of points and miles, but on getting credit cards that can be used as tools towards earning points and cash back.  At the time, I said it would be my final big credit card churn.  The idea was that I would focus more on research for this blog than on collecting miles through credit card sign-ups.  Of course, I didn’t know at that time that I would soon be planning a mad million mile challenge in which a big chunk of my earnings will necessarily be through credit card signups (see “A crazy million mile idea. Should I do it?” and “Million Mile Madness, it’s on“).  I also didn’t mention that my wife might continue to churn credit cards…

Note: If you’re not familiar with the idea of credit card churning, see “Churning 101” at the bottom of this post.


My wife doesn’t like dealing with new credit cards so I do most of the work for her.  With her permission, I fill out the online applications and, where possible, I complete the minimum spend requirements.  What I won’t do for her, though, is pretend to be her on the phone.  Reconsideration and card cancellation calls, when necessary, are up to her.  As a result, I try to avoid those situations like the plague… to keep her happy.

So, when planning this churn, I looked for cards where instant approval was likely and where either the card has no annual fee or the card’s annual fee is worth the perks the card provides.  The one exception was that I luckily began the sign-ups Tuesday morning when a 100K Amex offer was still alive (see “Amazing Deal! Possible 100K Points Offer for Personal Platinum Card!“)

I chose the following cards and applied in the following order:

  • American Express Platinum Card: 100K points after $3K spend
  • US Bank Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature: 85K points after $2500 spend
  • Barclaycard’s US Airways Premier World MasterCard: 40K miles after first use
  • Chase Priority Club Visa: 80K points after $1K spend
  • Kohl’s charge card: No signup bonus other than a worthless coupon (what?!!!  Yes, more on this below)

Amazingly, every single one of the above applications were approved instantly!  So, once we reach the minimum spend on these cards, my wife will earn 305,000 bonus points!

Now let me explain why I chose this set of cards…

American Express Platinum Card

On Monday evening, Travel-Summary posted this deal that had previously appeared on FlyerTalk, but was then taken down.  This was a trick that made it easy to get a targeted offer for the personal Amex Platinum card with 100,000 bonus points after $3K spend.  I was incredibly lucky that the deal was still available on Tuesday morning when I began the online applications (the deal died shortly afterwards).  Of course, I checked with my wife first to see if she would be OK with this one cancellation call a year from now.  The card has a $450 annual fee that is not waived the first year, but thanks to the $200 per calendar year airline fee reimbursement benefit and the $100 Global Entry application reimbursement, we will be able to get at least $500 value out of the card in the first year without counting the signup bonus!

Key benefits: 100K bonus points, airport lounge access, $200 per year airline fee credit, SPG gold status, rental car elite status, reimbursed Global Entry application.

Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa

Note: The Bonus Award Night feature of this card was discontinued on June 1, 2015.

I’ve written about the new Club Carlson cards before (see “Club Carlson rocks our world… Again“).  The best of these cards offer an 85K signup bonus and another 40K points each year to easily offset the annual fee.  This was a no-brainer for me.  No cancellation call would be required.  The only tough decision here was whether to go for the personal card with the $75 annual fee, or the business card with a $60 annual fee (yes, my wife has a real business).  Since they have nearly identical benefits it seems like the business card is clearly the way to go.  There are two reasons, though, that I picked the personal card: 1) I was worried that the business card would require a follow up phone call for approval; and 2) If my wife ends up using this card for day to day spend, it would be good to have the extra consumer protections that the personal card offers.  That being said, when I get around to getting a Club Carlson card for myself, I will surely go for the business card.

Key benefits: 85K bonus points, bonus award nights, gold status, 40K bonus points per year.

US Airways MasterCard

There are two different 40K signup offers for this card.  Both offer 40,000 miles after first use, but only one (this one) offers the first year free and a bonus of 10,000 miles every year upon account approval.  For my wife, the bonus 10K miles per year was the key.  I will gladly pay the $85 annual fee each year for 10,000 US Airways miles!

Key benefits: 40K bonus miles, preferred check-in and boarding, 1 US Airways Club pass, 5K discount off award tickets, $99 companion ticket, 10K bonus miles per year.

Priority Club Visa

Chase used to aggressively market this card with a widely targeted 80K signup bonus offer.  I haven’t seen that in quite a while, but this FlyerTalk thread details how its still possible to get the offer.  I followed the suggested links, filled out the application, and received instant approval.  This is probably my favorite card to have and to hold, but not to use.  For a mere $49 annual fee, this card gives the cardholder a free night every year (starting with year 2) at any Priority Club property.  Keep in mind that Intercontinental Hotels are part of the Priority Club program.  In expensive cities, these hotels can run $800 or more per night.  Since my wife and I now both have the card, this means that we will be able to stay two nights per year in swanky hotels like these for a combined cost of $98 dollars.

Key benefits: 80K bonus points, annual free night certificate, Priority Club platinum status, 10% rebate on award redemptions

Kohl’s charge card

As a general rule, I don’t recommend signing up for store credit cards.  Each time you sign up for a credit card, the issuing bank runs a hard inquiry that shows up on your credit report which can temporarily reduce your credit score by a few points.  Because of this, it rarely makes sense to sign up for a card with a bonus worth less than $300 or so (different people set different targets).  The only signup bonus the Kohl’s card offered was a 15% off coupon.  Since 15% and 20% off coupons are almost always readily available, this “bonus” is worthless.  So why did I bother?

Even though Kohl’s tends to have fairly high prices, they are one of the most dependable stores that I have found for stacking multiple discount and point earning opportunities.  Unlike most other stores, when Kohl’s coupons say you get X% off everything, they mean nearly everything including electronics and clearance items.  Plus, it is often possible to buy Kohl’s gift cards at a heavy discount (but not through the aforementioned coupons).  Plus, Kohl’s frequently offers “Kohl’s bucks” for additional future savings.  And, finally, Kohl’s has consistently offered 10 points per dollar through the Ultimate Rewards Mall for the past two years or so.  In my experience, all of these discounts and point earnings can be combined (except when using Kohl’s bucks, but that’s another story…).  In the end, these combined discounts usually add up to almost 50% in savings!

So back to the charge card.  While Kohl’s regularly offers 20% off coupons to the general public, they often offer 30% off coupons for cardholders only.  I want in on that.  In future posts, I’ll show in more detail how to turn this into a big points earning opportunity.

Key benefits: access to 30% off coupons


On my wife’s behalf I signed her up for 5 credit cards.  Thanks to this, my wife will earn 305,000 bonus points, airport lounge access, elite status with multiple car rental agencies, SPG gold status, Priority Club Platinum status, Club Carlson gold status, extra bonus points and miles each year, a free Priority Club night per year, and larger discounts at Kohl’s.  Not bad!

Churning 101

One of the best ways to accumulate points and miles quickly is through credit card sign-ups.  Many in the points & miles community have turned this art into a science:  every 91 days, pick 4 to 8 cards, apply for all in a single day, reap the rewards, and repeat.  People call this “credit card churning.”  And, the process of applying for lots of cards in one day is referred to as an “app-o-rama.”  For some reason I hate that term so I simply refer to it as a “churn”. 

In general, I recommend that for each churn people choose one card from each major player: Chase, American Express, and Citibank; and throw in a card or two from the lesser players: Barclaycard, Bank of America, etc.  That’s why I setup my “Best credit card offers” page with a separate table for each bank.  A number of the links on that page are my affiliate links for which I get paid for successful applications, but many are not. I try to list only the best offers available regardless of whether I get paid for them.

There are exceptions to the rule of applying for only one card at a time from each bank.  With each bank you could apply for both a personal and a business account at once.  And, with Citibank you can often get double the sign-up bonus in one churn by opening separate browsers and applying at roughly the same time for the same offer in both browsers.  This is usually referred to as the “two browser trick“.  Most people do the two browser trick with Citi AA cards, but it is known to work with some other cards as well.  If you want to know if the trick works with a particular offer, your best bet is to search Flyertalk for a thread dedicated to that credit card.

Many worry that churning will hurt their credit scores.  And, it will, temporarily.  If you are responsible with your credit, though, churning can actually help improve your score.  For details about this, please subscribe to my weekly newsletter (it’s free).  Note, though, that if you tend to run a balance on your credit cards or you’re otherwise in financial distress, this technique is not for you. 

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[…] don’t have any expertise on the latter but Frequent Miler wrote favorably about it a few years ago though I have no idea if he’s still enthusiastic about it. And the Best Buy card […]

[…] However,the store-specific ones can be worth your while too: probably everybody knows what a good deal it is to get 5% off with your Target credit card (soon to be reissued as a MasterCard chip and pin, incidentally). And Frequent Miler is on the record as a fan of the Kohl’s card. […]

[…] KOHL’S: Frequent Miler is a fan of the Kohl’s credit card: […]

[…] last round of credit card sign-ups, I picked up a Kohl’s charge card in her name (see “My wife’s 305K churn“).  The reason for getting the card was simply to get access to the 30% off coupon codes […]


Ken: Yes, I wrote a post a while ago. Some of the specific details are probably out of date, but the general idea should still work:


Have there been any posts on leveraging the Kohl’s 30% coupons? I have a Kohl’s card and a slew of Chase cards.


gregorygrady: Yes, I should still get credit as long as the link was live when you used it (which, of course, it was)


@FM: Ahhh got it. Yep, I applied via that link in your CC page that lists all of your affiliate links. Hopefully you still get credit/$$$ for it even though they pulled the affiliate link soon after I applied.


gregorygrady: Sorry about my Priceline link disappearing. You must have found it on my Credit Cards page that lists all of my affiliate links. The table on that page is a direct upload from FlexOffers, so when FlexOffers stopped providing links for Priceline it disappeared from that page the next time I refreshed the upload.

Al: No, I don’t think it’s worth it just for the miles. 100K Club Carlson points gets you 18000 airline miles, so the 85K offer is less than a 18K signup offer if you’re only interested in miles.


I don’t stay in Carlson hotels. Is it still worthwhile applying for this card on the basis of transferring to airline miles? Thx


Nevermind, I Googled and found the Barclays Priceline 2% CC gets a 5k pt bonus upon first purchase. This will be a perfect CC to use instead of the CapOne Venture 2% CC, and I can save the $59 annual fee on that going forward. Still not sure why I can’t find the Barclay’s link on your page though, I’m positive it was there when I applied for it a few days ago!!!


Wow, this churn is almost identical to the churn I did the very same day. I got all of the first 4 CCs you listed (sorry, I don’t do Kohl’s), with the exception that I saved the $15 in annual fees and got the Carlson Biz instead of personal. I also got 3 additional CCs too boot (SPG Amex Biz, Citi TYP, & Barclays Priceline 2%). I went 7 for 7 on my churn(yay), and even better my churn only required 2 calls to the reconsideration lines between all 7 applications.

Anyways, I came here cuz I used a Priceline affiliate link of yours but I can no longer find the link. Did you remove it in the last 4 days? I was looking for it cuz I didn’t write down the spend requirements for all the CCs I applied for and am now trying to get that documented so I know how much to spend on each card now that they are starting to arrive in the mail.

Chris D.

My wife had a Kohl’s charge before we got married, so I have been looking in to ways to maximize its usefulness. I recently tried paying it off via Bluebird and it worked perfectly. You add your account number with dashes included. Took about two days to post. Thanks!


This is probably a YMMV situation. I got a merchandise credit for an item I bought over the holidays so it was definitely after October. The item was not bought WITH Kohls cash but it did EARN Kohls cash so I didn’t want the partial credit to my charge that this would have been if processed as a straight return (I had already spent the Kohls cash). They offered the merchandise credit instead (for the amount I paid for the item). Additionally, I was able to use the merchandise credit when I bought something through the Chase UR Mall and it recently posted with the 10X pts. This was a surprise as I had already gotten 10X pts. on the original purchase which earned the Kohls cash. So I spent $50 and got 1000 UR pts.


Sharon and Enigma,

I believe Kohls will no longer give you merchandise credit for used Kohls Cash. We asked (politely) to speak with a manager and were told this is new policy as of October.