In the fall of 2020, I started researching ways to save money on travel, because let’s face it, travel is expensive and who doesn’t love saving money? I came across a thread on the Disboards site dedicated to credit card churning.
- I highly recommend not getting into Credit Card Churning if:
- You already have credit card debt.
- Can’t meet Minimum Spend Requirements (MSR) using only current bills or known upcoming expenses.
- You have bad credit (however, starting small and working up could help raise your score with the right methodology).
- You can’t afford the Annual Fee.
I was already a card holder of the Delta AmEx card and I had signed my wife up for her own account (an important part of churning is don’t sign up your spouse as an Authorized User). When I signed up, I received 65,000 bonus points. I also received 20,000 bonus points when we signed her up, and she also received. We’ve also gotten offers to upgrade our cards and receive additional bonus points as well as Companion Pass bonuses. From our home in the Midwest, we flown for as little as 10,000 points per person and as high as 30,000 points to either Orlando or Los Angeles to get to a Disney park, always choosing the lowest class, which means we don’t know our seats until our flight. Of course, the fewer points you spend on this trip, the more points available for your next trip, or the more people you can get on your trip without paying (other than the $5.50 per taxes each way)
Click here you’re ready to sign up for the Delta AmEx. They currently have a sign up bonus of 50,000 points. Your MSR is $2,000 over 3 months, plus receive a $100 statement credit, which will essentially cover your first year Annual Fee. This sign up bonus is small, but so is the MSR.
Another convenient card to have is the Disney Visa card. I ordered my first Disney Visa while booking a trip. At the time, I earned a $250 statement credit after spending $500 for the card with the annual fee of $49, plus you get rewards points to use at Disney parks, shop Disney, etc. You get 1 point for every $100 spent at non Disney locations or 2 points for every $100 at Disney locations. These points are equal to $1 when used, so if you have 25 points, you can redeem for $25. They also offer 100 bonus points when signing someone else up, which honestly is the best benefit of the card if you can also sign up your spouse. You do also receive discounts at some shops and restaurants in Disney parks.
Click here if you’re ready to sign up for the Disney Visa card, you can choose either the card with an annual fee or no annual fee. The card with the fee will give you a $300 statement credit after MSR of $1000. The no fee card is $150 credit after MSR of $500.
Before our trip to Disneyland, I signed up for the Choice Hotel Rewards Card. This card has no annual fee. When I signed up for the card this summer, they had an extra bonus giving me 75,000 points, but right now, the sign up bonus is 32,000 points. There’s also not much of a referral program. I would honestly look at Best Western rewards or Marriott, especially if you want to use the points for a Disney vacation. Best Western to stay right across from Disneyland entrance. Marriott is not far from Disneyland entrance and is also the hotel behind Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin Hotels.
The final card I’m currently using is the Chase Sapphire card. This card has a $99 annual fee but includes 100,000 bonus points after a $4,000 MSR. These bonus points translate to $1 per 100 points, so my sign up bonus is worth $1,000 and can be used on any purchase as pay yourself back at a 1 for 1 rate. Some purchases through their rewards portal also have a 25% bonus when using rewards, so that $1,000 could have ended up being $1,250 if I had used it correctly.
Click here if you’re ready to sign up for the Chase Sapphire, you can currently earn 60,000 bonus points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card.
For our December 2021 Christmas break trip, we are spending points. We found Delta tickets from Omaha to Orlando for 20,000 points each, so 60,000 total. We’re staying at one of the nearby Clarion Hotels, part of the Choice Hotel network at 12,000 points per night or 72,000 points. So the sign up bonus covered it, but through spending and rewards for staying at other Choice hotels, I still have 35,000 points, so soon will have enough for 3 to 4 more nights should we travel anywhere else. The Chase Sapphire bonus plus points earned allowed me to apply $1,100 to the tickets we purchased through Undercover Tourist, that we also bought for a slight discount over Disney prices as well. All told, our pre trip spend was an additional $600 for park tickets (ticket prices are expensive at Christmas time, more than any other, though they’re never cheap) plus prepaid rental car for $450. Once we get to Orlando, I’m sure we’ll spend over $1,000 for food (we love our table service restaurants) and $100 for parking, $25 per day at the parks.
Do you have questions or concerns about Credit card churning, please feel free comment below to discuss your plans.