Start Here

Welcome!

I’m Rom, an accountant by profession, but a travel/deals/credit card points enthusiast during my spare time.  I’ve collected over two million credit card points and airline miles to travel around the world to places such as Italy, France, London, Germany, Austria,  Maui, Oahu, Kauai, and other places for pennies.  I haven’t paid for a flight in about three years (excluding cheap $100 flights) by using credit card points and miles!  Now I’m teaching everyone my secrets to fly international business or first class, stay at 5-star hotels, take lots of cheap domestic flights, afford family vacations, all for pennies.

British Airways First Class on 62,500 miles and ~$300! Retail price $10,000+

British Airways First Class

Park Hyatt Vendome for free!

Business Class with Airline Miles and $100!

Business Class with Airline Miles and $100!

Eva Air Hello Kitty Jet Business Class - $2.50 and 60,000 Miles!

Eva Air Hello Kitty Jet Business Class – $2.50 and 60,000 Miles!

Japan Airlines First Class

Japan Airlines First Class

Getting Started

Credit Cards are the key to earning thousands or millions of credit card points.  I’ve successfully applied for 40+ credit cards and have used points for every vacation in the past 5 years and you can do so too!

Do you meet the following criteria?

  • Decent Credit Score.  I would say if you have a credit score in the 700s that you are capable of signing up for credit cards to earn thousands of points and miles.  Here is a good post about checking your credit score.
  • Financially Organized.  If you have a tendency to forget payments or aren’t very organized with your bills and expenses, credit card churning is not for you.
  • Pay credit card bills in full and on time every month.  This is the key to improving your credit score and earning thousands of credit card points and miles.  It is not worth paying interest just for credit card points.  If you cannot pay in full and on time, this hobby is not for you!
  • Not applying for a big loan.  I would advise to not apply for more than 1 credit card 1 year before your big loan.  I think one or two credit cards is fine because applying for a credit card is a normal thing, but applying for 5 or 6 credit cards might have an outside person question your credibility.
  • Love to Travel.  You get the best value out of credit card points when using them for travel.

Which Credit Cards to Start With?

There are many rewards credit cards out there, but the two credit cards I recommend for somebody just starting are the Chase Ink Plus and Chase Sapphire Preferred.  Which one is better?  Let’s look at the specifics:

Chase Ink Plus Business Card – 60,000 Ultimate Rewards 

  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards Points after Spending $5,000 in 3 months.
  • 5X points per $1 spent in select categories
  • 1:1 points transfer to United, Hyatt, SouthwestBritish Airways, Korean Air, Marriott, Priority Club, Virgin Atlantic, Ritz Carlton, and Amtrak.
  • NO foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee

Chase Sapphire Preferred Personal Card

  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards Points after Spending $4,000 in 3 months.
  • 5,000 UR points after adding an authorized user.
  • 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Receive a 7% Annual Points Dividend on all new points earned on purchases – even on points already redeemed
  • 1:1 points transfer to United, Hyatt, SouthwestBritish Airways, Korean Air, Marriott, Priority Club, Virgin Atlantic, Ritz Carlton, and Amtrak.
  • NO foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for first year, $95 thereafter

It seems like a no brainer to pick the higher sign up bonus from Chase Ink Plus over the Chase Sapphire Preferred. However, the Chase Ink Plus is a business credit card.  You may qualify easier than you think!  You can use your social security number to apply as a sole proprietorship.  My first business credit card, I used selling items on craigslist, eBay, or Amazon as a business.  My second business/hobby is… this blog.  You could start your own website and charge domain and hosting fees to your business credit card.  Another reason to apply for a business credit card is you are thinking about starting a business and want to separate your business and personal expenses.  These are perfectly legitimate ways to apply for a business credit card.

If you don’t think you can qualify for a business credit card, or don’t think you can meet the $5,000 minimum spend in 3 months, I would suggest the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Most people who have decent credit scores get approved instantly for the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  It is a great credit card for the sign up bonus and the 2X points on dining.

If you are planning to go all out, I would apply for both credit cards after meeting the minimum spend on the first credit card.  After meeting the minimum spend, at a minimum you would have 65,000 points from Chase Ink Bold (60K + 5K spending) and 59,000 points from Chase Sapphire Preferred (55K + 4K) spending. You will have at least 100,000 points because Chase Ink Bold gets 5X on office supplies, internet, cellphone, and cable and Chase Sapphire Preferred gets 2X on dining and travel.

If you don’t want to deal with seemingly (but not) complicated award miles, you can get the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard, which offers 40,000 bonus points that can be applied towards $400 of any travel expenses.  All you have to do is charge the travel expense on the Barclaycard and apply your points to that charge.  Check out my review on the Barclaycard Arrival for more details.

What’s the Catch?

Strategically churning credit cards can be incredibly time consuming and challenging to manage.  As an accountant, I am organized by nature.  I pay all my bills on time and in full and live within my means.  You should not apply for credit cards if you carry a balance.  If done correctly, churning credit cards should not damage your credit score.  My credit score has consistently been rated as excellent and above 750 after applying for 20+ credit cards.  Check out some of the tools below under Useful Tools to stay organized.

What Can You Do With 100K Ultimate Rewards Points?

Here are a few things you can do with your Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

  • Redeem points for $1,250 towards flights or hotels!
  • Round trip ticket to Europe costs only 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points in economy!
  • Round trip ticket to Asia costs from 70,000 to 80,000 UR points in economy!
  • One round-trip business class to anywhere in Europe when transferred to United miles costs 115,000 on United metal flights – worth $6,000+ retail!
  • Four round-trip economy tickets from west coast to Hawaii when transferred to 100,000 Avios miles – worth $4,000+ retail!
  • Three tickets from LAX-HNL using 75K Avios + $15 total!

    Three tickets from LAX-HNL using 75K Avios + $15 total!

  • Eleven short trips under 650 miles using Avios at 9K round-trip, such as Miami to Carribean, Los Angeles to San Francisco or Vegas, New York to Toronto, Taiwan to Hong Kong
  • At least 3 nights at the Park Hyatt Vendome for 30K points per night – retail $800+ per night!

    Park Hyatt Vendome

    Park Hyatt Vendome – Awesome 5-Star Hotel

  • Tons of Southwest flights, or tons of free cheap Hyatt hotel stays.
  • Roundtrip in economy from USA to Asia at 70K roundtrip per ticket.

I’ve used my Chase Ultimate Rewards for almost all the examples above and more.  They are probably the most useful and flexible transferable points to use.  No matter what your travel goal is, you can find Ultimate Rewards useful. That is why I recommend UR points to almost any person starting in the hobby who wants to experience free travel.

Other resources:

Helpful Tools:

Awardwallet – Best Free Tool to Track Frequent Flyer Points

Mint.com – Best Free Tool to Track Credit Card and Bank Expenses

CreditKarma – Best Free Tool to Monitor Credit Score

My Credit Score After Credit Card Churning

My Credit Score After Credit Card Churning

Email me at Rom@romsdeals.com or ask below if you need advice on credit cards or traveling.  I’m happy to help all those we are new to this hobby!

12 comments for “Start Here

  1. Nguyen
    October 28, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    May I ask how you “redeem two business class tickets to Europe on Airberlin by spending only $100 a ticket?” Thanks so much.

    • October 29, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      Sure I will make a post tomorrow about it! Check back tomorrow thanks.

  2. StephenM
    June 7, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Roms, I want to apply for the Lufthansa card that expires at the end of June but I just got a Barclays US Airways on 03/01/2013. When I got it they only gave me $600 of credit. My present credit score is 743. In your expert opinion should I apply​?

    • June 7, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      You might want to wait a bit and improve your credit by keeping a no annual fee cc for a while. Not sure of your situation exactly.

  3. Nitesh
    November 12, 2013 at 8:16 am

    UBER PROMO CODE : 5xfjs

  4. StephenM
    November 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    I am running out of credit cards to apply for. I figure the only way to be able to build up my bonus miles is to cancel 2 of my cards right now so I can wait 1 year, 18 months or 2 years so I can apply again for the same card. Those cards would be Aadvantage Citi that was activated on 11/08/2011 and Delta SkyMiles AMEX activated on 06/18/2012. The Delta was originally a Gold Delta SkyMiles Card but before the annual fee I changed it to the Blue Card with no fee. What problems do you forsee if I cancel these cards?

    • November 12, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      You won’t have problems. I’ve cancelled aa cc and reapplied 18 months after. I recommend canceling Amex and wait one year to reapply

  5. StephenM
    November 13, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Great, thanks!

  6. March 12, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    I got an email for usbank flex perks travel rewards mastercard with a bonus
    of 27450 points for 3500.00 in spend in 4 months, worth a 400.00 airline ticket… apply by 3/14/14.
    No annual fee 1st year. is this worth applying for?
    Thanks Rom!

    • March 13, 2014 at 7:26 am

      It’s good if you plan to spend $600 in paid travel. I rarely do paid travel, so I haven’t signed up for it yet.

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