I’ve always been really interested in the idea of credit card churning. Free travel points or cash back for a little bit of work applying for credit cards. But sometimes it can get quite intimidating to keep track of multiple cards and when to cancel which one. Also, you could risk affecting your credit if you apply for too many cards. Today I’ll explain how D. and I will get $1,000 in credits in less than 4 months without much work.
American Express Business Gold Rewards Card
After lots and lots of research on credit cards the most efficient and quick way of earning points in my opinion is the Amex Business Gold Card. This card offers a bonus 30,000 points if you sign up directly through the AMEX site or 40,000 if you sign up with a referral link. It could be pretty much any referral link. Here is mine. (this link might bring you to the Business Platinum page, but you can choose the Business Gold at the bottom of the page)
When you sign up they will ask for your business name. I just used my own name as the business name.
In order to get the 40,000 points, you have to make $5,000 of purchases within 3 months. Now ordinarily this would be kind of tough but with your Amex card you can sign up with Plastiq.com. Plastiq is a cool company that let’s you pay almost any bill through their online platform using your credit card. The catch… You generally pay a 2.5% fee on every transaction. So not really worth it right… But when you register your Amex Business Gold, you get to choose 3 merchants on their very small list of eligible merchants where you will receive 2 points for every dollar spent (so essentially 2% back). And Plastiq is on their list. So for every dollar spent paying bills, you will pay 2.5% but receive 2% back in points costing you 0.5% to pay your bills.
Your best bet is to pay your property tax bill which can be a few thousand in many cities. Let’s say you spent your whole $5,000 using Plastiq, this would result in a net cost of $25 (0.5%). I paid all the utilities for my 2 rental properties for a couple months and added over $3,000 to my balance. I covered the other $2,000 with regular spending.
If you register with Plastiq using my referral code you will get $500 of free payments (no fees) after your first $500 of payments. This will save you $12.50 so your net cost will only be $12,50 (because you will still earn the double points). Here it is if your interested: 852311
I’ve used them quite a bit lately and it has been super easy. I will definitely keep using them on my next credit cards.
So what are AMEX points worth?
AMEX points are great. They are very flexible and liquid. The easiest way to redeem them is to essentially wipe off any expense from your bill with a 1 point = $0.01 ratio. So 40,000 points = $400 in cash. You can also use them to book travel through their travel portal or transfer them to Aeroplan Miles with a 1:1 ratio. Depending on who you ask, you can get better value from your flights by using them to book flights with Amex or Aeroplan. But I personally like to just cash out my points to wipe out expenses as soon as I can. So I value them at $0.01 per point.
From 40,000 to 100,000 points ($1,000) with a partner
So your probably wondering, how do you get to 100,000 points? Follow along:
Step 1: Sign up for the Amex Business Gold using mine or any referral link. (again this link might bring you the Amex Platinum page, but you can scroll to the Business Gold at the bottom).
Step 2: Choose Plastiq as one of your 3 merchants to earn double points (use my referral code for $500 no fee payments: 852311
Step 3: Pay everything with your Amex including all your bills. Hopefully this includes a large property tax bill. Maybe time out your application based on a time of year where you will have big bills.
Step 4: Reach $5,000 dollars in spending and collect 40,000 points. In the process you will also have earned 5,000 points (10,000 if all the purchases were on Plastiq.
Step 5: Once you activate your card you will get a referral link: Refer your spouse or partner using this link. You will earn 10,000 bonus point.
Step 6: Repeat steps 1-4 with your partners card. They will be up to 45,000 points and you will be at 55,000 points.
All this will have cost you $12.50 each or $25 total in net fees with Plastiq (when accounting for the double points).
Then either shop around to see if you can get a better value for your points or simply wipe out $1,000 from your 2 cards. Resulting in a net gain of $975.
The Amex Business Gold has an annual fee of $250 but it is waived for the first year. So if you don’t plan on keeping the card, make sure to cancel it before the year is up.
This was our first attempt at the credit card churning world and it was way simpler than I thought. I am thinking of now applying for the Amex Business Platinum and starting this process all over.
The only difference with the Business Platinum is that there is a $499 annual fee which is not waived. But using my referral link I will get 75,000 points upon spending $5,000. So this process will probably cost me $25 in Plastiq transaction fees + a $499 annual fee but I will earn 75,ooo bonus points, 10,000 referral bonus points, and 5,000 points on my purchases for a total of 90,000 points (or $900). So my net gain if I do this process will be $376 ($900-$524). Over $700 if D. does it as well. So essentially, there is more money down (large annual fee) with the Business Platinum but you end up with a similar and sometimes higher ROE.
I’ll probably limit our applications to 2 cards per year for now to avoid any issues with credit.
Let me know if you have a simpler way to make $1,000 on credit cards.