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How I credit card churn
Step by step

The information provided here is from my personal experience with the steps I take when credit card churning. It is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as financial, legal, or professional advice. Credit card churning involves applying for multiple credit cards to capitalize on sign-up bonuses and other promotional offers.

It is essential to understand that engaging in credit card churning may have consequences for your credit score, financial stability, and eligibility for future credit. The strategy may not be suitable for everyone, and individuals should carefully evaluate their financial situation, creditworthiness, and goals before pursuing credit card churning. Do your own research and consult a financial advisor if uncertain. Please also read my disclaimer before continuing.

Step 1: I choose a credit card to churn

When I choose a credit card to churn it's quite simple. The more signup bonus rewards, lounge passes, and other benefits the better.


There are however some things I keep in mind when choosing which credit card I would like to apply for.

1. Waiting period: Nearly all banking institutions have a policy, where I can only receive the credit card signup bonus if I have not held that particular credit card for the previous 12 months. This changes between banks and I always read the terms and conditions and PDS of each credit card I plan to apply for in detail, so I don't miss out on any information that is relevant to me.


American Express (AMEX) won't allow me to apply for another credit card until after 18 months have passed to receive their credit card signup bonus offer.


So it's important for me to keep this in mind when choosing the best credit cards for churning.

2. Minimum spend: Every credit card has a minimum spend amount. This amount has to be spent within 90 days or 3 months of the credit card activation date for me to be eligible for the credit card bonus offer. I have found this sometimes varies slightly between credit cards so I always make sure to read all the terms and conditions of each credit card.


I always make sure I choose a minimum spend that I can achieve within  3 months or ideally 1 month.


Remember, my goal is to rinse and repeat my credit card churning every month.


I do not spend on things I don't need just to meet the credit card minimum spend to receive the credit card signup bonus. I think this is what the banks want me to do and will actually negate any reward value I receive from my credit card joining bonus if I overspend.


This is because I will end up spending more money chasing my bonus points, devaluing my overall rewards.

3. Annual fee: Every credit card that offers any type of reward, will have an annual fee which is paid automatically in my first month or statement period of owning the credit card.


These vary, depending on the credit card. Usually the higher the credit card signup bonus the greater the annual fee.


Most credit card bonus offers have a first year, reduced fee as well which may help me in choosing the best credit cards to churn for my own personal circumstances. Sometimes if I am already a member of a financial institution, the banks will offer me a reduced member only discounted annual fee on my credit card. Annual fees in this case are not always a deciding factor, as later we will talk about how I try and get the annual fee refunded.

4. Bonus rewards: The type of credit card bonus rewards I will receive will vary with each credit card program.


Sometimes it's Frequent Flyer points or bank-specific membership points which can be redeemed for flights, hotels, gift cards, car hire, items from the rewards store, and upgrades. Sometimes it is cashback offers.


Some credit cards even give me other rewards such as lounge passes, free credit at airports, and status points. I always make sure to look through what each card offers and decide what's important for me and my goals which change often.

I won't be covering the credit card rewards on offer as they will be changing all the time. The next step shows the credit cards I usually take out. They are in no particular order.

List of credit cards in Australia

Here is the list of the cards I churn in Australia for Qantas points. I will apply for these credit cards to churn if they are available. By listing these credit cards I am in no way recommending them, just giving examples of credit cards that offer signup bonuses that I will sometimes apply for. Please do your own research based on your own circumstances and read all the terms and conditions of all the credit cards. 

I will usually start with AMEX, as I have to wait 18 months before I can apply for it again. Then I just apply for the credit cards that have the highest bonus signup points.


This is all just a personal choice as I don't have any loyalty to any financial institution. For more details about each of the below credit cards I have a blog post called "Credit cards to churn for Qantas points." Or you can use a credit card comparison site like Qantas Credit Cards or Finder to do your own research. 

Step 2: My credit card application process

Once I have chosen the credit card I want to apply for, I can start this application process online through the bank's web page.


The best thing about credit card churning in Australia, I never have to walk into a branch or talk to a human to apply for a credit card.


Some sites like Point Hacks will also have special offers with banks for extra points. American Express offers referral links that get me bonus referral points. So I make sure I find a referral from sites like Ozbargain. I always look around before going directly to the bank's website.

The application process is straightforward and will take me about 10 minutes. I need my driver's license or Medicare card information to verify my identity online and proof of income documents such as payslips to prove income.

I am usually preapproved instantly with a final approval between 1 to 5 days later.

My credit card usually arrives in the mail within 5 to 10 business days of final approval.

Step 3: How I use my credit card for sign up bonuses

Once I receive my credit card, I will need to activate it using my internet banking or online account, over the phone, or directly at the bank branch. Once I have activated my new credit card, I am ready to use it.


Remember, I aim to reach my minimum spend as fast as possible, preferably within the first month of activating my credit card. 


Every institution claims in their terms and conditions that they will reward their signup bonus points within 3 months of the minimum spend, but I have found that if I reach the minimum spend before the first statement period, then most of the time I will be rewarded with my full signup bonus points on my first statement.

The best way I reach my minimum spend as fast as possible is I learnt how to pay for everything using my credit card. 


I link my new credit card to all my payment service providers such as Paypal or Afterpay. Pay all my bills, insurance, registration, rates, groceries, entertainment, and online shopping with this credit card. For more information, read my article on this topic here.


Depending on my day to day expenses, this might not be as easy to reach the minimum spend within a month as others times.


Whatever I do, I don't purchase items I would not normally buy, just to reach the minimum spend. This extra spending will offset any benefits I receive. For more tips click here.

Step 4: Cancelling my credit card

1. Cancelling process: Once my credit card bonus rewards have arrived, it is time to cancel my credit card. When it comes to credit card churning, when to cancel is important for me.


I make sure to pay off my credit card in full and make sure there is no amount owing. Next, I call my bank over the phone to cancel my credit card. This is a quick process and just requires me to tell my bank that I want to cancel my credit card.

2. Annual fee refund: I ask the bank for a pro-rata refund on my annual fee as I have only owned the credit card for 1 or 2 months and not for the whole year.


The annual fee is for 12 months. Most banks will refund me the full annual fee amount, however, they also may choose to only refund the outstanding amount or refuse a refund all together.


If I am successful with my refund, it will be returned to me in the form of a cheque or to my nominated bank account, which may take up to 2 weeks to arrive or be processed.

3. Post cancellation:  After my credit card has been canceled and I have received a cancellation email or letter in the mail and my credit report says my credit card account is closed, I can start applying for my next credit card.


I always update my Excel credit card churning spreadsheet when I have finished my cancellation process.

This is the process I take to credit card churn.

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