Learning how to hack travel points
August 7, 2015 8:20 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to get into the game of earning and using travel points see more of the word. I have a question on churning and earning and need any other hints

I am a semi- beginner at this and I find all information is obvious or advanced. My question is about churning gift cards. If I get 2x points at a gas station and I buy a restaurant gift card, I would also get restaurant 2x points. Would I get the 4x points? or would it just say "gift card" and it doesn't matter?
How does one churn on Amex?
any other great hints?
posted by femmme to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Reddit has a pretty good section on this. I started getting into churning but got busy. /r/churning
posted by andendau at 8:57 PM on August 7, 2015

Check out One Mile at a Time. That's the one my friend follows and he's constantly flying first class for free.

The blogger was just featured in this Rolling STone article:
posted by superfille at 9:11 PM on August 7, 2015

Make sure you very closely read the terms of your card. Most card issuers have closed the type of loopholes you're describing - cash and cash equivalents (gift cards, coins from the US mint, traveler's checks, etc) generally do not earn points.
posted by falconred at 9:34 PM on August 7, 2015

One suggestion I would make is that you think about what you want to use those miles and rewards for. It's fine to have a few general ideas, but having a much more specific location or experience would allow you to better optimize rather than having a lot of points across multiple programs that you don't end up or can't use because of availability, blackout or insufficient points.
posted by palionex at 9:42 PM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

IMHO /r/churning is full of bad advice. Flyertalk is the best source. But even there I recommend reading a lot and getting the lay of the land before diving in. There are a lot of potential pitfalls, and the rules are always changing.
posted by primethyme at 9:57 PM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

I asked a question here that had some advice that may be useful. You may want to remember that gift cards often have fees.

As for your specific question, why would you get restaurant rewards for buying a gift card at a gas station? Restaurant rewards are for purchases made at restaurants. You are making a purchase at a gas station. I wouldn't be surprised if they also recognize the difference between purchases made at the pump vs. things like gift cards and you won't get points at all.

Maybe try following thepointsguy.com.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:01 PM on August 7, 2015

Amex is a bad choice for churning because they only allow you to get a new card bonus once per person per card, ever. Churning is when you sign up for the card, get the bonus, cancel it and repeat.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 3:10 AM on August 8, 2015

I am not sure why you think you would get 4 points. You may get 2 points - depending on how your card issuer recognizes the purchase. Some card issuers frown upon using gift card purchases to generate points and try to close these loop holes regularly and/or penalize patterns of such behavior over extended periods of time.

If you want to do this, it is best to stay very clued in on what is allowed (in your time frame) in the context of the specific card that you are carrying. flyertalk and boardingarea blogs are the two places that you would want to keep up with.

Churning for travel points usually has to do with credit card churning.

..If you want to generate points to travel - the simplest, far less time consuming strategy would be to simply focus on one airlines and one hotel chain and steer all your purchases and credit cards towards points for those two vehicles. Ideally, your chosen carrier or one of its alliance partners will have its hub in your home airport. Chase has a few very good cards (Chase Sapphire Preferred+Chase Freedom etc) if your home airport is a United hub. There is no similarly attractive option for American, but Citi has several credit cards with AAdvantage bonus points and are supposed to be relatively lenient about churning of those cards. I think Delta is horrible to their frequent fliers ..but Amex does have good options for Delta .
posted by justlooking at 10:02 PM on August 8, 2015

Response by poster: ****Follow up question****
For instance, I get 2x on gas stations and gas. Here is something obvious in unclear about. If I go to a gas station and buy a gift card for ( let's just say)100$, I could turn it and cash it ( use Serve),get back $100 plus 200 points at the cost of the fee?
posted by femmme at 6:49 PM on August 15, 2015

Mostly, yes. https://www.reddit.com/r/churning/wiki/faqserve
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:12 AM on August 16, 2015

« Older Slippers and sandals for plantar fasciitis   |   Map printing for the confused Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.