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A Complete Guide to Credit Card Churning with Ro Leavell

February 1, 2016

What if you could travel around the world for free? Through the world of credit card churning, this can become a reality. On today’s show, we’re joined by one of my good friends and credit card churning expert, Ro Leavell. He breaks down everything you need to know to go from zero to expert in the world of credit card churning.

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[00:50] Why Ro got into credit card churning

[2:42] Things you need to know before getting into credit card churning

[5:23] A breakdown of the two main types of credit card rewards – Cash Back and Program Rewards

[6:47] When would someone want to go with Cash Back vs Rewards Programs?

[8:25] Other than airlines, what are some additional travel perks that come with Rewards Programs?

[10:09] A deeper explanation of point values in various Rewards Programs

[12:50] The point transfer method vs the multiple card method

[18:21] Ways to deal with cards that include annual fees

[24:55] A look at the major card types – Discover, American Express, Mastercard, Visa – and Ro’s favorite types

[28:38] Are there any issuers that are cracking down on credit card churners?

[30:50] What about foreign transaction fees?

[32:28] Ro’s recommended Cash Back and Program Rewards cards

[37:00] A breakdown of credit score factors and how to keep your credit intact while churning

[47:54] Downsides of credit card churning

[49:57] The cards currently in Ro’s wallet and Ro’s favorite churning “hacks”

[1:01:30] How Ro has used his rewards points

Credit card churning resources

The Points Guy

  • Ro’s favorite blog for learning more about credit card churning

Credit Karma and Credit Sesame (affiliate link)

  • Free credit score tracking

Best Travel Rewards Cards

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards (Ro’s “best airline rewards program”)

  • 50,000 mile sign up bonus after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $99 annual fee

Capital One Venture (SMD! Approved)

  • 40,000 bonus mile sign up bonus
  • 2x points on every purchase
  • $59 annual fee (waived during the first year)

British Airways Visa Card

  • Sign up bonus up to 100,000 points
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee

Hilton HHonors Card

  • 40,000 point sign up bonus
  • No annual fee

Barclay Arrival Plus

  • 40,000 bonus miles
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $89 annual fee (waived during the first year)

Best Cash Back Rewards Cards

Blue Cash Preferred (Ro’s “best cash back program”)

  • 6% cash back on groceries
  • 3% cash back on gas stations
  • 1% all other purchases
  • $75 annual fee

Discover It (SMD! Approved)

  • 5% cash back on quarterly category rotation
  • No annual fee

Citi Double Cash

  • Get 1% per purchase and an additional 1% for paying off
  • No annual fee

Chase Freedom

  • $150 bonus
  • No annual fee
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