Whenever I ask for resources that people wish existed on Twitter, I get the same answer “what credit cards are churnable”. I’ve tried to put a list together several times but have been overwhelmed or got involved in other projects. Thankfully I’ve finally bite the bullet and below is a list of the major credit card issuers and if it’s possible to churn their credit cards.
What Does ‘Churnable’ Mean?
In this context churnable means that it’s possible to get the sign up bonuses repeatedly. For the purposes of this article, we will consider a credit card churnable if it’s possible to get the bonus more than once. Where possible we will outline how many times it’s possible to get each bonus and what the restrictions are.
First, a few disclaimers/things you should be aware of:
- Make sure you ask yourself these questions before applying for ANY credit card.
- Your milage may vary, just because something worked for myself or others doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll work for you. There is always a risk that your bonus won’t post, only you can decide if that risk is worth it.
- Just because you can get a bonus twice or three times or five times doesn’t mean you’ll continue to get it. Use common sense, applying for the same cards over and over is eventually going to lead to denials.
- It might be more difficult to get approved for cards you’ve already held. This article doesn’t look at this at all. But let’s imagine you already hold a card then apply for another one, you’re not instantly approved and you need to call the reconsideration line. How can you explain your need for a second card? I usually state it’s because I want to keep certain expenses separated, but this doesn’t always work. This is also the case for cards you’ve previously held, be ready for questions such as “I noticed you’ve had this card before but cancelled it, why did you cancel it and why do you want it again?” often followed by “I see you’ve signed up for a lot of new cards recently”
- Typically you need to close the existing card before being eligible to get the bonus again. We’ve done our best to indicate when this is and isn’t necessary below, if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments.
[Read: Tips For Your Reconsideration Phone Call]
Major Card Issuers
As of May 1st, 2014 it’s only possible to get each credit card bonus once per lifetime on personal cards. If there is a sign up bonus that is higher than the bonus you received then you can apply again and receive the incremental difference (e.g if you originally sign up for a card and it has a bonus of 40k points and then cancel your account, if the bonus suddenly jumps to 100k points you’d receive 60k points which is the incremental difference).
As of February 25th, 2016 it’s also only possible to get each credit card bonus once per lifetime. Not sure if the same incremental difference applies to business cards as well.
Even if you didn’t get the bonus the first time (e.g. you missed the spend requirement) you still won’t get the bonus the second time around.
All that being said, sometimes targeted offers do not include the once per lifetime language, in that case you can get the sign up bonus again.
Bank of America
All Bank of American cards are churnable and there isn’t any minimum waiting period. It’s worth remembering that recently Alaska Airlines has been shutting down some accounts for this practice and Bank of America is seemingly making it more difficult to get applications approved. It’s possible to sign up for both the business and personal cards on the same day. While this data is only for the Alaska co-branded cards, I imagine it’s applicable to all BofA cards – although I’m not sure why you’d want to repeatedly sign up for their other bonuses.
Also remember that you can downgrade your BofA cards to the BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards card and you can earn $100-$120 per year.
BofA is weary of extending too much credit to an individual, this means they might not give you a higher credit limit if you repeatedly sign up. The only problem with this is that if they give you a credit limit under $5,000 they won’t give you a Visa signature card, instead they’ll give you the Visa platinum. The problem with this is that the platinum card usually comes with a sign up bonus of 4,000 miles and the signature comes with a bonus of 25,000+ miles.
All Barclays cards are churnable. The general consensus is that it’s best to wait a minimum of six months in between applications and that it’s better not to call the reconsideration line. There doesn’t seem to be a hard limit of how many times you can earn each sign up bonus, as long as you’re approved for the card you’ll get the associated bonus. If you already have the card, you need to close it before re-applying otherwise you will be automatically denied.
The Barclay Arrival+ cards have also now been confirmed to be churnable. To improve your chances of being approved with Barclaycard, it’s always a good idea to try and put as much spend on existing cards as possible before applying, as they want to see you using current cards before extending you additional credit.
One thing that is important to keep in mind is the fact that when you apply for a credit card from Capital One they pull from all three credit bureaus. Because of this and the generally low sign up bonuses people generally do not try to churn these cards, so there are very few data points.
It is possible to churn Capital One credit cards, and so long as you’re approved for the card you should get the bonus. (Data points: 1, 2, 3.) You can even have two of the same card concurrently and get the bonus on both; you don’t have to cancel it to get it again.
However, Capital One won’t process more than one application per six months. Personal and business combine for this limit, apparently.
There are a couple of different rules when it comes to Chase.
- Most cards fall under the Chase 5/24 rule. This means you won’t be approved if you have more than five new accounts (and not just new accounts from Chase, but all card issuers) within the past 24 months. This rule doesn’t apply to all cards, you can view the cards that this does apply to here and the cards it doesn’t apply to here. It’s also possible to bypass this rule, more details on that here. The most popular way to bypass this is by getting a pre-approved offer in branch, we have a good F.A.Q on that here.
- If a card changes significantly, then it’s considered a new product and you can get the sign up bonus again. For example, when Chase Ink cards switched from being processed by Mastercard to being processed by Visa it was possible to get the sign up bonus again.
- If it’s been more than 24 months since you’ve received a sign up bonus for a card then you’re eligible for the sign up bonus again. You also need to not have the card currently open as well. For example, if you received the sign up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred 26 months ago and still hold the card, you can’t apply for another and still get the bonus. If you cancel then apply (assuming you’re approved) you will get the bonus.
- All Sapphire cards are considered one card product, and you have to wait 24 months between getting the bonus on any Sapphire product. Further, you can only have one Sapphire card.
When it comes to the third point, this is clearly stated in the “offer details” of the majority of Chase’s cards. You should be looking for the following language (emphasis mine):
This new cardmember bonus offer is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this consumer credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this consumer credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this consumer credit card within the last 24 months.
If you can’t find the above on an application page (make sure you hit the small “offer details” link first) then Google is your friend. Type in this command:
- Site:chase.com <card name> previous cardmembers of this consumer credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this consumer credit card within the last 24 months
Then just make sure the sign up bonus and other details are the same. I don’t think you’ll have any issues even if the above isn’t on the offer you want to apply for, but better safe than sorry.
If you had the card without a signup bonus, you should be able to signup again within 24 months and get the bonus, provided you don’t currently hold the card.
Citi cards used to be highly churnable, the screws are currently being tightened but there are still some opportunities out there. Before we outline those there are a few rules that are important to remember:
- Maximum of one Citi personal application per eight day period
- No more than two applications per 65 day period
- No more than one business application per 95 day period
In addition to this, you’re only eligible for the sign up bonus if you haven’t opened or closed a card within that brand/family in the last 24 months. More information can be found here.
The sign up bonuses on the Discover it card are usually lackluster (highest of $150) so there isn’t a whole heap of appeal in churning. The main draw card would be to double the $1,500 in spend you could earn 5% cash back on in rotating categories every quarter. At the moment this is a little bit more interesting because of the Discover double cash promotion, it’s possible to have a maximum of two Discover credit cards and your first card must be opened for twelve months before you can open a second card.
Chasing The Points was able to sign up and successfully get a second card and bonus.
U.S bank can be a stickler when it comes to applications, to make your life easier we’d recommend freezing your IDA & ARS credit reports before applying for any cards with them. Update: Well Traveled Mile as able to get the bonus a second time. As was this comment.
- Club Carlson: Most people opt to keep the Club Carlson cards as the annual fee is never waived for the first year and it comes with a 40,000 point annual bonus, I’m unsure if it’s possible to churn this card but I wouldn’t recommend it anyway as you’re basically just getting a 40,000 point sign up bonus (because if you kept the card you’d get 40,000 points anyway for the same annual fee).
- FlexPerks: There are two versions of this card, one is an AmEx the other is a Visa card, both have the same fees and benefits (although only the Visa seems to be offered when there is an Olympic promo running)
Wells Fargo cards contain the following language:
- If you opened a Wells Fargo credit card within the last 16 months, you will not qualify for the introductory rate(s), fees and bonus offers.
This is enforced. One person was able to get around this by signing up for two cards on the same day.
Update 11/3/22: Seems the rule is now one Wells Fargo card each 6 months rather than the previous 15-month rule. This is one per 6 months across all personal Wells Fargo cards. (“You may not qualify for an additional Wells Fargo credit card if you have opened a Wells Fargo credit card in the last 6 months.”) The Hotels.com card still shows the 15 month rule from when you got your last Hotels.com card.
Smaller Card Issuers
- These cards are not churnable. In fact if you’ve been approved for one of the Avianca cards before then they will not approve you for another one (even if it’s the Vuela you’re applying for instead of the Vida card). One positive is no credit inquiry is done as they don’t let you proceed with the application.
City National Bank
- Bonus Points offer is limited to City National Bank clients and colleagues who do not currently have, and have not had within the 24 months prior to the date of application, a City National Bank Visa personal credit card account (this comes directly from an e-mail they sent announcing the offer).
According to this comment, it’s possible to get the sign up bonus on the Virgin American cards more than once. The reader had held the cards for more than one year, then cancelled them and reapplied after one month and got the bonus again. That means these cards are churnable.
I’d personally not recommend churning cards until you’ve already hit up the best offers at least once first. Whenever you apply for a card the second time, it’s best to assume that you probably won’t get a second time and be surprised when you do. I’m sure there are some inaccuracies in this post, feel free to add your data points in the comments below and I’ll update the post accordingly.
If there is a card issuer that I missed that you’d like more information on, please let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to add information regarding those cards. You might also find the following posts particularly useful:
- Downgrade rules and the best options for each card issuer
- How to check for pre-approved/targeted offers for each card issuer
Looking for info on Chase’s business cards. Specifically the cooldown period. Do they have a 24-month wait before you can get them again? Also, some of the info here needs to be updated:
For example, if you received the sign up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred 26 months ago and still hold the card, you can’t apply for another and still get the bonus. If you cancel then apply (assuming you’re approved) you will get the bonus.
All Sapphire cards are considered one card product, and you have to wait 24 months between getting the bonus on any Sapphire product. Further, you can only have one Sapphire card.
The example uses the CSP which uses the 48 month rule for Sapphire products. The following paragraph still references the old 24 month cooldown for Sapphire products.
Yeah, this page is quite old. Looks like it was written in 2015 but probably hasn’t been updated since 2018ish or something (guessing).
William Charles Chuck
Curious if you guys plan to work on this page or if this has been low priority. I guess in the mean time, could you guys mark the page outdated at the top of the page since some people are probably going to get confused. Thanks!
Just got a denial from Barclays that I have had the Wyndham card too many times, but didn’t list a number of course. Anyone heard of this? Makes sense but have not seen anyone quote this new “rule.”
by the way it was several months since I closed the card.
they said now have to wait 2 years to get the same card again, who knows if true. I will probably try again in a year. It has been four months since I closed. I know I have done this many times even sooner than that so this is new.
Should try to extend your waiting in between periods longer. I try to stagger mine 1 year apart but who knows. I did notice that someone else had an issue from churning Barclays card one too many times but I think they got denied due to having closed the same card multiple times within a 5-6 year time span. Just something to keep in mind when doing this.
Any new data points or DP reviews/changes on Barclay card apps, ie, especially personal Aviator?
My card account has been closed over 3 years. Closed my Choice Rewards Visa last year, less than a year having it open. Was looking for a quick cash back card several weeks back and was denied. I now am considering the Aviator again.
I have 2 HPs on TU from Barclay, ie, the CR and the cash back card. I hope it was just strict lack of marketing incentive that prevented approval on the latter.
Has it been determined (yet) that freezing TU induces Barclay to check an alternate CB?
Thanks in advance.
I had no issues churning the Barclays Aviator card (knock on wood). Got my bonus a 3rd time back in Fall 2021. I decided to wait it out a little bit more just so I don’t look a bit too needy though (1 year wait between closing and reapplying for a new card rather than 6 months).
Navy Fed datapoint. This is the second Flagship card I have received, and I got the full promotional SUB each time. I was conservative and didn’t push the envelope in preparing for the 2nd Flagship. For example, at the time I applied for Flagship #2:
(1) I had no Flagship currently (or for the 15 months prior)
(2) I had exactly 1 other NFCU card
(3) My first Flagship had been PC’d to a non-annual-fee Navy card 15 months before I applied for the 2nd one.
I will try for a third Flagship (with SUB) at some point. I plan to close or PC my current Flagship at month 11 or 12.
QUESTION: is there info on this site or any other site (Reddit, etc.) that discusses whether CC closures at month 10/11 are a bad idea — is it really important to wait until 366 days have passed and then ask for the annual fee to be reversed because of a desire to close or to PC? That seems like a lot of work. I never close cards a month after getting the SUB, which seems to me like waving a flag to the issuer that I am exploiting them. But it seems like month 11 should be ok. Thoughts?
Is it possible Barclays has finally made at least some of its cards once per lifetime like Amex? I just got this in the mail regarding new terms on the JetBlue Business card:
“From time to time, we may offer bonuses of TrueBlue points or other incentives to new JetBlue Business Card cardmembers in connection with an application for a new account. These bonuses and /or incentives are intended for persons who are not and have not previously been JetBlue Business Card cardmembers. You understand and agree that you may no longer be eligible for any bonuses and/or incentives in connection with a new JetBlue Business Card account after this Account is opened. If you receive a bonus or incentive for which you are not eligible due to your status as a current or former JetBlue Business Mastercard cardmember, we may revoke the bonus or incentive, or reduce your TrueBlue points by the amount of the bonus or incentive, or charge your Account for the fair value of the bonus or incentive, in our sole discretion.”
Full PDF here: https://www.jetbluebusinesscard.com/businesscard/forms/jetblue/REWARD_RULES_JetBlue_Business.pdf
Not sure if it’s enforced or not, but it’s the first time I’ve noticed such language with Barclays.
Re: All Barclay’s card are churnable
I called to ask if there was a retention bonus on my Aviator Red MC (personal). I was told no by two agents, and that if I closed the account, I would not be able to get another one. Do you have any other DPs on this?
I am also trying to figure this out and hopefully someone here has any experience with this. Thanks
Old comment but just replying back to this in case anyone was curious. No issue with getting the bonus again. Just got to make sure to wait it out a bit in between closing the card and reapplying (6 months minimum).
Chase section should be updated to show that Sapphire products are now under 1/48 and not 1/24
Yeah, whole page needs an update
William Charles page needs update. At a glance, BofA better balance rwd card reference needs to be removed as you cannot do that. I also think BofA churn rules have changed. And on chase, you refer to cards that do not fall under 5/24 but that has changed too
Pretty sure the better balance card is still available. The rest of the page does need a big update though
“If it’s been more than 24 months since you’ve received a sign up bonus for a card then you’re eligible for the sign up bonus again.”
Card opened: 10/23/2015
Bonus received: 3/1/2016
Card closed: 8/4/2017
Today’s date is 11/15/2018. So, I am eligible for the signup bonus if I applied and were approved today?
Thanks in advance!
Isn’t Chase Sapphire 48 months now? Might want to update the article.