Last updated on February 2nd, 2021 at 12:43 am
Earning my first 100,000 Aeroplan points was surprisingly easy. It all started back in March of this year when I looked at all my cashback credit cards and decided I needed a change. If I was ever going to reach my travel goals I knew 2% cashback wouldn’t cut it – I needed to start churning!
Credit card churning is a hobby shared by a lot of Canadians, and it involves chasing generous bonuses offered when signing up for select credit cards. Now that I’ve reached a nice milestone, I’ve decided to share my experience – the ups, the downs, and what I’ve accomplished in my short churning journey. Check out how I did, and read on to find out how I managed to pull it off!
My Interest in Churning
Up until recently, I had always been a cash back oriented credit card user. I loved earning monthly cash back from my credit cards and seeing those payments deposited into my savings account each month. The experience has been very rewarding. It almost feels like I’m earning dividends from my spending habits.
Things changed for me recently when I started working with a new coworker. This coworker just so happened to be BIG into churning. He’s always bringing up the latest credit card he’s signed up for and telling me about the Air Miles and other reward points he’s earning. At first, I wasn’t interested in what he was sharing, but that soon changed…
What ignited my interest in churning is when I added my coworker on social media and saw the fruits of his credit card savvy displayed prominently. Pictures from business class flights and hotels from all across Europe, Asia, and the Americas! Suffice to say, he was traveling A LOT. This especially interested me because I knew him personally and worked closely with him almost every day. I knew what he did, and approximately how much money he earned, so I couldn’t believe how he was able to pull off so much travel in such a short amount of time. This is what got me seriously interested in churning for the first time ever.
Now, I wasn’t at the stage of my life where I wanted to chase bonuses all the time. I didn’t want to be constantly signing up for new credit cards, paying expensive annual fees, or taking a significant hit to my credit score. No, what I wanted to do was to earn a lot of travel rewards all without having to change my regular spending. Basically, I wanted to be a casual churner – to “churn casually”, if you would. Could I earn a lot of points just by switching my regular cash back card for the odd points card? Was earning 100,000 Aeroplan points a resonable goal? I started investigating just that.
Picking My First Card
I soon started reviewing all of the rewards programs that were available. After a lot of research I decided that Aeroplan was the first point program I’d hone my craft in. It had a few characteristics I liked: a lot of retail partners, a great selection of cards, and a very clear redemption chart that made it easy to understand what type of flight I could earn with my points. Next I started reviewing all of the cards that were available to me.
I was looking for a card that had a few key characteristics. These were:
- No annual or monthly fee.
- A generous bonus I could earn without changing my spending habits.
- Product switching opportunities.
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite
There were a few different cards that fit these criteria, but the card I became most interested in was the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite. This card typically had a $120 annual fee but was now available with the first year fee waived. It offered a 15,000 Aeroplan points bonus followed by another 5,000 Aeroplan points for $1,000 spent in each of the first 3 months after signing up. This would add up to a total of 30,000 Aeroplan points in bonuses – enough for a long haul trip to anywhere in North America! And then finally, after earning all of those bonuses, I would still earn 1.5 Aeroplan points for every dollar I spent on categories like grocery, gas, and drug stores. All other types of spending would earn me 1 Aeroplan point per dollar. Not too bad, eh?
I ended up signing up for this card and I received it in March. From that day on I committed to using my new TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card for all of my family’s spending. From March to May I was able to earn the 30,000 bonus Aeroplan points. I also earned several thousands of Aeroplan points extra thanks to regular spending above $1,000 per month. I even did my best to use the Aeroplan eStore whenever possible to earn more points.
Leveraging My Player 2
My next move was signing my wife up for the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card as well. She has already received most of her 30,000 bonus Aeroplan points, with last 5,000 bonus points are just waiting to be deposited. Since I do all of the spending in my household, not much changed for either of us after receiving this new card. The only difference has been that instead of using my own card I now carried around hers. I always find it funny when she asks for my credit card to buy something online and I open my wallet and take out her card.
Note that like many popular cards, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite benefits change frequently. Instead of earning 15,000 additional bonus points on your minimum spend of $1,000 per month for 3 months, you now earn 10,000 Aeroplan points on $1,500 in spending within 3 months. This makes it quite a bit easier to earn all of the bonuses and rack up 25,000 points.
Onto The Next One
I applied for my next card around the same time I signed my wife up for her TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite. The new card I applied for waives its first annual fee and is called the CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite. This card gave me an extremely easy way to rack up another 15,000 Aeroplan points. All I had to do was make a single purchase! That’s right, I bought some gas once with this card and haven’t used it since. After earning the bonus I continued using my wife’s TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite to ensure I reached its monthly spend.
The CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite gave me just the boost I needed to reach 100,000 Aeroplan points. As the points from my TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite continue to come in, I’ll soon be over 100,000 Aeroplan points. After that I plan on either signing my wife up for the CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite to earn even more points, or perhaps product switching my TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite into another card.
Would I do it again?
Definitely, yes! The idea of “churning casually” is so attractive to me because it allows me to accumulate travel rewards all without a dramatic change to my spending habits. As a result, earning 100,000 Aeroplan points ended up being much easier than expected. Depending on how you spend these points, they can be worth as low as a penny or as high as 10 cents or more. Aeroplan points are usually worth a little more than 2 cents per point but can be worth much more if you redeem for business or first-class travel. With this in mind, I’m looking at least $2,000 worth of travel earned in just 6 short months!
Take a look at my progress over the last 6 months. On average, I earned 16,532 Aeroplan points per month. This amounts to approximately $350 in travel earned each month. As you can see, the payoff to churning can be HUGE. This sure beats the heck out of my cash back cards!
Thanks for Reading!
I hope you enjoyed this look at my churning progress over the past year. As you can tell, I was so happy to reach the milestone of earning my first 100,000 Aeroplan points. I plan on continuing on my journey of “churning casually” and hope to keep you updated along the way. Soon enough I’ll be signing up for credit cards in my sleep and earning my next 100,000 Aeroplan points!
If you’re interested in reading more, please check out some of my other recent articles. Find out the best way to save money on Amazon Canada. Also, check out my review of the best Canadian dividend ETFs!
Do you like to churn credit cards? And if so, what type of churner are you? Do you have any tips you’d like to share or thoughts on how I’ve done? Please let me know!