It’s been just over a year since I started this blog, but I was getting into churning long before that. While I wasn’t as into as I am now, I think I’ve done a pretty good job saving myself some money while taking awesome vacations. Over the past two years, churning has allowed me to do the following for free or nearly free:
- Fly to and from Puerto Rico for a friend’s wedding
- Spend a weekend in Santiago, Chile and take a private tour to Valparaiso and Viña del Mar
- Spend 11 days in Italy for less than $150 (more on that here)
- Fly to Vancouver and back from Anchorage for an Alaskan cruise
- Multiple weekend stays in NYC
Subtracting fees, all of my redemptions since October 2015 have a value of $13,121! I redeemed over 750,000 points from various programs including Delta, United, Chase, Amex, Hyatt, and Barclaycard Arrival Plus to get this value. This figure doesn’t factor in all of the free flights from the Companion Pass in 2016. It’s crazy to see how lucrative this hobby is. During this time frame, I’ve opened about two dozen credit cards and I still have more than the amount of points I’ve redeemed so far scattered throughout various loyalty programs (I’m saving up for a BIG honeymoon!). If you ever want to get your friends into churning, just add up the value of all your redemptions and they’ll be begging for your tips!
One of the best parts of this hobby is seeing how much money you’ve saved by putting in minimal effort. Of course, some of the hotels we stay at are far more than we’d ever pay out of pocket. This inflates the overall value of our vacations by quite a lot, but it’s still fun to put a figure on it. We have yet to fly business or first class, but we’re ready to make the jump soon which will increase the value of our trips even more. Isn’t churning fun?