How a Former Google Worker Earned 10 million Credit Card Reward PointsPosted June 27, 2019 in Offbeat
I was browsing online recently and came across this interesting story about a former Google worker who has been able to earn a whopping 10 million credit card reward points over the last decade plus. How was he able to do it? Let’s take a closer look.
A Self-Proclaimed Credit Card Optimizer
Chris Hutchins is a self-proclaimed credit card optimizer or as he likes to put it, a “pretty crazy” credit card points optimizer. His obsession with credit card points started in college when he realized that every time he spent $1, he’d get a mile. He was amazed that if he got enough credit card points he could fly somewhere for free. He loves travelling. He credits his love of travel as what drove him to optimize his credit card points.
How he really racked up his points is by paying for everything for everyone. If he was going to a bachelor party, he’d buy the airline tickets for all five people and put them all on a card that got 5x points on flights. Then he’d book all the hotels and put them on a card that earns 3x points on travel. (He’d of course ask his friends to pay him back for the purchases at a later time.)
For a while he even went as far as buying all his groceries by going to Office Max and buying Whole Foods gift cards because he had an office supply credit card that earned 5x points. He’d buy Whole Foods gift cards at Office Max and then go to Whole Foods and pay for his groceries with gift cards.
Travelling on his Honeymoon Using Credit Card Reward Points
When Chris got married, he wanted to take the most amazing honeymoon, but not spend any money. Chris decided he wanted to go to the Seychelles. The best way to get there was on Air France, but by not actually using Air France miles, by using Delta miles instead.
He managed to get all his Amex points transferred over to Delta. He noticed there was a promotion at the time where if you transferred your points to someone else the points will double. So he transferred the points to his wife and then back to himself. He also bought tickets for the videographer and her husband to the Seychelles in exchange for getting the videography for free.
Welcome to the World of Churning
There’s this whole world called credit card churning. How can I maximize the spend on my credit card? There are people who have gone to crazy lengths. There was a promotion a while ago in the U.S. where you could buy pudding. There’s this one guy who bought millions of pudding cups because you could earn more points than the pudding cups cost.
But there’s a tradeoff. The deeper you go down this rabbit hole of crazy card points, the longer it ends up taking you. Chris has about 16 total credit cards and usually plans his day around his credit cards.
Chris admits he’s a bit of a frugal person. He doesn’t like to spend that much money, but he takes every opportunity to maximize points. He tries to maximizing his points by putting everything that he possibly can on a credit card. He tries to never use cash because as he puts it, it’s like “free money.”
The Bottom Line
Now I’m the first to admit, Chris’ story is a bit of an extreme example. Although it’s not achievable for the vast majority of people, there are still valuable lessons we can learn.
The biggest one is when you’re spending money on your credit card, stop and think before you swipe your credit card. Choose the credit card in your wallet that earns you the most reward points. You may not earn 10 million reward points like Chris, but it will go a long way towards earning more reward points from your everyday purchases.