September 20, 2021

Model Desac

It’s Time to Fly

How YouTubers Brian Jung, Dustin Waller Get the Most Out of Their Credit Cards

6 min read

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Brian Jung has nearly 1 million American Express Membership Rewards points and 800,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points. For most new cardholders getting into the credit card rewards game, accumulating that many points might seem impossible. And for good reason: Jung is an expert in this space, and he knows how to get the most out his cards.

Jung makes a living as a YouTuber covering topics like credit cards, cryptocurrency and investing. He specializes in telling his more than 800,000 subscribers about his 15+ credit cards and the difference between the “Chase Trifecta” and the “American Express Trifecta.”

“You should never be looking at credit cards as a way to earn a full-time income,” Jung says. “At best, it’s a side hustle. At worst, it’s just free points, free cash and over time, it gives you the ability to do any type of free trip or travel you want to take.”

Jung is one of many YouTubers who are providing their viewers with information on how to maximize their credit card rewards for travel and cash back. Dustin Waller, another YouTuber, who focuses mostly on credit cards, used his rewards to help fund monthly international vacations before Covid-19.

Waller and Jung suggest that people have a clear objective on what they want to do with their credit card rewards when they get started, whether that be covering the cost of a trip to Paris or getting enough cash back to purchase a gift for a friend or family member. For example, one of Jung’s first goals for saving up points was to fund his parents’ trip to South Korea, since they haven’t been back to their home country since they moved to the U.S. over 25 years ago.

While most people likely won’t be able to earn 1 million points on their credit cards with their everyday spending, and they might not want (or be able) to make regular international trips, both Jung and Waller believe that people can reap more from their credit cards, whatever their goals are, if they choose cards that match with their lifestyle. 

“I look for credit cards to compliment my lifestyle,” Waller says. “If I did a lot of grocery shopping, I would make sure to get a card that works best for my grocery spend.”

For Jung, running a YouTube channel and an e-commerce business means that he wants a card that earns rewards on travel and dining out as well as on business expenses. For spending on things like camera equipment and travel, Jung opts for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

On the American Express secure site

  • Rewards

    Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within your first three months of card membership

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

For his personal expenses, however, he uses the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the American Express® Gold Card. With the Chase Freedom Flex, Jung earns up to 5% cash back on $1,500 worth of purchases in rotating quarterly categories (then 1% thereafter), 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1% on other purchases. 

The Freedom Flex is also giving a grocery benefit to new cardholders looking to maximize rewards on everyday spending. New cardholders can get 5% cash back on up to $12,000 worth of purchases at grocery stores.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • Rewards

    Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year, 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate (then 1%), 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on dining and at drug stores, 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months on purchases

  • Regular APR

    14.99% to 23.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

American Express® Gold Card

On the American Express secure site

  • Rewards

    4X Membership Rewards® points on restaurants (including takeout and delivery, plus, Uber Eats purchases) and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Rewards

    5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022, 2X points on travel and dining worldwide, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

    15.99% to 22.99% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

“The easiest way [to earn a lot of points] is going to be getting welcome bonuses because they give you such a large sum of points in such a short period of time,” Jung says. “No matter how much money you spend, even if you’re a multimillionaire, that 3% to 5%, only adds up to be so much.”

However, Waller warns that cardholders should be wary of overspending when trying to earn the welcome bonus.

“People get really captivated by these big sign-up bonuses so they overspend a little bit to earn the points,” Waller says. “They put themselves in a position where they overspend and can’t afford to pay the bill off in full. You’re really negating any rewards you get because interest rates are so high on rewards credit cards.”

Both Waller and Jung have more credit cards than the typical person. Waller and his wife currently have 35 active cards together. Jung has over 14 credit cards. However, neither use all of their cards on a regular basis. Jung has a rotation of four or five cards while Waller has a rotation of four to seven cards.

In order to keep track of his various cards and points, Waller uses two apps: MaxRewards and AwardWallet. Waller likes MaxRewards because it can help cardholders determine which card is best for spending on a specific purchase or at a particular store. (Disclosure: Waller sometimes receives ad compensation from MaxRewards for featuring the app in his YouTube videos.) He uses AwardWallet to track his total number of points across all his cards in one account.

Jung sets all of his cards on autopay so he never forgets to pay his bills on time, and he uses a Google spreadsheet and Notion to track how many points he has, when the annual fee is due and the rewards system on each card.

When it comes to managing more than 20 cards on his own, Waller emphasizes that having a lot of cards doesn’t necessarily hurt your credit score: Waller himself has a credit score of around 825.

He recommends that people, regardless of how many cards they have, practice smart credit card usage by keeping their credit utilization ratio low (having higher lines of credit on multiple cards can actually decrease your credit utilization score if you keep your balances low!) and making their payments on time and in full.

For rates and fees for the Business Platinum Card from Amex, click here

For rates and fees for the Amex Gold Card, click here

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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