One of the most common questions I get when helping people with travel hacking is “Where can I learn more?”
I give a lot of advice but sometimes people want to be able to learn on their own time. There are blogs, podcasts, Facebook groups and more that help with travel hacking but the best one in my opinion has to be at Reddit Churning.
At the time of this writing, there are over 165,000 people subscribed to this subreddit and I never see less than 400 people lurking in it at all times.
This community is the best place to learn how to travel cost effectively and still have some of the best vacations of your life. I’m going to explain everything you need to know about r/churning in this post.
What is Travel Hacking?
I feel like I need to explain this for the people who happened to come here and don’t know what travel hacking is. If you don’t know, then the churning subreddit won’t help you.
Travel Hacking is the act of collecting points and miles to get you free flights, hotel rooms, and more. I’ve earned hundreds of thousands of points for myself and used them to go on vacations worth thousands of dollars and I barely pay anything.
You also get upgrades at hotels, first class tickets instead of economy, lounge access at airports and hotels that can save you hundreds on food, and much more.
If you want to learn more about travel hacking, I have an ultimate guide on how to get started travel hacking that will walk you through everything you need to know so be sure to check that out.
Why The Reddit Churning Community Will Help You
Like I said earlier, there are a lot of podcasts, YouTube channels, groups, and blogs (like ADP) that will help you learn about travel hacking. But sometimes these aren’t the best things for you.
They only answer questions that are in their posts or videos. So if you have a specific question, which you always will if you get into the game, you can’t really ask it to the big guys most of the time.
If they do answer, they’ll tell you to just read the blog and you’ll have to look through every post to see if they answer your question.
Also, and this is especially with true with the biggest ones, they only really promote the cards that give them the most upside. For example, you have a situation and you’re looking at two Credit Cards, let’s call them A and B.
A is a perfect credit card for your situation. It will give you loads of value and if you learn from the blog that it’s perfect for you and sign up through them, they’ll make $25. (All hypothetical.)
B is a good credit card. It gives you okay value but the blog gets paid $200 everytime someone signs up for it from their blog.
Which brand do you think the blog is going to promote?
You can’t entirely blame them because it is a business but it’s still not morally right and it screws you over in the long-term.
The great thing about this reddit post is 99% of the people there are not making loads of money off other people getting credit cards from them. They have normal jobs and all do this as a hobby.
They have very little if anything to gain by giving you the advice you’re looking for which results in unbiased and (most of the time) factual advice.
Now one of the best parts about the churn reddit community is how clean they keep everything. I mentioned before that there are over 165,000 people using it so if it was just run like a Facebook group it would be chaos.
The way they keep it in order is they have different posts and subtopics and I’m going to go over some of them and what they are useful for and what not to do in them.
The questions subtopic is pretty self-explanatory but where a good amount of the action happens.
You honestly can just go in and ask almost any question you want. Maybe you have a question on how to grow your credit score or you want to be able to apply for business credit cards.
Just a couple things to suggest. Reddit isn’t a nice place sometimes in general and it’s filled with a lot of alpha males. If you go in there and ask a basic question like “How do I get a credit card?” you might get some mean answers.
Make sure you use the search option in the subtopic to see if your question has been answered if it seems elementary.
Also if you’re asking questions about specific cards to get, they have their own thread for that so don’t ask it in the questions thread. At the top of the questions thread it will say “If you have questions about what card to get, ask here.”
Click the here part and go to that thread. They are really big in making sure there is structure and won’t answer your question if you put it in the wrong spot.
This is the next most popular topic and is kind of a catch all for everything that isn’t a question.
You go to this thread when you want to talk about you getting accepted for a certain card or a certain hack working or not working for you.
I mostly read this thread and never really post in it. I might comment if I can give some guidance to people but this seems more like a thread for the people who stay in the subreddit for hours at a time and just want to talk to each other.
The questions and discussions topics are an everyday thing. For example, there will be a July 4th thread for questions or discussions and then they’ll make another thread for July 5th. This is because they are much more popular.
For the next two, these are weekly threads just because they don’t get used as much but I still think they are useful to mention here if you want to start using Reddit Churning.
For those that don’t know, a data point is basically one person talking about their experience for doing a certain action. In the credit card game, this means a lot of these are questions like, “applying for Chase Sapphire Preferred with a 710 credit score, any DPs on people who got accepted?”
So basically someone asks that question and then people who did that task recently will give their experience on it so they can help the person decide if they should do it or not.
This helps when banks change their rules without advising their customers about it (which happens a lot.)
This happened when Chase expanded their 5/24 rule to almost all cards instead of the basic ones like their Chase Trifecta. These data points helped the community find out what is considered available and unavailable quicker than any other method.
Trip Reports & Success Stories
The last one I’m going to mention is mostly a feel good post that you will find yourself in from time to time after a vacation.
Trust me, the first time you go on a trip that you paid $40 for but you should have paid $1000, you’re going to want to brag about it.
This is a place to do that and get encouragement from other people and also inspire others to do it as well.
I give thanks here when I go on a trip to the people that gave me advice on what routes to take or point redemptions to use back when I used to ask for lots of advice on there.
This isn’t one you use a lot but still a great one to know about. If you ever need inspiration to learn more, see the trips people are going on.
Now, there are some other threads in the subreddit but these are so small that I didn’t think you needed to learn about most of them on this post. If you see another thread in there and want to learn about it, just click on it and there will be a quick description and rules on how to use it right at the top.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Reddit Churning
Here is a good time to take you through why I advise people to use this as a learning tool and also a couple reasons why I make sure people are careful when using it. Just like everything else in life there is a balance and you need to be able to distinguish the good from the bad here.
The three biggest advantages to me are how fast the community will answer your questions, how structured everything is and will stay, and access to people that have been in the game since the start.
I used to ask questions in here all the time and it would only be about five to ten minutes mostly that I’m waiting to get my first response and then I’ll be getting responses all day. Now I like to answer questions to help people out and be one of those responders but either way, this all helps the learning process.
Three of the biggest disadvantages that come with using this is how hostile people are, sometimes you get answers from people who aren’t experts, and you will get some biased advice and messages at times.
Like I said earlier, Reddit can be toxic sometimes. You’re dealing with real people that usually use these platforms over the more popular ones because the way they talk to people isn’t allowed. If you ask a question that is stupid in their eyes or in the wrong thread, you’ll get some colorful comments thrown your way.
Just don’t worry about them and do whatever is necessary to help your situation. Usually when someone talks to you nasty, another member will come in to defend you.
You also need to be careful about taking advice from only one person. That’s why this group is so great because it’s so big that you’ll always get a consensus. It’s a community that anyone can join, so the first person to answer your question could give you bad advice. If you ask a question, wait until you get a couple of responses before you take action.
And just like everywhere else, there are the bottom feeders. If you give a trip report talking about you living a great life, you could get messages from people asking to give you money or if you ask which credit card to get, someone might message you begging you to sign-up using their link.
This is common on any platform so just move along and don’t worry about it. Just kind of the way of the road.
Other Helpful Subreddits
There are a few more subreddits that I browse along with r/churning that can help you out.
This subreddit is all about ways to burn the points that you’re gaining from the churning subreddit. They have their own structure there so check them out.
This is more of a place to have general questions about finance. They are kind too conventional for me but I’ve studied personal finance methods for ten years now and like the methods that I use. If you feel like you’d like to learn more about it, then check out this subreddit.
Wrap It Up
Reddit churning can help you out in your travel hacking game almost immediately. Right when you get in, you’ll be able to ask the questions you want to ask or just read what others are saying and take in information without saying one word.
If you want to learn more about getting started with travel hacking, make sure to check out the guide we have here and you’ll always be able to ask me questions in comments on ADP.
Have you ever used the churning subreddit? Let me know in the comments down below what you think of it.
Also, if you know someone else that would benefit from this post, please share it with them because it would probably help them out!