This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Churning

Being the Most Churnable Card in Canada, I assume most of you have picked up the MBNA Alaska Airlines Mastercard by now. This pro tip is imperative to know in order to guarantee an approval on your next MBNA application. It’s so good, I’ve also created a flow chart at the bottom to map out the steps.

If you have not yet applied for the MBNA Alaska card, here’s a quick rundown on why you need to pick up this card.

  • 25,000 Alaska Airlines Miles – a super valuable points currency
  • 1 annual companion pass – a very flexible voucher that warrants a future post
  • $39 first year annual fee – $99 annual fee minus $60 GCR rebate
  • Easy to qualify for – $15,000 minimum annual income requirement
  • Easy to churn – no cap on the number of times you can receive the sign up bonus, but you cannot hold more than one Alaska card at once
  • Eligible for product switching and guarantees an approval for the card again – stick around through the post and learn how!

Product Switching

A product switch is when you convert your current credit card into another credit card product within the same bank; usually, the card you choose to switch to must be in the same product group as the card you switch from.

Eg. You can product switch the AMEX Gold Personal to the AMEX Platinum Personal, but not the AMEX SPG because the AMEX SPG is in a different product group.

The bank will not pull your credit score on a product switch but you generally will not receive the sign up bonus for the new card you switch to.

Step 1: Product Switch the MBNA Alaska credit card

Yep that’s right. The MBNA Alaska card now has the option for a product switch!

My data point is from September 2017, I called to cancel my MBNA Alaska card and was offered a product switch to the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus Mastercard with no annual fee.

This was the first time I had heard of a product switch option from the MBNA Alaska card and I immediately accepted the offer. The MBNA Alaska card is the only card in its product group and is now available to transfer to a different group of cards (MBNA Rewards). I assume this option became available after MBNA integrated with TD’s credit application system sometime last year. And TD allows credit card switching between different product groups.

Product switching was a way better option than cancelling because it allowed me to offload the MBNA Alaska card (so I could be approved for it again) as well as hold onto the credit limit with MBNA. This credit limit will come in handy when I apply for another MBNA card in the future… more on that later.

Step 2: Apply for another MBNA Alaska credit card

Although there isn’t a clear rule on how long you must wait before reapplying for the same card, I would wait a minimum of 90 days after cancelling or product switching.

Earlier this month I applied for the Alaska card again. I received a application pending notice so I called in and requested to be transferred to a Credit Analyst for an immediate decision. After identity verification and a five minute hold, the analyst returned and I was ready for one of the two decisions…

Decision: Card Approved

Great! We can loop back to Step 1 after a few months.

Decision: Card Declined

So for this application, I was declined due to too many credit card inquiries. The reason did somewhat catch me off-guard because I have cooled off on my credit card applications in the past 12 months (relatively…). But here’s when having existing credit with MBNA is key.

Step 3: Move Credit limit (if application declined)

MBNA is amazingly flexible in allowing you to move the credit limits from existing MBNA cards towards a declined application in order to push it through approval. That means you can take a portion of the existing credit limit and up to the entire amount (which would close the existing card) in order to give the new application enough credit to be approved as a credit card.

Knowing the above information, this was how I replied when I received the decline notice.

“Thank you for reviewing my application. Actually I am not seeking new credit. I have existing credit on my MBNA Rewards card and would like to move some credit over in order to open this new card.”

The credit analyst swiftly replied that that was possible and asked how much I would like to move from my existing $5000 credit limit on my MBNA Rewards card. I requested to move $2000 and VOILA! I was approved for another Alaska card and another wholesome sign up bonus.

Flowchart – MBNA Alaska Airlines Product Switch or Cancel

As you can see in the flowchart, by product switching to the MBNA Rewards card you will hold the credit limit to guarantee an approval for another MBNA Alaska card.


Before cancelling a credit card, you should always consider a product switch if the bank allows it. This strategy is vital to perfecting your approval rate for the MBNA Alaska Airlines Mastercard.

Product switch your MBNA Alaska card to the MBNA Rewards card, and hold a credit limit with MBNA to back up a future application. You will be glad you did if your next MBNA application is declined (like mine was) and you need the credit limit to transfer and approve the new card.

Chao is not your typical Asian: he’s good with numbers, likes deals, and loves to travel on miles. He calls Vancouver, Canada home and travels to Asia and Europe once a year visiting family and exploring new sceneries. He is best known for helping beginners grasp the concept of points and sharing unique methods to earn and redeem miles efficiently. Chao is one of the main content writers for PointsNerds.


  1. This is great information for the non-experts such as myself to see how to churn this card. I only hope that not too many people actually follow your advice and possibly wreck a good thing.

    • Fair assumption but I did receive the GCR rebate again for the new Alaska card after product switching the previous card.

        • Hi Desmond,
          Step 1, the product switch to the MBNA Rewards card is done manually over the phone. Step 2, the application for the Alaska card is done via Great Canadian Rebates.
          Hope that makes sense,

  2. Great article. Just started doing this this year also. For those wondering, you can also product switch the Best Western card.

    • Do you mean Best Western to Alaska?
      Or Best Western to MBNA Rewards?

      Chao or anyone else, any data points on this?

  3. Reading on my phone so maybe I missed it. I see the 90 wait before reapply. Do you recommend a hold period once you have the card?

    Also assume for the next time you cycle that you would cancel the card with the $2000 CL?

    • Great questions! Once you have the Alaska card, I would recommend a hold period of at least 3 months, although I personally hold the card for 6-9 months.

      At the time to off-load the Alaska card again (back to Step 1), if I currently do not have another MBNA credit card, I would go with the product switch. If I do have another MBNA card, I would transfer the credit $2000 over and then cancel the card.

  4. Chao , since you’re the sweet spot master just wondered if you had any suggestions on any sweet spots for Alaska miles

    • Yes! Remarkable stopover/open jaw routings, intra-asia on Cathay Pacific and JAL, and much more. Sweet spots for Alaska miles are on my short list of blog post topics. Stay tuned…

  5. I just thought I would share my experience from a month ago – I had the Alaska card for about 3 months and called in to product switch. I was told that wasn’t an option. I called again a few days later and was told that because the account was ‘too new’ they couldn’t offer me a product switch .

    • Same here. I called MNBA last night and also was told that switching was not an option. I’ve had the card since last November.

  6. What’s up with the “you don’t have an offer to switch products. Apply for the other product then cancel the Alaska”?

    I called 4x, I think I might just cancel it.

    • Hi Dennis, that’s interesting. How long have you held the card? Harley posted a comment above mentioning their account being too new for a product switch.

      • Chao, it’s 3 months going on 4 in a week. That may be it. I might as well hold it for another 2 months and call back. Thanks

  7. Hi Chao, First, Thanks for all you do ! Second, So the “product Switch” your just giving as a suggestion, not the way it should be done, correct ? This switch is just if the card is denied, or are you always holding the Rewards card, just in case ? If it works to just apply and cancel without the switch for me, that’s acceptable to correct ?
    thanks, susan

    • Hi Susan, First, thanks for reading PointsNerd! Second, yes I am suggesting to “product switch” as a tip to keep your credit limit with MBNA. I am always holding a MBNA Rewards card just in case my new MBNA application is denied and I can move some credit over to approve it. Apply and cancel is definitely fine especially if you want to churn the card faster as a couple readers have mentioned their card did not have a product switch option for being too new.

  8. Hi Chao,

    First of all, thank you for your effort and for the great ideas. I received my new Alaska Air MBNA MasterCard. Would I lose the signing bonus points if I switched to a different card in 6 months or if I cancel and re-apply for a new card?

    • Hi Owen,
      Thanks for reading and your kind words. So you will not lose any of your existing Alaska miles if you switched/cancelled your card. You just have to make sure you maintain your Alaska Mileageplan account with 1 points transaction every 12 months so your points dont expire!

  9. I want to cry !!! Gee I have no chance !
    Here is the pop-up in Great Canadian Rebates website when I inquired about the Alaska Card : “MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite® Mastercard® Credit Card is not available”
    Knowing this, this card comes up to be a card with 75$ annual fee. Still good ? As I have tons of Aeroplans I wanted to diversify my points wallet and read for months good comments about this card without being convinced. Can you help ?

    • I just tried the link and the application still works via Great Canadian Rebates! Perhaps they were under going site maintenance the last time you visited.

  10. Hi Chao,

    I have both the AS and BW cards which were approved on the same day (with only 1 credit hit) so the 3 month hold date is the same. I’d like to churn both but if I had to choose 1, it’d be AS. In this case, how do you think I should approach the card cancel/product switching with respect to your article above?

    Assuming they allow me to product switch (if not – cancel both and reapply both in >= 3 months), I was thinking:
    1. Transfer credit from AS to BW, cancel AS
    2. Product switch BW to whatever’s offered, cancel BW
    3. Reapply for both in >= 3 months

    Also – I know the recommended card “hold” time is >= 3 months. If I complete the minimum spend early and cancel right away (trying the speed up the churn cycle time), how (dis)favorably do you think banks look on accounts that are R0 in addition to the more frequent credit hits?

    Thank you for your insights!


    • Hi Tim,
      From the other datapoints I dont think you will be given the option to product switch on only 3 months of history. Definitely product switch if possible but alternatively you can transfer credit from AS to BW, cancel AS, get new AS, transfer BW to new AS, cancel BW, etc…
      Every bank looks at frequent credit hits differently but I dont think any bank would favor accounts that have frequent credit hits. Just hope your application doesn’t have to pass through a credit analyst that needs to take a closer look at your application and credit history. With that said, most banks just care about a good credit score and even with 4-6 pulls spread over the year will be fine for most cards.
      Hope this helps, Chao

  11. Anyone know what’s up with the Alaska card? Has anyone applied recently and been approved? Someone reported being approved for a different card when using the Alaska card link on GCR….

  12. As an additional data point…

    I’ve had the Alaska card since September ’17 and tried to product switch today but was told there are no product switch offers on my account and I should check back every month or so to see if any new offers appear.

    I ended up applying for the BW card and transferring my CL over to the new card before cancelling the Alaska card.

  13. Hey PointsNerd,

    Thanks for this great article! If I already have an Alaska card and another MBNA card (Platinum Plus), can I just ask them to transfer my Alaska card’s credit limit over to the PP when closing the Alaska? And then when I reapply for the Alaska, have them chunk off part of my PP limit to push for approval for another Alaska, should I get declined? Would this be a viable strategy?

  14. Has anyone actually been able to switch an MBNA card recently? I’ve been trying for months to get MBNA to switch my Alaska MasterCard to a no-fee card and so far I haven’t been able to get them to do it. Their last excuse was that whatever part of their computer system that facilitates switching cards was down/broken and had been for many weeks, and they had no ETA of when it was going to be back up. I’d love to hear if anyone has managed to do it and what sort of hoops you had to jump through. 🙂

  15. Hi,

    My wife and I both have Alaska Mileage Plan Platinum Plus MC Credit Cards (Canada). Never churned them. Both been collecting miles on different AMP accounts ( mine and my wife’s) for many years.
    Can the card still be applied for after I cancel one of them (mine)? I’ve notice a few broken links.

    • David, you can re-apply after you cancel 90 days after. I would give it 100 days to be safe but the answer to your question is yes.

  16. If the problem with applying less than 3 months after cancelling is that MBNA will just reopen the old account then if you do a product change (effectively leaving that account open, no?) and then apply for a new Alaska card soon after, would you not get the bonus? After all, it’s a new account! Or would they reject your application altogether because you opened/had this card in the past 3 months? Any data points on this? Thanks.

  17. I just tried the strategy of shifting some of my credit from my world elite Alaska Airlines to a Platinum Alaska Airlines once I applied and saw the application pending. The agent categorically said I could not do that. Seems about one year ago that Alaska does not permit having two of their cards and these two cards are still the same product according to them. I was hoping to shift some of the credit to another product such as the Best Western Card and the agent told me I had to apply for it and then see if some of my Alaska credit could be shifted over.

    He also confirmed hard pulls were being done by them each time so I will give it time and see what I’ll do in the future.

  18. Doesn’t this cycle perpetually increase your credit with MBNA? Ex. I have a $13,000 limit on my current AA card. I product switch to the PP. I then apply for a new AA card and they give me a new credit limit of $x. My overall credit with MBNA will then be $13,000 + $x. Am I missing something? Thanks in advance.

  19. Good job dude! Not sure if it’s too late to ask the question but I have Alaska Platinum already, can I switch it to Alaska World Elite and get another round of welcome bonus?

  20. Hi PointsNerd,
    I just applied for my second Alaska card (closed the last one Dec 27) and is now pending approval. Should I wait until my app is declined or should I call in about transferring my credit from another card to the Alaska card now?


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