1,000,000 points in less than a year!

First, I would like to apologize for the delay in posts. I have noticed it’s hard to write often, and in the case of successful blogging, you really have to be posting at the bare minimum a couple of times a week.

Blah blah blah, Hello again!

So I was just curious and wanted to add up all of the points we’ve accumulated since our points adventure began in October, and we are closing in on 1,000,000 points in just under 12 months. These points have come in the form of airline miles, hotel points, and flexible award points.

Staying Organized

A lot of people want nothing to do with managing multiple credit cards, and I don’t blame them. We are easily managing over 20 cards between my wife and I, which I use an Excel sheet to organize everything. That helps me keep track of which cards I currently have open, and when I opened them.

Some of these cards that were opened in the last 10 months will only make it a year, and will most likely be downgraded to a no annual fee card so I can lengthen the average age of my accounts.

Set Reminders

I set a bunch of Google reminders in my calendar after reading horror stories of people forgetting about accounts and missing payments. Let’s face it, we have all missed a payment sometime in our life. That’s ok. We learn from our mistakes.

The reminders are set to give me a heads up when my annual fees are about to post, that way I can call the retention line and either ask them to waive the fee, offer some more points, downgrade the card to a no annual fee, or just simply close it.

Have a plan

Pick a destination, and work towards getting there with the right credit card strategy.

Lately I have just been taking advantage of some really good offers on credit card signup bonuses with no real plan in sight. This is not exactly the best approach, but some of these offers are just too good. Like the Delta offers from American Express are at all time highs right now.

In July, I scored a round trip award ticket for 11,500 miles. That’s amazing redemption value. I have no problem stocking up on some frequent flyer miles.

The past couple of cards I opened were business cards, which do not show up on your personal credit report (mostly). There have been 1 or 2 data points that show some banks do in fact report small business credit cards to personal reports, but I know for a fact that American Express and Chase do not.

If you were just starting out in the miles game and opened a few Amex biz cards, they would not count towards the Chase 5/24 rule.

We have a trip planned to Disney World early next year, so we have been diligently opening cards that will help us on that adventure. Hawaii is also on our radar for next summer, and we will be opening cards that will help pay for airfare, hotel accommodations, and rental car fees.

Adapt

New credit cards are always coming on the market, and with companies merging and loyalty programs disappearing, you have to be able to roll with the punches. Marriott recently announced that there would be a single loyalty program sometime in 2018, which might mean a new card on the way. You could also see the American Express SPG card disappear, so you might as well get it now before it’s gone.

Bonus categories seem to be changing often, and banks are hounding merchants about how they code their purchases so they don’t have to pay out as many points. For instance, for a few months, you were able to get 3x points on the Chase Sapphire Reserve through Plastiq for rent and mortgage payments. Since June 5th, that seems to have been nixed.

What I have found to be true is that there is more than one way to get to a destination.

In The End

In less than a year, we have accumulated close to 1,000,000 travel points, and although this is our first million, it won’t be our last. If you are new to this game, I highly suggest you look at opening Chase cards first, since they have some very lucrative sign up bonuses and a restrictive 5/24 rule that many don’t know about. People often say, “Why don’t you just pay for the tickets in cash if you have it?”, because I would rather invest our hard earned money, and use points to travel for free. At the end of the day, those points can be counted into our net worth, since each point can be valued anywhere from .5 to 2.5 cents a piece or more. The sky is the limit.