Points, Miles, and more

This seed was planted around this time last year, when a friend of mine mentioned the whole reward points/miles/credit card game that I never really had much interest in because of how convoluted navigating the trenches here could be. But having someone I knew dip their feet in was enough for me to join the fray.

Since Jan this year, I’ve opened 9 credit cards (11 total apps; 2 declines :() and 4 bank accounts (closed 1 already) to get the ball rolling. I have a total of 16 credit cards now (1 business), with an average age of accounts at 2 yrs and 2 months. Which isn’t all that bad. (Number of credit cards and totals will change as I re-evaluate and adjust moving forward into 2017 and beyond)

So total points collected this year:

Rewards Program Amount
American Airlines “AAdvantage” miles 122.5k
American Express “Membership Rewards” points 150k
Barclay Arrival+ points 50k
Chase “UR” points 220k
Jetblue “TrueBlue”miles 75k
Starwood Preferred Guest points 35k

For JetBlue, that was accomplished through their “status match” promotion to Virgin. I took a same day RT ticket LGB-SFO and banked 75k points for like $150. At most/average valuation of 1.4cpm, that’s about $1050 in value. Neat.

Pretty much all these credit cards required a minimum spend to receive the point bonuses. My data tracking says I’ve “spent” $26k thus far. And paid $197.20 in fees, which is less than 1%. Which is great, as all these cards already have a baseline value of 1% points earned per purchase, not including the minimum spending bonus you’re given on top.

That’s a total of 652.5k points earned across all programs this year, not including points earned for actual spending. That doesn’t sound as cool as some people who’ve been able to bank 1MM in a year, but I’ll take it. I also got in “late” if you will, and watched many profitable avenues dry up over the course of 2016. Too bad.

If you’re wondering how bad my credit score must be as a result of having so many cards, the latest December updates have it hovering just under 800 across various reports. It’s not the number of cards I have that’s holding my score down (relatively speaking, from 800+), but rather that I only have credit cards on file. Having auto loans, home loans, and/or student loans would help diversify my credit report and make it even stronger. Lolz.

Plans for these points? Well, Amex MR, Chase UR, and Citi TYP (no bonus cards collected with Citi this time around) all transfer to Singapore’s Krisflyer program, which has one of the best first class products in the air (A380 suite LAX-NRT) at roughly 75k (oneway) + $200 or so (Singapore airlines is Skytrax’s 2016 3rd best airline). I also want to fly Cathay Pacific first class LAX-HKG, since I’ve a great love for CX and have flown them numerous times between LAX-HKG, and they’re also known to offer fantastic service (Skytrax 2016’s 4th best airline). Then lastly, I’ve got to try a middle eastern carrier (Emirates (ranked 1st), Qatar (ranked 2nd), or Etihad (ranked 6th)) at some point as well. Will these trips happen in 2017? Probably not. But who knows.

Since Amex instituted a “once per lifetime” policy, the doors keep closing once utilized. And Chase’s 5/24 rule (any more than *any* 5 newly opened credit cards over a 24 month period) precludes me from getting more Chase cards, at least the traditional way. I think I’m at 11/24 or something lol.

Ideally, the next big thing would be to snap a Southwest Companion pass and be “free to fly about the country.” But that would require a companion. So that’s on hold for now.

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