It’s been a year since I started signing-up for credit cards. When my friends ask me how many credit cards I got in the last year, I do get rather embarrassed (it’s a stack!). But at the end of the day, mild embarrassment aside, it lets me do what I like to do – travel.
I am not new to mileage accrual, but I have always done this the hard way (i.e. flying). Prior to all my sign-ups, these were my balances:
United: ~55000 miles
Delta: ~35000 miles (what was I thinking? Sky pesos?? Wait, I didn’t know better)
Starting in February 2015, these were the cards I signed-up for (I got a Freedom back in Dec 2014, but used it for cash back – rookie mistake)
- Delta (Feb) – 30000 miles + $50 statement credit (didn’t read enough back then to know this wasn’t the best sign-up bonus)
- United (Feb) – 30000 miles (same as above)
- Amex Hilton HHonors (May) – 40000 points
- Citi Premier (May) – 50000 TY points
- Chase IHG (May) – 70000 points
- Citi Hilton Reserve (Jun) – 2 weekend nights anywhere in the world
- Amex PRG (Jul) – 50000 MR points + $200 airfare credit
- Citi Prestige (Jul) – 50000 MR points
- Amex SPG Personal (Aug) – 30000 Starpoints
- Discover IT (Aug) – $100 sign-up bonus + $500 (I made 5 referrals)
- Amex Everyday (Sep) – 25000 MR points
- Citi Hilton Visa Signature (Sep) – 75000 points
- Chase Southwest Plus (Oct) – 50000 WN points
- US Bank Club Carlson (Dec) – 40000 points (the bonus is for 85000 if I spend $2500, but I couldn’t get myself to spend that after Serve died)
- Chase Southwest Premier (Dec) – 50000 WN points
- Amex SPG Business (Jan) – 25000 Starpoints
- Chase Ink Plus (Feb) – 60000 UR points
Points are just points. They have no value until you use them. So, how did I use these points, and where else will I go?
Jul – Sep 2015: Cuba, Colombia, Panama
Delta: 35000 Skymiles took me to Panama
Hilton: 40000 Hilton points for 8 nights of hotels in Panama and Colombia
Sep 2015: Tampa, San Francisco
Tampa – Delta: 25000 Skymiles to fly my boyfriend to watch his favorite baseball game. My flight $350 flight was offset by the $100 airfare credit from the Amex PRG sign-up. The other $250 came from my Prestige airfare credit.
San Francisco – Delta: 10000 Skymiles. Delta had a sale, so I took a day trip, and managed to use all my sky pesos!
[Bye bye, Sky Pesos!]
Oct 2015: NYC
2 nights of hotels in NYC: 60000 IHG points (not awesome as I was hoping to use IHG for point break, but between parting with 60000 points, and parting with over $600, I chose to part with 60000 IHG points)
Dec 2015: San Francisco
Another day trip – ~10000 TY points, and I got mileage too.
Dec 2015: Morocco, Portugal, Spain
1 night of hotel at Le Meridien – 3000 Starpoints
Jan 2016: Louisiana
One-way ticket on American – ~8000 TY points
Feb 2016: Boston
Airfare to Boston – $100 Amex PRG airfare credit + $100 Prestige Airfare credit
Mar 2016: California, Costa Rica, New Mexico, Arizona
Southwest: ~70000 SW points, and with the companion pass, I can take my boyfriend with me
Hilton: 3 nights in Costa Rica for 50000 points +$45
SPG: 1 night in California (10000 points), 1 night in New Mexico (3000 points), 1 night in Arizona (3000 points)
Apr 2016: Baltimore
Southwest: ~ 26000 SW points – dragging the boyfriend again
Hilton or IHG: I haven’t decided yet. I either part with 20000 IHG points, or part with 20000 Hilton points + $70. I’m leaning towards Hilton, because we’re going to watch a baseball game, and Hilton is literally beside the ballpark.
Apr 2016: Chicago
Airfare: Used the remaining of my Prestige flight credit to fly the boyfriend. Paid for my own ticket.
SPG or Hyatt: Still undecided. I can use 3000 SPG points, or pay for a Hyatt using eBay bucks.
Apr – May 2016: My friend is visiting!
I’m flying my friend out from NY to Seattle as his belated birthday treat. I used 12500 United points, and JetBlue points, which was a combination of me doing a lot of surveys, and transferring 8000 MR points.
May 2016: Denver
Southwest: 15000 WN Points
SPG or Hyatt: Undecided once again. 10000 points for Westin or C+P for Hyatt Denver.
May 2016: Anaheim
Southwest: 9000 WN points transferred from UR.
Hyatt: 2 nights of hotels using C+P with 12000 UR points.
July 2016: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile
American to Brazil: using points earned from Europe 2015 mileage run for a one-way business class ticket
Intra-South American flights: Using my UA miles. Turkish airlines flies business class there, and I plan on trying it out (20000 – 30000 UA miles)
Singapore Airlines from Brazil to Singapore: 95000 Krisflyer miles from TY & MR points, good value for a 20hr flight in first class.
Hotels: nothing set in stone, but I’ll be covering a lot of this with SPG points (I still have 43000), IHG points (I still have 90000), and Hyatt C+P rates with UR points, and paying when it makes sense (some five-star Hiltons are just $80 a night).
Aug 2016: Maldives
Singapore Airlines: 16000 Krisflyer miles from TY points, one-way. It makes sense for me to either fly budget airline, Tiger, back to Singapore, or fly business class on China Eastern to Colombo and business class on Emirates from Colombo to Singapore.
Conrad Maldives: 2 weekend nights from Citi
I will still have a stash of points sitting around after these trips, and plan on visiting Brunei and Palau with these points. These are two oddball places that are actually close to Singapore, but yet, airfare is just disproportionately high.