Looking back on 2016, the travels we got to take were truly the bright spots in an otherwise dismal year. But it also makes me grateful for the health and prosperity that allows us to travel. I started this blog in 2013 largely because I wanted to share the knowledge I'd gained about traveling for less. Travel opens your eyes to the world and ergo to yourself, and I think it generally makes the world a better place when we see how others live.
That said, the most common question I've gotten in 2016 is "love the blog, but how are you making all of those miles?" And to that question, I decided to compile a list of 2016's point earnings and churnings.
Earnings: ≈ 550,000 points across six programs
Sapphire Reserve signup bonus – 100,000. I think half of the United States got this card this year! I recently read that Chase is spending several hundred million dollars just to pay for all of the perks that come with this card.
Chase Sapphire spending – 90,000. Chase has bonuses in Dining and travel so those helped me boost my earning on everyday spend here. I also had the Boracay trip in mind and knew they had tons of award space yielding well above 2¢ per mile so I chose to put one of my company's estimated quarterly tax payments on my card. With Payusatax.com you pay a 2% convenience fee, so as long as you know you can redeem above 2¢ in the near future it can be worth it.
Bottega Veneta – 20,000. What can I say, I was grief shopping after the election...
Amex spending – 100,000. Looking over the year the biggest "pop" I get on monthly spend is buying paid airfare through the Amex travel portal so I get 4 Amex points per dollar spent in addition to whatever I earn from the airline for the flight. Some tips for using their portal.
The second-biggest item is the shipping charges for my company (I have a personal and a work Amex). FedEx earns a 3x bonus and that also adds up.
|LOL the only United pic I have on this blog is my "goodbye United" shoe pic|
|Earning Delta miles on a China Airlines flight|
This one is too hard to calculate. My husband flies a lot for work and we have a family account so that complicates the math. He used to fly United for work, but then they did this at the end of 2014 and he decided to jump over to Mint for work travel. On top of his flying:
- Closed my Chase Sapphire Preferred card (in favor of the Reserve Card)
- Closed my Barclays Arrival card in favor of the new JetBlue Plus card (they both offer Chip + PIN backup, so your card will work in foreign train ticket machines)
- Closed my JetBlue Amex/Mastercard in favor of the new JetBlue Plus card
- Closed my Chase Ink Business in favor of Amex Business Gold
- Looking ahead to 2017, I might get the Chase United card again if I'm eligible for the 60k signup bonus (Chase got grumpy about churners and instituted a "5/24" rule)