2017 Points Roundup

Looking back on 2017, the travels we got to take were truly the bright spots in a pretty depressing year. 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 (well, and also as a hedge against my own senility – I seriously forget the details of how we did some of these trips and this gives me a place to look that up!)

The most common question I get from people is "yes yes, but how are you making all of those miles?" Here's a breakdown of where my points came from this year:

Total: ≈ 408,000 points

  • Given that I was above 5/24 for most of the year, I only got one credit card signup bonus, 40,000 for an SPG Amex (including my referral bonuses)
  • Spending on my Chase Sapphire was 87,000 (90% of my spending was in their bonus categories of Dining and Travel)
  • Work and personal Amex Spending was 182,000 (39,000 of which was Amex Offers bonuses)
  • 7000 points from Delta new partner and AirBnB bonuses
  • Paid flying was 56,000 miles across several airlines. Given that I only took two points flights all year, I thought this number would be higher.
  • United mileage shopping was 20,000
  • Alaska airlines shopping bonuses was 14,000
  • United Mileage Dining was 2,000
points breakdown


Looking ahead to 2018

🛫 keep working those bonus categories – groceries and airfare for Amex, dining and travel for Chase
🛫 keep my eye on those Amex, Chase, and shopping portal bonus offers – they made me more points than all of my flying!
🛫 sign up for one (or two?) new credit cards for the bonus points
🛫 stay a "free agent" and not chase any kind of loyalty with a single airline.
🛫 probably pay for a lot of my trips (instead of using points) because between the occasional good deals on cash fares and so many point devaluations by the airlines, it's tough to score a points flight where I get more than 2¢ each for them.
🛫 save my points for a bigger, aspirational flight. The new Singapore First Suites or their Business Class double bed would be cool. So would the upcoming Newark-Singapore flight on the A350-ULR
🛫 don't allocate all of our annual vacation days to one monolithic trip so we have the chance to be more spontaneous when there's a cheap fare
🛫 try to get on an A350 since I've not flown one yet


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