Category Archives: Hotels + Points

How Many Transferrable Points Did I Earn & Spend with AMEX, Chase and Citi in 2020?

Good afternoon everyone, I hope your week is going well.  I don’t know about you, but 2020 was the year I earned a lot more transferrable points than I spent.  I am hoping that in 2021, I will be able to spend a lot more points than I did in 2020.  For this post, I looked at my 3 favorite transferrable points programs (American Express Membership Rewards Points, Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, and Citi ThankYou Points).  I looked at my starting balances on January 1, the number of points I earned in 2020, miscellaneous point transfers in/out, the number of points I redeemed in 2020, and the ending balance on December 31 (I don’t have any plans on redeeming any points in the next few days).  For a quick calculation, I earned 350K points across the 3 programs and spent a total of 211K points (most were with Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature).

American Express Membership Rewards Points

  • Starting Balance on Jan 1: 240K
  • Points Earned in 2020: 201K
  • Points Redeemed in 2020: 4K
  • Ending Balance on Dec 31: 438K

With American Express, I earned 201K AMEX MRs with 3 cards (American Express Business Platinum Card, American Express Gold Card, and American Express Blue Business Plus Credit Card).  The Biz Plat had many pandemic bonus categories like wireless phones, shipping charges, and Dell purchases.  The Gold Card had bonus categories for restaurants and grocery stores, along with high referral bonuses.  And the Blue Biz Plus offered 2x everywhere and was my go to card when I wasn’t working on meeting minimum spending requirements on new CCs.  Across all 3 CCs, I received a total of 65K AMEX MRs from referral bonuses.  To view your points summary, click here.  To view your redemption history, click the View Redemption History link.

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My Rock Solid 2021 Airline, Hotel & Credit Card Predictions

Good morning everyone, I hope you got a good laugh out of my post from yesterday: Reviewing my Embarrassingly Wrong 2020 Travel Predictions.  Long story short, my 2020 predictions were terrible (I had 3 correct and 12 wrong predictions).  I am hoping to redeem myself today with my super-solid, 100% guaranteed-to-happen predictions for 2021.  My crystal ball just got back from the crystal ball repair store and here are my airline, hotel, and credit card predictions for 2021.

My 2021 Airline Predictions

  • Alaska Airlines or Southwest Airlines will make their “convert travel funds to airline miles” feature a permanent feature on their site.
  • American Airlines will finally become a Citi ThankYou Points airline transfer partner.
  • Delta Airlines or United Airlines will introduce a “Cash and Miles” payment option for award tickets (pay 10,000 miles or pay 8,000 miles + $40).

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Reviewing my Embarrassingly Wrong 2020 Travel Predictions

Good morning everyone, I hope you all had a great weekend and a Merry Christmas (if you celebrated the holiday).  Since 2020 is almost over (thank goodness!), let’s review My Wildly Ambitious 2020 Airline, Hotel & Credit Card Predictions.  To be honest, I totally forgot that I wrote this post and I haven’t looked at it since it was published on December 30, 2019.  Here is what I wrote last year for my predictions and my thoughts on each prediction (correct in green and wrong in red):

My 2020 Airline Predictions

  • Alaska, American, Delta, or United will introduce a “Cash and Miles” payment option for award tickets. Clarification: This is not to be confused with Delta’s “Pay with Points” option where you get 1 CPP for each Delta SkyMiles for paid flights. I’m thinking more along the lines of the way British Airways and Avianca do it for award tickets.  No?  I haven’t booked any airline tickets in 9+ months, but I don’t think this prediction came true.
  • Allegiant Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Sun Country will announce a merger, but I’m not sure who will merge with who.  No, there were no airline mergers in 2020 among these airlines, but I expect to see some mergers of domestic and international airlines next year.

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10 Things I’m Thankful for in 2020

Good morning everyone, Merry Christmas Eve!  As 2020 winds to a close, I wanted to share 10 things I am thankful for this year.  I hope you can relate to some of these things and have other things you are thankful for as well.  If you want, please share what you are thankful for in the comments.  Without further ado, here is what I am thankful for in 2020:

Laura

It goes without saying, but I am very thankful for my wife, Laura.  She has been my constant stay at home companion and has made this year special.  I don’t know what I would do without her.  I’ve enjoyed watching TV shows, Hallmark movies, BBQing and making dinner, baking cookies, going for walks around our neighborhood, helping me with puzzles, and much more.  I am also very proud that she finished her Masters Degree this year.  She is incredible and I love her so much. Continue reading

My Best Practices for New Credit Cards and Sign Up Bonuses

Good afternoon everyone, I hope your week is going well.  I recently completed the minimum spending requirement for 4 different credit cards (My October 2020 Credit Card App-O-Rama Results) and wanted to share my best practices for new credit cards and sign up bonuses.  I currently have 32 credit and charge cards open and have had 90 other cards since I started travel hacking in 2011.  To the best of my knowledge, I have never missed a credit card sign up bonus by not completing the minimum spending requirement.  Feel free to use all, some, or none of my best practices with your next credit card.  For this post, I am going to use a fictitious credit card as an example to illustrate some of the pitfalls to avoid.

ABC Credit Card has a sign up bonus of 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in 3 months with a $95 annual fee.  You apply for the credit card on January 1 and your application is pending.  Your application gets approved on January 5 and your new credit card arrives on January 15.  You activate your new credit card on January 18.

Credit Card Tidying and Organization

When your new credit card arrives, I recommend activating it immediately.  Then set up online access to view and track your purchases.  If you get paid monthly, you may want to change the bill due date to a date that is more convenient for you (unfortunately, this may not be possible until after the first statement closes).  For simplicity, I like to have all my credit card statements close around the same date, so that I do not need to remember several different credit card due dates or statement closing dates.

If you are concerned about accidentally making a cash advance purchase, call the credit card company and ask to lower your cash advance limit to $0.  If you were approved with a small credit limit and have other credit cards from the same credit card company, ask if they can transfer some of your credit limit over to your new credit card.  If you want to receive your statements electronically, sign up for electronic statements (I will explain why below). Continue reading