How we’ve earned 1,744,651 points THIS YEAR!

Yup, you read that right. So far this year, we’ve earned 1,744,651 miles and points as of the end of August 2016. Seem like a lot? Seem impossible? Keep reading and find out how!

If you’re a long time reader of our blog, then you’ll know that we do whatever we can to earn miles and points. I’ve even gone so far as to get hair transplant consultations for free Delta Skymiles. Earning those free flights to get champagne and caviar is tough work!

Emirates first class Champagne

Emirates first class Champagne

For those of you who are new to the blog, welcome! We’d suggest that you go check out our initial 10 posts on the basics of miles and points to learn more about what we do and how we do it with a 9-5 job!

Now, onto the good stuff. How we came across all those points!

Everything Counts!

The first rule is to earn miles for EVERYTHING. Sign up for every promotion, link every credit card, make sure to USE your points-earning credit card instead of cash. Every single point gets you one step closer to that dream vacation. I know that it may seem tedious to use a credit card and pay it off weekly or biweekly, but when you get used to doing it every day for every thing, it’s second nature.

Here’s a handy chart of everything that we earned this year, and we’ll break it down one by one.

State of the Miles

State of the Miles

Dining Programs: 584 miles

Each airline has their own dining program, where you can link your credit or debit card to earn extra miles when eating out. We’ve only earned 584 miles this year to dining programs, mostly because we just don’t eat out much. Much healthier and cheaper to eat at home, OR better yet, let the airlines feed us on the flights 🙂

Rental Cars: 2,100 miles

Almost all airlines link up with rental car programs to earn miles when you rent a car. For a while I was convinced that I could earn miles with the Hertz program, but the truth was they ended up being more expensive than most of the competition, so we went back around midyear to the other rent a car companies, who usually give 100-500 points per car rental.

Uber: 2,127 points

Uber partners with the SPG program and offered extra points on each ride whether or not you’re staying at an SPG property. If your uber ride is the day before, after, or during your stay, you earn even more bonus points. So far this year we’ve earned 2127 SPG points with the Uber partnership.

Shopping: 2,720 miles

Oh, shopping. We all do it, and most of us do it online. So why aren’t you earning miles for those purchases? All the airlines have shopping portals to earn miles on your online purchases. Just google your favorite airline followed by “shopping portal” and you’ll get your airline’s website. 2720 miles on top of the credit card miles and points is a win!

Hotel Stays: 138,848 points

Now we’re getting into the good stuff. As you can imagine, we’ve got to have places to stay when we head to all these far flung places. These hotel points cover the gamut of Club Carlson, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, and SPG, and is a pretty good amount for the 50 or so nights we’ve stayed in hotels so far this year. From the Protea hotel in South Africa…

Protea Hotel Relaxation, Kruger Park, South Africa

Protea Hotel Relaxation, Kruger Park, South Africa

To the Hilton in Luxor, Egypt.

Hilton Luxor Pools

Hilton Luxor Pools

You can also earn airline miles on your hotel stays, but since we have SO many airline miles (which you’re about to see) having a good mix of free hotel stays makes sense too.

Actual FLYING: 366,350 miles

Since the majority of Americans know about “Frequent Flier Miles” they assume that you’ve got to earn the miles by, of course, flying! But as you can see by reading our blog, flying actually only gets us just over 20% of our total mileage count for the year. While flying is an important way to earn and keep status, get free upgrades, and more, it’s not the most lucrative way. Our total for the year to date is 366,350 miles, and Ben still has a good 30,000 waiting to post from our Labor Day travels!

First Class Bathroom Spa

First Class Bathroom Spa

Etihad First Class Dates and Champagne

Etihad First Class Dates and Champagne

Bonuses and Promos: 477,238 miles and points

Sign up for EVERY promotion that the airlines offer. These points came from hotel bonus promotions, airline double mile promotions, and even to a large extent the Alaska 20 minute baggage guarantee. The IHG promotion earlier this year that offered bonus points from mailing in 3×5 index cards netted us over 145,000 points alone. And every time we go to an SPG property we choose the Make a Green Choice option to earn an extra 250-500 points per night. This has been a very, very good year for hotel promotions.

Sheraton Sleeper Bed

Sheraton Sleeper Bed

Credit Cards: 785,139 miles and points!

Yup, you guessed it. The vast majority of our miles and points come from the every day use and signup bonuses for credit cards. Signup bonuses accounted for about 60% of the total, and the rest came from the methodical, continuous use of the credit cards. We have purchased airfare, postage stamps, groceries, gift cards, hotel stays, pizza deliveries, and even picked up the tab at group events, making sure all the fools paying cash gave it to us! There was even a good chunk of points from the SunTrust Delta Skymiles debit card (and there isn’t even a single SunTrust bank in the state of Washington).

Skymiles Debit Card

Skymiles Debit Card

Redemptions: -1,044,000

You’ve worked hard to earn those miles, so you might as well use them, right?

For all our flights, hotels, and experiences that we’ve had so far, we have redeemed over 1 million miles for first class flights, fancy hotels, and more. Easily we’ve saved TENS of thousands of dollars on our travel around the world by doing so

Net Total: 730,651 to date

And the best part? There’s still four more months to go! I’m totally convinced that we’ll get to over 1,000,000 net miles and points earned for the year.

Maybe next year we’ll slow down. Maybe next year we’ll redeem more points that we earn. Maybe next year we’ll find an even MORE lucrative way to earn miles and points that hasn’t even been introduced yet. Only time will tell, but you can rest assured that if there’s a way to earn some miles and points, we’ll be there collecting them all!

How many miles and points have you earned to date so far this year?

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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