People often wonder how the Michael W Travels family can afford to travel so frequently.
While there are lots of tricks to save on travel, I think we all know that there are still costs involved. Travel might be discounted but it’s never exactly free.
One way we save money during our travels is by staying in cheaper hotels, hostels and Airbnbs. (Sign up for Airbnb using my referral link to earn a $40 credit towards your first stay. I’ll earn a $20 Airbnb credit after you complete your stay.)
Another way we travel is by utilizing the benefits of credit card sign- up bonuses.
Miles and points earned from credit card sign- up bonuses go a long way to pay for our flights. We use points less frequently for hotel stays. If we’re not booking flights using miles and points, we usually find mistake or very cheap flights.
I’ve been earn miles and points through credit card sign- up bonuses for many years. This helped to get me lifetime American Airlines Gold status. (No, it really doesn’t do much but it’s still fun to mention.)
In more recent years, I’ve made a conscious effort to track the miles and points earned from credit card bonuses.
Here are the miles and points I earned in previous years:
- 2011: 775,000 miles and points
- 2012: 753,150 miles and points
- 2013: 665,000 miles and points
- 2014: 605,000 miles and points
- 2015: 450,000 miles and points
- 2016: 415,000 miles and points
I averaged 523,307 miles & points earned from credit card bonus offers over the previous six years. As you can see, my earnings have been pointing down each year and 2016 was no different.
So how did I do last year?
Credit Cards Approved in 2017:
- Citi American Airlines Platinum Select: 50,000 miles
- Bank of America Alaska Air: 30,000 miles + $100 statement credit
- American Express Blue Business: 20,000 points
- Chase Hyatt: 2 free nights + 5K for authorized user
- Barclaycard American Airlines Aviator Red: 60,000 miles
- Bank of American Alaska Air: 30,000 miles
In 2017 I was approved for six new credit cards. (This ties for the lowest amount of cards since 2014.) I earned a measly 195,000 miles & points with these signup offers.
This is by far the worst year for earning that I can recall in a very long time. I also earned more than 50% less than in 2016. Ouch!
Factors leading to the decrease:
- Various rules like Chase’s 5/24 and other banks not allowing you get to the same card within 24 months (or ever), make it much more difficult to get new cards.
- I didn’t get one card with a bonus greater than 60,000.
- For one card, I opted for 2 free hotel nights rather than 40,000 points.
- I got more cards (not by much) for Kim in 2017.
- Having applied for and churned credit cards for so long, it’s getting much harder to find new cards to apply for that I’ll actually qualify for!
I hope to see an uptick in miles and points earned from credit card bonuses in 2018. However, I’m skeptical that this will actually happen. My plan is to get whatever cards I can and again focus more on applying for cards for Kim. Kim has also had many cards over the years so this will only help so much!
How many miles and points did you earn from credit card sign up bonuses in 2017? Was it an up or down year for you?
Interesting in earning miles and points to help you travel more?
(If you need suggestions about which cards are worth applying for, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
FYI: If you apply and get approved for a credit card at the links above I may receive compensation. Thank you in advance for your support.