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January 8, 2017 / oneworld82

2016 in review: points and more

2016 has been a very good year. I have not gotten as many credit cards as in the past, but I have gotten some good ones. My wife and I also traveled to some good places, and overall we have been very happy. Here’s a brief recap.

Points earned from credit cards

  • BoA Virgin Atlantic credit card: 75k miles
  • Avianca Amigo card: 60k Lifemiles
  • Chase British Airways card: 50k Avios + 25k still to be earned
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 100k Ultimate Rewards
  • Delta Gold and Silver cards: a total of 110k Delta Skymiles
  • TD Ameritrade Aeroplan: 25k Aeroplan miles

On top of that, I spent 60k at Staples on my Ink Plus, which netted me ~260,000 ultimate reward points at 6.96 cents per dollar, and I used my Citi Prestige 4th night free benefit twice, which gave me around $550 in statement credit. So, while it could have been probably better, it was a good year all things considered. I could have been more careful and spent exactly 50k at Staples, but I honestly had no idea I was spending so much so quickly.

As it stands today, my balance in terms of points is pretty healthy. I have:

  • 186k Ultimate Rewards – but if things do not change I plan to increase that balance fast
  • 90k Citi ThankYou points
  • 260k American Airlines Aadvantage miles – I plan to redeem 150k for two one-way tickets to Central Africa for a 2018 trip
  • ~80k Miles & More points
  • ~150k Alaska miles – Cathay Pacific or Emirates, that is the question
  • 70k Aeroplan
  • 80k Delta SkyMiles
  • 400k Hilton Hhonors
  • 12k Hyatt points
  • 10k SPG points
  • 75k Marriott Rewards
  • 80k Club Carlson

My goal is to keep spending on my Ink Plus to take advantage of the 5x bonus at office supply stores, and to manufacture as many SPG points as possible (since these points are very valuable). I think in 2016 I have spent my UR points mostly wisely (redeemed for LH First Class through Krisflyer, redeemed at 1.5c per point for a couple of hotels that gave me very good deals), but I have also had to use the points (around 50k) for short haul Avios redemptions, which was less than ideal.

In the end, assuming the 5x category on the Ink Plus stays, I plan to spend around 50k UR this year and to earn 250k, so I would ideally like to see my UR balance increase to above 300k this year. I will probably earn around 100k Hilton Hhonors from business travel, and I plan to earn another 50-60k SPG points through other business spending.

Overall, I certainly can’t complain, and this year we’ll also get more aggressive with my wife’s applications, since she only has, so far:

  • 25k Membership Rewards
  • 57k Aadvantage miles
  • 5k Ultimate Rewards

So, where did all these points take us in 2016?

  • 4 days in Guatemala
  • 3 days in Los Angeles
  • 5 days in Italy visiting family
  • 2 days in Las Vegas
  • 1 week in the UK (Cotswolds) plus Oslo
  • 4 days in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
  • 4 more days to Italy
  • 3 days to Rome
  • 10 days to China

Of course I paid cash for a lot of it as well, but I think I got a very good value out of my points.

So, 2016 has been a successful year. Hopefully 2017 will be even more so!

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