One of the goals of Valuetactics.com is to prove that these tactics are worthwhile. To that end, I provide monthly reports of our household points and miles activity. I also try to provide semi-monthly updates of our other related activity. This might include travel planning, canceling or applying for credit cards, additional point/mile earning opportunities, and various other value tactics we hear about or use ourselves. The whole purpose is not to show off, but to inspire you to take advantage of these tactics yourself!
My wife and I don’t do manufactured spending. We don’t do extreme couponing. We don’t apply for new credit cards as often as humanly possible. We simply put all our spending on credit cards, strategically apply for good card offers, and make use of other miscellaneous savings tactics. I think my monthly totals updates are a good representation of what a normal couple could expect, if they take advantage of the tactics on this site.
Without further ado, here’s how we ended up for 2017. I track redemptions based on the year in which the booking was made; not the year in which the travel actually takes place.
- earned 128,259 airline miles
- earned 45,381 hotel points
- earned 191,126 Chase Ultimate Rewards
- earned 5,565 Citi Thank-You points
- earned 55,707 “other” points
- Total earned: 494,038
- transferred 68,000 Ultimate Rewards to airline and hotel programs
- redeemed 66,467 airline miles (+ 62,000 transferred from Chase UR)
- redeemed 109,000 hotel points (+ 6,000 transferred from Chase UR)
- redeemed 17,092 Chase Ultimate Rewards
- redeemed 15,990 Citi Thank-You points
- redeemed 51,114 “other” points
- Total redeemed: 327,663
Total gross value from points/miles redemptions booked in 2017: $6,110.79
Total gross value from other card benefits booked in 2017: $2,834.32
Total combined gross value: $8,945.11
Associated costs and fees for points/miles redemptions: $476.46
Total credit card interest and annual fees paid in 2016: $938.84
Net value for all our efforts: $7,529.81 !!
In last year’s annual report, you will see our total value for the year was almost twice as high. The main explanation for this is that in late 2016 I planned my 2017 Europe trip (on which I woefully underreported!). Since I report the redemptions based on when I book the trip – not when the trip actually happens – that whole value was added to the 2016 total. I am considering another summer trip to Europe again in 2018, but I haven’t booked anything as of yet.
I’m happy to say the credit card interest we paid in 2017 was in the single digits. The $938.84 in interest in fees is largely comprised of annual fees. The most noteworthy is the $450 fee on Nicoleen’s Chase Sapphire Reserve. The benefits of this card have paid for the fee many times over. One benefit I haven’t quantified were the several airport lounge visits we were able to make because of the Priority Pass Select membership that is a benefit of the Reserve.
You can do it!
I show these results not to brag, but to motivate you to capture some value of your own! Here are some of my favorite articles to guide you:
- Tighter Rules for Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses
- Which Card Should I Get?
- Are you too disorganized for this stuff? NO!
- Tracking is the Key (and why you shouldn’t do it)
- An Updated Look at Ultimate Rewards Versatility
- Don’t Hoard Points!
- Zeroth World Problems
The following are good examples of planning a trip and how the points and mileage usage breaks down. If you’re already in the game and need to hone your skills at points and miles redemption, check these out for some ideas:
- My First Points Redemption – Europe 2014
- Our Jamaican All-Inclusive Vacation
- South Dakota Road Trip
- Our Hawaiian Get-Away 2016
- A long weekend in paradise. . . why not?
If you contact me privately, I can walk you through some ideas for which credit cards to get to meet your goals.
And of course you should like the ValueTactics facebook page and join the discussions there!
Here’s to a valuable 2018!