I was at the gym today, and as I was running on the treadmill I thought about how many miles Teddy and I have earned in our first year of travel hacking. I whipped out my calculator on my phone and started adding up all the miles we earned from credit card signup bonuses and manufactured spending. I ran the numbers twice, and it came out to about 1.5 million miles this year alone!
I think you have to have a certain state of mind to play this game. My family thinks I’m crazy and my partner Teddy would never do this if he was on his own. I see an opportunity and I jump on it! Week after week I continue to manufacture spend and read about the latest credit card offers, and it doesn’t bore me! It looks like my persistence has paid off, because to earn over a million miles in less than a year is surreal to me. I never thought it was possible and only for the rich!
A breakdown of points earned
If we signed up for more than 1 card, I put an x#
|Barclaycard Arrival x2 at 40,000 bonus miles + around 15,000 earned from MS/spending:||95,000 miles|
|Capital One Venture 20,000 bonus miles + around 100,000 miles from MS/spending:||120,000 miles|
|Capital One Venture 40,000 bonus miles + 3,000 from spending:||43,000 miles|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred 45,000 bonus points + 10,000 earned from MS/spending:||55,000 points|
|Citi American AAdvantage Executive x5 500,000 miles + 60,000 earned from MS/spending:||560,000 miles|
|American Express Platinum x2 at 40,000 bonus points + 15,000 from MS/spending:||95,000 points|
|American Express Delta Gold SkyMiles x2 at 50,000 bonus miles + 10,000 from MS/spending:||110,000 miles|
|American Express Delta Platinum at 50,000 bonus miles + 15,000 from MS/spending:||65,000 miles|
|Bank of America Virgin Atlantic x2 at 88,000 bonus miles:||176,000 miles|
|Barclaycard US Airways x2 at 50,000 bonus miles:||100,000 miles|
|American Express Business Gold x2 at 75,000 bonus points:||150,000 points|
|Grand Total:||1,569,000 miles earned|
I’ve also earned over 275,000 Hilton HHonor points, but I’m not including these in the above chart since they’re hotel points and worth the least amount of money per point.
Persistence is key when you play this game. I’m always looking for new ways to earn miles and it becomes addicting! I feel like I’m winning the lottery each time I see another 50k+ miles hit our various accounts.
We’re not sitting on all 1.5 million miles right now. I’ve already used some points to fly this past summer and book trips for next year. Teddy and I are booking a trip to Hawaii with my parents for January 2016, so we’re hoping to get the award tickets reserved by February 2015. I’d like to use our American Airlines AAdvantage miles before they decide to devalue their program. Delta and United have already devalued their program, and I’m sure American Airlines isn’t too far behind.
The benefit of having a significant other who plays the game
As you can see in my table above, we often apply for the same card to receive the bonus twice. That way if I earn 50,000 miles for a card, Teddy can earn the same amount. So far we’ve been fortunate to be able to book our tickets together. However, I’m sure there will come a time when we have separate award bookings because the availability just isn’t there. Having a significant other really helps when trying to rack up the miles!
As 2014 comes to an end, I think we made out pretty well for our first year in manufactured spending and travel hacking! I continue to make mistakes and learn from them. I’m not perfect, and I am open to advice. If you think I’m spending my points poorly, I want to know! When I redeem points I often post about it and I ask for user input. Please feel free to jump in at any time 🙂