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Bonus Haul During My Year of Blogging

Yesterday, I made a list of bonuses I got during my pre-blog year. Let’s see how I did in the last 12 months, shall we? I got commission on some of the listed cards, though I’m not allowed to disclose the amount. So, use your imagination.

Well, it wasn’t quite like that…

I am not counting the points earned from minimum spending. Without further ado:

August 2013: Chase Southwest Visa (my husband’s)

I got 50,000 Rapid Reward points and paid a $69 annual fee. The minimum spending was $2,000 in 3 months.

September 2013: Amex SPG (my husband’s)

I got 30,000 SPG points after spending $5,000 in 6 months.

October 2013: CITI Premier Thank You Rewards Visa (mine)

So far, I’ve got 20,000 Thank You points after spending $2,000 in 3 months. I’m supposed to get the second part of the bonus  at the end of the year.

November 2013: Chase Southwest Visa (mine)

I got 50,000 points and paid a $69 fee. Minimum spending was $2,000 in 3 months.

December 2013: CITI Premier Thank You Rewards Visa (his)

Same as mine. Got 20,000 Thank You points so far after spending $2,000 in 3 months.

December 2013: CITI Thank You Preferred Visa (mine)

The sign-up bonus also consisted of 2 parts. So far, I’ve got 10,000 points after spending $1,500 in 3 months. I’m supposed to get additional points in October of this year.

December 2013: Chase AirTran Visa (his)

We got 32 credits on AirTran after spending $2,000 in 3 months. Annual fee was waived. Those will convert to 38,000 Rapid Rewards points at the end of the year. I am kicking myself for not applying for this card in my name. That ship has sailed.

December 2013: US Airways Mastercard (mine)

I got 35,000 miles after my first purchase. Annual fee was waived.

January 2014: Capital One Venture Rewards card (his)

The offer popped up for 50,000 points ($500 off travel charges) after spending $3,000 in 3 months. Annual fee was waived.

March 2014: CITI AAdvantage MasterCard (his)

The offer was for 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in 3 months. Annual fee was waived.

March 2014: BOA Virgin Atlantic MasterCard (mine)

I got 50,000 miles after spending $2,500 in 3 months and adding 2 authorized users. Annual fee was $90, not waived.

April 2014: US Airways Mastercard (his)

We got 40,000 miles after the first purchase. Annual fee was $89, not waived.

I have signed up for several more cards, but am still working on  reaching minimum spending requirements. So, let’s get to the totals. Drum roll, please:

Grand Total

443,000 miles and points across different programs. I did have to pay $317 in annual fees (ouch!).

The amount spent to get the points: $25,000 

Our scores were excellent after all  was said and done.

We had a cruise and some unexpected medical bills, so our spending was a bit higher than normal.

So, as you can see, the amount is way less than what I got in the previous year, but these points (particularly SPG and Rapid Rewards points) are more valuable as well. If you look at my last list, a lot of sign-up bonuses had to do with hotel currencies, and I value most of them at 0.5 cents each. Since I have a good supply of IHG points at the moment, I’ve decided to focus only on mileage and cash-back earning cards. I estimate this haul to be worth  $4,500 after deducting the annual fees, and we will most likely get at least $10,000 in retail value. 

If you compare this list to the previous one, you would see a trend of increased minimum spending requirements, as well as a convoluted scheme of sign-up bonus being split up into two parts. This is specifically the case with Citibank. I don’t see this trend going away, since the bank’s goal is to acquire you as a loyal customer, not give away free money. As always, my goal is to adapt and take advantage of the current bonus environment. As I saw Nick from PFDigest once put it: I don’t get mad at banks, I take their money.

Additionally, I subscribe to “earn and burn” philosophy. I  dislike hoarding in general,  especially when it comes to miles and points. That’s why I always take our future travel plans into account when signing up for new cards. Even though this amount is pathetic compared to what most in this hobby generate, it’s enough for our upcoming goals, which is good enough for me.

So, what was the purpose of me showing you these totals? Why, to brag, of course!

No, not really. It’s to show what can be accomplished when a husband and a wife work together as a team, even if one does so reluctantly. Most regular families, especially those just starting out in this hobby, can get a decent supply of points and miles just through their regular spending. In fact, even after doing churning for years, I still have no trouble finding a new card to chase after. Manufactured spending? Pfft, who needs it?

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Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

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7 thoughts on “Bonus Haul During My Year of Blogging

    • Holly, thanks! I suppose it depends on who you ask. Some generate these many points in one month. My goal with this blog is to provide a different perspective. It’s tempting to try to keep up with the heavy hitters in this hobby. But is it really necessary?
      I look forward to seeing your list!

  1. I would love to do a post like this. More for my own pleasure…just a tiny bit of bragging. Plus I have been suffering a bit of writer’s block lately. Like you said in your next post about “too many bloggers”, I think there are plenty out there who rehash all the latest promotions and offers. I wanted my blog to be more about what to do with the miles once you get them. Travel with your family! Which is what I have been doing lately rather than blogging. I am not the person who writes blog posts when I should be out exploring the city I worked so hard to get to (for free!)

    • @Laura Thanks for your encouraging words! Boy, are you right about writer’s block. When I first started, I wrote a ton of posts, the ideas just kept coming. It’s much harder now. I think the trick is not to do it daily, especially if you have a family. And I’m with you: I don’t blog about my travels, while I’m traveling. That is the time set aside for my family. If I lose readers, so be it.
      Laura, keep on blogging!

  2. Pingback: My Churning Plan for 2015, and More! | Miles For Family

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