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:
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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Leana is the 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.