Points Update December 2016

Hey everyone!

Remember that Keeping Score page I created a while back?

I totally understand if you don’t remember.  I realized the page wasn’t entirely useful in its current state.  You see, I update it every month.  That’s great for me, I get to see how far I’ve come.  But for somebody just finding this blog, it’s not so helpful.  So you have a lot of points?  Cool.

It’d be a lot more helpful if I explained how to get those, huh?

I’ve decided to write a monthly post, outlining the biggest changes and updates to my portfolio of points and miles.  This will be the inaugural post, and just about every month I’ll write a new update, to coincide with updating the page itself.

Let’s start with some basics.

There are a few major ways I earn points and miles:

  1. Credit card sign up bonuses.  If you’ve poked around Flytertalk or Doctor of Credit even a bit, you know this is a good way to earn points and miles.  Just make sure you use them responsibly!
  2. Credit card spending.  I’d divide this into two categories:  organic spending and manufactured spending.  Organic spend is just your everyday stuff.  Going to pay cash?  Put it on the card for some extra miles.
  3. Although this is not a manufactured spending blog, I’ve definitely earned a healthy pile of points from MS.  I will say this:  tread carefully, and put your time into reading, reading a lot, before you jump in.
  4. Shopping portals.  You can bet every purchase I make online is thoroughly vetted against cashback monitor’s rates before I click “Confirm Order.”

Avios for Ebay

As you may know, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to earn points and cashback on Ebay purchases.  For those of us that resell or dabble in gift card arbitrage, that’s not good news.  Thankfully, I’ve had great success with British Airways’ Avios program, Gate 365.  BA faithfully pays out on Ebay purchases, usually about one to two months after the purchase, in my experience.  It’s only 1 Avio/dollar, but it’s better than 0 Rapid Rewards or MileagePlus miles.  You can still earn cashback for Ebay purchases on many cashback portals, though I can’t confirm if gift cards will pay out correctly.

201612-british-airways-portal-ebay-points

Plenty of Avios on their way, courtesy of Ebay!  Don’t even get my started on that “Cancelled by Merchant” transaction…stupid PayPal Digital Gifts…

All I can do is hope that British Airways and Gate 365 keep Ebay as a partner for the foreseeable future.  I’d really love to earn 25,000 Avios, for a roundtrip Boston to Dublin on Aer Lingus.  If they keep it up, I should be able to earn those Avios by this time next year at my current Ebay spending rates!  Think about that, flying to Ireland on Avios I earned entirely through a shopping portal?  Major travel hacking win.

Alaska and Amtrak, Courtesy of Bank of America

My two newest sign ups were the Amtrak and Alaska Business cards, both from Bank of America.  I met the sign up bonuses on both of these cards since we last chatted.  20,000 Amtrak Guest Rewards points (though there’s now an offer for 30,000).  30,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles.  Easy.

Citi, AAdvantage, and ThankYou Points

Citi definitely helped me out lately too.  The big one, of course, is my American Airlines account.  I hit the minimum spend on my Citi American Airlines Platinum Select card, and those 50,000 miles posted recently.  I was lucky to get the Platinum card just before their new rules took effect.  Now I’ll be ineligible for another AAdvantage bonus from Citi for some time.

I also recently downgraded my Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard to the Citi AT&T Access More World MasterCard.  Although I won’t get a sign up bonus, I’ll soon be earning ThankYou Points from Citi!  These will bolster my portfolio, and give me a bit more flexibility.  The only major transferrable currency I won’t have at this point is Chase’s Ultimate Rewards, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, due to Chase’s 5/24 rule.

Virgin America Freebies

I’ve never flown Virgin America.  Don’t have their credit card.  Never used their shopping portal (although I may have to start checking it more often).  The rates for their portal aren’t high, but Virgin America’s Elevate points typically have a higher value than most other airline miles.  The high value of those points should balance out the lower rates on the purchase.

I earned most of these points through freebies from the other Virgin companies.  Sign up for a few emails from Virgin <insert business type here>, and get 500 points!  Rinse. Repeat.  I also snagged some points from the AirBnB partnership, as you can see below.  Although AirBnB also partners with Delta and Qantas, I’ll continue to route my purchases through the Virgin America portal.  One of these days, I’ll fly Virgin, and I’m sure that day will come sooner than Delta or Qantas.

virgin-america-miles

Like I said, we’ll probably do a post like this every month, or at least every month that I have interesting details to share.  After all, I don’t want to bore anyone, just when I started getting people to check out the site.  Hope to see you back here soon!

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