May 2017 Edition
As I start to realize these posts becomes less interesting each month…I may dial back a bit. I think quarterly updates would be sufficient, or maybe just when there’s interesting news. Please comment if you think these are interesting/helpful and should stick around, or if you don’t, and think it’s a waste of time. I’d love to get some feedback!
Anyway, I’ve updated the Keeping Score page for May, you can find it at the top menu on the blog. Keep reading if you’re interested in a few new strategies I have, and a few recent updates.
Flexible Points Currencies
As I’m getting ready to retire the Southwest Companion Pass, I’m starting to look elsewhere for more value. I’ve burned over 200,000 Rapid Rewards in the past two years (including redemptions throughout 2017 that I have yet to fly). Sure, I have plenty of points with some of the other airlines, but I’m starting to see the appeal of flexible points. My main options are:
- American Express Membership Rewards
- Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Citi ThankYou Points
- Starwood Preferred Guest Points (and ergo – Marriott Rewards Points)
In addition to these, fixed value bank points (looking at you, Merrill+) offer some great value too. Having some diversity in my points will really help as I expand my travel footprint past Southwest’s destinations. As a result, I’m going to continue growing my Membership Rewards, ThankYou Points, and SPG Points. I’ll also be working on the bonus for the Merrill+ card, and am boosting my Barclay Arrival miles bonus slowly but surely, through the Barclaycard Travel Community. For the moment, I’m unable to get Chase Ultimate Rewards, but my girlfriend is working on those. Between the two of us, we should have plenty of options!
Similar to the above sentiment, I’m looking to diversify my hotel points. I really only have enough for a few nights (between both my girlfriend’s and my accounts) at IHG properties, and a bunch of SPG points. I’m lacking Hilton, Hyatt, Wyndham, Choice, Best Western, and Club Carlson. I don’t really have Marriott points, but SPG and Marriott are now interchangeable.
AirBnB and discounted gift cards helps fill the gaps, but it doesn’t always save much money. For one night in a city or near the airport, or maybe a week in one spot (someday I’ll stay still that long), I’d rather book a decent hotel on points. If it’s for a few days, or off the beaten path, then I’ll be looking at AirBnB.
I plan on opening an American Express Hilton Surpass in the near future, with its increased 100,000 Hilton points offer, and maybe I’ll give a Hyatt or Wyndham card a shot as well. I’m going to continue putting a lot of spend on both my personal and business SPG cards, and I recently bought some SPG points to boost my options – both for the SPG brand itself, and airline transfer potential.
Rocketmiles and Copa Airlines
Without any activity, my Copa Airlines ConnectMiles would have expired this summer. I earned 5,000 miles 2 years ago, just for signing up the program. Although it’s not much, 5,000 ConnectMiles will get you an intra-Colombia flight! Which of course, some day, I might need… Now, I don’t have to worry about expiration until April 23rd, 2019. Rocketmiles doesn’t represent good value in most cases, and if I rented cars from any of the major chains, I’d probably have renewed my ConnectMiles that way.
Detailed post to follow.