Although our 3 year experiment is over, T and I are not quite done with hacking our way to free travel. I think we’ve demonstrated that with careful stewardship of credit scores and cards, that this kind of practice is sustainable (at least in the short- to mid-term).
For the rest of the year, our card selection will likely be more opportunistic in nature. We’ll wait for the big bonuses, if they come around. We have enough points and miles for several economy/business round trips to Japan or the mainland, and multiple 3-5+ day stays in various hotel chains, so we’re not aiming for specific programs at this time.
That being said, everything worth doing is worth having a plan. So here’s our plan for the rest of 2017:
- Go get that Chase Sapphire Reserve VISA Infinite (review)! Because of the 5/24 rule with Chase cards (you will not be accepted for certain Chase cards unless you’ve had less than 5 new cards, including as authorized users, in 24 months), both T and I have been unable to apply for this card. But, surprisingly, I will have less than 5 new personal credit cards (not including business cards) in 24 months by September. Ideally, Chase will bump up the initial bonus to 100,000 Ultimate Rewards around that time, but even at 50,000, there is value to be had with that card. So I’m willing to wait.
- I’ll actually drop to 3/24 this year, so the next card I get may also be another Chase card — the Chase Ink Business Preferred (review forthcoming). This is the newest card in the Chase line, has an initial offer of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards, and the rumor is that the offer will be increased to 100,000 sometime this year. Stay tuned for that!
- While waiting for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, I will not confirm or deny the possibility that I may or may not attempt to get a non-Chase business card (that would not show up on my credit report against the Chase 5/24 rule). Again, it would have to be a pretty good offer (but The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express is offering its historical bonus high of 35,000 SPG points right now, so that’s tempting).
- If I get an SPG card, T gets an SPG card. In this case, The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express (review), also at its historical bonus high of 35,000 SPG points.
- The Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard (review) is at its historical bonus high of 50,000 points right now, and T and I have never had problems earning and spending these points. T has never had this card, so this is a very tempting addition.
- Collect as many American Express Membership Rewards Points as possible. This may be accomplished by new initial bonuses (especially if T gets targeted offers for bigger bonuses like I did this year), but may also come from dedicated spending on Amex cards. Specifically, the Amex EveryDay Preferred (review). These points will be very useful for us, transferring to both ANA and Hawaiian.
- Downgrade or cancel one or two cards each. We can’t let Annual Fees erode the gains we made up front. Especially as we use the points/miles on some of our cards. I have some cards potentially targeted for cancellation, but will hold on to them until the Annual Fee is due.
- Travel plans! We have a lot going on this year, so we only have the one Japan trip planned in the Fall. We’re still eying up Hokkaido (hmm, maybe in February 2018 for the Snow Festival?) and we might be looking at a trip to the South Pacific (possibly with the kids). Flights on Hawaiian Airlines utilizing Virgin America points are surprisingly cheap (post forthcoming), and we already have a good portion of hotel points already banked. Meanwhile, Europe is probably on hold for now, but you never know.
So that’s our working plans for 2017. Anyone planning a trip with points and miles? Have any questions? Leave a comment or question below.