With a new year brings a new chance to earn a ton of points and miles to use for travel all over the world. There are a number of things I’ve considered in developing my 2014 point and mile earning strategy but among the top is to go through where I’ve recently used miles and where my balances are relatively low.
Hotel Points & Status
In late 2013 I had over 300k Hyatt points. Those are largely tied up in award reservations that I booked prior to the devaluation of that program. I’ll likely keep Hyatt Diamond status by earning it the hard way. So keep an eye out for some upcoming Hyatt trip reports and additional reviews of the best Hyatt Diamond benefit.
My backup hotel programs I’m doing well with healthy balances in Starwood, Marriott and Hilton, so don’t anticipate focusing much effort here outside of a nice promotion that may incentive moving business over to those backup programs. But I do plan to keep Hilton gold status through the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card.
Airline Miles & Flexible Point Options
As a Delta Platinum member who earned status the easy way, I”ll likely keep this earn this status again next year. As a result of spending on the Delta Reserve card, I also have a very healthy balance of Delta miles.
I also have United Platinum status through the status match offer back in 2013. In addition, I had a very healthy United balance. But when United announced their devaluation, I “got rid” of 300,000 miles on the quick.
I am very much focusing on flexibility in points and miles this year. While I generally prefer to have a large bank of Delta miles for travel from my home airport, diversifying miles in a number of programs is helpful. Since I already have a large stash of American Airlines miles thanks to spending on my CitiBusiness® AAdvantage® World MasterCard® and even more US Airways miles to add to that balance thanks to my US Airways Premeir World MasterCard, my plan is to rack up some United miles through select earning opportunities as they arise and as many points in flexible currency programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou points and American Express Membership Rewards. My plan to build back up my Chase Ultimate Rewards balance includes a couple of new applications for the Ink Bold® Business Card and pair that with the Ink Cash® Business Card (for 5% cash back at office supply stores). In the past, I’ve had the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (I had the MC version which I no longer have) and currently have the Ink Plus® Business Card and the freedom card (which I downgraded my Sapphire card too).
There are a ton of ways to develop a strategy to earn points and miles. In 2014, I’ll focus on replenishing my accounts where I recently redeemed a lot of points and miles. But in addition, I’m going to really focus on adding points to flexible currency programs like the Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou points and American Express Membership Rewards programs.
What’s your approach to earning points in 2014?