2018 Miles and Points Review

Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s been over a month since I posted last? Real life has gotten in the way of my hobby over the holidays. Things are winding down at work for me, kids are back in school and we’re settling back into our routines – which is good for all of us! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday¬† – thanks for sticking around if you’re still here.

The new year is a perfect time to get organized at home and at work. For us, that means taking a look at our points and miles balances so that we can begin planning and booking travel for the year. I got the idea from Miles for Family how she reviews her balances after a big trip and thought I’d share ours as well. Here what our stash looks like!

Alaska Airlines:

  • Dan – 42K miles
  • Stacy – 38K miles

Did you know that you can use Alaska miles to fly to Europe and Asia on their partner airlines? My plan is to use these miles for a trip to Asia with our kids in the next year or so. It’s getting harder to churn the BOA Alaska card. Would love to hear from anyone that has used AS miles to travel outside of the US.

American Airlines:

  • Dan – 241K miles
  • Stacy – 245K miles

We currently have 6 one way flights booked to Amsterdam for this July. I’ve been unable to find 6 return award flights, and now our 3rd son informed us he will leave for Marine boot camp at the end of July (boo hoo!). So, right now we have 180K AA miles tied up (in addition to our balances above). I can pay a fee to cancel the flights or change the destination, but think I’ll just try to change the dates and travel to Europe next Christmas.

Delta:

  • Dan – 35K miles
  • Stacy – 24K miles

The great thing about Delta is their miles never expire. The bad thing about Delta is they don’t publish an award chart, so miles required are ever changing. I do see us opening a Delta AMEX sometime and using these for future Europe travel – maybe a couples trip. Any Delta fans out there??

Chase Ultimate Rewards:

  • Dan – 28K points
  • Stacy 38K points

We’ve been way over 5/24 for years and don’t know if we’ll ever be able to get another Chase card. The only way we earn UR points is by using our CSP card. We’ll probably use these points for Hyatt stays on our Europe trip or transfer to United for our Asia trip.

Club Carlson:

  • Dan – 93K points

Dan earned these points with business travel. We like using Club Carlson points in Europe for Radisson or Park Plaza stays. This may seem like a lot of points, but rooms usually book for 70K points/night.

Best Western:

  • Dan – 22K points

We earned these points on our National Parks road trip this summer. We may use during one of our road trips this year.

Hilton Honors:

  • Dan – 213K points
  • Stacy – 95K points
  • 1 free night certificate Embassy Suites

300K Hilton points sounds like a lot, but rooms usually book for 50-70K points/night. We’ll probably use for a couple of nights in Europe. I just spent 35K Hilton points for 2 nights (points + cash) at the San Francisco Hilton Union Square.

Hyatt:

  • Dan – 18K points
  • 2 free night certificates

I hate not having more Hyatt points. We do earn 1 free night each annually for having the Hyatt credit card and paying the annual fee. I just spent 15K points for our Paris stay in November and we used our free night certificates for 2 free nights in Tokyo this summer.

IHG:

  • Dan – 213K points
  • Stacy – 89K points

We love our IHG points, especially for our US road trips (hello free breakfast!). And by mid-year, we’ll each earn our annual free night certificates that we can use at any property in the world! Do you have a favorite IHG property?II

Marriott:

  • Dan –¬† 100K points
  • Stacy – 87K points
  • 3 free night certificates from credit card (2 earned from credit card – 1 earned from Mega Bonus)

We’ll probably try to use these points in Europe. Dan is Marriott Platinum which earns us free breakfast and lounge access in some properties which is a real money saver!

SPG:

  • Dan- 48K points
  • Stacy – 46K points

We love our SPG points they are so flexible! We can stay at a Starwood property – and they will go a long way if we use them on our Asia trip, transfer 1:3 to Marriott or transfer to one of their 35 airlines partners. For every 20k points you transfer, you’ll get a 5K point bonus. We don’t have quite enough points for first class travel, but we would if we apply for the SPG business card!

Final Thoughts

If you do the math you’ll see that we have over 1.7 million points combined! Wow! If you’ve been in the miles and points hobby long enough you know the Golden Rule is to not hoard points. And by the looks of it, we have too many right now and better use them before another devaluation occurs. In 2017, our family trip consisted of two big road trips – so we didn’t use any of our air miles. I joined my husband in Tokyo this summer at the end of his work trip so his flight was booked and paid for through his company so we only needed enough miles to get me there – Winning! This Fall I traveled to Paris with my sister, so again I didn’t have to use too many miles and points (plus, we were refunded 20K AA points for our flight diversion – does that mean I get another girls trip this Spring???).

Our family is transitioning fast and after this summer, our 3rd child will be in the Marines and may not be able to join a family vacation for a while. So, my goal is to take a few trips with him, Europe next Christmas and Asia the following year.

I’d love to hear what your 2018 plans are! Are you using miles and points to get there? Please share in the comments.

 

 

 



Leave a Reply