COVID put a halt on travel for a good 2 years allowing me – like a lot of other people – to accumulate a lot of credit card points and miles. Once everything started opening up, needless to say, I put them to good use burning threw almost a million points and miles on hotels and flights.
My biggest redemptions
You might be thinking – how the heck does one person redeem almost a million points in a year!? A couple of Qatar Qsuites, a roundtrip United Polaris booking to India and over 20 nights at various Hyatt and Hilton properties will do it.
I’ve covered most of these amazing redemptions across various articles on the blog and would highly recommend checking them out here.
My restocking strategy
I strongly believe in planning for the long game and not short term but I also like to jump on amazing deals from card issuers as well as online shopping portals like Rakuten.
Chase UR Points
Most of my redemptions were by transferring my points to Hyatt where I got over $11,000 worth of hotel stays in 2022 – favorite being in Maui, Hawaii. I also used my points towards United Polaris bookings to India by topping off my United Miles.
December also happened to be when Chase was offering an elevated 90K offer on their Ink Cash and Ink Unlimited cards. I applied for and was approved for two Ink Cash and one Ink Unlimited for a total of 270K UR Points. I used the cards to pay my property/income tax, HOA dues and even though I paid a 2% fee, the sign up bonus far outweighed the fees.
I was able to refer three business owners for various Ink cards and while the first one got me 20K points, Chase offered an elevated referral bonus on the other two netting me 40K each for a total of 100K from referrals. Hence my Ink cards netted me almost 440K points from the sign up bonus, referrals and spend on the cards.
Additionally, Chase started offering a 90K Chase Sapphire Preferred Sign up bonus in branch and since I had recently downgraded by CSR, it was a no brainer. That plus the spend on the card netter me an additional 100K points.
Overall, in 4 months, I was able to leverage normal expenses I had to earn 540K UR points.
AMEX MR Points
My main redemptions here were with Hilton in Maldives and Qatar (BA Transfer) for a couple of QSuites. Admittedly, I was out to burn through my MR Points as I am effectively moving away from the ecosystem – not that it is bad, it is just too expensive to keep their cards and I plan on closing them eventually.
The only real points I got were a 30K retention offer on my Platinum, 10K on my Gold and a 9X grocery promotional offer. I was also able to take advantage of Rakuten’s 15-20x promos where I was able to earn almost 9K additional points on purchases I was going to make anyways.
Other notable mentions
I was able to leverage my Bilt card to restock some of my AA Miles which I redeemed for flights to Japan and India but it was only a 40% fill rate.
I also received 100K points from Capital One Venture X referrals from friends and family – some of which I used towards United flight redemptions using Turkish Airlines.
Conclusion – Can everyone do this?
The answer is yes and no. Yes because anyone can leverage upcoming expenses towards hitting a new credit card sign up bonus. No because not everyone may have high expenses and hence they need to be more selective and plan their approach to opening new card(s) given the impact to their credit, spending habit and managing various card(s).
Would I recommend what I did to everyone ? Probably not – mainly because each person’s case is different. If you have valid and justified expenses coming up and your credit is in good standing – ready to take a temporary beating due to inquiries and new account openings – make a solid game plan and pick cards that best fit your use case in the next 6-18 months.
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