Have you Counted Your Points Lately?

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As I have mentioned before, point collecting for me isn’t just a hobby, it is the way in which our family “pays” for travel to visit family members and show Little C places beyond her toy-filled backyard. I say that because just having large numbers of points and miles in different accounts really does nothing for me. I get no warm and fuzzy feelings for knowing that I have 500,000 point sitting in some account. I will never be George Clooney’s character in “Up in the Air” who was sitting on millions and millions of miles. For one I will never fly anywhere near as much as his character did to amass that total of miles, but more importantly we will pretty much use all of our available point and mile resources to stay as connected to family as possible, as often as possible. We also have a First Class Caribbean trip with just The Man and myself in the works, but shhhh, don’t tell!

To know where we stand, we keep a running spreadsheet of our totals in various airline, credit card, and hotel programs. Every few weeks, I update the totals to see how close we are getting to having enough points for the various trips that we hope to make in the next 12-24 months. As we meet our point goals for the trips we have planned, we add new trips and goals and update the spreadsheet accordingly.

I have a post from just over two months ago that provides a snap-shot of where my family was then with our points totals. Normally we just update the spreadsheet and don’t see where we were just a few months earlier. It really does help give you motivation to keep going to know how much your point totals can jump with a little effort and planning! I recommend not only having a tracking system, but also saving some data at different points in time to see the progress you are making with accumulating points towards your family’s trips!

I am truly amazed at how many points (and thus trips) we have added to our totals in just two months by being diligent about what credit card’s we use and what offers we apply for. See what I mean……

In May we had 110,500 points/miles in various accounts that could go towards flights. In July we had 74,400 points/miles in accounts that could go towards flights. However, from May to July we booked 3 tickets for a family vacation next year for a total of 75,000 points, booked a one way domestic ticket for 12,500 points, booked two tickets for the Kansas Grandparents to visit for Christmas for 34,000 points (used a Membership Rewards 50% transfer bonus for British Airways that took 34,000 points to 51,000 points), and booked a round-trip domestic ticket for me to go to a Frequent Flyer Conference by utilizing 25,000 points. So, while our “point totals” dropped by about 36,000 points, the reality is that within that time we were able to book 7 different tickets that normally would require about 162,500 points to redeem. So, if you look at it that way we netted 126,500 points during that two month time.

If the numbers just make your head hurt, I’ll put it in simple terms. In the past two month we earned enough miles for 5 round-trip domestic airline tickets! That is huge for our family! This doesn’t even count the 150,000 American Airline miles that we have coming our way by signing up for the AAdvantage Citi Cards or the number of hotel points we have earned. As you can tell, we aren’t just sitting on those points, we are already putting them to use by redeeming for trips.

I share all of this information to try and encourage you and your family to do this same. Or to keep encouraging you if you already are playing the points game! We have not spent one extra dollar in the last two months in order to make this happen. The only real cost to us was some time planning and about a 7-9 point hit on my credit report for a couple different credit card sign-ups. That hit is a temporary hit, and one that is not of large consequence to us as we have no large financed purchases on the horizon. With that said, always know and protect your credit score. I’ll have future posts that talk more about that in the coming weeks.

Since it is always good to check-in with your point totals and goals, we decided it was really important for Little C to be able to participate in this family activity by helping us keep track of our growing point totals. Here she is practicing that skill. Have a great weekend!

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  1. Have you tried Award Wallet for tracking points totals? I’ve found it pretty helpful, rather than having to manually update spreadsheets.

    • My husband is a HUGE Excel lover/nerd/expert, so we have always done it that way. But, I do love the concept of Award Wallet, so great idea to give it a shot and see if that works even better for us!

  2. What I like about AwardWallet is that I can track all of the points per family member. In addition, they e-mail you a weekly round up of the changes to you account. Of course, I obsessivly check it every day – so I don’t need the weekly report!

  3. I’m with Katherine too. I look at my point totals on AwardWallet everyday hoping that miles/points magically appear!

    • I actually joined this week and it is pretty cool, especially for families tracking multiple people’s accounts! I’m going to do a review of it soon based on my initial impressions. I feel like I have come out of the “dark ages”, though I think my husband is still a little attached to our old spreadsheets!

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