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Happy last day of 2014! I hope the year was full of some amazing and memorable moments for you and your family. If this year didn’t go the way you hoped, then here’s to 2015 being a fresh start and a much improved year for you and yours.
Either way, there are seven things to double check in the miles and points world before the clock strikes midnight tonight to make sure that you get the most for the miles, points, and benefits that you have earned and get started on the right path for 2015.
1. Be sure you have used your annual airline fee credits if you have an Amex Platinum or Ritz Carlton card. Even if you aren’t traveling today you may be able to get some gift cards, lounge passes, etc. with your credit even though that may be a slightly “off label” use. I highly recommend heading to this Flyertalk forum and reading up on the recent info for the airline you selected for the year in terms of what has and has not been recently counting toward the $200.
2. Be aware of any miles and points that might be expiring and use them if you can. A few types of miles and points expire at the end of X number of years regardless of activity. For example, I have 5,000 Choice Hotel points that will expire tonight (12/31) as this is the second year after they were acquired. That isn’t a big loss, but if it were a larger number I would try and do something with them. Awardwallet.com can be very helpful in keeping track of what you have that might be expiring.
3. Take screen shots of any airline hotel accounts that you want to document your YTD earned elite miles or similar. You may or may not care about doing this, but if you want to be super cautious as the numbers reset to 000000 tonight, you might want to take a screen shot of any hotel or airline elite status accounts that matter to you, just in case, to show calendar year 2014 totals.
4. Spend your American Airlines Business Extra Points that were earned in 2012. I had about 1,000 points expiring today that I just used, so I’m guessing there were some opportunities to earn easy points in 2012 that some of us probably took advantage of since I don’t fly on paid AA tickets very frequently. Any points earned in 2012 will be expiring tonight. Redemptions start at just 300 points, so take a look if you have an AA Business Extras account.
5. Utilize your Chase Freedom® 4th quarter 5x bonus categories of department stores and Amazon.com if you haven’t already maxed out the $1,500 for the quarter. The easiest way to do this for most of us is likely via Amazon.com gift cards that you can effortlessly buy and load to your account. This may be worth it for the 5x if you regularly shop at Amazon, and it won’t hurt your budget or cause you to spend more by having a positive balance in your Amazon.com account.
6. Get any Hyatt Gift Cards you want for 10%+ off. The code GPGIFT14 that saves you 10% on Hyatt gift cards, e-gift cards, and gift certificates certificates will expire on January 1st, so be sure to place any orders ASAP. Hyatt has posted on Flyertalk that the code will work through 12:00PM CST on the 1st. This post will show you how to stack this savings into even more!
7. Lock in any New Year’s Eve 2015 bookings you want tomorrow. If a hotel program you like (cough, Hyatt, cough) works on a 12 month calendar basis for their reservations, then tomorrow morning you can lock in reservations for NYE 2015 if you already know how you want to roll in 2016. Some properties are pretty clever and block off rooms on points as part of a NYE-only package or similar, but in many cases you can get the standard rooms you want on points if you book in advance before the hotel potentially sells out.
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.