Miles and Credit Card Goals for 2012

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I still plan to do a post in my Best of and Worst of series about the best mileage and point accumulation totals from 2011, but an interesting thread on Flytertalk today got me jumping ahead to next year’s goals.  The thread that caught my attention was about the possible return of the Capital One Venture Card 100,000 point matching offer.  Those points were worth $1100 in travel – well, actually some people got even more value than that out of the points, but you get the idea about how big of an offer this is.  This deal came out just a little bit before I started blogging, but you can read a great synopsis of the previous offer at View From the Wing.  The key thing to be aware of is that Capital One essentially matched one of your frequent flyer account’s mileage total, up to 100,000 miles/points.  Keep that in mind, given the possibility that this offer will return.  I do not have any inside information on this, but I personally think there is a good possibility that this rumor might be correct.  If so, it will be on my credit card goal list for 2012.

Credit Card Goals for 2012:

Also on my 2012 goal list is the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Amex.  I am hoping to get in on a 30,000 point sign-up offer, but will take a 25,000 point offer (like the one that is currently available) towards the second half of 2012, if a better offer doesn’t come out.  Starwood points are just insanely valuable for me, and I am almost always able to easily redeem those points for $0.03 – $0.06 each.  For easy math, if you say that each Starwood point is worth $0.04 cents for my family, even a 25,000 point offer is still worth $1000 to me.  That is much higher than almost all other types of points out there, so I would like to beef up my Starwood point totals in 2012.  Of course your valuation of those points might be quite different from mine.

The third and final card that is actively on my 2012 list is a tie between a 50,000 mile Chase Continental/United business card offer and/or a 100,000 mile Chase British Airways offer.  Continental/United miles are always very useful for me, and the new British Airways Avios system has actually worked out great for my short-haul trips as well.  I really want to tread very lightly with Chase, so it is possible I will just do one Chase application next year.  I certainly won’t do any more than two.

I also plan to cancel a few cards in 2012.  For sure I will be cancelling one of my two Citibank AAdvantage cards.  I will probably keep the other one open partly because of the discount awards that are available with the card and partly because I have a pretty generous credit line on that card that I want to preserve.  I plan to convert a very old Chase rewards card that I have to a Chase Freedom card so that I can take advantage of the quarterly bonus point categories that come along with that card.  I won’t be eligible for a sign-up bonus by doing that, but honestly the current 20,000 point sign-up bonus isn’t earth-shattering anyway.  The annual fee for my American Express Platinum card is due in March, and I have not yet decided whether to keep that card or not.  I have considered getting an American Express Premier Rewards Gold card and cancelling the Platinum.  I have considered getting the business Platinum and cancelling the personal Platinum.  I have also considered not having an Amex Platinum at all.  It is a great card with benefits that I really use, it just comes with such a hefty annual fee that I am not sure what I will do.  I may just keep it one more year and then do some sort of change in 2013.

Just like this year, I don’t plan to be overly aggressive on credit card applications next year, but I would like to get in on at least 3-4 really solid sign-up offers.  Of course, a really hot offer could always come along and cause me to change my strategy.

Airline Status Goals for 2012:

I am going to pay a little bit more attention to elite status on airlines in 2012.  I currently have no elite status with any airline.  I fly enough miles to have it, but since so many of my trips are on points, they don’t count toward elite status.  I am a firm believer that “chasing status” is not usually a good move, but I travel enough that I do need to pay a little bit more attention to elite status issues.  If I am able to at least get low-tier airline elite status in 2012, that will be a step in the right direction.  We’ll see what happens.  I certainly don’t plan to do any “mileage run” sort of activity, but I am going to pay a little bit more attention to elite qualifying miles and see where that takes me.  I already have four or five airline trips in 2012 booked on miles, so it may be 2013 before I can really get more strategic about airline status.  I guess it all depends on what other trips creep up for me next year.

Hotel Status Goals for 2012: 

I am also in a bit of an awkward position with hotel status.  I probably have 25-30 stays/nights (for me it is virtually one in the same since I hotel hop almost every night), so I have enough stays to have top-tier status with a hotel chain (25 stays required for top-tier status at my two favorites, Hyatt and Starwood), but only if almost all of my stays are with that one hotel chain.  The problem is that depending on where I am going, the stays often get divided between my two favorite chains.  I do occasionally have a few nights at other chains as well.  I was given Hyatt Diamond (top tier) status this year through the StarMegaDo, but it looks like that gift won’t be coming from the OneWorld MegaDo, so it I’m not sure if I will re-qualify on my own in 2012.  If my current travel patterns hold, it’s quite likely that I would end up with about 15 stays in both the Hyatt and Starwood programs and that doesn’t do me very much good in either program.  One thing that may help is having the SPG Amex.  It gives me five nights and two stay credits towards elite status each year.  It also helps that SPG now counts award stays towards elite status.  Again, I don’t plan to “chase status”, but I do want to make smart decisions about my travel plans with it in mind.  Suite upgrades, bonus points, free breakfasts, etc… really do have significant value for my family, so I want to be as strategic about hotel status as I can.  I could care less about “being elite”, I just like the free benefits that come with it.  😉

Enough about me, what are your miles and points/status goals for 2012?


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  1. ” I certainly don’t plan to do any “mileage run” sort of activity…”

    Famous last words, Mommypoints, famous last words. It starts with the Mega DOs, then quickly snowballs from there 🙂

  2. I’d love to hear more about the planned card conversion to the chase freedom. I also want the freedom but don’t want to use a credit pull for chase to get it. Are you sure that the history of your old card won’t be eliminated? I have an old chase visa that I would convert but I an concerned that they won’t carry over the account age to the new Freedom that I’d like to convert to.

    is there a special number to call to do the conversion? or do you typically just call the number on the back?

  3. SPG Amex and SPG Business Amex both give you nights and stays. They’re stackable. And award nights now count with SPG also. That may make it doable for you.

  4. 2012 will be the year I will aim to spend as less $$ as possible and burn miles/pts as much as possible…Finally kick the habit of pumping my ego through Elite status and stuff:-)

  5. Anyone considering a Capital One application should consider, and look into, that this may put a hard inquiry on all 3 bureaus. For those that have a high number of inquiries or are trying to spread applications over all three credit agencies this may not be as valuable as 3 individual applications that pull individually from different agencies. Food for thought!

  6. Way to go gpapadop! I have been spending less and burning miles/points for years and it works for me! But I sit at the back of the plane with my family. 2012 will be Italy (3 cities), Galapagos, and Cuenca, Equador and Spain for four (mostly all on miles and points, except a few nights and meals/trains.)

  7. Since I just attained AA Gold status this year for the first time ever (!), I am going to shoot for EXP with MR’s in January and stack with the OWMD challenge to get EXP for 2013-2014.
    As for credit cards, I too need to take it easy on Chase since they were generous enough to give me 4 new cards in 2011. I will likely apply for the Chase Hyatt (while I am still a trial Diamond), churn the BOA and BOH Hawaiian Airlines cards, and churn the US Airways card. I am sure I will find others along the way since I do app-o-rama’s every 90 days 🙂

  8. Quick question on the AMEX Platinum Biz/Personal card. If I already have an AMEX Platinum personal, do you know if I could still get a sign-up bonus if I apply for the Biz version as well?

    Thanks all!

  9. after checking and seeing that this year I spent over $60 000 on travel ($31K on hotels and $10K on air travel) out of my own pocket, my new year resolution will be to cut those expenses significantly. at lest 30%. of course it’s nice to have top tier status at most chains, but dam…that’s a lot of money.

  10. Get the Hilton gold the previous comment posted n ask for a match for gold from club Carlson, which is useful for the 50k you just got from their big night promo.

  11. Regarding airline status, if you fly *A you might consider going for Aegean Gold. At only 20,000 miles for *G, it’s a quick way to get lounge access, extra baggage (great for C), priority check-in and priority boarding. Rumour has it they are also issuing cards valid for 3 years. Sadly, no automatic upgrades on US carriers if that is the goal.

    UA F also credits at 300% so it can be very, very easy to get there when a F sale comes up. There is one right now from LAS that can get you the 20K for $1,080.

  12. @Michael R, ha ha. I just don’t think mileage runs would really fit into my life right now – even if I wanted them to. Ha ha, so I think I am safe for now. 😉

    @NYBanker, it sure does. I usually have enough stays to get Gold on my own, but it is nice for those who don’t.

    @bluto, I actually secure messaged them a while back about it and they did say the account number and history would stay intact. I plan to do it within the next couple weeks, so I will post about how it goes.

    @Ron, great deal for those who stay at Hiltons (though I would feel a little weird about pretending to have a credit card that I don’t….)

    @Gary, it sure does help. That is one of the reasons the Business SPG Amex is on my 2012 wish list. I already have quite a few SPG award stays booked for 2012, so it may be within reach….we’ll see. 😉

    @AlohaDaveKennedy, I have heard of the 500,000 point credit card churn, but are you going to be the one to go for the 1,000,000 point credit card churn?!

    @gpapadop, do it! That is how I often travel. 😉

    @Bender, very good point. If/when the offer comes back, that will for sure be something I warn people about.

    @worldtraveller2, that is usually my strategy as well. Sounds like you have exciting journeys planned for 2012!

    @carwag25, good luck with the quest for EXP!

    @Neil, as long as the offer doesn’t say something like “for new Amex customers only” you should be fine.

    @alexander o, ouch. That is a big number. Good luck bringing it down next year. Maybe it is time to redeem some of those miles. 😉

    @Valerie, good plan!

    @Ryan, that is a good plan for many. I already get most of those benefits through lounge membership and credit card benefits, but would be a great plan if I didn’t!

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