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Piling Up the Points: How I’m Smartly Collecting Rewards Right Now

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Earning Miles and Points

Earning Miles and Points

Our points and travel hobby can be a grind.  On the road, we often observe some less than desirable travel behavior.  And sometimes we aren’t earning points and miles as fast as we’d like.  When we hit earning speed bumps, it’s important to remember the variety of ways we can pile up those points.  Some methods aren’t as obvious as others.  Today, I’m covering a few less than obvious ways I’m efficiently collecting various rewards currencies.  Maybe some of you can do the same.  I’ll be jumping around today, so enjoy the ride!

Note:  Obviously, credit card welcome offers play the hugest role for many to earn tons of points and miles.  As always, MtM will continue posting on these bonuses.  And spending for bank points, including the Amex +5 referral offers, is remarkable.  Today’s article focuses on other matters.

Wyndham Rewards

I enjoy most all hotel points currencies, as I can somehow find a use for them without much effort.  Wyndham Rewards points are just one of those currencies.  I primarily earmark these points for road trip overnights and Vegas experiences.  The only way my wife and I currently earn these points are through each of our Wyndham Rewards Visa card accounts.  This is the $69 annual fee legacy card without the “Earner” moniker.  The card earns 2x everywhere, but that’s not enough for us to put any spend on them.  Instead, we pay the $69 annual fee and receive 15k Wyndham Rewards anniversary points.  We easily come out ahead on the redemption side.

Earning Miles and Points

American Airlines AAdvantage

The answer I give now is almost the opposite of the one I would’ve given last year.  Based on a few opportunities at the time, I spent big on my Aviator Blue card, all the way to Executive Platinum status and 200k redeemable miles.  This year, I’m enjoying the redemption side of AA miles, not so much the collection.  But I’m still opting for collecting AA miles on a few occasions.  How?  The American Airlines AAdvantage eShopping portal.

Last year’s activities brought my attention back to this portal in a big way.  Since then, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at this portal’s timeliness and reliability.  But this year, I’m opting for miles with this portal when I earn at a substantially higher rate than Rakuten or TopCashBack.  That’s more often than I expected.  I’m not earning a ton of AA miles this year, but when I do, it’s at a high earn rate via their portal.

World of Hyatt

Many people only transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt.  Looking back, I don’t think I’ve ever transferred Ultimate Rewards there.  I simply haven’t had a need there.  But sometimes I back into Hyatt points and rewards via Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts.  Recently, I’ve stayed at properties cooperating in the World of Hyatt program, like the Bellagio in Vegas and the Thompson in Savannah.

My Fine Hotels & Resorts stays primarily involve using the annual $200 credit from the Amex Platinum.  While making the FHR reservation, I always ensure to include my loyalty number for the related hotel program.  I don’t have high expectations here, as I know I won’t necessarily earn program points on these stays.  If I don’t, no big deal.  But when I do, I’ll definitely take them!

I’ve earned extra Hyatt points on occasion here, and my most recent FHR stay triggered a Brand Explorer reward.  While not technically points, it’s like ~15k for a stay in the near future (which I would’ve used points for, anyway).

Earning Miles and Points

Marriott Bonvoy

The hotel program which polarizes me most is Marriott Bonvoy.  As a former top-tier elite Starwood guy, the terrible merging of the two programs drove me away for years, among other things.  But we’ve come back and largely benefitted from the decision.  Right now, we primarily pick up more Bonvoy points in two ways:

Amex Offer-related credit card spend:  Both the wife and I were targeted for an extra six points per dollar on supermarket spend (up to 7.5k bonus points) on our Brilliant cards.  (Unfortunately not on my Bevy.)  Still, we happily spent for 8x in this staple category.  We’ll keep our eyes peeled for other ways to stack up Bonvoy points with Amex offers.

Other smart spending:  Right now, I’m also spending on my Bevy card at supermarkets.  I’m enjoying 4x earning while I simultaneously approach a 50k free night award, the $15k big spend bonus on the Bevy.

Banana Republic Rewards

I just can’t leave this one out – the targeted spend offers on the Banana Republic Mastercard continue to deliver the goods.  Whether in the old days with Synchrony or now with Barclays, my wife and I each continue to receive excellent offers.  Again, these points are worth one cent each and are only redeemable at the Banana Republic/Gap family of brands.  That works fine for our family.

We’re each currently earning 5x on all travel, gas, grocery store, and restaurant purchases – uncapped.  That’s not the out of this world 10x I got in the last quarter of 2022, but 5x is still outstanding.

Earning Miles and Points – Conclusion

My wife and I will inevitably get caught up in other small-scale plays, but the above are the most prominent ones for us right now.  Searching for and pouncing on the various promos for rewards currencies we use is a big part of the fun.  You may have noticed that I’m directly collecting only a few different airline miles and hotel points currencies right now.  We’ll never be able to do everything, and that’s a good thing.  I’d rather have too many options than not enough.  With what’s currently on our plates, the hobby’s interesting enough.  What points and miles currencies are you currently collecting and how?

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


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