The End of the Year is STRESSING Me Out! (And What I’m Maximizing & Letting Go)

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end of year stress

End of Year Stress & Deal Reminders

Today is the final day of 2015. Overall the year has been an great one for this blog and alright for miles & points in general. I know some of you naysayers will point to the many devaluations that we have seen this year, but I want to be the first to say just how easy it is to earn these days. In fact there are so many opportunities for earning right now that I can’t keep up. Many expire today.

Greg the Frequent Miler wrote about end of year stress a couple of weeks ago. He is wise when he says,

” I keep reminding myself: I really don’t have to do all of these things.  I need to identify the few deals that will really make a difference and go for those.  I’ll the others slip away.  It will be OK.  Really.  There will be more deals next year.”

Over the years I have learned this lesson the hard way. Trying to take on too much whether it be in miles & points or in life in general never leads to good results. While I have whittled down my focus, it is still stressful. Today is the last day for so many things. Here are some of my stresses of the day.

End of Year Deals

There are so many deals that end on December 31! Some allow me to earn miles/points through spending or portals and others provide cashback. Like a ton of cashback!

Discover Apple Pay Craziness

My iPhone and I have been visiting Best Buys, Gamestops and other retailers all week trying to maximize. MAXIMIZE! In the end I’ll probably hit $17K in spending out of a possible $20K. Not perfect, but good enough. What have I been buying? Well iPads at Best Buy have been low hanging fruit. The prices on Amazon have dropped, but it is still a small moneymaker before considering the 22% Apple Pay rebate.

So Many Amex Offers

Then there are a ton of Amex Offers expiring today. For the Amazon $15 off $60+ Amex Offer I have only used about half of my cards. That means I need to get to work. My strategy will be to purchase $60 Amazon gift cards (yes you can support the site by purchasing through our affiliate link below) that I will load to my own account. 25% off everything at Amazon going forward is worth it to me.

Amazon Gift Cards Affiliate Link

I have also only used about half of my cards linked to the $20 off $100+ Staples Amex Offer. My strategy there is to purchase $200 cards for $206.95 and split the purchase on two Amex cards. That nets a $33.05 profit per two cards plus credit card rewards.

There are a few more Amex Offers I need to hit today. I thought about the Dollar General and Toys ‘R Us $5 off $25, but alas there isn’t enough time and those stores aren’t convenient for me. There is of course the targeted offer I have on two cards and I am searching Newegg to use the last of my offers there as well.

end of year stress

End of Year Credit Cards & Statement Credits

The Discover double cashback deal officially ends today for new applications, so my wife is thinking about applying for that. If we apply for one, then why not more? Adding a mini application round on a stressful day like today is sort of CRAAAZY. I haven’t decided my ultimate strategy yet, but I doubt I’ll add too many apps to an otherwise very busy day.

Thankfully I have already maximized my statement credits on my two American Express Platinum cards, but I know many of you will be frantically taking care of similar credits on the Platinum or other cards. I have a note on my calendar for next week to take care of the 2016 credits so I don’t have to worry later on. The Citi Prestige airfare credit will reset again tomorrow as well which is some good news.

End of Year Elite Status

These past few weeks have been crazy for me on the elite status front. Due to some cancellations, I ended up four stays shy of requalifying for Hyatt Diamond status. I shared my plan to Mlife my way to Diamond a couple of weeks ago, but then a family issue got in the way. Luckily I squeezed in all four stays, having just completed the final one on Tuesday night at the MGM Grand before prices skyrocketed for the New Year. I will be more than happy to stay out of Mlife casinos for awhile.

Is It Worth It?

I really love this “hobby”, “game” or whatever else you want to call it. Deep down inside I have fun chasing elite status and maximizing Amex Offers and deals like Discover Apple Pay. It is fun and very lucrative. The key for me has been to let some things go (cough Cole Haan) and prioritize others. In the end whether I MAXIMIZE all the available deals or only some of them I am still winning! I could plan a little better though.


This post is half a reminder to take advantage of some of these opportunities and half a reminder to not get so stressed out. Today will be busy for me and today will be stressful, but in the end I only take on what I can handle. The opportunities for saving and earning this year have been tremendous and while I won’t MAXIMIZE everything 100%, I will do pretty well and hopefully by not getting too stressed, I’ll actually be able to enjoy all of the fruits of my labor.

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  1. Here’s how my day went. I walked into a Toys R Us. I found the variable load eBay gift card. I went to a checkout. The machine had a partial pay button and I put $25 on 8 different Amexs. 20% off eBay. Easy as that. Didn’t even have to let a cashier in on my scheme.

    • I actually realized there is a Toys R Us close to Staples so I ended up bringing my cards in there as well. You are right. The system is amazing at letting you split the transaction. I wish every POS system was that easy!

  2. This was my first full year in the hobby. I rang up over 350,000 points/miles, I was only in the U.S. for eight months, and I didn’t actually buy an airline ticket. I’m not maximizing — I’m not a homeowner yet my FICO is 780 and still rising and all my applications have been approved instantly. But I’m happy. And I’m happier to report I’ve paid no interest charges. My regret? That the Mint deal five years ago wasn’t enough to get me playing the game back then. I’d also like to figure out how to get airline status without buying cash tickets, but that seems like only a dream.

  3. Feeling the same stress on my end as well. Have several Newegg offers I’d still like to take advantage of however, Newegg has sold out of the $200 ebay gift cards. Can I buy a $200 Newegg gift card and use it at a later date to purchase ebay gift cards?

      • Thanks for the response Shawn! Have learned a ton from your blog over the past year and look forward to learning more in 2016! Your blog has quickly become my favorite blog, keep up the great work. Happy New Year’s!

  4. When I don’t maximize deals it feels like I’m throwing money in the trash. What I’ve come to realize, as you stated, is you can’t hit every deal. Even if you did you’re probably taking time and balance away from other areas of life. As invested as I am with Churning and MS, I’m making it a new years resolution to tone it down when things get imbalanced. Too many times I’ve been up late trying to finish deals because I never had the opportunity until then. I won’t sacrifice sleep or life balance. That is unless another Amex Offer (Staples) opens and I know it’ll be gone before sunrise! 🙂

  5. :-). well. same boat here too. and by mistake made amazon $60 loads on same card twice(last 4 digits same is to blame). and boat loads of other offers cannot be utilized because of lack of time.
    Bu then as you said, love this hobby and it is interesting to be occupied this way.


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