We earned about 1 frequent flyer million miles and points in 2015, without flying. Those last two words are key, because there are of course many travelers who earn far more than 1 million frequent flyer miles and points per year, although a good portion of them are from flying and from their frequent flyer elite status, sometimes with more than one airline. If you're wondering why we wanted to earn about 1 million miles, please see Redeeming 800K Miles and Points: Why We Don't Save Our Miles.
In our case, our miles earned from flying are so negligible (mostly a few Singapore KrisFlyer miles and a few JetBlue TrueBlue points) that I haven't even included them. We don't have frequent flyer status with any airline, or any hotel elite status (since the best luxury hotels, such as Aman Resorts, Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental and luxury boutique hotels don't belong to loyalty programs), so our primary miles and points earning is from credit card signup bonuses, category bonuses, and credit card spend.
We bought quite a few AAdvantage miles and Alaska miles this year, so our total earned miles and points was 1,355,000 including the miles we bought, and 1,005,000 miles excluding the miles we bought. I'll present the percentages below excluding the miles we bought.
Here's our breakdown in 2015 of our earned and purchased miles and points:
- 74%: Credit Card Signup Bonuses
- 14%: Spend and Category Bonuses
- 12%: Referral Bonus / Miles Rebate
- 33% AMEX Membership Rewards Points
- 24% Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
- 17% American AAdvantage Miles
- 16% Citi ThankYou Points
- 5% United MileagePlus Miles
- 5% Lufthansa Miles & More Miles
- 24% AMEX Membership Rewards Points
- 23% American AAdvantage Miles
- 18% Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
- 15% Alaska Mileage Plan Miles
- 12% Citi ThankYou Points
- 4% United MileagePlus Miles
- 4% Lufthansa Miles & More Miles
- 150K AMEX Business Platinum and 100K AMEX Business Platinum: 250,000 Membership Rewards points via 1 card for each of us
- 50K AMEX Business Gold card for one of us: 50K Membership Rewards points
- 50K Citi AAdvantage Platinum: 100K AAdvantage miles via 1 card for each of us
- 50K Citi AAdvantage Business Card for one of us: 50K AAdvantage miles
- 40K Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa: 45,000 Ultimate Rewards points, including 5000 points from adding an authorized user (I hadn't received a bonus for this card in over 2 years)
- 50K Citi Prestige card for each of us: 100K Citi ThankYou points
- 50K Citi ThankYou Premier for one of us: 50K Citi ThankYou points
- 50K United Business Explorer card for one of us: 50K United MileagePlus miles
- 50K Lufthansa Miles & More card for one of us: 50K Miles & More miles
- 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points from Chase Freedom 10X on Amazon using our two Chase Freedom cards (spent mostly on Whole Foods and Amazon gift cards)
- 25,000 Ultimate Rewards points from Travel, some at 3X via the AMEX Business Gold airfare category bonus, some at 3X via the Citi ThankYou Premier, and the rest at 2X via the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Ink Plus 2X on hotels
- 25,000 Ultimate Rewards points for grocery spend, mostly 5X using Trader Joe's gift cards bought while the Chase Freedom had groceries as its 5X category, and Whole Foods at 5X using gift cards bought at Staples using the Ink Plus
- 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points on dining, some at 5X using the Chase Freedom Restaurants 5X category, and the remainder 2X with the Chase Sapphire Preferred
- 45,000 various miles and points, earned while meeting minimum spend for credit cards, some 5X for Internet and phone bills using the Ink Plus, and on other non-bonused spend
We purchased a lot of miles this year: 150,000 AAdvantage miles in order to help book awards in Etihad First Class Apartments on the A380 and Qantas First Class on the A380 among other awards, and 200,000 Alaska miles with a 50% bonus for future Emirates First Class on the A380 awards.
Referrals and Mileage Rebates
Thanks to readers, we earned 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points for referrals to the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom cards.
We also earned mileage rebates of 10,000 AAdvantage miles for each of our Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select cards for a total of 20,000 AAdvantage miles, since you can earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage miles back when you have a Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card (up to a maximum of 10K miles per account, per year).
Looking back at my post from last year, our miles and points from credit cards are nearly the same: 745,000 this year, vs. 765,000 miles and points last year. Our miles from category bonuses and spend were also very close: 140,000 miles and points this year, vs. 130,000 miles and points last year. The greatest difference is that we decided to buy 350,000 AAdvantage miles and Alaska miles this year, vs. just over 100,000 miles last year; it's possible I'll even buy even more AAdvantage miles on Jan. 1 since the current offer is 115,000 bonus AAdvantage miles when buying 150,000 miles (the maximum amount you can buy in 1 calendar year), if it looks like we'll redeem them prior to the 2016 AAdvantage Award Chart Devaluation.
How did your family earn miles and points in 2015, and what do you plan to redeem them for?
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