In 2018 We Earned Nearly 1 Million Miles and Points without flying. While I do travel some internationally for work, I (and my family) take very few paid flights, hence we earn next to no frequent flyer miles this way. Instead, we leverage credit card signup bonuses, category spend bonuses, our organic spend, and AMEX Offers to earn most of our frequent flyer miles and points each year. Naturally there are many miles and points fanatics who earn far more miles per year than we do, so this summary is more an example of what non-fanatics can do, without resorting to manufactured spend or applying for more than 5 new cards per spouse/partner per year.
Miles and points are very much a means to an end for us: flying international first class or business class to the destinations and luxury hotels I either need to visit on behalf of clients, for site inspections, or that we want to visit as a family. Thanks to our frequent flyer miles and points, we were able to fly ANA First Class, JAL First Class, Singapore A380 Business Class, Cathay Pacific First Class, Cathay Pacific Business Class, Garuda Business Class, Lufthansa First Class, SAS Business Class, Aer Lingus Business Class, Qatar Qsuite Business Class, EVA Air Business Class and Korean Air First Class this year.
As pleasant as some of the flights were, particularly JAL First Class, ANA First Class and Cathay Pacific First Class, the hotels were far more memorable, particularly Amanpulo, a private island in the Philippines; Amanwana, in remote Moyo Island, Indonesia; Nimb Hotel in Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen; Four Seasons St. Petersburg, Russia; Ashford Castle in County Mayo, Ireland; Amanbagh in India; and Singita Sasakwa Lodge in the Serengeti, Tanzania. None of these luxury hotels, resorts, and lodges are available with miles and points, but all are leaders in their markets, and far nicer than anything bookable with points.
So with our luxury travel focus as context, here's a breakdown of our earned and purchased miles and points in 2018:
- 65%: Credit Card Signup Bonuses
- 17.6%: Spend and Category Bonuses, and AMEX Offers
- 12%: Purchased Miles and Bonuses
- 5.4%: Referral and Relationship Bonuses
- 46% American AAdvantage Miles
- 20% Delta SkyMiles
- 18.5% Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
- 6% Lufthansa Miles & More Miles
- 5.5% British Airways Avios
- 4% AMEX Membership Rewards Points
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