Targeting your rewards

All about maximizing your rewards!
Members share tips and tricks for getting the most miles, & points.
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Xorand
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Targeting your rewards

Postby Xorand » Wed Sep 24, 2014 10:26 am

Not sure if anyone else does this, but would be curious. We travel to Walt Disney World each January. This year, we decided to accumulate all our rewards (other than air travel, since we travel there in our RV) to pay for the trip. Here's what we have accumulated from the beginning of 2014 until now:

AmEx BCP - 523.39
Chase Freedom - 368.33
Chase Disney - 379.08 (includes a $200.00 Disney gift card as initial use bonus)
CapOne QS - 51.57
CapOne Platinum Rewards - 20.52

Total: $1342.89

I recently booked our reservations for a week in the campground at a deluxe site and six-day park tickets for two for a total of 1364.66. Remaining cash back earned the rest of the year will go towards meals (probably won't cover all of it, but close).

The QS has only been in use for one billing cycle since it was converted from an old Platinum account. The Platinum Rewards was just recently pressed into service as the monthly bill payment card.
AmEx - Platinum (NPSL) , Blue Cash Preferred ($19,000), Gold Delta Skymiles ($8,500)
Chase - Sapphire Preferred ($14,000), Disney ($11,500), Amazon.com ($9,000), Freedom ($8,000)
CapOne - QuickSilver ($7,250) / Platinum Rewards ($7,250)


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Vattené
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Postby Vattené » Wed Sep 24, 2014 11:43 am

That is pretty good, being able to go to Disney World for practically free!

That is my general plan, too, though I don't have any experience with it as I am relatively new to the rewards game. Since I opened my Discover card earlier this year I have built $423.45 in cash back. I plan to put this towards a delayed honeymoon with my wife in a few years (we couldn't afford it when we got married, but are saving up to go to London).

I did just redeem some for the first time on a wedding gift for some friends that is coming up - I really liked the wedding-themed Discover gift card that you can personalize. I may get some of their partnered gift cards as gifts because they have better redemption values, but other than that I hope to use most of it to offset the cost of this trip.

I am also planning on applying for an Amex this year to earn rewards that can be put to better use on traveling expenses.

Is this the first year you are using all rewards across all cards like this?
-Vattené
FICO-8:
EX - 809 (11/16) | TU - 803 (11/16)
Primary Cards:
American Express EveryDay - $20,000 (10/14)
Discover it - $23,000 (2/14)
AU on Barclay Sallie Mae - $10,000 (8/15)
plus several store accounts of varying usefulness now

Bama87
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Postby Bama87 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 11:56 am

That is awesome.

I actually did just redeem some "miles" from my Capital One Venture card for a 2 night stay in Fort Walton, FL. We are heading down a few days earlier than the rest of our group so I figured it was a good time to redeem.

Paid for it with my CO card, then used the miles to wipe out the debt. Good to go.

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djrez4
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Postby djrez4 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:54 pm

This year -

In March:

130,000 United miles and $190 to cover flights, plus 145,000 Hilton points and two weekend certificates for four nights at the Hilton Tokyo and two nights at the Conrad, respectively.

We saw the sun set over Mt. Fuji in Enoshima:
Image

Saw the sakura bloom in Ueno Park:
Image

And ate conveyor belt sushi (sushi kaiten) in Asakusa:
Image

Then, in June:

180,000 US Airways miles (purchased for $2300) for business class from DEN-NRT-PEK-ICN-IST-FRA-YYZ-DEN. Used various websites for hotel bookings, offset with about $1000 in Barclaycard Arrival points, but also used 41,000 UR points and a well-timed Hyatt Diamond trial for 2 nights at the Grand Hyatt Beijing and three nights at the Park Hyatt Istanbul, both with suite upgrades. Also stayed two nights at the Westin Bund Center in Shanghai and one nights at the Westin Seoul for 36,000 Starwood points. The Hyatt and Westin stays included breakfast, thanks to the Diamond trial and SPG Gold through the Amex Platinum card. We had lounge access at every airport. Total out-of-pocket was about $5,000, but the trip should have cost at least $30,000.

Visited the Great Wall:
Image

Saw the Terra Cotta Warriors:
Image

Walked the Plank Road at HuaShan:
Image

Had dinner in Seoul:
Image

Flew among the "fairy chimneys" in Cappadocia:
Image

Saw the Blue Mosque:
Image

And the Hagia Sofia:
Image

and drank Apfelwein in Frankfurt:
Image

Next - S. America and S. Africa. (not at the same time.)
[RIGHT][size=100]- Sapphire Preferred - Freedom - Ink - Platinum - Everyday Preferred -[/size]
[/RIGHT]

dickey1331
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Postby dickey1331 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:17 pm

Damn. Thats pretty awesome!
Platinum Delta Skymiles $12,900
Marriott Rewards Premier $12,000
Discover IT $12,000
USAA Cash Rewards $11,000
American Express Blue Cash Preferred $10,000
Chase Sapphire Preferred $6,500
Best Buy $6,000
Chase Freedom $4,500
Zales $4,000
Amazon Prime $4,000

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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 6:48 pm

Seeing what is possible with the right signup bonuses and transfer partners, you've definitely inspired me to further explore the world of travel points. I still like 5% cash, but I will definitely favor 1 UR travel point over 1 cent in cash or a discounted gift card.

I'd need to wait until I have some major purchases coming up, though, to earn all of those signup bonuses before a lot of annual fees start hitting me, making the plan blow up in my face.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when

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FastSRT8
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Postby FastSRT8 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 8:42 pm

I need to 'hire' you to help me get the most of my amex MR points.
Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero!

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djrez4
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Postby djrez4 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 10:13 pm

FastSRT8 wrote:I need to 'hire' you to help me get the most of my amex MR points.


I'm not sure how I feel about 'hire' being in 'quotes.'
[RIGHT][size=100]- Sapphire Preferred - Freedom - Ink - Platinum - Everyday Preferred -[/size]

[/RIGHT]

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Xorand
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Postby Xorand » Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:52 pm

Vattené wrote:Is this the first year you are using all rewards across all cards like this?


Pretty much, yeah. Last year, we only had the BCP as a rewards card and got it in like March or April. I used the cash back to pay towards the balance the first couple months, then decided to save the cash back for the end of the year and used it (about $400-ish) to buy gift cards (at the grocery store for 6% back, of course) for Christmas gifts. I came up with the Disney idea this Spring when I apped for the Chase Disney card.

Excellent use of travel rewards, djrez4.
AmEx - Platinum (NPSL) , Blue Cash Preferred ($19,000), Gold Delta Skymiles ($8,500)
Chase - Sapphire Preferred ($14,000), Disney ($11,500), Amazon.com ($9,000), Freedom ($8,000)
CapOne - QuickSilver ($7,250) / Platinum Rewards ($7,250)



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