I really only bring this up to show how little work it requires to generate a large amount of miles these days…
I just hit my spend limit on my Citi Business Visa card, which will help my wife and I hit 525,000 miles so far this year from credit card bonuses. I know that for many who play this game, that’s not a massive amount, but for people who are new to the credit card mileage world, that seems like a crazy amount. Trust me, it’s not.
In case you were wondering (and you weren’t…) Between my wife and I:
50,000 Onepass miles from the Continental OnePass Plus (Now United Mileage Plus Explorer)
$2,200: 2 Capital One Venture Cards
100,000 Onepass miles from 2 Sapphire Preferred Cards
225,000 Aadvantage miles from a Citi Aadvantage Visa, Amex and Business Visa (Despite what people are saying, this link is still alive for 50k miles each)
150,000 Membership Rewards points from 2 Amex Premier Rewards Gold
No miles, but I got the Continental Presidential Plus Card (first year fee waived), which comes with lounge access.
So, 525k miles PLUS $2,200 in travel credits. Not too shabby considering every one of those cards was fee free in the first year.
I didn’t touch the Amex Platinum card where people have gotten 100,000 bonus MR points this year (I didn’t want to pay the hefty annual fee). Nor did I do the Amex Premier Rewards Gold (high spend to earn bonus). I didn’t churn Alaska Airlines cards for another 120,000 (1 card every 90 days) – 240k for the two of us. I prefer not to pay for credit cards and the Alaska cards come with a $75 fee (call 800-654-2584 to apply and ask for the 40,000 mile deal). Yes, I know, I’m basically paying a great rate for miles in those cases. But I’ve got a bunch of miles, and this is a case that shows while miles are such a personal thing – I know that lots of people were happy to pay $1200 for 100,000 US Airways miles. That seems nutty to me, but to each his own.
My wife didn’t do Citi cards (she had them too recently in the past; I didn’t bother with the business cards). I didn’t do the 2 Hawaiian Airlines cards for 35,000 miles each (that’s 140,000 miles for the two of us). That would have gotten us to 1 million pretty easily for the year.
I really bring all of this up for this reason: We are in a golden age where we can travel anywhere in the world for free for basically nothing. Literally nothing. Sure, I had to make sure I hit the spend requirements on those cards, but, luckily, all of the spend thresholds were manageable between work and personal spend. I say this all the time: our parents had to scrimp and save to be able to take a rare trip once in a while. 500,000 miles is 20 domestic round trip tickets. Or 5 round trip tickets to Europe in Business Class (or more!).
I know that it’s easy to get caught up in the whole miles part of this game, but don’t lose track of the fact that the world has never been more accessible. For all of human history (until 30 years ago), the idea of traveling around the world was pure fantasy for nearly everyone. Now, it’s as simple as opening credit cards. How insanely incredible is that? Yes, getting the miles is great. But being able to take your family anywhere in the world is even greater. I know there have been challenges for some around getting bonuses credited this year (especially from Amex), but, as we say, that’s a high class problem. The past 2 years are as good as it’s ever been, with banks literally giving away hundreds of thousands of miles. I just thought it was worth taking a step back and thinking about the opportunities we have to travel around the world — and to bring our kids with us — thanks to this whole game. I consider myself incredibly, incredibly fortunate…