Showing posts with label 2016 Year in Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2016 Year in Review. Show all posts

December 30, 2016

Top Hotel Stays of 2016

If you've been following me on Instagram, you've already seen my top 5 hotel stays of 2016.

Here's the countdown starting with number 5:

5)  St. Regis Istanbul

2016 Credit Card Year in Review

Last year, I posted a recap of credit card annual fees paid across 2015.  If you're interested, checkout my other 2016 year in review posts:
This year, I'm going to provide a recap of all cards acquired in 2016.  There are 25 so grab a cup of coffee (or a cocktail) before you sit down to read this one.

In total, we acquired 25 new cards generating 1,659,500 miles and points from sign-up bonuses.  We paid $2,448 in annual fees but received $1,200 in travel credits.  Since we spend more than $1,200 a year on travel, I value the credits as cash.  That means we paid $1,248 out of pocket.  That doesn't include another $800 in travel credits we'll receive in 2017 from annual fees paid in 2016.  If you include that, our out of pocket expense for nearly 1.7M miles and points was less than $450.  If you add the $200 in flight discounts from the Ritz-Carlton Rewards card, our out of pocket expense is down to about $250.

December 26, 2016

How Many Miles Did We Earn in 2016?

Happy Holidays!  As I've done in the past, here's an overview of miles earned last year.

I keep a pretty organized spreadsheet containing a ton of information about my mileage earning.  It also helps me keep track of our credit card applications, minimum spend required, etc...this is very much a team effort as Emily earned nearly 45% of the total in 2016 (up from 36% in 2015).  

We earned a little over 1.7 million miles/points from credit card bonuses alone!  Add to that flying, hotel stays, shopping portal bonuses, and everyday spend, and we earned roughly 2.3 million total points/miles in 2016!  Hotel co-brand cards from Ritz-Carlton and Hilton definitely padded these numbers - those two cards combined offered (in the form of free nights) nearly 400,000 hotel points!

That compares to 1.3 million points/miles last year and nearly 1.7 million in 2013.

We applied for (and were approved for all but one thanks to Chase's 5/24 rule) 27 credit cards in 2016 with an average signup bonus of 65,442 points.  For comparison purposes, in 2015 we earned 1.14 million points/miles from 26 signup bonuses.  

This doesn't include the miles we earned by flying/staying which amounted to another 250,000.  We also purchased American and United miles (40,000) during a couple of promotions across the year and earned around an additional 310,000 or so miles and points for our "everyday" spend including category bonuses and shopping portal bonuses.

All in, that is over 2.3 million miles and points generated during 2016!  It still amazes me that such a large portion (74%) comes from credit card sign-up bonuses.  Flying/staying (even at high volumes) won't earn you anywhere near what you can earn from a handful of sign-up bonuses across the year.

So where do things stand in terms of point balances now?  According to Award Wallet, we have 1.19 million miles/points "in the bank."  This time last year, we had 1.25M points and miles so we're doing a pretty good job of earning and burning!

In terms of burning, here's what 2016 looked like:
That is nearly 3.1 million points/miles burned (some trips were booked the year prior) in one year!!    Our miles/point value is essentially the same Y/Y meaning we burned everything we earned (and a bit more) in 2016.  

Here's to a another great year of travel in 2017!

Top 5 Flights of 2016

If you've been following me on Instagram, you've already seen my top 5 flights of 2016.

Here's the countdown starting with number 5:

5)  Etihad Airways First Class 777-200LR Abu Dhabi to LAX

December 18, 2016

2016 Year in Review: Hotels

I recently posted about my 2016 year in flight.  You can also read about my hotels stays in 2015 (46 nights), hotel stays in 2014 (45 nights) and 2013 (55 nights) for comparison purposes.

In 2016, we stayed at some amazing properties in the UAE, Maldives, Turkey, and Japan.  I ended the year at 29 total nights - way down from the past couple of years really due to less business travel.  Starwood properties led the way with 11 nights with Hyatt a close second with 8 nights.  Last year 31 nights were related to business travel so from a personal standpoint, both of the last couple of years were about the same.  

We are well setup going into 2017 from a hotel status standpoint (more on this in the status of status post).  Both of us are SPG Gold, HHonors Gold, and Marriott Gold.  All earned through credit cards with the exception of my lifetime SPG status.

Here's the full breakdown:
  • 11 Starwood nights across 7 properties and 4 brands
  • 8 Hyatt nights across 4 properties and 3 brands
  • 4 Hilton nights at one property
  • 3 Marriott nights at 2 properties and 2 brands
  • 3 IHG nights at 2 properties and 2 brands
In our early planning for 2017, we have a plethora of free nights that will expire at some point in 2017.  2 at Fairmont, 3 at Ritz Carlton, 1 at Hyatt, and 1 at Hilton.  So that is 7 nights that are likely accounted for before we burn a single point or dollar.

I predicted last year that the Starwood/Marriott merger wouldn't impact my stay habits and I think that prediction is accurate.  We are Starwood first, then Hyatt.  If there's an EDITION or Ritz Carlton that we can use SPG points at a good great, we'll take a look.

It was another great year in travel - we're both excited for a new year exploring new places!

December 10, 2016

2016 Year in Review: Flights

It's hard to believe it's almost 2017!  I'm done flying for the year so here's the year in review.  You can read about my 20132014, and 2015 flying history if you'd like.

In 2016, I traveled much less for work and am going to be well short of achieving even low tier (Premier Silver) status on United.  We went on three long-haul trips including one RTW jaunt to Istanbul, Maldives, Singapore, and Tokyo.

In total, I flew 9 long haul flights (all award tickets) and flew over 63,000 miles after flying 88,000 in 2015, 65,000 in 2014, 87,000 in 2013, and 125,000 in 2012.  That's a total of 428,000 miles over the past five years.

I burned through nearly 1.3M airline miles and flew on 9 carriers across the year.  I don't have anything booked for 2017 so will have to get on that over the holidays!

Here are some of the highlights from 2016:

And maps...courtesy of the Great Circle Mapper: