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My Year to Date Credit Card Sign-up Haul: 553,500 Points/Miles

Aug. 31, 2011
4 min read
My Year to Date Credit Card Sign-up Haul: 553,500 Points/Miles
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2011 has been a year for the record books when it comes to credit card sign-up bonuses. In the past, I only dabbled in the credit card game because I was working to get debt free and repair some blemishes on my report, but this year I've really taken the plunge and acquired 7 new cards, which have padded my points balances nicely. And interestingly enough, not only gave my points grown, but my credit score has gone up substantially since applying for the 7 cards that I've signed up for this year. This is because my overall available credit has increased, yet my utilization has stayed the same low (zero) amount. Inquiries usually take 2-5 points off your score, but since there are many factors in a FICO score, getting new credit can outweigh those dings.

I'm sure many of you will put me to shame, but here is my current year-to-date haul:

Chase
50,000 miles for the British Airways Visa Signature Card, $95 annual fee.
53,500 points for Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, $95 annual fee waived for the first year (the sign-up bonus is 50,000, but the card has a 7% yearly bonus on all points accrued, so I'll get an additional 3,500 at year end). $3,000 in spend within 3 months.
Update: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card sign-up bonus offer is now reduced to 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

American Express
100,000 miles for the Platinum Card, $450 annual fee (the sign-up bonus is 25,000 but I bumped it to 100,000 like many others). $1,000 spend within 3 months.
75,000 miles for the Premier Rewards Gold Card, $175 annual fee waived for the first year (the sign-up bonus is 15,000, but I bumped it to 75,000 like may others). $1,500 in spend within 3 months.

Citi
75,000 miles for AAdvantage Visa, $75 annual fee waived for the first year (applied for Visa/Amex on same day), $1,500 in spend within 6 months.
75,000 miles for AAdvantage American Express, $75 annual fee waived for the first year (applied for Visa/Amex on same day) $4,000 in spend within 6 months.
75,000 miles for AAdvantage Visa Business, $75 annual fee waived for the first year. I waited 65+ days to apply for this card and had to send in LLC verification (which I actually have) and was promptly approved. $1,500 in spend within 6 months.

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Total Payday = 553,500 points/miles, $545 in fees and $15,000 in spend.

My plan for the rest of 2011: since my score is as strong as ever, my debt cleared and no immediate plans to get a mortgage, I'll probably get in on the following:
1) Chase: The Hyatt Credit Card- since I'm a Diamond member, the 2 free nights sign-up bonus are in a suite at any Hyatt in the world. Value to me: ~$1,000. Plus, they just announced a free category 1-4 night every year, which more than covers the $75 annual fee.
Possibly also the Freedom card (No longer open to new applicants), which will earn me up to 5 points per dollar on certain categories and since I already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, that translates into 5 Hyatt/British Airways/Continental miles since you can transfer to Ultimate Rewards partners, like I wrote about here.
2) American Express: I don't currently have a business card with Amex, so I'll probably go for the Business Rewards Gold card, which has a 50,000 point bonus and waived first year annual fee of $175.
3) Citi: Will wait and see if there's a better offer than what's currently out there.
4) Barclays: Possibly the 40,000 mile US Airways card, which will earn me a hit in Grand Slam.
5) Capital One: I might get in on the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. It earns 2 points per dollar and most importantly the points can be redeemed for flights and hotels and you earn elite status on those redemptions. My angle would be to redeem for domestic coach flights that will help me retain my Delta Diamond status. I missed out on the 100,000 point sign-up bonus earlier this year, but will bite if it goes to 50,000 or more.

What has your personal haul been this year? What deals are you currently eyeing?

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TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more