How to Achieve Your New Year’s Travel Resolution

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What are your New Year’s resolutions this year? If you’ve managed to stumble upon this blog, chances are somewhere in your list of goals for 2017 you’ve got some dream trips lined up. If you don’t, you should. That’s the magical part about miles and points–they enable us to get to and stay in places (in style) that we otherwise couldn’t.

Steps to Achieving Your Travel Goals for 2017

  1. Figure out where you want to go
  2. Research what the best miles/points are for the places you want to travel to 
  3. Apply for new cards and meet their minimum spending requirement 
  4. Maximize your spending on any existing appropriate cards
  5. Book your awards
  6. At the end of 2017, reevaluate the cards you signed up for in the beginning of 2017 to see if they are worth keeping through a second annual fee cycle 
Taipú do Fora, Brazil
Taipú do Fora, Brazil

Figure out where you want to go.

Scott in Kotor, Montenegro this past year.
Scott in Kotor, Montenegro this past year.

Research what the best miles/points are for the places you want to travel to.

Finding a “sweetspot” on an award chart is great, but it means nothing if that airline doesn’t release award space. Don’t feel like putting in the work on this one? No sweat. Let us do it for you, we’re already well versed in the hobby after all. Fill out this form for a Free Credit Card Consultation. We start with your goal trip and work backwards, determining the best miles and points for that trip, and then the best cards to get those miles and points. 

Apply for new cards and meet their minimum spending requirement.

Here’s our Top 10 list for January 2017, as well as some other posts that will help you in the application process:

Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.

Maximize your spending on any existing appropriate cards.

Whenever you’re not meeting minimum spending requirements, make sure you’re maximizing category bonuses on the cards you already have. Here’s a refresher of some of the top category bonuses on popular rewards cards:

  • All personal American Express Platinum cards – 5x on airfare booked directly with the airline or through the Amex travel portal
  • Freedom – 5x on rotating categories that change quarterly

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  • Ink Cash/Ink Plus Card (you can’t sign up for the Ink Plus anymore, but if you have already have it) – 5x on purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve – 3x on all travel and dining expenses
  • Citi Prestige Card – 3x on air travel and hotels, 2x on dining and entertainment
  • Premier Rewards Gold Card from Amex – 3x on airfare purchased directly from airlines, 2x on restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets
  • Business Gold Rewards Card from Amex – 3x on one of these categories (and automatic 2x on the rest):
    • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
    • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
    • U.S. purchases at gas stations
    • U.S. purchases for shipping
    • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
  • Amex Everyday Preferred Card – 3x on groceries and 2x on gas, and if you have at least 30 transactions per billing period, you get 50% more points, bringing the category bonuses to 4.5x on groceries and 3x on gas
  • Ink Business Preferred – 3x on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, and on advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
  • Citi ThankYou Premier – 3x on travel and dining, 2x on dining and entertainment

Book your awards.

Don’t feel like applying yourself to this either? We understand it can be complicated to find and book the right awards and get the most out of your miles. Outsource this to us. Our Award Booking team would be happy to help you apply your miles in the most efficient way possible. It will depend on the case, but generally the cost is $125 per person per award.

At the end of 2017, reevaluate the cards you signed up for in the beginning of 2017 to see if they are worth keeping through a second annual fee cycle. 

When annual fees come due, do a cost/benefit analysis to see if you’re getting enough value from the card to hold on to it. Consider all ongoing benefits, like category bonuses, free checked bags, priority boarding, or lounge access and statement credits that come with premium cards.

Whenever I open a new card with an annual fee, I set a Google Calendar alert to email me a reminder 11 months past the date I opened it.

Bottom Line

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Photo by Doug Anderson

It’s a new year! Do it right–start strategizing your travel plans so you are equipped with the right miles and points for the job and you too can book your dream trip for 2017. If you want help with that strategy, fill out this form for a Free Credit Card Consultation. Already have the miles but not sure how to apply them? Contact our Award Booking Service.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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