Success in 2017 With Points & Miles

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Certain times of the year are of particular importance with points and miles. The beginning/end of the year, whenever you approach the renewal of a credit card account and the day you reach or elevate any elite status are just a few important days that occur throughout the year. The beginning of the year is a time to focus, especially if you want to maximize the value across all of your programs.

With 2017 around the corner, here's what we think you should do to start the year off right:

1.     Subscribe to AwardWallet Plus before the price increase on February 1, 2017

Lock in a $10/year price for the life of your Plus tier membership. Your support helps us continue AwardWallet development efforts.

AwardWallet Plus Account Upgrade - Subscription

2.     Take inventory your credit cards and identify which ones make the cut

Open up your credit card tracking spreadsheet and review what is helping fuel your travel bank. Answer the questions:

  • What fees are you paying?
  • What rewards are you earning?
  • What other benefits are the cards providing?
  • Do you have duplicate accounts with a spouse/significant other?

3.     Cash in on credit card annual travel credits

Look through our list of credit cards that provide annual travel credits, and plan on how you'll use them. Everything from the $200 credit from The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express to the $300 credit with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® to the $250 air travel credit on the Citi Prestige® Card should all be reviewed. Remember, all of these cards provide the benefit on a rotating calendar basis and are not related to when you pay your annual fee.

4.     Review Your Travel Plans for the next 12-24 months

Plans change, but put together your list and figure out what you need to achieve those goals. How many points and miles do you need to meet those goals? Can you achieve them with your current strategy? If not, look at new cards to possibly pick up. If you need a hand with booking an award, check out our Award Booking service.

5.     Sign Up for Complimentary Elite Status (Hotels and Rental Cars)

Many cards offer some form of Complimentary Elite Status in a loyalty program. Hilton and Marriott come with the Amex Platinum and Business Platinum Card. Cashing in on these statuses at the start of 2017 should give you that status all the way through the beginning of 2019 — at least 24 months. Rental car status is equally easy across many American Express, Visa, and MasterCard offerings. (Hotels and Rental Car Elite Status)

Rental car company logo's

6.     Register for Q1 2017 Promotions

Starwood and Marriott have released their promotions:

7.     Receive Complimentary GoGo Inflight Wi-Fi Passes (Business Platinum Card Only)

If you've got the Business Platinum Card, make sure you've registered to receive your 10 Complimentary GoGo Wi-Fi Passes.

An Ongoing List

This list could go on depending on your travel plans, preferred programs and credit cards that you carry. Go through your list and share with us what else you're doing at the start of the new year to hit your travel goals for the upcoming year. Let us know your plans in the comments below.

Success in 2017 With Points & Miles
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AwardWallet Tip of The Day
Did you know that you can group different travel segments into a single travel plan? You can then share this trip with anyone. To do this use the Create Travel Plan link.  You can move the beginning and end sections of the travel plan by dragging and dropping.
Show me how

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Comments

  • What exactly does awardwallet plus offer, and what makes it worth 30 dollars?

      • The most valuable thing that AwardWallet Plus offers is a one-stop, up-to-date view of ninety percent of my points and miles balances. This is so incredibly convenient if you belong to dozens of points and miles programs like I do. There are, however, a couple of other AwardWallet features that I find very nice. One is that AwardWallet emails me when an airline makes a unilateral change to an airline reservation. On occasion, the airlines make these changes but don’t bother to notify you directly — so I am pleased by this feature. Another nice thing is that AwardWallet will email you a few months in advance when points in a certain program are about to expire. That reminder gives you a chance to take action to extend the life of those points. AwardWallet Plus is definitely worth ten bucks a year! Its probably also worth thirty a year, but I might look closer at other competitors if they asked me to pay that much.

    • The best feature is unlimited number of award programs that you can add and see the expiry

      • james garten says:

        The ability to see the expiration time of the all the different programs in one easy to find place is a great feature

  • Was excited to try and use the credit card tracking sheet but do not get it!
    We have probably a 15 or so cards between us and I was hoping to make sense of them.
    Would be helpful if you showed this filled out with several credit card examples and explained better what I should be looking for to analyze them better.

  • Robin Gronsky says:

    Very helpful list. I also plan out some dining program days – when I actively choose restaurants that are in a particular program and calendar when and where I’m going.

  • Any thoughts on expecting something from Hyatt for Q1 2017?

  • See, i collected several miles – but when trying to use them on LH – there is no (!) award space open in F… thats frustrating!

    • Lufthansa typically only opens up first class award space to partners within 14 days of departure. Depending on the miles you’re looking to redeem for LH F, you’ll need to make sure you look within that window.

  • Since the continual devaluation of hotel points at Marriott and Hilton is continuing, in 2017 I am focusing on points at Chase and Citibank.

  • That spreadsheet could be developed much more! Would like it to be integrated into your existing app/website in the way the TPG app is if possible.

  • “If you’ve got the Business Platinum Card, make sure you’ve registered to receive your 10 Free GoGo Wi-Fi Passes.”

    10 means 10 times?

  • Still deciding about the early supporter membership. Honestly, I don’t use Award wallet that much, but he discount may help me use it more.

  • Thanks for the friendly reminder to prepare my 2017/2018 travel plans and cards accordingly!

  • Thanks. I have never kept track of my credit cards before but have found Award Wallet invaluable for keeping track of my points and miles for my whole family. Now with your spreadsheet I can get on track with the other side of the hobby.

  • Ortence Baker says:

    I am trying to join and pay the $10.00 for Award Plus account upgrade and it is not accepting it? I KNOW that this card is good (just used it yesterday) but I don’t think it is one that has been registered with you in the past. I have used your services in the past. The message I got was cannot be processed (10752). What can I do? I’ve tried it twice.

  • Howie,
    Many thanks for your site, which is a wonderful source of information! I look forward to learning a lot and also offering some of my experience here. Best of luck in 2017

  • Looking forward to earning lots of points and miles in 2017.

  • I have been a member since the beginning, but on-and-off with Plus, mainly because some major airline programs prevented AwardWallet from logging into their accounts. What is the status of that? Are there still gaps in programs that AwardWallet can’t track?

    • Scott, there are some programs that we’re not allowed to directly connect with — Delta, United and Southwest namely. However, if you add one of these accounts to AwardWallet we’ll show you how we can still track balances and trips with these airlines through using a personal mailbox with AwardWallet that we create for each user. We process those emails sent by the airlines (update balances and import travel plans) and then forward them off to you.

  • Cathy Krasnianski says:

    I’m new to the “awards game”, and sites, like AwardWallet have become very valuable tools to keep me focused and on track. Wishing everyone a happy and travel-filled New Year!

  • I hope in 2017 it would be easier to earn points besides using credit cards..

  • After you use a credit card and receive the rewards do you have to wait a certain amount of time before you close the account? Or do you usually leave the card open if there’s no annual fees?

    • It really depends on the cards and the benefits. Some cards I keep each year and happily pay an annual fee. Others, even those that have no fees, I’ll close if the value isn’t there. You need to look at each card, analyze the value it provides and see if the cost makes sense for you personally to keep. Happy to help provide some suggestions based on what you have and your goals, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

  • Rose Carlino says:

    Great article on the site upgrade and the tips for 2017 seem useful, I have to take a look at my stuff and map out plans!

  • Discover and Chase Freedom have gone from my top cashback cards to the bottom with the arrival of SPG, CSR, etc.

  • Signing up for promotions is something I always miss or seem to not know about. I like the reminder to sign up of the Q1 promotions in this article. Not only that–love the reminder to open up the credit card account to see what’s happening. This is now on my list for this weekend. Time to clean up my accounts and know what’s going on!

  • That’s tons of very useful information you gave! Thank you! I never really thought of looking at everything at the end and beginning of the year. I usually redeem all my coupon sites and such toward the end of the year so I always look at those around Oct. Since, I have AwardWallet notifying me by email and looking at your website keeping me up to date on my miles, I admit I have gotten a bit lazy. (bad me!) This is an awesome reminder that we need ya’ll and ourselves to keep up with our important rewards! Especially since I watch mine and my husbands and my kid’s miles! I really wish American and United, JetBlue would get rid of the expiration date like Delta has done on their miles. I understand why they have it but wow would it make my life a little easier.

    I did not know about all of the promotions about getting extra miles,etc. I appreciate that heads up!

  • About Rewards Network Dining program: it used to be much more lucrative. It was possible to get 20 miles per dollar spent, plus bonuses on top of that! But it’s still worthwhile trying to reach elite status (5 miles per dollar spent) if any of the participating restaurants in your area pique your interest.

  • Well point 4 is the more difficult.
    I have lots of destinations I want to go.
    Nowadays a big factor is the security of the destination.
    For example now could be a good time to visit Iran and a very bad time to visit Syria and Afghanistan!

  • I took care of #1 on the list today due to AwardWallet being a important part of my points and miles tracking strategy in the last few years. The historical tracking came in handy recently since it was the only way to see when a credit card bonus posted to an account so I know when to apply for the card again (the card account is closed and the hotel program doesn’t track activity older than 1 year).

    I also like being able to track family member loyalty accounts as well as mine in one place.

    Looking forward to success earning and redeeming points and miles in 2017!

  • Good thing Intuit or Google doesn’t want to break into this biz. They would buy out awardwallet quick to track all our points.

  • Logan Fisher says:

    Based on the feedback at Flyertalk, this service is worth every penny. I think it’s time to sign up!

  • Karl new Chase app? says:

    How is it possible to track card opening dates, if you’re following the Chase 5/24 rule? How to know when you’re now in the safe zone for a new Chase app?

    Can AW help with that? If not, how to tell when 24 months have gone by to request a new Chase card? I want the Chase Sapphire Reserve!

    Thanks —

    • It is something we’re looking at help track — but the best way to get the dates for now is to either:

      1) Call your card issuers to find out and 2) Check your credit reports for when new card accounts have been added to your credit report. That is the same data Chase will use to help decide your eligibility.

  • Getting my life prepared for a great new year!

  • I just signed up for a new account, and clicked on the link to subscribe to Award Wallet (via PayPal). I have an email telling me PayPal will debit me $10 every 12 months, starting in April (after the expiry of the 3 month free trial of Plus). Just confirming: I’ll definitely get the $10 price rather than $30? Thanks!

  • ROBERT CORRAO says:

    Even if you don’t subscribe to GoGo Inflight , you can still use it for free on american to stream their movie library.

  • Thanks for the tips – I didn’t know that Hilton extended its promo until Jan 2017! That is just one reason of the many reasons to come and look here for all the latest travel news – all with just one click! Thank you for keeping all the information in an easy to use and learn website. Now it’s time that I jump in the travel waters a bit more aggressively. I have always been a bit nervous to do all of this, but in time I think I am going to be more empowered based on your information and try to do this expensive travel passion a bit more using miles and points. Happy New Year!

  • I signed up with a free trial of Plus which runs out during February. When I went to subscribe (via Paypal) it set up the subscription but didn’t take any charge from my account.

    I presume the charge will take place when my free trial ends. If this is true will I be grandfathered in at the $10 rate?

  • Just signed up for AwardWallet Plus. I’m sure the benefits will be way more than worth the small investment! And I’m very happy to support you. Great up the great work.

  • The_Bouncer says:

    You guys in the US are so lucky with the number of miles you can rack up from credit cards. It’s so much more difficult here in Europe.

  • With credit cards though there’s a limit – if you apply for too many cards, specially in a short amount of time, it hurts your credit score. Then your ability to get new cards in the future is hampered.

    • Steve, that isn’t totally true. Any time you apply for a credit card, whether you do 1 or you do 10, you’ll have an impact on your credit score. That impact is typically small, 2-5 points (per card), and is temporary. Over the next year, that negative impact to your score goes away. That said, when you get that new card you also do things to improve your score as you now have more available credit, which decreases your credit utilization; a significant portion of your credit score.

      So, while yes, there is an impact to your score, applying for cards has no long-term effect on your ability to get new cards, purely from a credit score perspective.

  • Thanks for the usual great advice Howie. My credit score did take a small hit due to acquiring a new card recently . Nice to know that the negative impact will go away over time.

  • Ian Hamilton says:

    I don’t know where else to write this but I have been flying the Atlantic 4 times a year for ten years to see my girlfriend and am totally dismayed by the airline’s policy of awarding points for price paid rather than miles travelled, like in the old days. In all the time I’ve been doing this trip I’ve only ever had a round trip on points once. Yes that’s partly down to me not being conscientious enough about earning points, but the latest rules make earning points even harder and I despair of ever having enough with any of the programs to make use of them on a flight.

    • Ian, airlines are looking at their bottom dollar and are trying to protect their assets. They want to reward people that pay more — it comes down to them making sure those that pay a lot earn the most miles.

  • This is a great reminder to add to my annual beginning-of-year to-do list. Thanks for helping me start on this mileage earning and redemption journey!

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