Where did all the points come from?

When folks ask me about the Trip of a Million Lifetimes, they usually say, you and Lady Tocqueville travel almost 100% for work, that must be where all the points came from.  For our hotels, this logic is mostly correct.  I had over 1,000,000 Marriott points, Lady Tocqueville over 200,000 and we each had about 200,000 SPG points.  For some of our Hyatt resumptions, we used Chase Ultimate Rewards Points earned by a credit card, since neither of us stay at Hyatts.

But believe it or not, we barely touched our miles earned butt in seat for the flights!  Yes, 600,000 airline points, and none of it came from our current balances.  We have roughly 600,000 airline points between various airlines, but we did not use this.  We have this on reserve for future trips.  Below is the breakdown of how we churned through credit cards the 600,000 airline points needed.

As the conclusion of this post points out, we had 3 (well really 4) separate tickets each to make our jaunt across the world.  This chart reflects the 4 tickets and the origin of the points.


Chart breaking down points earning

Chart breaking down points earning (click for full size)

Basically, between my wife and I, we opened and closed 6 credit cards for a total bonus of 330,000 points.  We had another 150,000 come through from spending we had done over the last year on our work business cards.  We traded for 80,000 points, and had 40,000 existing.  It took us about a year to do all the opening and spending, and fortunately we were in the process of getting married and moving in together, which helped facilitate some of the spend.  The 6 cards we opened (and closed) were the:

  • American Airlines Citibank Visa
  • American Airlines Citibank Mastercard
  • American Airlines Citibank Small Business Amex
  • American Airlines Citibank Small Business Amex
  • American Express Small Business Gold, and
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred

I don’t have referral links for these, although View From the Wing, One Mile at a Time, or Points Miles and Martinis usually has the most up to date bonus offers.

So for those of you thinking of taking that dream trip around the world, start early and hoard those points!  Maybe you can take your own Trip of a Million lifetimes.