How I Spread Out Our Credit Card Spending For The First Half Of 2019

It’s now the second half of 2019. Besides being a good time to look at how we’re doing on our New Year’s Resolutions (I’ve joined a gym but I’m not going as much as I’d like), it’s as good of a time as any to look at our points and miles situation.

Some bloggers are looking at their progression on qualifying for status with airlines or hotels (Ben from One Mile at a Time wrote about his progression, and congrats to him for figuring out it doesn’t pay to be loyal). Since I couldn’t care less how many nights I’ve stayed at a hotel chain or how many miles I’ve flown with an airline, what can I look at?

After sign up bonuses for credit cards, ongoing spend is the next most important way I accumulate points and miles. Looking into where I’m putting that spend and if it fits the plan I have for our points earning is a smart thing to do.

Thanks to Quicken and some scrap paper, here’s a breakdown of our spending for the first six months of 2019.

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How To Combine Points From Two Banks To Book An Award

Since we started writing Your Mileage May Vary, several of our friends have started collecting points and miles. I feel a level of satisfaction when they’re able to go on that first award trip, partially because of our help. Just like any mentor, occasionally we’ll get a question about a topic where we don’t know the answer. While I could just say that I really don’t know about that, I like to use these situations to learn about things I hadn’t focused on before. Such was a question about how to combine points from two different bank programs.

While the answer may seem obvious if you’ve been collecting points and miles for a while, for someone just starting out this can be very confusing.

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The Reason You Need To Pool Your Chase Ultimate Rewards (It’s Not What You Think)

In May of 2018, I wrote an article that told everyone to pool their Chase accounts into whichever one was the most valuable because the ability to do so might be going away. It was a big story for like a week and there was plenty of hand wringing and mumbling (Sharon: “Was this all happening in the points and miles blogger world?” Joe: “Yes.” Sharon: “Oh, OK. Cuz I don’t remember wringing my hands and mumbling but I don’t do the points and miles thing, so that make sense now.”) but eventually, nothing happened. Everyone moved along to the next crisis and the issue was pretty much forgotten with no new news. And when it comes to points and miles, Gary Gnu taught me growing up that no gnews is good gnews.

 

The Great Space Coaster, but I digress. Back to the topic, combining Chase Ultimate Rewards.

At the beginning of 2019, Gary from View from the Wing (no relation to the Gnu) posted that while Chase had considered stopping customers from combining points, there was no current plans to implement such a restriction. He provided a quote from an article in the Wall Street Journal:

JPMorgan executives debated whether to stop letting cardholders pool together points from multiple cards, according to people familiar with the matter. JPMorgan’s [spokeswoman Mary Jane] Rogers said the bank has no current plans to stop cardholders from pooling points.

Like he says, this is no guarantee they won’t change their minds about this but I guess it’s still more of a positive than a negative for them, both from financial and publicity standpoints.

So why do I think it’s wise for you to combine your points into a single account?

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Why I Choose To Earn Fewer​ Points On My Cell​ Phone Bill Each Month

Earning points on recurring charges, like your cell phone bill, is an easy way to build your balances without much effort. All you need to do is set up a monthly payment with the card you have that earns the biggest bonus for that category and you’re set. I have a card that earns 5x points on telecommunication charges, so why would I willingly choose to pay my bill each month with a card that earns less?

When making decisions like this, I rarely just pick the card that earns the most points. While that’s a major factor in my decision, there are several other things that can influence me to use another card. As I’ve written before, I’m generally a risk-averse person and if I have to give up a few miles here and there for a little piece of security, that’s a choice I’ll usually make.

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