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How I Earned Over 220,000 Miles and Points in 2019

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

As the year comes to a close, I've finally tallied how many points and miles I was able to accrue in my biggest travel hacking year to date! From daily spending for both my family and I, and signing up for 3 new credit cards, I was able to amass over 220,000 miles and points, and a Southwest Companion Pass that allowed my partner to travel on any Southwest flight with me for FREE.

Although the signup bonuses may vary, most of these credit offers are still available!* Here are the cards that I signed up for:

January 14th 2019 I signed up for two Chase credit cards. As with most experienced travel hackers, you'll realize why you're going to want to fill your wallet with Chase cards first. If you are new to travel hacking and haven't heard of the Chase 5/24 rule, you might want to read this post first.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card **

From January to February last year, this card was offering a 30k mile signup bonus AND a highly sought-after 2019 Southwest Companion Pass after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. Since most travel hacking enthusiasts have a specific strategy that they use to acquire this Companion Pass, it was jaw-dropping to witness such a phenomenal and simple offer for first-time companion-passers.

Signup Bonus: 30,000 miles

Miles Earned Spending YTD: 15,000 miles

Total: 45,000 miles

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Next, I signed up for the versatile and extremely popular Chase Sapphire Preferred, which was offering a 60,000 signup bonus, with the first year's annual fee waived.

Signup Bonus: 60,000 points

Miles Earned Spending YTD: 21,000 points

Referral Bonus: 15,000 points

Total: 96,000 points

In May, it was safe for me to move on to another miles-earning card. I was taking a month-long vacation to Europe with a group of friends, so this was the perfect opportunity to cover group travel expenses (reimbursed of course) and earn miles quicker!

United Explorer Card

In addition to its hefty 60k signup bonus, this card offers a Global Entry/TSA Recheck waiver that is good for up to 5 years, two United Club Lounge passes, and many other benefits you can find here.

Signup Bonus: 60,000 miles in two tiers

Miles Earned Spending YTD: 10,000 miles

Total: 70,000 points

Citi Advantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

Lastly, I had a Citi American Airlines Platinum Card in my wallet from a 2018 signup.

Miles Earned Spending YTD: 9,100 miles

Total: 9,100 miles

As you can see, accruing over 220,000 miles and points was totally manageable and actually pretty simple. With good to excellent credit, I was able to be approved for 5 cards in total for 2019, with 3 of them being travel rewards cards. Every time you apply for a new credit card you can expect a temporary ding to your score, which usually bounces back within 3-6 months and even improves! The more accounts and credit to debt you have on your credit profile, the more you will see your score increase as a result of diversifying your financial profile.

Although it took about a year to build my credit to an excellent standing and qualify for these cards, now I am able to get almost any travel card on the market! Managing and building your credit is totally doable. Click here to get started on your travel credit card journey today!

*This post may contain referral links

**The credit card signup bonuses may have changed since the date this article was published. Click through the link to see updated credit card information.


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