My 2014 Mile and Point Earning and Burning

In the tradition of this blog, it’s time to summarize where I went and how I got there.

I flew about 261k miles this year, up from 2013’s 228k miles.  Unlike last year, where most of those (90% or so) were revenue, roughly 98k miles were on award tickets (~62% revenue).  All but 75k miles were in premium cabins, but with the marked uptick in travel, this was a better ratio (28.7%) than 2013 (32.1%).

This past year involved 4 trips to Europe, 2 trips to Hawaii, 2 trips to Asia, 3 trips to both Europe and Asia (but does Anatolia really count?).

My award redemptions were numerous:

  • I went to Prague, Berlin, and Poland.
  • I visited Turkey cheaply thanks to Avianca.
  • I went to Japan with some predevaluation United and American miles.
  • I visited Taipei and Paris over the summer.
  • I went to Oktoberfest and Bangkok in September.
  • I booked a last minute trip to Europe in December.

I earned points and miles throughout the year:

  • I had about 77k EQMs on United, as the new PQD requirements deterred me from shooting for 1K.  I picked up about 50k redeemable miles on my United credit card, mostly from a mix of “every day” spend and some United purchases.  I would have managed Premier Silver without the waiver.
  • American finished at just over 100k EQMs, thanks in part to the 10k EQM bonus from spend on my Citi AAdvantage card (which earned ~140k miles between spending and the signup bonus).

Airfare spending continued its rise to 5.6cpm, up from 5.22cpm last year.  Hotel spending dropped, even as nights stayed roughly constant (82, down from 83), to $68.55/night from last year’s $84/nt.  Rental car spending nosedived from $2.2k to about $1.3k.

Last year, I predicted a few things:

  • More award travel.  26k to 97k miles is quite a jump.
  • Requalification for Executive Platinum and Premier Platinum.  Check.
  • Fewer hotel nights.  This didn’t pan out, although I didn’t requalify for SPG 50.
  • More credit card spending.  Check.

In 2015, I expect:

  • Total travel to drop and the fraction of award travel to rise.
  • Requalification for Executive Platinum.   Based on pre-3/1 earnings change travel alone, I would not be completely shocked to make Premier Silver on United.
  • I’m evidently bad at making predictions about hotel stays.
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