As you may know, I really like IHG in terms of earning and burning points. IHG is dedicated to having the least competitive elite benefits, but give you the most points to keep you coming back. Now IHG will be offering even more points!
The basic changes are the following:
- A new membership tier from 75 nights
- That tier earns 100% bonus points and a bonus 25,000 points for qualifying
- Points now expire (not a big deal)
- A minor stealth devaluation starting May 1 (where a few hundred hotels change categories)
- There will likely be more changes announced in summer
Caroline and I started dating while I was hitchhiking across the country. But hey, at that point in my life free travel was a priority and I wasn’t too savvy on the miles and points thing. Never would I have predicted then that I would one day fly across the Pacific in a suite bigger than my old Ford Festiva. Never would I have predicted that one day we would stay at dozens of the world’s Top 500 hotels on points.
As I mentioned yesterday, even when we first started traveling as a married couple we slept in some very odd places. This post is about how far we’ve come, solely because of miles and points. It’s not to say that I’m too good for the other stuff; we still love adventure. But it’s more to say, look at what two people who spend around ~$20,000 a year can do with a few miles and points tricks like signing up for credit cards, or hotel deals and what not.
And still our biggest expense is food. Maybe I should do extreme couponing next. Here are some of our miles and points moments we couldn’t have achieved otherwise.
Does credit card car rental “collision” insurance work for Silvercar (which is an all Audi rental car company) and other sports cars? The short answer is “depends on the card for Silvercar/Audis”. And for other sports cars it depends on the car and credit card.
It’s a funny hobby, isn’t it? Today we picked up our Audi for two days and it was half the price of all the other cars at the airport (which I’ll explain in a minute). The deal-killer was about to be whether or not I had to buy insurance. The deal was sealed when I realized my credit card would totally cover primary insurance on the Audi.
Let me break it down (click to skip ahead):
As of writing this it’s been 56 days since paying for a hotel and our next many weeks are covered as well. Okay, honestly there were some costs in getting our Club Carlson points and IHG points. But I’ve posted all of our year’s stats, and broken down how we average $20 to $30 a night for 4 and 5 star hotels, and I just wrote 6 ways to get amazing hotel deals.
There’s no shortage of ways to get deals for chain hotels, or to get points for cheap. The end result is that we live out of 4/5 star hotels. But you know all this.
But what you may or may not know, is that it wasn’t always that way. When we first started traveling we had millions of miles. It was absurd. In 2011 we booked a number of flights for friends to come visit us around the world (China, Easter Island, Peru) in business class. And yet, we didn’t even have hotel points at all. I saw it as a waste.
In fact, I’ve now seen lists of people saying which cards they are keeping, and listing 20+ cards each with fees from $89 to $450 a year. That is insane. Easily $2,000 in annual fees for credit cards. Money that could have gone to flights that go places and earn miles/status.
As I commonly say, “you can go broke saving money”. For me, a great example of that is people who have a ton of credit cards they pay annual fees on. Seriously, it adds up. Even if you just keep a card for one extra year, that alone would add up. But keeping cards for a ton of years, think about how much money you’ll spend vs the benefit.