Welcome to Miles4More, our family’s little corner of the internet! We are equal-opportunity collectors of credit card signup bonuses, shopping portal miles and points, and manufactured spending. We hope this will post give some insight into the way we play the miles, points and cashback game so you’ll know if this blog might be relevant to your family’s travel.
I don’t travel for work. We don’t need to travel, at least not by air. It’s a total luxury. Taking family vacations of any kind is out of the reach of millions. Being able to travel as a family to the other side of the world just to see what it looks like? A huge privilege and luxury that we might take for granted if we’re not careful.
I had a post written on the tools we were using to fund our own travel savings account, ready to go, and then Barclays ended the party, for now at least. Or I should say they turned down the volume. Just like that, the best return on investment we can readily get from using manufactured spending on an Arrival card to fund our account dropped from $299.68 for every $53 invested to $160.94 for every $53 invested. In other words, the discount, on any and all travel we want or need, that we could get by putting the Arrival card to work fell from 83% off to 67% off overnight. I mean, 67% is still cool and all, but a thousand dollars worth of Disney tickets or hotel rooms or car rentals or whatever just jumped from $176.86 to $329.31. So we’ll slow down with that avenue, continue with others and never put all of our MS eggs in one basket.
Side note – this is all tax free, so the actual discount realized vs. just working more hours and earning that thousand dollars may be much higher.
Our estimated current monthly deposits into our Travel Savings Account, earned via two signup bonuses, portal points and MS:
American, Alaska, Delta and United Airlines miles: around 310K total.
Barclays Arrival points 50K, to fund travel already purchased for later this year.
Cashback $1000, because it’s kind of versatile and flexible.
Cost in fees: $752. Value in cash: well, $1000. Minimum value in flexible travel: $2850. Plus Alaska and United miles which I’ll call 1 cent each for simplicity: $750.
Cost in time: 15 3-5 minute stops and 35 5-10 minute stops throughout the course of the month. Or around 5 hours in stores, most of which is on the way to or from work, while we’re already at the stores, or worked in with lunch and other errands. Still it’s 5 hours spent, and I have to plan 5 more for online work and tracking. So 10 hours total.
A few common reactions:
Why so much? That’s a lot of spending! 4 travelers, 6-8 or more trips per year. Due to our schedules, we can’t do the two-week vacation. So we make the most of every possible long weekend and holiday opportunity.
That’s nothing! I can easily double that! Yes, anyone can. The point isn’t how many, it’s that anyone can earn enough to do pretty much all the travel they want, and/or earn lots of cash on top of that.
Why not more cashback? Because this is what best fits our needs right now. Once our Alaska balances are padded a little more, cashback will replace those miles. And of course the game will change by then and the strategy adjusted accordingly.
You’re freaking nuts! Yep, guilty as charged. We don’t want you to be nuts just because we are, but hopefully we can help you travel where and when you want to, saving all your money for activities on the ground. Or whatever your family needs.
Comments? Fire away! I’m a just the Dad in a family that loves to travel, and I’m happy to help any other family that I can.