2015 recap: how I earned 84,000 American Airlines miles

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I flew to London for the first time in 2015 and that sparked in interest in traveling.  Since July 2015, I have earned 84,000 frequent flier miles by strategically traveling and planning my purchases.  84,000 miles is enough for two off-season, round-trip tickets to either Hawaii or Europe on American Airlines or one of its partner airlines.  Thus, it was a good year for miles!

Where did the miles come from?

The miles came from several sources:

  • 35,000 miles came from a Citi Advantage credit card sign up bonus.  The card now offers a limited time 50,000 mile signup bonus.  I had to spend $3,000 in three months which was fairly easy because I can pay rent online with a credit card.
  • 18,000 miles from flying American Airlines.  You receive extra miles for booking flights with layovers.
  • 11,000 miles from complaining to American Airlines’s customer service for the delayed flight that stranded me in Chicago until 3a on Christmas and for a broken bathroom on one of my flights.
  • 12,000 miles came from the American Airlines shopping portal.  You can earn miles for clicking on the portal before you begin your online shopping.  Periodically the portal offers bonus miles which I was able to take advantage of this year.
  • 4,000 miles for using Rocketmiles to book a hotel room.
  • 400 miles came from the American Airlines dining program where you can earn additional miles for eating at participating restaurants.
  • The remainder came from credit card purchases on the above-mentioned Citi Advantage credit card.

ORD

ORD on Christmas Eve.

Conclusion

While I haven’t decided how the miles will be spent (which is the most exciting part), I did want to share that a little strategic planning can go a long way.  You can check out my Step 1: Strategy page for more information.  These strategies should be fairly accessible because even with minimal traveling and no credit card sign up bonus, I would have acquired over 20,000 miles.  In two years that’s about enough to redeem for a trip to Europe (assuming the miles are not devalued).

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