Our 2019 game plan after 3 months

To the point Back in November 2018, I shared with you our game plan of " travel hacking " for the year 2019, mainly consisting of AIR MILES, Marriott Bonvoy and Best Western Rewards. As the 1st quarter comes to an end, where are we in the milesopedia family?

Reminder of our 2019 travel hacking game plan

I told you that I wanted to diversify our points and miles portfolio, which was mainly composed – at 80% – of American Express Membership Rewards points and Aeroplan miles.

The reason is simple: we are a couple, with two young children, the youngest of whom will have to “pay” for his plane ticket as he will pass the 2 years old mark.

For example, a ticket to Europe in economy/business class on Aeroplan will no longer cost $50/$100 but 60,000/110,000 Aeroplan Miles. For a family of 4, we are talking about 240,000 / 440,000 Aeroplan Miles… !

So we find it makes more sense to earn hotel points from Marriott Bonvoy and Best Western Rewards.

the st regis bahia beach resort puerto rico 80
The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico – Children’s Room

To tell the truth, there is an argument that struck a chord in my ear among the comments in the facebook group “Travel for free (or almost…!) with your points & miles – milesopedia”:

A hotel room can be shared by 4 people… but an airplane seat cannot! Thus, accumulating 200,000 Marriott points to afford 10-20 nights in hotels for 2 adults and 2 children… will be much more lucrative than accumulating the equivalent amount of miles at Aeroplan… to afford only one airline ticket!

As for AIR MILES, it’s the logical choice to get short-haul tickets for short getaways on nice days… or tickets to theme parks like Disney!

high season air miles2 ticket

As part of our first round of 2019 credit cards, we chose to start with AIR MILES for 2 reasons:

  • BMO card promotions expire on March 31, 2019
  • They require more purchases in 3 months ($3,000 and $5,000 for the 2 targeted cards) than the cards we expect to purchase in Q2 (around $1,500). However, we had a lot of purchases planned for the first quarter (both personal and corporate).

Cards purchased between January and March 2019

So here’s where we are in OUR credit card underwriting couple strategy for 2019.

January 2019: the first wave of credit card subscriptions for Mrs. AND Mr.

Contrary to our original game plan, we chose to subscribe to the same cards in our first “AIR MILES only” round.

Card bmo air miles world elite mastercard fr 1
Page The BMO AIR MILESMD MasterCardMD World EliteMD
Bonus 1,000 miles Promo: 3,000 miles
Fee 120$ Promo: $0
application Subscribe
Card Platinum credit card air miles american express logo
Page American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card
Bonus 2,000 miles
Fee 65$
application Subscribe
Page The BMO AIR MILESMD Corporate MastercardMD
Bonus 3,000 miles
Fee $0
application Subscribe
Total miles earned 8,000 AIR MILES miles
Accumulated contributions 65$

Assessment of the first wave of couple subscriptions

The reason we changed our game plan along the way was because additional expenses were added: we could now afford to sign up for a card that required $5,000 in purchases in 3 months – the BMO® AIR MILES®† Business Mastercard®* card – instead of the card requiring $1,000 in 3 months – BMO® AIR MILES® Mastercard®*.

And we chose to accumulate EVERYTHING in the same AIR MILES account – mine – in dream miles. By the 3rd week of January, I had surpassed 6,000 AIR MILES miles and reached ONYX status.

For the record:

  • The actual value of AIR MILES Silver miles is $0.105.
  • The estimated
    of AIR MILES Dream Miles is $0.20
bmo air miles world elite mastercard fr 1 Fee $0 $0
Purchases 3 000$ 3 000$
miles 3,300 miles 3,300 miles
The BMO AIR MILESMD MasterCardMD World EliteMD
Silver value 346.5$ 346.5$
Dreams Value 660$ 660$
Platinum credit card air miles american express logo Fee 65$ 65$
Purchases 1 500$ 1 500$
miles 2 150 2 150
American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card
Silver value 225.7$ 225.7$
Dreams Value 430$ 430$
Fee $0 $0
Purchases 5 000$ 5 000$
miles 3,500 miles 3,500 miles
The BMO AIR MILESMD Corporate MastercardMD Silver value 367.5$ 367.5$
Dreams Value 700$ 700$

To summarize:

Fee 65$ 65$
Purchases 9 500$ 9 500$
miles 8,950 miles 8,950 miles
Silver value 939.7$ 939.7$
Dreams Value 1 790$ 1 790$
Fee 130$
Purchases 19 000$
miles 17,900 miles
Silver value 1 879.4$
Dreams Value 3 580$

So in 3 months, after $19,000 in purchases, we have accumulated nearly 17,900 miles that we value at $3,580!

Removing the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card contribution fee American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card we come up with a net value of about $3,450, if we use the Dreams miles as expected at $0.20/mile.

Our return is therefore 18.15%!

And with the 2,000 miles each earned during the Virée de Quartier, that’s nearly 22,000 miles accumulated!

For those who prefer Silver Miles, the gain would be approximately $1,880 for a return of 9.89%. Which is not so bad!

19,000 in purchases in 3 months… that’s a lot!

As reiterated above, this is OUR game plan based on OUR pace of life.

Like any good couple of
travel hackers
we anticipated having a busy first quarter in various expenses, so we attacked hard the year 2019!

It must be said that the expenses at the beginning of the year helped, like the “big chunk” of municipal taxes(paid in full on PayTM with our Mastercard, like our Hydro Quebec bills).

As well as many business expenses for both of us.

paytm logo

And in this type of “bonus hunting” approach, we forget to use THE ideal card according to the category of businesses: we put absolutely all the expenses on the cards to be unlocked.

What’s next?

I’ll be sharing our next round of credit card subscriptions soon… made up of 3 credit cards with hotel points:

Bottom Line

We started 2019 with an AIR MILES account consisting of a few hundred miles…ending up with 25,225 miles at the end of March thanks to all those sign-up bonuses and the 2018 Neighborhood Drive bonus payout.

jmv air miles

For those interested in AIR MILES cards offered by BMO, please note that the current promotions on both cards will expire on March 31, 2019! Don’t delay!

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
4.8 Milesopedia Rating
Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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