2015 was a year of big changes for me: I quit my job, moved across the country, and started the next chapter of my life.
Because of these changes, my travel patterns changed pretty drastically, but I still had the opportunity to travel quite a bit. I flew 137,179 miles this year, although over 80% of those miles came in the first half of the year! I also spent 101 nights away from my bed, with 71 of those nights being for international trips. While my new line of work does require a small amount of travel (my previous job did not), it will essentially all be domestic travel. It’s also simultaneously much more restrictive and lax in terms of my leisure travel, so I don’t know if I’ll be taking any crazy trips to nowhere any more.
I did not requalify for AA Executive Platinum status for 2016. I ended up with about 64k EQMs on American and a smattering of miles in other programs. Given my work changes and the impending changes to AA’s loyalty program, I felt that it didn’t make sense for me to pursue top-tier status. I did status match to Alaska MVP Gold 75k, and I’m curious to see how that works out for my travel patterns and how much longer before Alaska devalues their program as well.
My credit card strategy has become much more boring as well. Given that I’ve built up pretty healthy mileage balances for my travel patterns, I didn’t apply for many new credit cards since I didn’t have specific uses for the miles. The main card that I added to my wallet was the Citi Prestige card, which I imagine I’ll keep for the foreseeable future. It’s a pretty decent card on its own right (particularly if you can get it with a $350 annual fee) given the airline credit and Priority Pass membership, but what makes it a keeper in my mind is that it makes Thank You points worth up to 1.6 cents. Combined with my Citi Forward which gets 5x back at restaurants and bookstores (including Amazon), the Citi Prestige allows me to get 8% back on two of my most common purchasing categories. Unfortunately, the Citi Forward card is no longer available to new applicants.
I’m super grateful for all of the experiences and opportunities that this hobby has afforded me, and 2016 looks to be a great year as well. Onward!