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How much credit card spending do you do to support your family’s travel plan?

How much credit card spending do you do to support your family’s travel plan?

Old May 6, 11, 6:38 pm
  #1  
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How much credit card spending do you do to support your family’s travel plan?

I remembered mia over at the AMEX board once had put out a detailed outline about her family’s travel pattern between MIA and LHR once or twice every year and how she managed their credit card spend to support it.

I very much enjoyed reading it. Right now I can’t seem to find it. But I’d like to see some more people sharing their stories in this area.

This is certainly my main concern regarding miles vs. points. Somehow I always seem to have enough points between IHG, Hilton and Marriott. It’s the miles for which I concentrate my credit card spend on. And this is due to the unique travel pattern of my family. Basically I try to support two family members to come to visit us every year. Then I take my family (4 including myself) either back to Asia (odd year), or over to Europe (even year).

So in total it means either 6 TPAC tickets, or 2 TPAC & 4 TATL tickets. So how many miles? Let’s say for each business class TPAC seat costs 120K, and TATL is 100K. We are talking about a ballpark between 640K and 720K for the total. That’s just too much more than what I can manufacture through credit card spending.

Now couple of disclaimers/filters: 1) I don’t travel enough on business any more since getting out of consulting and that’s why I am relying on credit card spending; and 2) I own no small business or anything remotely close to it, so we are talking about hardcore consumer spending here.

How do I cope? Well, I have got the BA Chase card for Europe travel. I put ~100K on it every year so that for the year when we need to go to Europe, we will have 2 companion certificates and enough BA miles for the 4 of us.

That problem solved, I need to tackle the TPAC needs. For the even years it’s a little bit better as we are only talking about 240K or 360K top. That I can handle with about $150K on AMEX with bonuses frequently available for transfers to Delta. In this case as we combine the BA Chase and AMEX, it’s 250K annual spend. It's pretty much what we are putting on credit card right now, in addition to things such as mortgage, preschool/daycare expense, tax payment, college and retirement savings that can't be put on credit cards in a cost efficient manner.

But for the odd years, I need between 700K and 1M miles. The sign up bonuses help. I’m eagerly waiting for the next big offer. Other than that, I don’t really have a solution here and more often than not will come up short and have to think of alternative methods such as upgrade using miles instead of a straight award redemption.

I guess I won’t mind hearing suggestions and ideas. But it’s not the main point of this post, which is really about gauging what others are able to put on their credit cards and get out of it. An interesting measurement would be how much spending is required in your case to support what level/kind of travel activities. What do you think?

Last edited by lancexfang; May 6, 11 at 7:45 pm
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Old May 7, 11, 3:52 pm
  #2  
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Very little, relatively. All the secrets are out there in full public view.
http://boardingarea.com/blogs/viewfr...ny-more-miles/
Remember that all miles from spend cost you 2 c each, while the sign ups are almost free.
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Old May 7, 11, 3:55 pm
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Since this is more about $$ spent I'll move it to TB.
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Old May 7, 11, 6:08 pm
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We are talking about a ballpark between 640K and 720K for the total. That’s just too much more than what I can manufacture through credit card spending.
Ya think? I've pretty much concluded it's worth buying miles up to 1.5 cpm to cover long haul business class flights. Sign up bonuses are nice but limited in terms of repeatability.
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Old May 7, 11, 6:32 pm
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With all due respect, this is a silly question. I could rephrase the question to say "How much income must you earn to support your family's travel plans?"

The answer is simple:

Q: How much do the travel plans cost? $X
A: Then, that's what you need to earn: $X

Obviously, flying in Coach (as I do) is cheaper than flying Business Class. So, if you have $X in income and cannot earn any more, you can buy more Coach tickets than you can Business Class tickets.

You can certainly maximize your FFMs by flying certain routes, mileage runs, credit card purchases, etc. There comes a point where you have maxed out your signup bonuses, your mileage runs, your own flying, your own spending, etc. Take that number, whatever it is, and see how your family's travel plans fit.
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Old May 8, 11, 11:07 am
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The general answer for me is.. I do quite a bit of credit card spending.. in fact I expense everything onto credit card and pay with one payment.

Plus the miles seem to come back, and we are able to enjoy more reward redemptions through airlines.
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Old May 10, 11, 9:28 am
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Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
With all due respect, this is a silly question. I could rephrase the question to say "How much income must you earn to support your family's travel plans?"
To me it’s not an affordability issue. It’s about maximizing the utility out of things we do, which in the context of this conversation is swiping our credit cards.

I sensed when first starting the thread that my poor writing would lead to this kind of interpretation. So let me clarify, unfortunately again with my poor cyber-penmanship, that my main ask is for people to share their stories about their credit card spending and the kind of travel they get out of it on an annual basis. There are plenty of success stories about taking advantage of sign-on bonuses to do one-off trips. But I am more interested in the patterns of on-going spend and benefits.

It’s not about spending beyond one’s means to get some payback – that would be like tail wagging the dog to me.
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Old May 10, 11, 11:33 am
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I am guessing that English might not be your first language. Thanks for the clarification.

To answer your question: I spend enough on a credit card to get one Coach rt trip from the US to Europe and usually several additional domestic rt tickets within the US. That works for me.

I never waste my money nor miles on upgrades. I'm fine in Coach.
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