Monday, December 18, 2017

Travel Freebies in 2017 - a year in review

Thanks to CheapChick at Living Rich on the Cheap for the inspiration to put this together. I did a better job this year in maximizing my travel rewards, and really staying on top of expiration dates, looking for point multiplying offers, etc. The majority of my freebies are from international business travel. Here's what I've accrued this year:

  • Flight price matching via Alaska Airlines - $603.05 in Alaska credits. Details in the post I wrote, here. 
  • Redeemed travel points (hotel & air miles) for $905 in gift cards. (Mostly Amazon)
  • Earned a free night at the Marriott - worth about $250
  • Have a companion fare to use on Alaska Air (this is from our credit card) - worth around $150
  • Earned 24,000 Southwest miles by converting hotel points - estimating this to be worth around $300
  • I've earned 110,000 Alaska Air miles by converting hotel points - worth around $1000
  • Earned two round trip United (domestic) first class upgrades - not sure I will use these. United doesn't fly on our normal domestic travels, and these can't be used for international upgrades.
  • And, a $40 visa credit for a recent Marriott stay

All told, this has yielded a total value of $3,248.05 in 2017. (I didn't include Alaska miles earned through standard monthly use of our credit card, or the United upgrades, as I'm not sure if we will use them.) This is obviously well worth my time to track & manage, but will mostly dry up once I stop traveling internationally. For now, I'll maximize it while I have the chance.

I didn't track my other freebies (grocery store or Rite Aid bonuses), and the travel ones are easy to look up via account activity. Maybe I'll track all of them in 2018. What about you? Have you tracked your "freebies" for the year? How are you doing? For us, these travel rewards help us greatly increase our travel budget for the year!


  1. I'm tracking points and miles for travel redemption next year but I haven't worked out their value yet since I'm not ready to book any flights. I don't feel comfortable traveling when our dogsitter isn't certain yet.

    Is there anything you can do about the United upgrades if you won't be using them?

    1. I'm still trying to lock in one trip, so there's a small chance I can use them. If not, may barter with a coworker for plain miles (you cannot sell them, unfortunately). Will also explore donating to charity or giving to friends if no other options are possible.

  2. Thanks for the shout out! Converting one type of points to another is a great way of maximizing your points - well done!