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December 30, 2022
Red Alert: 100th Daily Drop Celebration!
Time to read:
5 minutes and 32 seconds
It's been over 72 hours since this Newsletter was published, so some links might be out of date or expired.
December 30th, 2022
Estimated read time: 5 minutes and 32 seconds
Good morning and welcome to our 100th Daily Drop and the final email of 2022!
I'm EXTREMELY excited about today's email, and I think you will be too. Rather than share deals, news, and cute animal stories, today we're celebrating the Daily Drop.
✈️ We want to hear about your travels
✅ Do you love the Daily Drop? Come work for us!
✈️ My 2022 travel stats, credit card value, and money saved with points and miles
P.S. You may have noticed the obnoxious "red alert" subject line for this email. Moving forward, we will use this when there is a travel hack or a time-sensitive deal that's too good to miss.
Anywho, we just thought we'd take her for a test run today since this is our 100th email and definitely "red alert" worthy if you care about the Daily Drop 😉
✈️ We want to hear about your travels
I talk about my travels a lot here at the Daily Drop, but I want to know more about you and YOUR travels. That's why we're conducting a community survey to learn more about how often you travel, which types of travel you like, and some other not-so-personal details.
The survey only takes about a minute to complete, but since you're all so busy, I'll sweeten the pot.
Everyone who completes the survey will also be entered to win one full year of Hilton Gold Elite status, courtesy of... well... me. This is my personal gift to one lucky reader.
If you already have Gold Status or don't care about it, I'll also offer a free hug to anyone who completes the survey. All you have to do is find me in an airport somewhere in the world. I'm serious.
As you can imagine from that list, we have big plans for The Daily Drop in 2023 - and we would love for you to be a part of that journey with us.
I know we have many talented candidates reading our emails every day, and I look forward to meeting some of you in the new year.
🌎 My 2022 travel stats and points & miles savings
Time for the 2022 annual travel stats round-up extravaganza *cue annoying airhorn sound effect*
My goal with what I'm about to tell you isn't to brag about all the travel I do and shove it in your faces, but rather to show you that I practice what I preach.
I tell you about travel hacks every day, advise you on deals you should and shouldn't use, and pitch credit cards with annual fees.
I want to show you that not only do I do ALL of the things I share with you, but I also want to show you what's possible when you stretch the miles & points game to its absolute limits.
I don't just do this for travel; I love the game of it. I think of miles, points, and travel as a giant puzzle - with the end result being life-changing trips around the world. Thinking about it as a hobby makes it fun rather than arduous. If you don't enjoy it, you'll probably have trouble getting your own travel game up to this level.
Here are the end results of my 2022 travels, along with a nice graphic of my air travel activity, courtesy of Flighty, the flight tracking app I use:
102,946 miles flown
37 countries visited
188 nights in hotels
786,000 points/miles used
So how much money did I "save" by using all of these points and miles?
That's a tricky question, but I have an answer for you. And you probably won't believe it...
Rather than determining how much money I've "saved," I will tell you the cash value of the travel I took on miles and points.
I would NEVER pay this much for travel (not that I could if I wanted to), so I don't consider it to be money "saved."
If I had booked all of the same flights and hotels with cash instead of the points and miles I used to book them, it would have cost me....
... wait for it...
$51,152 USD (about $69,000 CAD)
And this doesn't include things like free night certificates, statement credits, annual hotel or flight credits from credit cards, etc.
This might seem high, but it's true!
A trans-Atlantic flight in business class would cost you at least $1,000 if paying cash, whereas I've booked the same trip many times this year for relatively few points.
Even an Air Canada business class flight from Toronto to Vancouver, a route I take many times every year, regularly costs more than $1,500, but I can simply book it for under 10,000 points and get a confirmed upgrade at the time of booking.
Similarly, certain hotels can be way overpriced, but still feasible to book using points or free night certificates.
Earlier this year, I signed up for a Hilton credit card with a $0 annual fee that offered a free night certificate as part of the welcome offer. I used that certificate to book a night at the Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, which sometimes costs thousands of dollars per night.
These are just a couple of examples to illustrate how being strategic with your points, miles, credits, and certificates can yield incredible value.
Now onto the part many of you have been waiting for... credit cards.
I'm what you might call a "credit card junkie."
Here are my current credit card stats:
11 open credit cards (between both U.S. and Canadian cards)
$2,119 USD in annual fees (Canadian fees converted to USD)
$18,534 USD in total value gained (in the last 12 months)
You might be having a panic attack on my behalf right now because of the high number of credit cards, but don't worry; I manage them diligently, and my credit score is healthy and increasing because I'm so responsible with such a high amount of credit. 👇
Sure, I don't have an 850 credit score, but I don't need it. I don't have kids, I don't have any plans to buy a home in the near future, I live in a big city and would never need a car, and I simply don't need to get my score as high as humanly possible.
Back to the credit cards.
How do I know how much value I've gained this past year from my credit cards?
Easy - I keep a VERY detailed spreadsheet and track this data monthly. I'll give you a quick example of a credit card that I've gotten a TON of value out of recently. I won't say which one, but it's a black, Canadian-issued metal card...
Here is my tracker for this card over the last 12 months:
This card has an annual fee of $599 CAD, which is obviously quite high. However, you'll see in the bottom-right corner of the screenshot that I've gained $8,267 in value over the last year from this card alone.
This is a combination of points earned (which in this case included a tasty welcome bonus), statement credits, perks (like Uber Eats pass), and lounge access.
The spreadsheet will automatically tally up my lounge visits and multiply it by a dollar value that I've assigned to lounge visits in general.
It also takes the points currency (Aeroplan in this case) and multiplies the points earned by a pre-set value that differs by program. In this case, the value is 2 Canadian cents per point.
Personally, I value a lounge visit at $12 CAD, or about $9 USD. Even though certain lounges will run you anywhere from $20-$50 or even more, I would never pay that. I would be okay with paying $12 for unlimited food, drinks, and a nice place to relax or work, however.
You can see in the spreadsheet that the statement credits alone outweigh the high annual fee.
Throw in the points which have booked me numerous trips, the dozens of lounge visits, the other perks, and the annual companion voucher that this card provides, and you can start to see how owning multiple cards like this can allow me to travel the amount that I do.
I'll stop here before I make you read all the way into the new year.
But I hope you know that you can trust the travel advice I give to you every weekday morning in this newsletter. Whether it's credit card offers, hotel promos, or any of the other travel hacks, rest assured that I'm out there trying as many of them out as I can myself.
And that's the Mike Dodge Travel Hacking Guarantee (trademark pending).
That's all for this YEAR, everyone! It's been a wild ride so far, and I look forward to kicking off the new year next week.
Do you want to learn more about how credit cards affect your credit score? What was your favorite travel experience of 2022?Let me know by replying to this email or reaching out on social media.
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