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2015 has been a great year for Points With a Crew – and I sincerely thank each and every one of you as my readers.  Obviously, without you guys reading, there isn’t really a blog, and so… THANKS A TON!

top-ten-2015

As I look forward to 2016, I first wanted to take a second to look back to 2015 and give my top 10 posts for the year.  Last year I celebrated the new year with a series of Top 20 posts

followed up by a post talking about the “hidden gems” – the posts that I thought didn’t get as much love as maybe they SHOULD have – 2014 hidden gems: Traveler’s Triangle, paying $15 for the seat next to mine, road trips, BRGs, #FT4RL, transfering Arrival miles, 17 pieces of luggage and more

But this time we’re just going for a straight Top 10!

Points With a Crew 2015 Top 10 poststop-10

These aren’t necessarily the 10 most viewed posts of 2015 (some of those were actually written earlier and live on thanks to the power of Mister Google), but here are the most popular posts actually WRITTEN in 2015

10. Getting Alaska Airlines top status for free (without flying a mile)

For much of 2015, Alaska Airlines was giving their MVP Gold 75K status (top status) for anyone who had the Southwest Companion Pass (which is fairly easy to get just from credit card signup bonuses / spend).  This was quite popular as you can imagine!  Another status matching post that was just outside the Top 10 was one involving an AA Executive Platinum status challenge earlier this fall.  Tragically, both these offers are no longer available (Alaska changed in November to only match to their mid-tier MVP Gold status)

9. Well, I didn’t get Hyatt Diamond status

Speaking of elite status, November was a crazy month for hotel statuses.  Hyatt started off the madness by pretty much offering top-tier Diamond status to anybody with a pulse.  I talked about the 7 places I was going to go with my new Diamond status, but a few days later, the hammer came down when I found out I didn’t get my Hyatt Diamond status 🙁.  Not to be outdone, Hilton started offering THEIR Diamond status to most everyone a week or so later, and this time I was successful.

8. The Chase 5/24 rule

Late in 2015, Chase among all the banks really started cracking down on credit card “churners” – those of us who sign up over and over again for multiple credit cards every few months.  Chase’s tightening of the rules has come to be known as the “5/24 rule” – if you’ve signed up for 5 or more cards within the past 24 months, you’re extremely unlikely to be approved for several of the Chase-branded credit cards.

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My “minions” filling out our 188 index cards and envelopes

7. 100,000 hotel points for a few hours work

It’s hard to believe that a post from just LAST WEEK made the list of the Top 10 posts of the year, but I guess that is the power of free stuff! :-).  IHG is currently running a promotion called “Priceless Surprises”.  The main thrust of the promotion is rewarding people that actually STAY at IHG hotels over a 3 month period, but careful reading of the rules has indicated that you can enter by mail, up to 94 times, with each entry winning AT LEAST 500 IHG points.  Between my wife’s and my account – we’re looking at 100,000 hotel points for a few hours work

6. Amtrak complaints

Earlier this summer, our family used 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards to transfer to Amtrak to take a train trip from Ohio to Denver that had a cash price of over $6500 (for free).  We had a blast on our train trip, though delays really put a damper on the start of our vacation.  After our trip, I called in and due to the delays I was able to call and get over $1100 in Amtrak vouchers.  We are braving Amtrak again in 2016 and putting those vouchers to good use – READ: Where our family of 8 is going for 40,000 miles and $93 (it’s further than you think!)

5. Why you should NOT call the reconsideration line

People often recommend calling in to the credit card company’s reconsideration line if your application goes “Pending”.  Here are 3 reasons why you should NOT call the reconsideration line.  On my latest credit card churn, one of my applications went pending, and not calling the reconsideration line worked again!

4. “Woah, I’ve already won 10,000 Starpoints!”

#7 was the post that most shocked me for making it on to the Top 10 list, but this one was the next most surprising.  SPG seems to often run web promotions and in November they ran a promo featuring their new Design Hotels.  I was surprised to find out that I instantly won 10,000 SPG Starpoints within the first day of the contest (later I’d win another 10,000)

3. Booking a hotel for someone else

Apparently people often want to know if they can use points (or cash) to book a hotel for someone else.  The short answer is yes, most chains will allow you to book a hotel for someone else.  The actual details depends on the chain – some will allow you to do it online as part of the reservation, and others require you to call in.

The Target Red Card is no longer worthwhile for MS

The Target Red Card is no longer worthwhile for MS

2. How I loaded my Redbird today

May was a sad day in the manufactured spending world.  For several months, the Target Red Card (Redbird) had been one of the easiest methods possible to manufacture spend – you could load it directly with a credit card.  In May, that all changed, and I was one of the first people to report that you  could still load Redbird with a debit card.  Tragically that method also died in October, and now the Target Red Card is pretty much worthless for manufactured spending.

1. IHG Point Breaks map(s)

And my most viewed posts have been my maps of the IHG Point Breaks hotels.  Technically the most viewed page was the one from August 2015 through October 2015, though you can find the current IHG Point Breaks map (and sortable table) for December 2015 and January 2016 here.  There’s still quite a few hotels that are bookable for only 5000 points each (gotta put all those Priceless Surprises points to work somewhere right!!)

Again, thanks so much to following along with Points With a Crew in 2015.  I hope you and yours have a happy and safe New Year’s celebration and here’s to more travel fun in 2016!  Carolyn and I will be “celebrating” tonight by not staying up because, as she so wittingly puts it, “the new year doesn’t care if you stay up for it”  🙂

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