[Updated July 2015]
I am a big believer in the mantra that "you can't improve what you can't measure". So I track my reward redemption religiously in a Google doc which you can see here.
There is one caveat to my system worth sharing. The values of my reward points are not equal to the dollar value of the reward. I wanted to have transparency and alignment in my my decision making process so I use a standard "minimum value" of a redeemed point. For example, international travel has the highest value for reward points. I've had opportunities to earn 6+ cents per mile on international award tickets! However, if I wasn't planning on taking that trip using cash, then I shouldn't be willing to do it just because the reward redemption is really good. Thus, I apply my standard value to reward points so that I am not motivated to redeem for silly rewards. My standard values for the rewards I use is this:
In my system, I don't worry about the accumulation of reward points, I only care about the actual redemption. When I redeem a reward, I mark it in the Google doc and then transfer the cash value into my brokerage account and into my IRA (I make the IRA transfer once per year).
Next: Learn how to invest your hard earned reward dollars so they can compound into $1 million dollars!
Questions? Comments? Tweet me @RetireOnRewards.
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Retire on Rewards