A belated 2015 end-of-year accounting

For the last two years, I've shared an accounting of my year in earning and burning miles and points (2013 and 2014). A reader recently reached out and asked whether I would do something similar for 2015.

The more volume I've pushed through my credit cards and loyalty accounts, the more difficult it's become to track the precise number of miles and points I earn each year. This isn't because of a lack of attention to detail; I actually maintain an unnecessarily-meticulous record of all the fees I incur while manufacturing spend.

The problem is simply that loyalty programs make it terribly obnoxious to track this kind of activity, so unless you track it throughout the year, you're left flailing at the end of the year to figure out the final score.

For example, if you have an American Airlines AAdvantage or IHG co-branded credit card, every time you redeem miles or points you get a 10% rebate. Barclaycard Arrival+ cardholders get a 5% rebate on all their redeemed miles. Should those points be reported as "earned," or deducted from "redeemed" miles?

Likewise, if I redeem Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to United or Hyatt, and then redeem those United and Hyatt points for travel, where are the appropriate columns to debit and credit the transactions?

Nonetheless, as your humble servant, I did go through all the accounts I've previously reported on and calculated the total number of points I redeemed in 2015. So without further ado, here are my total redeemed mile and point totals for calendar year 2015:

As you can see, my total redeemed balances come to 1,678,000 miles and points. This is more or less meaningless for the reasons I explained above (Hyatt, United, and British Airways redemptions are counted twice, both above and below the central line), but hopefully it gives the curious an idea of the rewards currencies I choose to focus on.