Money makes the world go round’. From an early age, we’re taught to spend money wisely and save for the future.
I woke up today thinking, “why not miles and points?”
After all, it is a form of currency. It doesn’t inflate as fast (well, sometimes) and it can be used in lieu of cash. In fact, some points are as good as cash and sometime worth even more!
It’s no wonder that people go crazy trying to get points. The fact that having more of something that is so easily attainable just sits well with everyone. Like money, when used, points disappear into thin air. It’s hard to see a balance go from 500,000 miles to 380,000. So hard in fact that chase now offers a 7% Annual Dividend on points earned. Just to give a comparison, the highest interest rate for a CD in America is hovering around 1.25%. In short, points are a store of value and will be for some time to come. Although one is points and one is money, they’re really not too far away from each other in value.
So, how do we go about getting the most out of our points?
The great Dave Ramsey once said that we all need to diversify our nest egg. Although he said that for money and investments, I secretly think he meant points.
Points are an investment in itself. Years of scavenging the internet for awesome deals like “40x points/dollar here!” or “3X travel here!” have all culminated in this one moment. It’s the moment you see your point balance. Some may see 0 Miles and some may see a million. It’s still the same feeling and it’s the feeling of anxiousness. Just like when you wait at the ATM to withdraw money, there’s always the thought of “insufficient funds” running through your head at one point.
Some people log into their points accounts and see what they think is “insufficient funds”. This is partly due to the lack of diversity within their points infrastructure. The main goal of being a successful points hoarder is to have the most points EVERYWHERE.
For example, relying solely on American Airlines isn’t a good idea. Having 500,000 points only in AA doesn’t make sense to me. What happens when there’s no availability for that trip you wanted to take to Hong Kong? What if you actually have to pay for a Marriott hotel? These what if’s and more can be answered by a single word.
I might be talking out of my butt here, but honestly, it’s so easy to be diverse. It’s so nice to know that you’re covered by every possible airline!
For example, you want to go to Thailand and you have 500,000 AA points that you’ve been transferring in constantly with your Citi AA card. You decide to book a trip to Hong Kong for a certain day and see that there is no availability, which is very common on AA btw! What now? Now you have to keep calling AA to see if anything opens up, but no luck. Why would you want to subject yourself to that? You have 500,000 points, but can’t even use a single one to go where you really want to go? That’s not diversity, that is plain carelessness on your part. But wait, AA has a brilliant solution! Why dont you, the customer use your miles to buy an AAnytime award? It’s only about 50-70,000 One Way in economy vs. the 70,000 saver it would cost R/T.
Let’s go over to our second example. You have miles with United, Delta, and British Airways courtesy of a Chase Ultimate Rewards card or American Express Gold/Platinum. In addition, you have a few points from Starwood and Marriott that you received by opening up their credit cards. One day, a decision is made to go to Hong Kong. You proceed to check British Airways and see that they have availability, but the taxes are astronomical. “No Thanks” you say and move on. Delta Skypesos are next and somehow, they miraculously have availability for 90,000 miles roundtrip! You do some more digging and find something magical. United Airlines is offering saver economy to Hong Kong for 65,000 miles Roundtrip! You’re so astonished that you dont even stop there. Marriott is offering you a room at the Skycity Hong Kong for get this, 25,000 points per night. With the 70,000 you’ve earned from signing up for their credit card and an additional 5,000 you earned by meeting some spending requirements, you can book 3 nights in Hong Kong for free as well. Who would’ve thought?
After finishing up on the computer, you hit the bed and look at the ceiling.
“Wow” you exclaim. “Thank God I was diversified!”
$50 Flat Rate Award Travel Booking Fee. No Per Person Fee!
Posted : August 10, 2012 3:03 am