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Not EVA or United
In my Million Dollar Reseller column I have tried to talk a little bit about my experiences growing my reselling business from a small enterprise to something larger. You can find other parts of the series at the link above, but today I’m going to talk about something a little different.
The other day I shared my dilemma of which airline to fly to Asia for my current trip. I could either fly what is widely considered one of the best business class products in the world (EVA Airways) or fly United’s much hyped but constantly devalued Polaris service. In the end I chose neither and reselling is why.
A 3rd Option Emerges
At the time of my post I had to book within the next few hours, but just before I pulled the trigger, a third option came to light. Cathay Pacific “opened up” an award seat on a flight from LAX-HKG in First Class. The reason opened is in quotations is that not all partners were able to see it.
Originally I wanted to use Alaska Airlines miles to book at 70K one-way, however Alaska doesn’t have access to the same award space as Cathay’s oneworld partners and couldn’t see the space. I then looked at my rather large American Airlines mileage balance (a oneworld partner) and decided to spend 110,000 AAdvantage miles for the pleasure. That is A LOT of miles considering this same award from AA only cost 67,500 about two years ago.
So why did I do it and what does reselling have to do with it?
I Have Less Time
The simple fact is that running a reselling business is time consuming. I know there are nomad resellers who travel the globe and use prep centers and online arbitrage opportunities to lighten their load, however I’m not setup that way. The truth is that the reselling business is taking up more and more time and I get to travel less because of it. I also have a family which doesn’t always make it easy to just leave on a trip.
Don’t feel bad for me though, If I look at my travel over the past year, I’m still on the road quite a bit more than the average American.
I Have More Miles/Points
Perhaps you guessed it, but the other reason I decided to spend 110,000 miles was because I am earning more than ever from legitimate business spend. While I don’t generally earn a lot of AAdvantage miles anymore, I am okay spending down my account balance because I am earning in other programs at quite a fast pace. I also feel the risk of devaluation (as evidenced by the 67,500 to 110,000 cost above) is much larger with airline miles. So I did it and I have no regrets.
Earn & Burn
Many people in this hobby spout the mantra, “Earn & Burn!”. I always agreed with this in theory but never practiced it in reality. Or perhaps let’s just say my ability to earn has outpaced my want to spend. Now, I’m choosing to fix that. While it still pains me to spend so many miles, as long as I do it for an experience that I value, then I’m more willing to do it now more than ever. I was willing to do it before to some extent, but I’m definitely evolving on the issue. There may be a day when the world changes and I can’t fly international First Class, so I should do it whenever I can now. Why? Because I love it!
Should I Switch to Cash Back?
At this point you might be thinking I should just switch to cashback if I am not traveling enough to use my points. The truth is I sort of have in some ways. I earn a lot of flexible points which can be cashed out if I want. I choose not to cash them out because I value travel, but I could if I wanted to. That brings me some peace of mind if I decide one day I don’t like to do this anymore. Hint: I don’t see that happening any time soon. 🙂
While this post is as much about life changes as it is about reselling, I think it’s important to make sure we are earning the right currencies for the right purposes. In my case I earned a lot of AAdvantage miles with the hopes of redeeming for premium cabins, but since the devaluation I haven’t done that. Well, until now. Things are back on track. And hey it only cost me 100,000 miles since I got a 10% rebate as a credit card holder!
Are you earning more than you can burn? How have life changes made you re-think your earning and redemption strategies? Let me know in the comments!