The True Value Of Miles & Points
I have had a few instances in the last few months where miles and points made a big difference. It got me to thinking, what is the true value of miles & points? I know there are plenty of charts out there telling you what the value is for each type of point. This isn’t that. As you know I almost always use points when traveling so I look at it from a different perspective then most in this space. The true value of miles and points, to me at least, is freedom (imagine Mel Gibson yelling that as you read this).
What Are You Talking About Willis?
Freedom? Or more like Freeeeeeeeeeeeeedom (with a Scottish accent). That is what miles and points are worth to me.
The freedom to take a last minute trip, to help out family in need, to make adjustments on the fly. Miles and points give you the freedom to experience things that would otherwise be impossible. I’ll give you some examples.
Last Minute Bookings
Just last week I was in a situation where I had to make a decision on whether or not I wanted to make a long drive home. I wasn’t really in the mood, I was exhausted, and driving probably wouldn’t have been the safest choice. I ended up booking a room at a Hyatt Place for 5,000 points and got a good night’s sleep before leaving in the morning. Most of us think, so what no big deal.
Without World of Hyatt points or Ultimate Rewards points etc. I would have had to shell out $150 for that room. That $150 price tag is going to change your decision making process and most people can’t just plop down $150 when they feel like it. Since I was able to use points it was an easy decision but if I had to pay cash I probably would have made the drive and risked my safety.
Helping When In Need
I have had miles and points become a very important part of dealing with two separate tragedies. My Grandmother passed away a little over a month ago while she was on vacation in Florida. That made a difficult time even more difficult. I was able to book a flight for my Aunt and myself using miles. I used British Airways Avios to avoid American Airlines’ last minute booking fees. Without miles, and the knowledge of how to avoid excess fees, I would have been looking at $500 last minute tickets. That would have made it impossible to get down there for a day or two to be with my family in a time of need.
A similar situation happened when my wife’s Grandmother passed away a few years back. The flights for the funeral were $1,000 (very tiny airport) but I was able to book them for 25,000 Skymiles. It made it possible for her to say goodbye and be there for her family.
Making Experiences Possible
I will end this on a positive note. This hobby has made experiences possible for me that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. When my favorite college football team made the College Football Playoffs I was able to go to the game. That only happened since I didn’t have to pay outrageous prices for flights or hotels.
I locked in the flights early, before they even made the playoff. I booked flights to both possible destinations on Southwest. Since I knew I could cancel the flights without penalty I wanted to book “just in case” flights and lock in reasonable rates. The whole experience cost me $200 for the game ticket, taxes and fees. Others spent thousands of dollars for the same trip. If I had to pay regular market rates I would not have been able to go on the trip.
We, in this hobby, like to get caught up on redemption rates, valuations, or aspirational travel. That is probably because of our social media driven society and wanting to one up others on our feed.
The true value lies beyond the cents per point valuations, miles and points are worth so much more than that. I cherish this hobby because of the freedom that miles and points affords me. Some of the best redemptions I have had were getting family together or seeing things I would have never been able to if I was paying rack rates. Getting a great value for my Membership Rewards etc. points never once entered the equation.
Don’t get hung up on getting the most you can, get caught up on doing what you want when you want to. That is the true value of this hobby, at least it is for me.
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