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What do you use your miles and points for? Aspirational travel or freedom?
When people talk about miles and points it’s always aspirational travel they’re referring to. Places on your bucket list. Travel to Australia. Travel to the Maldives. Travel to Bora Bora. Trips to Hawaii. Trips to the Caribbean. We use miles and points for dreams, hopes, vacations.
That’s what most people think about when they talk about miles and points.
But it’s so much more than that.
Miles and Points Are Not Aspirational Travel, They’re Freedom
Miles and points are not just about aspirational travel. Miles and points give you freedom.
The freedom to do what you want, when you want.
Sure, I’ve used miles and points for plenty of aspirational trips. I’ve been to the Maldives. I’ve been to Australia three times. I’ve flown Etihad First Class many times and took a shower on the plane. We go to Hawaii every year.
All for free. Paid for with points and miles.
Miles and Points Change Your World
But miles and points and points also made other things possible.
Miles and points let me take my mom on a cruise before she passed away.
They’ve made it possible for me to attend many funerals and several weddings.
Most recently, miles and points let me be there for the last hour of my aunt’s life. We all know how expensive it is to buy a last-minute ticket. Without miles and points, this wouldn’t have been possible.
Did I care that I was using miles for a domestic coach ticket instead of an around the world ticket? Nope, because it meant I could be where I wanted and needed to be. And happened to luck out because Lexington was a reduced mileage award city.
Earn and Burn or Hoard
Some people follow in the “earn and burn” miles and points strategy. Collecting enough miles for an upcoming trip and then immediately redeeming them. So that their mile and point balances are zero or close to it.
I believe in keeping a stash. Some may call it hoarding miles. I call it my just in case fund.
Just enough miles to get me and my family anywhere we need to go in case of an emergency.
Miles and Points Are a Currency
Because miles are a currency.
They are a way for me (and you) to do exactly what we want when we want, when we need, and how we want.
Like any currency, they can get devalued. You want to keep a large enough points stash to do what you want. But not too large that it becomes useless.
Because you’ll never know when you’ll need them.
Unlike most currencies, miles and points don’t have a fixed value. Sure, some bloggers like to assign a value to miles and points. But that’s subjective.
They are worth how valuable they are to you.
If you earn lots of miles and points through credit card bonuses or creative spending then the value you get will be different than someone who struggles to earn as much. You may prefer to fly in First Class or Business Class and would never redeem miles for an economy ticket. Or as Ray, my friend Tammy’s husband, calls is “gen pop.”
But for someone who has a family and can only earn a limited amount of miles and points or want to use them to take more trips, it makes more sense to fly in coach.
That last-minute ticket to Lexington would have cost $758. But I used 17,500 miles. When put into common travel hacking values, the miles were worth 4.3 cents each ($758 ÷ 17,500).
But like the Mastercard commercial, they were priceless.
Miles and points give you freedom. And that’s what I hope miles and points do you for you.
Give you freedom to travel. To spend time with family and loved ones. To do what you want, when you want. Be the person you’d like to be. Have the travel life you want to live.
Miles and points make that possible.
That’s why traveling using miles and points is about freedom, not aspirational travel.
Use your miles points how you want regardless if you’re getting the most best redemption. Because in the end, it’s all about what matters most to you.
How do you use your miles and points? Do you earn and burn? Think of them as a currency? Do you stockpile them for retirement or a much later date?
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Traveling Well For Less has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling Well For Less and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.