Skip to Content

Miles and Points Are Not Aspirational Travel, They’re Freedom

Share with a friend

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.

A Lufthansa First Class seat for $40, flying to Australia in First Class, or having Dandan noodles and getting a free massage at The Pier, the Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge.

How to get the most value from our miles and points from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, and the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.

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. Using the best card for travel hacking and best travel rewards credit cards.

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 it “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?

Comment, tweet, or share this post.

Get the best credit card bonuses.

Follow us on Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube

Got a question? Or want help, suggestions, travel tips, learn how to travel for free, find out about travel deals, and maximize your miles and points? Use the subscription box below to sign-up and get post updates by email.

Traveling Well For Less has partnered with Your Best Credit Cards for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling Well For Less and YBCC may receive a commission from card issuers.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the best card to get started in the world of miles and points. It is the first card you should get to start traveling for free because the welcome offer is 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
My favorite perks about this card are earning 5X points on travel when booked through the Chase portal (2X if direct purchase), 3X points on dining, $50 yearly credit on hotels booked through the Chase portal, no foreign transaction fees, and transferring points to 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, United, and Southwest.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is one of my favorite cards for earning cash back card and travel rewards. It offers a welcome offer of an additional 1.5% cash back on all your purchases up to $20,000 your first year.
My favorite perks about this card are earning 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal, 3% cash back at drugstores and restaurants (including delivery and takeout), 1.5% cash back on all other purchases and no annual fee. When paired with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card or Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, you can use your points to travel for free.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Nicole LaBarge

Tuesday 3rd of September 2019

I keep reading your posts about miles and I really should get started. I can't imagine flying Lufthansa for $40. I do love my business class.


Tuesday 3rd of September 2019

Miles and Points are a lifesavers! Finding the right card for rewards can be tricky, but definitely worth it if you know how to use it properly! xo - Kam


Tuesday 3rd of September 2019

We don't like using credits cards and have neither used this program earlier. But it does look interesting. We are surely going to research more on this and can check if we can enroll for it. Thanks for sharing.


Tuesday 3rd of September 2019

I do think miles and points can offer freedom if done in a responsible manner. The risk of getting into credit card debt or negatively impacting one's credit score with too many cards is high. However, if done in a smart way, like it sounds like you do, it can pay off in multiple ways. I use points for travel but not in any serious way. I'm in the earn and use camp. I think I need more education to learn how to build miles and points and use them like you do.

Medha Verma

Tuesday 3rd of September 2019

It's so great that you were able to attend occasions and respond to emergencies with last minute ticket discounts because of your miles and points. It makes me question why I do not have a subscription to any airline loyalty program. I travel a lot and have been doing it for ten years but never bothered to buy membership for an airline! Maybe I should look into it.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.