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Miles and Points, A Treat

1. A potential way to top off your Rapid Rewards account for Companion pass by buying Choice points. I would be careful, though, because Choice may shut down your account for abuse.

2. Check Amex “Offers for you” in your online profile. Many report getting an offer for $10 off $50 purchase at Diapers.com and its sister companies.

Also, check if you’ve got an offer for $10 off $75 cell phone bill.

3. Get 20% off certain IHG properties in USA and Canada. Valid for 3 + night stays through April 6th. Should be stackable with “Set your sights promo.” (h/t LoyaltyLobby)

4. Daily Getaways promo will return in March. Stay tuned for more details to come. This is a big deal in our crazy community.

5. The offer on Chase Marriott Signature Visa has been increased to 70,000 points. You have to spend $2,000 in 3 months, first year annual fee is waived. It also comes with free night certificate for category 1-4 property.

Does not pay commission at this time, though, may be added to my affiliate site within a day or two. As always, pick an offer that suits your specific needs. If you have no plans to stay at a Marriott property,  it’s probably best to pass. (h/t Doctorofcredit)

On my mind

Few weeks ago, I got an email from a reader and wanted to quote  a part of it:

On my last set of applications I got Chase Sapphire Preferred 40k points and the Capital One Venture Rewards card. I will be putting Chase points to good use this summer. I know in one of your posts you were asking for people to share their plans. I will share them with you once they became a reality.
 
For now, what will become a humble reality this next weekend is using $209 from Capital One Venture to pay for a nice old hotel package that includes dinner and brunch in a cute city close to home.
We’re celebrating our 10 year anniversary and that will be our treat. I got a special deal in Christmas with the hotel, plus I paid nothing because I used the acquired miles from the card, so I’m excited, wanted to share.”
It was a treat for me to receive this email, so thanks so much for sharing your plans! But it got me thinking how this hobby should be precisely that: A treat. I’m sure for many (myself included), it starts to feel like a chore after doing it for a few years.
Applying for bonuses without any purpose just because everyone says it’s a hot deal, hoarding millions of points, having a  panic attack at the thought of inevitable devaluation. Buying first-class mistake fare ticket for $75 and going nuts when it’s not honored (come on, people!) Doing m/s because everyone else is doing it, even though it takes time away from your family. And yes, reading blogs like this one…
It really defeats the purpose of why we all started to do this hobby in the first place. Most of us got into it because of our love for travel. We saw this golden opportunity to do it for next to nothing. It seemed too good to be true, but it was true! There is no going back now. Let’s face it, we are all hooked.
Some opportunities (otherwise unattainable) came along the way for many. Flying in  first class, staying at fancy hotels. The first time, it is oh so exciting. But after awhile, this lifestyle starts to lose its luster. What was once a treat becomes the norm. So you look for the next high, and then the next. But it always fails to satisfy completely, doesn’t it?
What’s worse, you start feeling guilty about it. You are  stuck in a golden hamster wheel. All this  over-the-top, luxury travel.. You miss the old days of taking road trips and looking through a coupon book at the rest area, so you can get the best price on that Clarion Inn at the next exit. You know, that time when you used to have fun.
But there is no going back to road trips now, is there? Not when you can m/s a night at a luxury resort (that can only be reached by plane) for practically nothing. Except, of course, your time.
 So you try to add a meaningful/culture element to it, but it too feels forced. The truth is, you are tired after working so hard to acquire your points. You are tired, period. You just want to enjoy yourself and relax for once.
If this rant sounds obnoxious and patronizing, I assure you, it’s not meant to come across that way. In fact, I’m pointing finger at myself here. Somehow along the way, many of us have lost perspective and have forgotten what really matters.
You know the famous saying: Money doesn’t buy happiness. Well, miles and points don’t either. They can certainly add spice to your life, but they won’t give it purpose or meaning.
 Having millions of points doesn’t make you a millionaire. Flying in business class doesn’t make you a successful businessman you always wanted to become, but somehow never did. Interacting with other hobbyists in the forums won’t substitute for real, lasting relationships. This hobby is  just a treat (or should be), nothing more.

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Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

6 thoughts on “Miles and Points, A Treat

  1. I was just telling my husband the other day that so many seem unhappy on blogs/twitter if they don’t get upgraded, or their cookie on the plane isn’t perfect. We’ve been on 2 couples trips in 20 years. Lots of road trips with the kids. But we are usually just so happy to be traveling that where we sit, or how the food tastes has never been given a second thought. I think for some, perspective gets lost. My husband, who has traveled for work for most of his adult life, has never flown 1st class or been in a lounge. He can’t believe people actually show up to an airport early just to try the lounge out. Different strokes for different strokes.
    Just know that your blog is one of the few for families and the information you share is appreciated 🙂

    • @Stacy, thanks for your comment. I don’t mean to come off as judgmental, as I can be quite a “negative Nancy” myself! 🙂 You are right, though. Many in this hobby seem very unhappy. I think it has to do with lifestyle inflation. Once you get used to luxury travel, you are constantly searching for better product. The expectations are so high, it’s hard to overlook little flaws. But the truth is: Life is full of flaws, and this hobby is no different. Airlines will devalue award charts, hotel programs will raise rates on hotels without warning because they can. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to get what’s promised to us, but when you start losing sleep over it, it’s a problem.
      Ditto for only wanting to stay at luxury hotels. It’s nice now and again, but is it critical? My kids couldn’t care less whether we stay at a Holiday Inn or St. Regis. We would have the same amount of fun, I’m sure.
      I constantly try to stress that miles an points are just a means, not the goal. In some way, I need this reminder myself on a regular basis. I am “all or nothing” kind of gal!

  2. This struck close to home. I’ve been considering the down sides of concerted travel hacking lately. This game is a decent amount of work Isn’t it? My wife and I work full time, my wife is a full time student over the next year, and we have 2 children who could use a bit of attention, with our oldest a very busy 6 year old son involved in school, sports, and other activities. And then there’s points and miles, which require phone calls, research, emails, networking, thinking, trips to stores you’d usually not visit, portal checking, not to mention actually planning the trips. And trip planning is quite a process.

    And travel is like a drug. You think one big trip and tthe memories with it are all you need. But weeks later you start itching for the next big hit. Can we stay in a nicer hotel next time? Or what about maybe first class this time? Maybe we should try for A different country? What looks better on Instagram? I can’t believe how this lifestyle drives you to try for the bigger and better.

    Also, it drives consumption. Being rewarded for spending is something I never experienced until a year and a half ago when I plunged into travel hacking. It has definitely dampened my cheapness.

    I’ve made a conscience effort to dial back my time spent on blogs and commenting in my free time just to right size my involvement in the community. I’ve held off on applying for new cards just to let things settle down a bit.

    But I’m still planning trips. Like the one in March. Back to disney for the 6th time in 20 months. From Cincunnati, Oh.

    Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that I get to do incredible trips with my family because of this game. But it’s good to reflect on the downsides a bit and see what we can do to course correct.

    • Cheapblackdad, thanks for stopping by! Boy, you pretty much have said what I’ve been thinking lately. This hobby can turn into an addiction SO fast. I’ve actually been doing it for many years, but in a controlled manner. I never followed blogs till last few years.

      While the info provided is tremendously helpful, you can never truly disconnect. What if you miss a special credit card offer or some mistake fare? So, you start reading one blog. But what if it doesn’t catch all the deals? So, you add another and another. Before you know it, all you do in your spare time is read miles and points sites! 🙂 It’s like the outside world doesn’t exist, and everything is connected to this hobby in one way or another.

      Like you, I’m addicted to travel. I can’t get enough of it! But I think there CAN be too much of a good thing when it comes to trips. You start taking travel for granted, so the magic gets lost somehow, at least for me.

      I think you are right that the kids need attention. My daughter grew up so fast and I hardly noticed because I was so busy thinking about miles and points. It makes me sad. You are absolutely correct that there needs to be a balance. I always try to encourage readers (and myself) to focus on more important things.
      If credit card churning is driving you nuts, get a few good long-term cards and call it a day. There is nothing wrong with that. I’ll have a post this coming Monday that you might find helpful.

  3. I totally understand what you’re saying. I hope this hobby remains a treat for me and not an obsession. But I also look at this as my part-time job and my way of contributing to our household finances since I’m a stay-at-home mom right now. I calculated that with the miles and points reading/planning/strategizing I did last year, I earned us over $12,000 in tax-free vacation awards. And that’s not too shabby for a part-time job. That said, I am planning on holding off on new credit card apps for a while and accumulating rewards on two existing cards for most of this year. (Unless some incredible card offer comes along that every blogger is begging us to apply for, LOL!)

    • @Shoesinks I actually feel a lot like you do. I’m also a stay-at-home mom, so playing this game gives us vacations we would otherwise not be able to afford. I think you have a good grasp on how miles and points should be viewed. I think I’m a little over- the- top, it’s a struggle not to let this hobby take over my life. I think I’m doing a little better at it, though.

      There is a lot of pressure in this industry to get cards non-stop and m/s on top of that. Everyone is seemingly doing it, so it appears like a normal thing to get involved in. I try to encourage readers to take a step back and look at it from a “normal” person’s viewpoint. Let’s face it, we are all a bit abnormal.:)

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