Best Credit Cards

Miles and points, Opportunity Cost

1) Get $50 Best Western gift card after 2 eligible stays.   (h/t LoyaltylobbyNote that Amex has an offer of $20 off $100 Best Western stay. Check your profile or Sync on Twitter.

Details: Get a 1-time $20 statement credit by using your enrolled Card to spend a total of $100+ on all room charges, including room rate, at Best Western® branded properties in the US including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands between 3/16/15 and 5/18/15

It’s not clear if this has to be done in one transaction, though I would, just in case.

2) I’m sure you’ve seen this on other blogs, but in case you’ve missed it: Club Carlson is giving 30,000 points to all Club Carlson cardholders after just 1 stay completed before August 31st. Everyone is eligible, even if you didn’t receive an email.
Here is a post on Deals We Like on how you can potentially earn 37,000 points on $80 room.  I will probably take advantage of this promo since I need to book a $67 room in Poland. As I’ve said previously, I will still collect Club  Carlson points for the right price (now lower than before).
3) New list of SPG Hot Escapes. Nothing earth-shattering, but could be of interest to some. (h/t LoyaltyLobby)
4)  My reader Cheapblackdad mentioned that he was able to get 50K points offer on Amex Premier Rewards Gold card to come up in incognito mode. Took only 5 tries! This is a very good offer, and only requires $1,000 in spending. Available to first-time cardholders. Link, does not pay me.
5) Via Doctorofcredit, Citi Prestige card now comes with 50,000 points bonus after spending $3,000 in 3 months. An annual fee of $450 is not waived. I hope it’s around in August, so I can get in on this deal. Read this post on why this  card could be a good choice to consider. The offer pays me referral.
If you have applied for this card within the last 90 days, you can ask Citi to match this offer via secured message or Twitter.
 On my mind

The other day, my daughter was watching a C movie on Netflix (it’s infested with those). One scene featured a beautiful 3-story house with expensive furniture inside. She looked at me and said: “Someday I’ll have a house just like that!” I asked her if there is anything wrong with our place. Her response: “Well, it’s very small and not all that pretty.”

Hmm, I can’t really argue with that. It has 1,400 square feet living space and just look at the old recliner in my living room:

IMG_0148

Yeah, we probably do need to get it replaced. Maybe next year.

Anyway, I thought it was a good chance to teach my daughter the concept of opportunity cost. I told her: “Well, we can absolutely get a bigger house and expensive furniture, but here is what’s going to happen. Mommy will have to get a full-time job.

That means I will not be able to pick you up from school and take you to playground and zoo  a few times per week. I will no longer attend various classroom projects. Also, we will not be able to  go on many vacations. Does that sound OK? ”

You should have seen terrified look on her face, especially when I mentioned that we would have to cut back on travel. She said our house and furniture are just fine the way they are. Bingo!

Of course, I don’t mean to imply that there is anything inherently wrong with owning a large house or having expensive stuff. And I’m not insulting working moms. Don’t go there, girlfriend.  That’s a “can of worms” subject. I like controversy, but not that much. Besides, just because you are a stay-at-home mom, doesn’t automatically mean you are a good mom. I’m not!

I’m simply saying that everything we do in life has an opportunity cost. That new luxury minivan may seem like a good idea, but will it cause you to forego travel with your family? A big house is certainly nice, but it also requires more maintenance, which costs money you could have spent elsewhere.

The same goes for miles and points. Is one night in Hyatt Vendome (that fits 3) worth 30,000 points that could get you 6 nights in category 1 property which will fit 5 and come with free breakfast? It absolutely is for many, and there is nothing wrong with that. But what about you?

Hyatt in Maldives  runs at 30,000 points per night, but can get you a private villa on a secluded island. I’ll be honest, it does seem like a good use of points. If I ever go to Maldives, I will absolutely consider burning Ultimate Rewards to stay in one of those.

That said, I really want to go to Tahiti and Japan within the next 5 years. If I were to plan a trip to Maldives, I would have to give up visiting one of those countries. I don’t center my travel plans around where I get the most value per mile or point.

Of course, there is also a cost to pursuing this hobby. It takes time that could be spent with your family instead. Children grow up so fast, it’s crazy. Years from now, when the kids are all grown and out of the house, will you be saying: “Back in the day when my children were little, I really wish I read more blogs and do more M/S” ? Actually, scratch that, I can totally picture some hobbyists saying that.

Everything in life, whether material things, family or travel decisions, has a cost associated with it.  Are you happy with the price you are paying?

If you liked my post, please, subscribe to receive free blog updates through email and recommend me to your family and friends. You can also follow me on Twitter, like me on Facebook  and download my e-book  If you found my content helpful, consider doing your Amazon shopping through my site

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.

9 thoughts on “Miles and points, Opportunity Cost

  1. So true. We all value things according to our circumstances. Every now and then it’s good to step back and thinking why we do what we do.

    • Leticia, I agree. I hope the post didn’t come off as obnoxious or judgmental. Honestly, I feel like I fail miserably at prioritizing. I think what kids need most is attention, more than vacations or gadgets. I’m kind of in my own world many times when I’m around my children. Unfortunately, I’ve never been the nurturing type. Took me a long time to even decide to have kids! I keep telling myself that I will be a better mom tomorrow, but then I fail miserably yet again. 🙁

  2. My wife and I are facing something similar on the value front. Our plan was to do a graduation trip (she’s graduating) to Mexico with the kids in Jan, but we’ve thrown Hawaii in the the mix. While we get a lot more $s/points with a trip to Hawaii it’s basically 2.5 trips to Mexico. Cancun is as close to us as Miami, and Avios gets us there from Chicago/CVG really affordably and it’s just a few hours. HNL on the other hand? Yikes!

    But Hawaii might be a better trip once there with the kids as we can drive around a lot more manageably on nice, American paved roads with wonderful American road laws. I can’t imagine being stuck on even a palatial resort with my kids for more than 2-3 days. At some point, pools get boring and it may be time to drive around to other things. We’ never pay out of pocket to do Hawaii, so the so called “value” is definitely on Hawaii’s side!

    So yeah, basically, we are talking about which beautifully gorgeous place to take our kids on for vacation. #firstworldproblems

    We are blessed to be able to use points & miles like this! And to have people like you inspire us with ideas and help us with strategies, tactics, and updates.

    In true cheapblackdad fashion, totally learning towards 2.5 trips to Mexico over 1 trip to Hawaii.

    • Cheapblackdad, you are such a character! First, thanks for your kind words, I’m very happy to help. This hobby is my passion, for better or for worse.
      As far as Hawaii goes, well, I’m actually going to advise you to pick it over Cancun. Say what? 🙂 I’m biased because I love Hawaii. It has mountains and this amazing, unique culture: A mix of America and Polynesia. You’ve already been to Cancun, so it makes sense to go somewhere new. If you can get there for 35K AAdvantage miles, it’s a good deal.
      You can always get back to Cancun later, possibly via cheap Avios flight from Miami. I like value, but I also like seeing new places too. I doubt that Hawaii will disappoint. I’m looking for ways to go back there, but it will be at least few years.
      Of course, do what works for you. Like you said, it’s first world problems. We are truly blessed to live where we do.

      • I am pulling together a plan for both of them over the next 2 months. Have any posts with tips?

    • @Cheapblackdad Check this one. It’s a bit old, but most of the info still applies: http://milesforfamily.com/2013/12/25/hawaii-travel-challenge-for-a-family-of-five/ I would say for Hawaii from Chicago, your best bet will be AAdvantage. Flat pricing of 35K miles in the off-season, plus rebate of 10% with their card. Right now Citi AAdvantage Visa still comes with 50K miles bonus, see my bonus page for more (the card does pay me). I know you mentioned you have SPG points, could be worth it to part with some of the stash. Takes a few days to transfer to AA program, and I believe you can put award tickets on hold before you even have the miles in the account. I recommend Hawaii, for sure. Probably best to split between Maui and Kauai. You can see whales on Maui in spring, pretty cool. You can fly into one, and out of the other. Connect the islands for 5K AAdvantage miles per person one-way (via Hawaiian, their partner). Pretty sweet deal.
      As far as Cancun goes, it’s probably best to use Southwest: Non-stop from Chicago.
      Email me and I’ll be happy to give further advice. Hope this helps.

Leave a Reply