This is a topic I’ve addressed a few times on my blog over the years (see one such write-up here). As you’ve probably gathered from my posts, I don’t hoard miles and I burn hotel points like there is no tomorrow. In fact, I’m currently down to almost nothing in my hotel currency “bank,” so an upcoming windfall from Hilton Honors Amex Surpass will be welcome news.
On the surface, it looks like I’ve failed. I’m a shoemaker without shoes, if you will. As a miles and points blogger, I should have a huge (yuuge!) stash set aside. But I don’t and I never will. The main reason? I hate hoarding, period. But here are a few other practical and not so practical reasons.
1) Hoarding miles and points takes a lot of time and energy.
In addition to accumulating them, you need to garden your stash, make sure it doesn’t expire etc. I’m kind of lazy and not very good at multi-tasking. And let me tell you, raising two young/needy kids is no small task. Add to it running a small business (aka this blog), and I’m mentally spent at the end of the day.
To be clear, I do take advantage of low-hanging fruit, such as Avianca credit card offer. But I’m pretty certain we’ll use the miles within the next few years, plus the spending to get the bonus is only a $1. No prepaying bills or buying Visa gift cards required. Though to be fair, I’ve had to make a few phone calls to get my 60K miles deposited at last.
2) Hoarding is stressful and can even get expensive at times.
A hotel is going up a category or two? Oh no! I better book it NOW. Sure, I can’t really afford another trip this year, but how can I pass up this sweet opportunity? Another airline program devaluation? Time to get award tickets to Maldives. All I need is $2K for food at the resort while I’m enjoying my “free” trip. You get the point.
3) Hoarding can turn you into a jerk (or make you a bigger jerk)
Hoarding miles and points can make you greedy, selfish and paranoid. I’m always amazed at how some readers go nuclear on bloggers in the comments section when a deal dies or gets devalued. This is the nature of the beast. Good deals die. Really good deals die sooner. Period. Sure, exposure doesn’t help, but what’s the point of a blog if you can’t talk about various arbitrage opportunities? Isn’t it why sites like mine exist in the first place?
Got beef with miles and points blogs? Don’t read them. Otherwise, you are part of the problem. Got beef with my content specifically? I get it, but consider this: Access to my site is free, so I don’t really owe you (yes, you!) a thing. Sorry, I don’t feel like behaving in a pleasant “lady blogger” manner today. So my advice is to stop making yourself miserable by reading deal-killing blogs you detest, and find something you enjoy for a change. It will make you a much happier human being, I promise. XOXO
4) I like the thrill of the chase.
I’ll admit, this is a totally irrational reason and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it. But here is the thing. There is something exciting about starting from zero and working your way up. I’m looking forward to new IHG promos this fall because I’m down to almost nothing. If I had a ton of miles and points, this hobby wouldn’t be nearly as exciting. A Hilton offer of 100K points when I have millions of these suckers already? Yawn.
I remember an interview with Andrew Garfiled (of “Spiderman” movie fame) and he said he misses being a starving artist and sweating the auditions. OK, I admit, when I hear a big Hollywood star/millionaire say something along those lines, I want to punch them in the face (figuratively speaking).
But the truth is, this guy has a point and I know what he means by that statement.
Once you got the basics covered and have miles and points coming out of your ears, the thrill is gone. Or it would be for me. Don’t get me wrong, it would be totally different if we were talking about finances. Not knowing where my kids’ next meal will come from isn’t fun at all! But we are talking about travel here, and you can always pay cash for travel.
Even though we are not wealthy, we do have room in our budget to afford a few trips during off-season if miles and points gravy train comes to a screeching halt. I would rather burn points, of course, but the worst case scenario just isn’t all that scary to me.
5) I’m an optimist.
Even though I probably sound like a “negative Nancy” sometimes (not to be confused with my writer Nancy), I believe that as long as banks exist, there will always be opportunities worth pursuing. Sure, the glory days are over and they probably ain’t coming back. But I still keep finding opportunities and leverage various deals to save money on travel. In other words, the juice is still worth the squeeze…for now.
Obviously, I’m not here to convert others to my way of thinking. Many can avoid all the pitfalls I’ve described and maintain a balanced attitude towards miles and points. More power to them. I’m the first one to admit that I’m not a balanced individual per se. I’m pretty sure this won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been following my blog for at least few months!
If I have miles and points, they keep burning a hole in my virtual pocket. As a result, we go on trips when we should probably stay home (and save money in the process). But this hobby is still fun, and discovering new places with my family is what it’s all about. So I keep on hustling.
Readers, what are your thoughts? Are you like me and enjoy the thrill of the chase?
P.S. In this post I’m talking specifically about individual miles and hotel points. Flexible points are different because you can convert them to cash or valuable gift cards.
Leana is the 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.