My view on points and miles is a bit skewed compared to the mega road warriors of the past who solely accrued miles from flying all over the world. Believe it or not, but flying is one of the least effective and efficient methods of accruing more miles today.
We are in an era of liberal credit doling out to consumers, and it’s easy to get approved for new credit cards with massive sign up bonuses if you simply have a pulse. Literally a pulse. As long as you have a credit score in the 700s, you have very high approval odds.
My main accrual method is racking up massive sign up bonuses, and piling together bundles of the same currency in order to redeem lucrative awards, often in the five figure range if I was to pay cash. This brings me to one of my core philosophies when it comes to points and miles: I personally place more value on business and first class airline redemptions.
Let me explain. Typically, I am traveling on a long haul international flight, and in the process, it’s necessary to be crammed in with hundreds of other people on your way to your destination. You essentially have no other option but to be a sardine in a metal tube. It’s miserable, and can lead to higher chance of sickness, lack of sleep, and other unpleasantries I won’t get into. If I have to fly anyway, I might as well make the experience as painless as I can.
Now, you might say, don’t you spend more time in hotels on vacation, shouldn’t you enjoy that component of your vacation more than the flight? Well, maybe, but in my case, I disagree. Generally, I am always traveling with at least one other person, and I also find myself on the move often on vacation. This means I don’t feel like I need the super luxurious hotel stay in a city if I won’t be maximizing the value of my points. The one exception to this rule is a beach vacation where I do believe a splurge for luxury is worth it.
My other thought is that hotels can be split between many people in terms of cost, so I find that when traveling, it’s reasonable to pay cash for many hotels, even if the room rate is higher than I typically would allow myself to spend individually.
Lastly, everyone has to take a flight to go on vacation. Hotels have many different alternatives including AirBnB, hostels, etc. Therefore, you will always needs airline miles if you plan on traveling far, and each person in your travel party has to do their part to get there!