I don’t use card points and miles for cheap seats. Now that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t, but I have some reasons I’d like to share with you regarding why I’ve made that choice. Free is free, though. If you are buying 4 airline tickets domestically, I know it can add up to a lot of money. It may make total sense for you to use points to get your family on a vacation even for those cheap seats. However, I travel a lot by myself and I prefer to save those points for redemptions with more value. Here are the reasons I seldom use points and miles for cheap flights.
International travel is my jam. I love to see the world and international flights are generally more expensive. For this reason, I usually save my points/miles for those flights. There are many cheap domestic flights so I prefer to just pay cash for those, on a credit card, of course, so that I can earn more points, and save my points for the more expensive flights.
Not only do I love international travel, but I also love international travel in a business class seat. It’s all about spreading out and getting some sleep! If I received a 70,000-mile bonus from an airline credit card, I could get 2-3 domestic flights. These flights would be worth about $1,200. But, if I saved those miles and used them for a one-way business class seat, I am getting more value for my points because that flight could be worth over $4,000. I know many people who would prefer to save their points and sit in economy while flying international, but not this grandma! Flying business class is what I prefer to do and is the number one reason why I don’t use miles for cheap seats.
I try and fly on one airline most of the time. Since I live near a United hub, Denver International, that is my preferred airline. If I purchase about $3,500 worth of tickets each year, I can maintain elite status. Because I really enjoy getting economy plus seats for free with my elite status, I pay for my cheap seat versus using my miles on them.
Although I have millions of points, I don’t want to see my stockpile dwindle over a seat that is under $200. Call it that scarcity factor. I really like to have a nice stockpile of points so I can pick up and go at a moment’s notice. Going to Maui and London in a matter of a couple of days was possible because of a healthy stockpile.
Many people use their miles and points for every flight they can use them on. These are several of the reasons I don’t use my miles for cheap seats. What about you? Do you have a strategy for when you do or don’t use your miles on flights?
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