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Your approach to travel awards

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  • HandFellow
    If you aren't sure where or how to use your points maybe you should simplify.  Just get one card that earns points instead of multiple cards earning different types of points or miles (Amex, chase, citi, united, delta, etc).

    In the long run, if you are going to collect those types of points, develop a plan of what to do with them so you don't sit on a pile of miles that become less valuable with time.

    Another option if you have that many points to burn is to buy flights for other people.  Feel free to send me to Singapore in style.

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  • ACN
    Chase Sapphire Reserve users here.  Opened two accounts for the original bonuses.  Found the flights we wanted on google (couldn't find them on the chase website); called Chase SR, booked the flights.   Was super easy, no blackout dates.  Round trip tickets to the other side of the world.

    We have enough points for 4 round trip tickets to Europe easily already again.

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  • Miss Bonnie MD
    Not a hassle at all to use points. I have the chase sapphire reserve. So far this year - free rt flight to Hawaii (CME, rest of trip paid for by work), 2 rt flights plus hotel to Paris. Very easy to book via the chase portal.

    I'd use some points now for sure -points may change in future or even expire.

    My only other card is the Amazon card that I really just use for Amazon purchases.

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  • StarTrekDoc
    There's a whole industry for travel hacks.  We've lived off them since college and continue to leverage this for cheap travel---it's our hobby

    If you have plenty of $$$-mid/late career, it's probably not worth your time and the best card would be a cashback card and the Chase Amazon card for all the amazon purchases (5% cashback).

    We routinely rotate cards to get points bonuses for cheap travel and hotels for the family.   eg:   Southwest Card for companion card+Sapphire Reserve  -- took family of four to Costa Rica for two week trip:  garnering 300,000 points on $800 spend


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  • Donnie
    I have a lot of airline miles.  Don't spend too much time analyzing the best way to use these miles, but I tend to redeem them for personal travel if the conversion to dollar amount for same ticket is greater than 1 cent per mile.

    Unlike cash, airline miles or CC points don't earn a return, so I see no reason to stockpile them and use cash instead.


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  • Neuro-doc
    I agree that redeeming travel points always seems to be a hassle.

    Where ever possible, I have switched my credit cards etc. to cash-back rewards rather than travel points. The reward ratio may not be quite as favorable, but getting cash back is much more flexible, and can be used immediately.

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  • VagabondMD
    started a topic Your approach to travel awards

    Your approach to travel awards

    I am not a travel hacking type but have, over the years, racked up hundreds of thousands of points in various travel award domains. Whenever I think of redeeming an award:

    1) I look at the process, say to myself, "Gee, I have lots of points, but this looks complicated."

    2) I look at the checking account and see that the money is there to pay for the plane ticket, hotel, or tour.

    3) I buy the ticket, hotel, or tour with cash (usually a credit card) and accumulate more points.

    Lather, rinse, repeat....

    There probably is a math solution to this, but it seems to be that it might be in my interest to use the rewards now because:

    1) Programs may change in a manner that is disadvantageous to point holders.

    2) Programs could disappear entirely, which would be extremely disadvantageous to point holders (TWA miles, anyone?h

    3) The value of the points accumulated may be constantly eroded by inflation.


    On the other hand, sometimes programs expand and add new partners that could synergize with the current program.

    Finally, I have this idea that while I am earning money and can, I should pay for the trips outright. Someday, hopefully soon, I will not be earning money, and will have greater opportunity and flexibility to maximize the travel awards, at a time when the ability to pay for travel will be diniminshed.

    What's your approach, and what are the errors in mine? (Is this OP too long?)