6 Reasons You Should (or Shouldn’t) Play the Miles and Points Game

I first thought of this post, reading Rapid Travel Chai’s 10 Signs that He is a Travel Hacker and You are Not, and thought, this would be fun.
Outside of our community, you’d be surprised how many people collect miles and points when they travel. They may not go out of their way to do so, however, when it comes time to burn or use their points, they are often in for quite the surprise. As a result, I thought it would be a good idea to offer a few questions to help guide those that may be on the fence as to whether they should play the miles and points game:

1. Are you good with credit cards?

If you aren’t, fear not! You can still play the miles and points game, but it’s kind’ve like playing with one arm tied behind your back. And I’m not just talking about churning credit cards, but using credit card spend to generate points (aka manufactured spending).

2. Do you like tracking things? Do you dream about Microsoft Excel?

Do you dream of spreadsheets? Does Excel open upon start-up? Then this is a hobby where you can really use your favorite software application. Yes, having ten different spreadsheets to track manufactured spending, credit card due dates and balances, miles and points, and anything else you want to track can be a bit of a burden, but, who doesn’t love spreadsheets?!?

3. Do you like to travel?

I know, as crazy as it sounds, there are people who don’t wish they could get on an airplane every week (or weekend). I met a few once. It was an experience much like this:

4. Are you flexible with your travel dates or can you plan far (like 330 days ahead)?

Miles and points are best used when you can either be flexible, or plan way ahead of time. Some folks aren’t flexible, or can’t plan way ahead due to their jobs. If not, you might be in for some nasty surprises – like trying to find summer saver awards to Europe for example. That said, last minute award space is a very real thing, but it is never a given, and for more than one or two people, it gets increasingly difficult.

5. Do you enjoy flying in Economy?

Do you giggle in anticipation for the person in front of you to recline their seat into your lap? If that’s the case, you may still want to play the miles and points game. Economy Saver Award space is generally more available than business or first award space. But your miles may vary (YMMV).

6. Does traveling to other countries and experiencing other cultures scare you?

Well, don’t worry, you could just fly out for the fun of it, and turn right around 90 minutes later. Not that I’ve ever done anything like that…

Wrapping up

I’m sure this is not an all inclusive list, but, hopefully it offered a nice quick read for your day.

7 thoughts on “6 Reasons You Should (or Shouldn’t) Play the Miles and Points Game

    • Touche! But, that’s why I always bring a sharpie with me… that and when people put their feet on the back of my armrest… of course, that’s only when I fly in the back of the bus.

  1. Yes, No, Yes, Yes, No, No.

    Re: #2, I hate spreadsheets (and numbers in general) and I do think it puts me at a bit of a disadvantage. For one, I recheck my calculations often which slows the whole process down. And since I use spreadsheets as rarely as possible, I can’t really tell you how much CB I made last month, or what I paid in fees. I know it on a day to day basis – and can brag about it at dinner – but I don’t maintain running totals. I’d really like to know that, but not enough to make myself miserable in SpreadsheetLand.

      • Yup. And every CC I have is set up with autopay from the same account. I know that account can always cover a CC bill that does not get paid early via BB, RB, or billpay. Whenever I load RB and BB (I have 4) I use them to pay CC bills. At any given time I generally find myself really using under 10 CCs so I typically have a good idea of what bills need paying.

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