It’s crazy. I’ve got so many points, but my imagination has been running wild, and I’ve managed to ‘half book’ enough trips to put some real pressure onto my points strategy. I’ve not got enough in the bank to really meet my obligations… the situation is so dire I’m thinking about going on a budget!
It’s an interesting feeling for me. I’ve been debt free for about a decade, but now I feel a pressure that means I need to go back to the old days of thinking about spending less, or earning more. These are the roots of any cash flow changing budget.
My unmet obligations:
To name a few.. Flights to BCN and more…this is a real problem. I could fly all 3 of us roundtrip in Business Class today, but if I do I lose efficiency… if I booked one way using AA and one using UA I’d achieve the goal, but I’d burn the chance at something free. It’s an interesting thing how ‘expert’ knowledge can actually restrict us, and in this case add stress.
I decided that I would use UA to fly us over AA because of the free one way option.. but that only triggers if I can book the entire trip roundtrip. I had about 10-15K UA at the time I made this choice… but we also had:
- Me 150K Ultimate Rewards
- Her 40K Ultimate Rewards
- Me and her 300K Marriott pts
I figured we could load up via the Marriott nights and flights thingy, and when there was a recent bonus offered on top of this I went all out, transferring 270K Marriott for 132K UA, and the chance at 20K more UA if a stacked transfer bonus pays off… So right now if we push in all our miles we will have about 330K. That puts us in an awkward spot, because I feel that we need to buy 3 seats these days, and that is something like 420-480K pts.
That cert is poop too
When I jumped on the Marriott exchange in the hope of 20K more miles, I accepted a crappy 1-5 7 day cert. I guess we are about 120K short of that too… as I’d wanted to pick a nice Ritz Tier 1-3 category hotel. That’s another obligation I need to meet, and has a time limit (even if it can be extended).
I really want Hyatt Platinum
I’m working on something big right now that I plan to share at TravelCon in Vegas. It’s hard to explain in the written word, and its not a gig per se, but I think it’s really interesting, more of an approach to life, and a practical example of it would work better if I had Hyatt Platinum. And what’s worse, I’ve mentally committed now.
It’s gonna get worse
If my plan for Vegas works, and if I get Hyatt Platinum, then I’ll have free nights to spend (from the Credit card signup), and I might even be a Hyatt Diamond for the first time… that means that I need to book another trip somewhere to get great value of those free nights… and maybe book more to use up the Suite nights… and meanwhile, I need to book another trip to use up the Marriott (hopefully Ritz) nights.
Chase are being fickle
They gave me all these goodies, but now are slowly turning the tap off… and all 3 of my debts are in the Chase program.. if I go for Platinum, I risk losing a chance at goosing my UA pts.. as I can’t see me getting two cards from them anytime soon. I tried to see if I could product change (change one credit card to another) but my options were as follows:
- Marriott PCs to another Marriott
- Freedom PCs to Slate or CSP
- Ritz Carlton doesn’t PC
What choices do I have?
I can earn more, or spend less… just like any budget. Time is in short supply right now, so earning will be hard. Chase clamping down on things makes that harder still. That means I can maybe do a bit more earning, but will need to focus on spending less. I see that coming in a few ways: losing efficiency, shooting lower (maybe not a Ritz Carlton?) or maybe.. ironically.. spending more. It might be times like this when I look into buying points as they would get me out of a hole, and mean that I don’t have to sacrifice on experience.
Funny how knowing more, and having more can create stress that you don’t have enough….
(oops – I confused Hyatt Gold and mLife Gold, because the latter is what I’m chasing)