I jumped in on the hysteria for the Avios devaluation two days ago. My approach was to alert readers via The Forum, and then launching out a quick email also. I was motivated to burn, and I did, and as I was booking my own award tickets I thought it would be useful to show the process. I first booked us tickets to Cancun during Whale Shark Season. With 75,000 Avios remaining I went on to book 3 tickets (two and a bit technically) to Antigua.
I’m stoked! Two days later and I have 2 trips booked, the Whale shark one I have been talking about ever since we went out on multiple dives in the Maldives and missed them every time, the Antigua trip, well, why not? And also I was wrong. But so fricking what? I hear a lot of people are being smug about not saying anything at all about the devaluation, or are being lauded as experts by others. Saying nothing certainly can make you look smart when nothing happens… but if you don’t take educated guesses in this game you will lose out over time.
Excessive points and miles balances are a liability because of the chance of devaluation. Sometimes when devaluations occur they happen with warning, IE they give you a ‘burn now!’ window, and other times they are without warning at all.
So who is the loser if you book in a panic? It depends on what you book. I booked Cancun and Antigua for 10K avios each way in economy. That’s a great price for me, especially as I had those Avios sitting there. If I was to take my 100K and book 22 round trips from NYC-DC for no reason whatsoever then yeah, I’m wasting my points and my time. But no, I have two great vacations to look forward to now.
What I lost was both opportunity and risk. Opportunity cost wise I can’t do so much with my remaining points (24K for me 25K for the wife) but still enough for a weekend trip. Furthermore, I am able to top these up from Membership Rewards or Ultimate Rewards at will. So I didn’t really lose much there, especially as I won’t be traveling much with the new addition to the family. I lost the risk of the devaluation happening to between now and July 2015. So, if I was wrong this time, but they do devalue in a week, or a month, or sometime next year I’m golden.
The thing that annoyed me the most about this experience wasn’t being wrong – its fine to be wrong. It was the people who were looking on with comments like “I hope this is all a mistake so I can laugh at these guys’. Do me a favor, re-read “The Fear of Being Wrong“.
PS this post started out as an apology, but then I realized that I really don’t feel sorry about burning miles.