Cashing Out Points Is No Longer Despised
As time goes on things evolve, it is only natural. What once was unheard of becomes popular, and vice versa. Things are destined to evolve and change as circumstances dictate it. We have seen it play out exactly this way in the miles and points space too. What once was taboo, frowned upon and even chastised, is now openly accepted and applauded. I am talking about cashing out points and focusing on cash back instead of earning points solely for travel.
How Dare You Cash Out Your Points! They Are Worth More For Travel
In the past anytime someone mentioned turning transferable currencies etc. into cash, or gift cards, in a Facebook group or in the comments of a post people ran as quick as they could to burn them alive. Here are the types of comments you would normally see:
- How dare you consider cashing out your points, are you new here?
- Don’t you know they are worth a ton more if you use them for travel, especially if you fly in business or first class internationally.
- Only an idiot would cash out points!
Well, I guess I am now an idiot. I shared my recent round of applications a few weeks back and it was completely focused on cash back earning. Even more than that, I burned my points empire down a few times last year, took the money and ran. And you know what, no one thought much of it. Many celebrated it even. My how things have changed.
The Shift Started Even Before Recent Events
It is easy to say this is because of the pandemic and because people are sitting on stockpiles of miles and points. That has played some role for sure but I saw the changes start even before then. One of Benjy’s first articles was about how he was cashing out Ultimate Rewards at 1 cent per piece. I told him to be prepared for the trolling and hate that was sure to come, but it never did. Many admitted that they had been doing the same for some time now. It was an eye opening revelation for sure, and I was surprised that so many had started to embrace it. A small sect of the miles and points world at the time, but larger than I had expected.
It is true that shortly after the pandemic hit the thought of cashing out points was kind of flipped on its head. With people stuck with massive balances, reduced income and no way to travel the acceptance grew. Throw in the fact that loyalty programs have continued to devalue their currencies and the difference in value between travel and cash has been muddied quite a bit. It is clear that programs are looking to lock in the value of their currencies to a static number that eliminates the opportunities for outsized value. They want points to be fixed to the cash price essentially.
To go along with all of that programs have made cashing out more attractive. New options like Pay Yourself Back have increased the pay out for each points. Banks, like Citi, have made it easier than ever to turn your points into cold hard cash as well.
Cashing Out Points – Final Thoughts
When you mix all of these up you come to the conclusion that, in many instances, the value of travel vs cash is pretty dang even. The real feather in the cap, though, is that cash comes with a lot less restrictions. Because of that a shift more and more people have realized that cash can play a large roll in their miles and points Swiss army knife. The fact that you don’t need to spend hours searching for saver space is the cherry on top!
Have you started to focus more on cash back or become more willing to turn transferrable currencies into money? Let me know in the comments.