Cents Per Point Is A Myth
Is their a bigger **** measuring contest in miles and points than cents per point redemptions? Well maybe talking about a trip to the Maldives but this is a close second at worst. Hey, I love a good travel brag as the next guy but I think we have become too beholden to cents per points redemptions. I wrote about people being influenced in the past and places getting an aura effect that people travel to solely because they think they need their miles and points “street cred”. A few weeks back Tim from Frequent Miler shared his thoughts on my recent article on some of this and spoke about redemption happiness versus cents per points valuations. It is something that has become an issue in our niche community in my opinion. It is something Benjy talked about in the past as well.
Maximizing Points Has Negative Side Effects On Our Travel
How many times have you adjusted your trip, or heck even booked a trip, solely because it offered you a better cents per point redemption? Do you go out of your way to fly an airline that has inflated prices just because it makes you feel good about the value of your points? Have you ever booked a hotel that wasn’t the best fit for your trip solely because the redemption was better?
Tim talked about a run in he had with someone on vacation a while back. The person really wanted to stay at the hotel Tim was at but it was only a 35K per night property and he had a 50K cert to burn. Because he couldn’t live with himself if he didn’t maximize his certificate he booked the more expensive hotel, which wasn’t what he wanted, and didn’t fully enjoy his vacation because of it. That is cray cray people.
The Crazy Mind Games We Play With Ourselves
The really cray cray thing is you know everyone reading this, okay maybe most everyone, has done something very similar during their travels. Or could follow along with the logic at least. We have become beholden to the great redemption. I’ll let you in on a little secret, a great cents per point redemption doesn’t make your trip better. It doesn’t make the soy sauce better in the first class cabin either, I know that as fact! Old podcast throwback right there. In all seriousness though, getting 3 cents per point for that hotel won’t make the stay better, especially if you picked it solely because it was a “great” redemption.
How many times have you adjusted your trip around an amazing redemption? If I book here I will be closer to the city center but over there I can say I am staying in a $1,000 a night hotel room. Heck, I’ve done it in the past (hello Park Hyatt NYC).
The Cure For Our Sickness
It is somewhat like a sickness we have. The real truth we need to accept is that the prices we are toting aren’t real. They aren’t prices we normally would pay or could even afford a lot of the time. So does the cents per point we are getting really even matter?
Here is a novel concept. Book what you want, where you want, because you want. If that happens to be a top notch hotel or airline, then great. Just don’t let the redemption drive you, be sure you are driving the redemption. Maximizing every redemption is for the birds. It will cause you more stress than it is worth and it will devalue your trip more than you even realize.
The same goes for becoming beholden to status. A buddy just said to me, your article about Hyatt Globalist not being for you really hit home. I find myself saying I wanna go to the Caribbean and then looking at which islands have a Hyatt hotel. He finds himself sometimes doing that instead of looking at which island is best for me and then deciding on a hotel to stay at. We are getting is backasswards sometimes!
Cents Per Point Can Be A Tool
That isn’t to say knowing what value you are getting is bad or that it isn’t useful, it is. It is a good to understand when you are getting a good deal or not. It also lets you know what is possible out there for each particular mile or point. The problem is that your figure will vary widely from currency to currency and person to person. This isn’t one size fits all travel hacking here. So much of the equation depends on how you travel, where you go and where you are coming from. That is why I proposed looking at cash versus points in a completely different way. Focus on whether or not YOU would buy the points at the rate you are getting when booking a flight or hotel. If you would then pay cash, if not then book with points.
Cents Per Point Is A Myth: Final Thoughts
When you cure yourself of the cents per point sickness I promise that you’ll enjoy your travel that much more, and guess what, you’ll rack up some killer redemption values along the way. It will be a happy coincidence though and not a driving force in your decision making. This is all about doing what we want, how we want, after all. That is why we first got into this hobby. We never cared about maximizing our points or bragging about redemptions. We simply wanted to see more of the world and stretch our budget. Let’s focus on getting back to the pureness of travel.
And remember that in the future you can keep your miles and points in your pants…there is no need to measure here!
Capital One Venture X Business earns 2X miles on everyday purchases plus up to 10X in bonus categories. You also get access to Capital One lounges plus an annual travel credit & anniversary bonus. Right now you earn bonus_miles_full.
Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.