It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – To Take a Break

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Earning Points and Miles

Why to Take a Holiday from Earning Points and Miles

Many hobbyists are in the prime of earning points and miles during the holiday season.  Indeed, increased earning promos, sales, and portal bonuses are everywhere this time of year.  I have to pick to pick my battles, as I recently described.  Also, for a segment of hobbyists who enjoy earning significant amounts of points and miles on a routine basis, I suggest that this time of year is an excellent opportunity to step away.  I reflected on my experience with this about a year ago, and I plan to take a similar extended break in a few days.  To be clear, I won’t be going cold turkey.  I’ll quit pounding the pavement and certain activities online, but I’ll keep earning on normal errands.  Regardless, I’m excited for the respite.  Here’s why.

Stores Aren’t Particularly Fun Right Now

Many points and miles enthusiasts like me visit stores in our local areas often.  Overall, I enjoy these trips, increasing my efficiency by combining with other errands.  It’s an opportunity for me to catch up on podcasts, music, and public radio.  But, shocker, the stores are more hectic than I care for currently.  I’m not overly impatient in lines, but I know they can be a huge time suck this time of year.  The return on my time investment simply isn’t as lucrative right now.  I don’t feel like unnecessarily burning the one asset I cannot make more of – time.

School’s Out Soon

Over the years, one way I’ve optimized my hobby behavior is to focus on timeframes while my children are in school.  No longer do I spend extended periods of time with my silly points and miles infatuation at the expense of time with them.  During the holidays, I want to focus on the more important stuff in life, including my immediate family, primarily.  I’ve highly prioritized this since I quit my job several years go, but the holidays is one of several times annually I stop to fine-tune.

Earning Points and Miles

Coming Up for Air

I mentioned last January that our hobby can become all-consuming.  That’s continued intermittently since, sometimes even more intensely.  While some of this based on positive developments in our hobby, I can’t ignore the unintended consequences.  I find that it’s still hard to switch off this part of my brain for extended periods of time.  The mere act of stepping away forces me to deal with the challenge.  All of the opportunities are hard to ignore.  But I will again remind myself of one of my points and miles mantras – I can never do everything.

Redefining a Path Forward

Inevitably, when my mind goes there over the next few weeks, I’ll try to channel those thoughts in a productive manner.  In particular, I need to focus on building more efficiencies, weeding out more plays that aren’t worth my time, and revalidating our goals.  In our dynamic hobby, I can’t operate under the same rules and assumptions I used previously; I must challenge myself to innovate.  Doing so is no small task, and the hardest part is getting started!

Earning Points and Miles

Preparing for Travel!

I’m happy to have a perfect excuse to not earn large sums of points and miles coming up – a big family trip!  We’re headed back to Walt Disney World for the first time in two years in late January.  While I brushed up a bit on Epcot during the MtM Diamond meetup in early December, I’ve got much more to square away.  Taming the Genie+ beast, park plans, car maintenance, hotel reservations on the road, etc.  I’m actually looking forward to many of these mundane tasks returning.

Minimizing Screen Time

In addition to plays while out and about, I enjoy earning points and miles online.  I’ll be able to minimize screen time when I shut down these activities for a bit.  Perhaps many of you can identify with this.  Some prioritize online activities over going in-store, but it’s just as dangerous to me, if not more so.  When I go out on the town, I have a general idea how long I’ll be away from the house.  But online, while I may originally plan to go online for a few minutes, those few minutes often turn into hours.  Sound familiar?

Conclusion

I hope some of you can join me in taking a break from our grand hobby over the holidays.  Enjoy all of it – family, friends, food, movies, music, services, everything that comes along with the season.  Last, but certainly not least, enjoy not thinking about points and miles.  When my break comes to an end, I plan to be recharged with clearer eyes moving forward.  I wish you the same!

Benjy Harmon
Benjy is a fan of points, miles, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently focuses on roaming throughout the USA expense-free (or close to it). He enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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