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How Miles & Points Helped Me With An Everyday Problem

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How Miles & Points Helped Me With An Everyday Problem

How Miles & Points Helped Me With An Everyday Problem

We all think of the miles and points hobby as a way to travel around the globe for pennies on the dollar.  While that is true, miles and points can help out in a pinch with the everyday problem as well.  The skills you gain from this hobby can translate into saving money on groceries, gifts and school supplies etc.  They can also help you build up your savings with bank account bonuses or cash welcome bonuses etc.  But I am not talking about any of those.  Miles and points saved the day when my car broke down.

RELATED: See all previous Monday Morning Miles Talk articles here.


I had dropped the kids off at school and then hit up my local Staples on the way home.  After getting on the road I began to feel a vibration in my car and then my check engine light started dinging.  The light didn’t just come on, it was actually dinging.  That sent chills down my spine and I knew this was a situation that needed to be acted upon quickly.

I wasn’t too far from home so I carefully drove it back to the house. Once I got home I did some quick research on the issue.  From what I read I most likely had a spark plug misfiring but if I didn’t get the car to the shop ASAP the catalytic converter could be damaged which would cost thousands.

So here I am with a busted car that I need to get to the shop.  I also need a vehicle for work that day and to be able to pick up the kids from school.  That is when miles and points helped save the day.

How Miles & Points Helped Me With An Everyday Problem

Miles & Points Save the Day

First things first I needed to get a car.  I logged on the Citi ThankYou portal to check and see what type of car rentals they had in the area. You guys know how much I hate renting cars too.  I went with ThankYou points because I value them less than Chase Ultimate Rewards points and I could use them through the Citi portal at 1.25 cents a piece.  After a quick search I was able to find a rental place near the shop where I was dropping the car off. I snagged a vehicle for 3,000 points for the day.  This price even surprised the check in clerk when I went to pick it up, they were charging almost double that.  Score for the Citi portal.

I nursed my vehicle to the shop with the hope that it would just be some spark plugs that needed replacing. But I had a problem once I was there, I still needed to get to the car rental place.  The rental wasn’t with Enterprise so no one was coming to pick me up.  I whipped out my phone and launched the Uber app and hailed a car.  The nice thing was that I still had my American Express Platinum (Check for a 100K offer here) $15.00 Uber credit which covered the cost of the ride.

I was able to rent a car and get an Uber to the rental place without spending any money thanks to this hobby.  Using miles and points saved me around $75 which ended up being 16% of the repair cost.


This miles & points addiction can be useful in more ways than one.  It made a stressful situation a whole lot less stressful and saved me a nice chunk of money as well.

How have you used miles & points to save the day with an everyday problem?  Let me know in the comments.

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Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. My mother was hospitalized and I was able to use miles to get there as soon as weather permitted. She stabilized and I flew home. Then I received the call that she was dying and I was able to use my UR to book a flight and leave. I had a day and a half with her before she died. It was so much easier having banked so many miles that I had the ability to make two emergency flights in less than 3 weeks and also used point transferring to a friend with platinum status to ensure I avoided close in booking fees.

    This happened to me before when my Grandmother was dying/died but I was not a travel hacker at the time and Continental would not budge and provide a bereavement fare. Ticketing agents at the airport were trying to force me to pay full fare immediately with a promise to refund half of it later (which I knew to be a lie) and I did not have the money to pay full fare. I ended up using my miles to book the ticket and the flight to her funeral was my first award booking.

    • When my wife’s grandmother passed flights to the funeral were $1000 (small town airport) but I was able to book a Delta ticket for 25,000 miles. She would have never been able to go without this hobby. I am glad that you were able to spend some time with your mother before she passed.

  2. All good suggestions for towing which I could have used my AAA membership or Amex Plat card for but I didn’t have the 45 mins or so to deal with it so it wasn’t an option. Something people should consider when they do have the time though.

  3. If I have to valet at the hospital (when taking an elderly relative), I at least earn 3x parking with my CSR.

    I also tag-on for free on their AAA membership. AAA allows the elderly to add a relative for free. EACH person on the membership can use towing 4x/yr.

    • Interesting tid bit on the AAA membership – I did not know about elderly being able to add a relative.

  4. And you could have had your car towed to your mechanic using American Express benefit. Not risking any further damage to the engine.


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