Is Travel Hacking A Hobby Or An Addiction
I have been thinking about this question for a while now, is travel hacking a hobby or an addiction? Websters defines addiction as a compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance. Now miles & points are not a substance per say but they are a thing that can be habit forming. I think of the high we get when we see an approval for a credit card application or when the huge bonuses post to our accounts is habit forming.
Think of all of the crazy things we do for miles and points. Waiting in line at Walmart, gift card reselling, flying on planes just for status etc. We look like a pack of insane people to the outside world. But is our insatiable love of miles and points as innocent as it seems? Do we make illogical decisions in the name of miles and points? I think that we do, but I think that it is okay.
What Led Me Here?
After a year of writing for Miles to Memories I have had a chance to interact with many readers, other writers, and hobby enthusiasts. Over that time I have noticed a trend of craziness that leads me to believe that us in “the hobby” are indeed addicted to miles and points. I think of addiction as a need for something that leads to illogical decision making.
I’ll give you a few examples. I know people who have millions of miles and points. When you have balances of this amount that means that your earning is outpacing your need for the miles and points. But they will risk their banking relationships for the next 50, 70, or 100,000 mile bonus. These relationships are what is allowing you to get these miles and points so why risk that for a bonus that would add less than 5% to your overall gain? The risk reward just isn’t there in my opinion. Do you really need that extra 50,000 miles? Or is your addiction to the sign up bonus leading to this decision?
Another example is that people will spend thousands of dollars doing a mileage or mattress run in the name of status. Will they ever recoup that money spent to get that status? Sure, free breakfast is great but is it really worth the $30 price tag that hotels put on it? Or is it actually worth the $5 you would have spent on a breakfast sandwich down the street?
Status chasing is even crazier for people that have millions of points & miles. Do you need the upgrades when you already have enough miles to book into the cabins you want to book into anyway?
PREVIOUS MMMT: 4 reasons why I loathe all inclusive vacations.
The one thing I have noticed with travel hacking is that it seems like you are either all in with this stuff or not in at all. Once you get a taste you are hooked for good.
Don’t get me wrong I am not saying all of these things are wrong or that it doesn’t make sense when the parameters are right.
Having said that I do implore you take a step back from time to time and kind of think about the problem from the outside. Really evaluate it before diving into every deal or offer. I think you will find that sometimes it doesn’t make sense and it is better to let the deal die. Don’t let that addiction get the best of you. Although there are a lot worse things to be addicted to :).
Share your thoughts in the comments, are you addicted to miles & points like I am?