Points and Miles Tips
It happens every now and then in our points and miles hobby. I find myself bored by it all. Fortunately, our hobby is fairly dynamic – new cards, destinations, hotels, and plays appear. But, I undoubtedly end up bored sooner or later. However, we can take advantage of that boredom. Here are some points and miles tips on what to do and what to avoid when things are slow.
What I Do
I’d like to think I stay organized enough when all the fun stuff is happening. In reality, I do not. Often, I actually do the bare minimum when things are busy. So when it’s slow out there, I take advantage of the time by squaring away a variety of things. I update and store all of my credit cards and related info in two binders, getting rid of closed cards and adding in the new ones. Also, I redeem any “rewards remnants” that I somehow missed cashing out before. I revalidate my goals, travel and otherwise, to ensure I’m still on the right track. I may close a few cards, too. The to-do list goes on and on here, and the dead time is a great opportunity to check stuff off.
Maintain Relationships, and Make New Ones
I’ve created new friendships based on our hobby – it’s one of my favorite parts of it. I do a satisfactory job of keeping in contact, but I know I’m not perfect here. It’s natural to lose touch when things get busy, and I don’t keep up with some enough. I try to focus more on these relationships during the quiet times, catching up when I’ve lost track. On top of that, I take the opportunity to meet new people, whether in person or virtually. I remind myself that we’re people first, and the hobby should be secondary. That may sound cheesy, but it’s how I feel. And a great benefit of maintaining and creating relationships is I can learn more from others. Indeed, I’m humbled by how much other hobbyists know, and learning from them is a gift.
Research and (Maybe) Apply
Having a bit more time allows me to go deeper on new potential cards to pick up. I genuinely enjoy finding obscure cards to apply for, but I often am too busy to see through a particular application. I’ll often find myself in a dead end, but success can occur.
I’m not a particularly creative person. But when I identify something new to try, I often don’t take the time to follow through. Quiet times enable me to follow up and experiment more. I’m never disappointed, because I consistently find a solid data point, either positive or negative, for a particular opportunity.
Forget the Hobby
Perhaps this is more of a zen thing, but I feel things slowing down is for the best. I’m reminded to go beyond our silly little hobby. I’m a firm believer that the hobby can augment my life, but I shouldn’t be defined by it. I’ll head over to our local beach more often, work on my book queue, go to museums, talk to extended family, surprise our little ones with even more random outings, etc. Our hobby is just one area to find fulfillment – everything else matters much more.
What I Avoid
Applying for Cards
Wait, what? Why am I including that here, since I mentioned applying for cards earlier? Having more time means I can use more of it to make questionable application decisions, like applying for the Sonesta card (I still hold it made sense at the time). Periodically, I’ll catch myself staying up way too late, listening to music and delving into some cards I have no business considering. Fortunately, I shake myself awake and push away from the keyboard. During slow times, hanging around the computer is often a bad idea.
Similar to card applications, I’ll find myself rationalizing some wacky booking which applies loosely, at best, to my goals. Perhaps I get some satisfaction of this feeling “productive.” Whatever the case, I try to stay away from this, because I could sloppily, and maybe irreversibly, redeem a rewards currency on a trip I really didn’t care about, anyway.
I’m fairly successful here. The mind can wander during the slow times. I usually save my extreme analysis for the busy times, but I can fall victim to overthinking when it’s slow. Again, stepping away and taking a deep breath usually does the trick. I remind myself, “Hey, those Wyndham points expiring next year won’t be problem,” and I move on.
I could identify more, but those are the primary areas I address and avoid when things are slow. Through it all, I feel a sort of hobby hippocratic oath is particularly worth following. And when things pick up, I find myself refreshed to take on the next points and miles challenge. What are your points and miles tips when things are quiet?
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