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The Horror! My Points and Travel Fears This Halloween

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Points and Travel Fears

2023 Points and Travel Fears

Halloween is upon us, and I’m still learning things about myself.  For instance, I somehow was able to get through both Terrifier movies this month.  Gratuitous gore aside, I still hold points and travel fears, some newer than others.  I’ve largely addressed last year’s fears. For instance, I’ve embraced the Hilton food and beverage credit and the wife has generally avoided the Amex pop-up during this past years applications.  We’ve escaped Wyndham points expiration, Chase’s Pay Yourself Back is still around and boring, and I’ve had no basic economy issues.  But I’ve got new points and travel fears.


During my recent Royal Sonesta Chicago Downtown stay, I received complimentary continental breakfast due to my top-tier Platinum elite status in Sonesta’s Travel Pass loyalty program.  Minor detail:  I have no idea how I got this status.  Anyway, I presented the breakfast coupon to my waiter, and he delivered a breakfast which was remarkably continental.  For all intents and purposes, the croissant, preserves, oats with berries, mixed fruit, coffee, and juice were delightful.  But in the moment, I found myself disappointed.

Points and Travel Fears
“Only” a continental breakfast at Royal Sonesta Chicago Downtown.

Why?  Because I had “only” received a continental breakfast.  Over the years, I’d become used to a rather liberal application of elite benefits from hotel staff – to my benefit.  I’ve had servers volunteer, “Go ahead and order anything on that breakfast menu,” or “sure, your kids get complimentary breakfast, too.”  Sitting at the Sonesta, I quickly realized how silly it was that I felt disappointed.  I’ve become so used to “free” and “more,” this unrealistic entitlement somehow extended to a remarkably fine-on-its-own breakfast.  This is just one example, but I know it’s something I’ve probably experienced elsewhere – and concerningly, in areas I haven’t even realized or acknowledged.

Amex Trends

My favorite card issuer has made a few recent changes that I’ve found collectively concerning.  No individual one is enough to worry me, but the group of trends together is something I can no longer ignore.  A variety of updates, like changing rules and benefits, have put more responsibility on cardholders.  I’ll be tackling these concerns more in an upcoming article.

Points and Travel Fears

Common Methods

Many active points and travel enthusiasts use similar methods to achieve high spend.  Options come and go, but it seems that a few are being used a bunch more than others.  Things are great, until they are not.  Based on prior history, while reliable methods disappear, new ones can and do pop up.  Regardless, I fear some preferred methods are too popular currently, so how could they possibly last?  Meanwhile, I’ll keep diversifying and experimenting to mitigate those unwelcome changes.

Airline Fee Credits

On the credit card benefits side, I’m overly reliant on one mechanism for entirely consuming airline fee credits.  Similar to common high spend methods, I fear this easy option bubble will burst eventually.  If and when it does, my cost/benefit analysis of many cards across several issuers will change considerably, given I don’t have (m)any other needs for this credit, especially at scale.  I realize I shouldn’t be overly concerned about this boogeyman, as it hasn’t appeared yet, but knowing of the possibility makes me fear it, still.

Points and Travel Fears

My Fading Sense of Wonder

I’ve become less interested in travel recently.  This is partly due to people acting terribly.  But I should be able to look past that stuff more easily, knowing that I’m traveling to reach higher goals, enlightening ones and otherwise.  But I can’t ignore that I’m just going through the motions once in a while, though.  Perhaps that’s just an indicator I need to revalidate my goals, which I’m a big proponent of, anyway.

It’s also a reminder that while travel can augment my life, I am not defined by it.  So many other life matters are more important.  I also know my sense of wonder is reenergized by traveling with my little ones, something I’m doing more of as they grow older.


While these points and travel fears are on my mind, I don’t find any of them paralyzing.  If anything, I’m glad I’m cognizant of them and can take steps to mitigate.  And with anything unknown that comes true, I trust that I’ll find ways to adapt and overcome at that point, often with help from others in our community.  Regardless, I’ll take this year’s fears as a welcome excuse to eat a bit more Halloween candy than I deserve.  I’ll start with Butterfinger, as I can enjoy that first bar sticking to my teeth for the rest of the night.

What are your points and travel fears this Halloween?

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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.


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