Points and Travel Tricks
It’s comical how seriously many of us take the points and travel game. Hobbyists debate some of the most esoteric and often-inconsequential stuff. Full disclosure, I’m partly to blame for that. And talking heads of much higher notoriety play a significant role in shaping the points and travel narrative. Over time, I’ve found certain misconceptions have set in. Occasionally, hobbyists aren’t so much employing points and travel tricks – rather, they’re the victims of such things. Here are just a few that I feel are worth a bit of reflection.
It’s Worth Waiting For That Chase Card
By now, most all of you know about Chase’s diabolically genius 5/24 rule. Seemingly overnight, this draconian move brought a perceived premium to holding certain cards in Chase’s portfolio. Since such cards are tougher for many to acquire, some assign more value to them than they should. It’s what they can’t have that they covet most.
I gave up on the 5/24 rule several years ago, evaluating that I could do exponentially better by pursuing non-Chase cards. For other reasons, some are in the situation where it makes sense to pay attention to the 5/24 rule. But many would and can do much better by leaving it behind.
Hyatt Globalist Is A Must-Have
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Ask yourself – what has World of Hyatt Globalist status done for you lately? Does the status apply to your overall travel goals, or are you shaping those to fit a Hyatt-compatible holiday?
Hyatt’s footprint is expanding but still nowhere near Marriott’s or Hilton’s. Regardless, Hyatt points and status are worth absolutely nothing if there is no Hyatt at your travel goal’s destination. As a top-tier elite under the former Gold Passport program, I came to this conclusion years ago and haven’t obtained Hyatt status since. I fear many others have not, as they continue eating the rancid fruit at the Hyatt Place near the airport. And speaking of breakfast….
Breakfast Should Be Free
Plenty of hotel brands include complimentary breakfast to all visitors, but there’s apparently no requirement that the meal is satisfactory. Some elite members receive breakfast, or credits toward one, with disappointing results, as well.
Just a reminder: sometimes, you get what you pay for. Shelling out cash money for breakfast, whether at the hotel or beyond, can lead to pleasing results. Not coincidentally, food quality is often better, and the overall experience can be superior. Regardless, it beats the anarchy at the everyone-eats-free option.
Caring How Others Redeem
Dwelling on how others redeem their points and miles is futile. Sure, one can learn how to pull off a certain redemption trick in any given situation, but that doesn’t mean the individual should redeem for the exact same thing. Be yourself and do what you want to do, not what others are posting.
Cash Is King
I’m a big fan of cashing out, but I realize it’s not the optimal move for everyone. If someone can get a better value out of transferring bank points to a travel currency mapped to one of their priority travel goals, bravo! And cash back loyalists (including me) should periodically step back and reassess if that’s still the optimal move for where they are in life.
Unwavering Support to The Cult of Personality
Some big talkers in the points and miles community have somehow reached a level where anything less than complete agreement with them is perceived as heresy. Here’s just one example. I’m not a site commenter elsewhere – I’m busy enough with that here at MtM. When I read non-MtM stuff, I often notice others who present valid points – which may not fall 100% in line with the blogger – get pounced on by the sycophants.
I’m going to let you in on something. Most anyone who puts time and effort into the points, miles, and travel hobby can probably do just as well (at a minimum) as any blogger or perceived expert. In our silly world of points and miles, nobody who pontificates on the internet for money is worthy of blind adoration or above polite questioning. I include myself here.
Enough with the idolatry. Instead, take in as many different sources of points and travel content as practical, understand biases, synthesize, and come to your own conclusions for your situation.
I think we all need to come up for air more often, including me. Our hobby is as generous as it is ridiculous. So much in our lives is more important. To that end, I’ll continue enjoying the hobby at my usual level of extreme moderation. What unhealthy points and travel tricks have you noticed in yourself and others?
Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.