The One Thing I Hate About This Hobby – The Condescending & Arrogant

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The One Thing I Hate About This Hobby

The One Thing I Hate About This Hobby – The Condescending & Arrogant

If I am being honest I have been meaning to write this article for a while because it just needs to be said.  I was going to wait till after the New Year to do it as a kind of New Year’s resolution piece. It would be kind of like the one I did last year to the readers but this one would be asking you to make a resolution with me. Let’s stop being so arrogant and condescending in the miles and points space.  Now granted this isn’t everyone or even a majority of the people in this space but it is the vocal minority.

And I know everyone has had to deal with it.  You see in blog comments, in Facebook groups, in public and private forums and especially on Twitter. It needs to stop. My real goal today is to speak to the people that these type of comments have turned off.  For the people that have resisted participating in the groups or in the comments because of it.

Here is what I say to you: forget about them, don’t let them change the way you travel or where you want to go.  You do you and enjoy life!

Here are a few of the worst offenders in terms of when you see the arrogance and condescending comments most often.

Domestic Travel

I am not going to lie, I have seen people actually apologize for saying that they were taking a domestic trip.  People have shamed others in the past for going to “fake” places like Vegas. Use your miles to see the world they say.  Other gems like why don’t you go somewhere and get some real culture or how dare you travel somewhere so useless. Only international travel is worthy of miles and points.

Guess what, they are wrong! I love domestic travel because it fits well into my schedule.  I can do weekend trips and my wife doesn’t have to take time off of work.  And I would say that is hugely valuable and often overlooked. I would never spend $1500 to go away for two days but I can use some miles and points and do it for $10-$20 so why not!  This allows me to travel more than I would be able to otherwise.

Plus there is a ton to see in the US and different regions have different and interesting cultures just like different countries do.  Heck, road trip staycations are some of my favorite vacations.  They are less stressful and easier to accomplish when working with limited time.  Don’t overlook your own backyard or your own country.

And don’t let judgmental people sway you. If you want to travel around the US (or your local country) do it. If you want to use miles and points to make it achievable no one should try to stop you. This hobby is about making travel cheaper, all travel, not just international travel. The only thing that is important is that you travel to places that you want to go and that will make you happy. Don’t go there because you want to keep up with the miles and points Joneses, go there because it speaks to you.

The One Thing I Hate About This Hobby

Only Use Miles & Points For First Class International Travel

I see it all the time, why would you use miles and points for that? I save my miles and points for international first class travel. Don’t listen to the noise, use your miles and points any way you like.

I recently had a chat about this very point with Spencer Howard and it stuck with me.  People either say save your miles for luxurious expensive trips to get the most out of them or use them for everything etc.  The funny thing is they are both right because both options work for the people making them.

Whether or not you use points all of the time or just some will heavily depend on your personal situation. Do you have an abundance of points or can you afford to spend money on travel? Depending on how you answer those questions will dictate which route you go.  But no matter which one you choose they are both right because they work for you. The biggest issue is that many in this space think they are unequivocally right and will assume everyone should do it they way they do it. Your situation is not the same as theirs so why would anyone assume that their game plan is for everyone?

Correcting People With No Tact

I see this in blog comments and in the travel groups.  People love to flex their knowledge and tell you that you are wrong.  And so many times people do it in a negative or downright mean way. There is no need for that. You can let the person know they made a mistake or tell them what is wrong and do it with tact. Everyone makes mistakes, no one is infallible, so treat people with the respect they deserve.

So many people in this hobby love to help each other out. I see it at the meetups, in the blog comments and in the Facebook groups but there are others that use it as a way to feel superior. I have removed people from the Miles to Memories Facebook group for doing it. And the sad thing is that a lot of them are very knowledgeable and could be a great help to others but they don’t know how to play nice.

Final Thoughts

I love so much about the miles & points hobby and I have met so many great people since joining it. But there is a vocal minority out there that drives me crazy.  They want to make it known that they are superior to you and can’t wait to let you know it. There are bloggers that are the same way too which is sad to see as well. I hope we can all strive to be better and more helpful in 2020.

I want to leave you with this final thought: if you come across them don’t let them dissuade you. Don’t let them change the way you travel, what you get excited about doing or where you want to go. You do what makes you happy and use your miles and points to help get you there in whichever manner you think is best.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

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.

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  1. Mark,

    Thank you. First, as someone mentioned, I find the extensive use of acronyms annoying. I have been playing this game longer than probably anyone (and I mean that), but I may not immediately know what HUCA (Hang Up, Call Again) means or that B6 is JetBlue. Look at the Journal (the Wall Street Journal) and they do not talk down to their readers. Most everything is spelled out and explained.

    Also, a while ago I pointed out to a number of bloggers and major media companies they almost all were stating factually inaccurate information about visas (not a major mistake, but factually incorrect). Most major media organizations and some bloggers either thanked me or at least made the corrections. There were a few major bloggers that essentially said they were entitled to “alternative facts,” instead of just making the corrections and maybe even thanking me. These included some of the big ones. That shows extreme contempt for their readers.

    Best wishes for the New Year!

    • The acronyms, especially when first starting out, are tough to get down and people do treat you like a leper if you don’t know them too…very good point.

      Happy New Year to you too!

  2. Mark, Thank you so very much for this post, which I missed when it was published originally.
    You are truly one of the good guys in this endeavor, and the lack of gratitude displayed is truly grating sometimes Your gracious replies always honor me, and they should honor everyone of your readers with whom you generously share your knowledge and wisdom.
    May 2020 be the best for you and your loved ones.

    • Thanks docntx – an awesome comment as always! I am the one who is honored when people comment and read anything I write. It still blows my mind to this day 🙂

      I hope you and yours have a great 2020 as well!

  3. This sport attracts a huge number of adventurers, fun-loving enthusiasts and economy-minded folks. It also attracts another crowd. Spreadsheet geeks like me are wired differently, and “playing well with others” may not be our longer suit. Please try not to be put off by some comments—that person may be on the spectrum or has some other difficulty that manifests itself awkwardly in posts. As I have heard it said, “Take their words and actions in the kindest possible way.” Thanks for the consideration, and keep living and loving and playing the game!

    • Michael some good advice – thanks for sharing!

      I do think most of the time it is easy to see when someone is just trying to put someone down. Other times it may be iffy and people tend to take it the worst way possible, myself included, and we could do better in those times for sure.

  4. One of my readers sent me a thank you note. The miles he learned to acquire from my website enabled him to afford the travel necessary to maintain a long distance (across the country) romance, which ended up in a marriage. (Oh, but gee, that was domestic travel.)

    I received a very rude response from a post I did on MilePoint. Nothing was done about that, so I simply made no more posts there, and I told them this. Their loss – they now have to go to my website to benefit from my expertise.

  5. The recommendations fit life in general. I believe your suggestions have less to do with the Miles and Points hobby and more really to do with just humanity. We have lost the ability to extend common courtesy to one another. Thanks for the reminder to just treat others like we want to be treated. Also thanks for all the helpful miles and points info. I’m really enjoying this hobby!

    • 100% agree Tommy – and I think social media etc. has a lot to do with it. It is easier to trash someone when you are not looking them in the face when you do it.

  6. The thing I dislike the most is when someone posts a question or complaint on FB about miles and points or just a negative experience of booking this or travel that, and there are always the dead-eyed know-it-alls who are always there to tell the world how the original poster had it coming because they shoulda known better, or shoulda read the 20 page T&Cs, or shoulda known it’s been that way for X number of years, or whatever. I mean, sure… maybe that’s the truth, but the tone is always “you dumbass.” No one needs that.

  7. Thank you! I use my miles whenever and to go wherever I can. Maybe I don’t get forum gold stars but I have wonderful memories with my husbands much fun and laughter! Your million miles might be worth $10,000 today but tomorrow is not a given. Take a trip!
    Happy Holidays

  8. Bravo. Well said and these thoughts can also apply to our current political situation. Be kind and polite.

    Same goes for when you travel. A couple of weeks ago I was traveling on business to Europe and my initial flight had a mechanical and ended up with a 6 hour delay. I had to re-book flights 2 times the first with an agent in the SkyClub at PBI who was great and the second time a few hours later with a “red coat” agent. When I asked the “red coat” to re-book me she said at least you did it with a smile and I’m sure that helped as she went out of her way. I ended up getting to my destination only about 3 hours later than originally planned.

    Oh yeah we are taking a nice 10 day trip to No Calif end of March into early April with my SIL and husband all on our points. I managed to maximize the redemption as much as possible so we are getting $10K of flights hotel and car for 850K in miles/points and about $1K in cash. Doing what we want to do…..

    • Agree 100% – being kind and polite can go a long way in this world. Especially these days!

      Enjoy the trip Michael – sounds like it is going to be a great time with family.

  9. Great article. This should also be for the lounge users who refer ones who don’t have access to lounges or have never been to one as peasants.

  10. Good post, Mark, and I agree. Using miles and points should be about what works for you. When I first started using miles and points I’m sure I didn’t get “maximum” value – heck, I didn’t even know what that was! All I cared about was that I wasn’t paying for something and that meant we could take the trip. We were younger and more resilient – we flew coach to Europe, with connections even! I remember when I first booked us in business class because it was a special birthday trip – it was so exciting, because we could, not because I was maximizing my miles or whatever. I still didn’t know what that was….

    Then I started learning more about miles and points. And we’re older now, and we have the means to do more now, even paying for flights if we have to. So if we have the miles and points we fly J on overnight flights. But we usually fly economy (regular, not premium even) on flights home from Europe. It works for us, and that’s what counts. That all that should matter for anyone. As you said, it’s all about what matters to you, not what someone else thinks you should do. Like the song says, “it’s my life and I’ll do what I want” – just go out there and enjoy wherever and however you go.

    Happy Holidays, a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year, and Happy Travels!

    • Thanks Marilyn and Happy Holidays to you too!

      I also like to fly economy home from Europe since it is during the day it doesn’t bother me much at all.

  11. I’m so happy you posted this- All the
    negatively in the comments section is such a turn off. I have a very intense day job, and plan travel on points as my retreat. When I see people being cruel with their words, I just want to scream. Thanks for all you do and enjoy the holiday season!

  12. Honestly. What is wrong with doing both? When my sister was DX’ed with Stage 4 cancer, you can bet I was happy I had the SW miles to go to AZ.

    But flying to Italy to visit our daughter and her family, it’s always up front or J on one or another airline. I put in the work to get the miles, and they work for what’s needed or wanted. Because sometimes they’re needed.

    But what somebody else wants? Not up to anyone to tell them that’s wrong.

  13. You said it well. I have been in this points game 30 years at least. I was in it when Inside Flyer was like the only guide one had. Years ago I would travel on miles using coach only and take kids and step kids. Once I retired though, about 12 years ago, we do all our international trips Business or 1st sometimes. Why not. I could never afford it otherwise. Hotels free. Rental cars free. Also use points for domestic, usually coach, sometimes business. Lots of SW points, companion pass, jet blue, AA with British Air points…….I love the challenge. When I set people up in the hobby, the first thing I always ask, is what is your goal/s. Then I design a plan for them. So, one size does not fit all in this hobby for sure.

    • Well said Jeffery. Figuring out where you want to go/what you want to do is the best way to start. That is why there isn’t one card everyone should start with etc. because we don’t know where they want to go.

  14. I am old….perhaps a little wise and sage. My concern, from the helicopter, is that many in society have lost their civility.

  15. I make $14 an hour these days! I used advice from loads of people to get my points. I have been on family vacations to Florida multiple times, Jamaica, Aruba and lastly in economy to Sydney. I feel I’ve got a great return on my points. Instead of 1 huge trip to Bali I had several wonderful trips all over with my family.
    Not all of us have the opportunity to earn points at work and get referrals. Or even have money order places that work!!

    Mark keep up the great work. Merry Christmas to you your family and the family who read this blog and appreciate it

  16. This behavior started in Flyertalk before travel blogs even became popular. The contributors on Flyertalk would absolutely destroy people who couldn’t talk in acronyms.

    • I have seen that as well. It is sad and it seems like that moved onto Reddit and it is even worse there.

    • So true. I remember getting that same treatment. FT was definitely the epitome of what Mark is describing. Also a reason I never bought into FT.

  17. One of my pet peeves as well.

    Take a 30 y.o. guy who travels as a consultant every week, has 3 kids, no money, student loans, stay-at-home wife, millions of miles and points and good status, aging parents/grandparents and he wants to take everyone to Disney. He posts about that and some stupid wiseacre, sometimes with a blog, will seriously shame the guy for not going F to the Maldives and staying in an overwater bungalow.

    I have seen it. Often.

    Heck, a guy in this position might very well be best off cashing in for Amazon GCs to buy diapers.

    There is a big newbies Facebook group that will go nameless that gives EXACTLY the same Chase-centered advice to everyone. They banned me when I corrected some of their stupid Southwest-related errors and advised everyone to go to Flyertalk, where the real experts are. Hahahahaha

    • It is sadly a common occurrence. And it is so true that cashing them in for cash can make sense for people at certain times in their life. It isn’t a good redemption on the surface but it may be a lifesaver when you need it most.

  18. AMEN, Mark. Thank you for writing this. I just read a thread today in the FB group where one responder had a fine comment, but then ended with a condescending remark. I didn’t understand the need for that and even now, several hours later, it still bothers me.

  19. Hear Hear! I second this post 1000 times. Everyone’ points and miles game is vastly different for both accruing and redeeming. Travel where you wanna travel and Don’t do it for anyone but yourself /family.

  20. This. I get and understand people whos’ goal it is is to maximize redemption value, but I also get those that just want to redeem to go somewhere, anywhere for free. And, personally, I’ve been posting more about the latter, which usually doesn’t go over so well with the “hardcore” people in the community. But, to each their own. Using points and traveling in-general should be about doing what you want to do experiencing what you want to experience. There are no right or wrong answers.

    • 100% – this isn’t one size fits all. I am glad you have been writing more about it – don’t let them deter you 😉

      • Also, to your point about traveling domestically, I’m totally for this. I went to Zion a couple of years ago, and that was an eye-opening experience. Our country is a fantastically beautiful place, so why not go out and explore it? Plus, the U.S. is rich in cultural diversity, if only one knows where to look and is willing to open their minds and hearts.

        I love seeing the world, but I love seeing our nation too. I think both are great in their own ways!

        • So many cool National Parks in the US that get overlooked for sure. Zion looks amazing – I gotta make it there at some point.

  21. Bravo! And the same goes for newbies to our way of travel. Yes, they could google. But they didn’t, they came “here” so try to be nice and either share your knowledge or scroll on by. And the same for the ongoing debate of “earn and burn” or “hoard.” A little kindness goes a long way.

  22. Hear hear! Everyone’s situation is different, and everyone’s goals and objectives with points and miles are too! I always say its better to be in the game and not in the game! Happy holidays!

    • Yup nothing better than this hobby when everything lines up right. We are blessed to be a part of it. Happy Holidays to you too Elliott.

  23. Mark, Very well said. I believe one can use their points anyway they would like to. I know nothing about their bank account or reasoning. Shoot, I cannot figure out my wife after 42 years of marriage and she is never logical, but I love here more and more each day. People are not going to be logical.

    Happy Holidays

    • Haha I love it Byron – very true. So many decisions are based in emotion etc. and we have no idea what is going on in their life when they decide something. Happy Holidays to you too!

  24. I agree. I do think to myself sometimes- would I get better value if I saved these points for a family trip to Europe? I decided to use points for our domestic travel now. A trip to Europe would be at least 5 years away, and I would like to enjoy my points now! I also love that miles and points allow us to do more. Happy New Year!

    • And there is no telling what they will be worth in 5 years either. Happy Holidays & New Year to you Cindy 🙂


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