Was The WOW Airlines Meltdown The Poster Child For Collecting Miles & Points?

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The Poster Child For Collecting Miles & Points

Was The WOW Airlines Meltdown The Poster Child For Collecting Miles & Points?

Last week I wrote about how I love using miles and points for things regular people find crazy.  That got me to thinking about the other times miles and points can make life that much easier.  They saved me some money when I had a regular issue in the past. But what about being stranded in a foreign country days or hours before your scheduled flight home? Or finding out your dream vacation is no longer possible the day of your planed flight. This recently happened to some 2,800 passengers because of WOW Airlines’ quick demise.

How Miles & Points Could Have Helped

WOW was an inexpensive way to get to Europe.  You could get there for under $100 a lot of the time.  This opened the door to Europe to many who had never been able to afford it in the past.  But when you are left scrambling to find a flight hours or days before you need it things can get pretty expensive. Even though many airlines stepped up and offered discounts giving 25% off, last minute flights can still be costly.

That is where miles and points can come to the rescue.  Often last minute flights are costly with miles and points as well but they keep money in your pocket.  There are also some airlines, like Lufthansa, that don’t release their best seats until a few days out anyway. If these stranded passengers had miles and points like us they would have options.  They would have a way to get home or to salvage their trip that would not involve obscene cash prices.

Another thing that could have saved the day would have been using a credit card with great travel insurance.  Cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve.  These cards have built in insurance that would have covered the cost of any prepaid portion of the trip. Once the flight was canceled this protection would have become available. This means that you wouldn’t be holding the bag if you canceled your trip all together because of the airline closing it’s doors.  It doesn’t help you rebook but it does ensure you are not out thousands of dollars.


Many of the people stranded by WOW ended up having to pay a lot more for their vacation than they had originally intended. That can wipe some shine off an amazing trip or worse yet, make a dream trip no longer possible.  But if those people had miles and points at their disposal or used a credit card with travel insurance included the situation may have been a lot less stressful.  I have been able to adjust on the fly many times and make changes as issues pop up because of miles and points.  But if I had been paying cash it would have cost me a fortune.

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. Hi Mark, you make some great “points” as usual. There are many last-minute situations that may cause us to look for flights and accommodation at the last minute, such as illness or death in the family. Having a stash of airline miles, and airline or credit card points can help to take some the of the sting out of paying some high fares or rates. Sadly, in this case, the demise of WOW is just another in a long string of such business downfalls. We are all madly in love with getting something for “next to” nothing and whether it makes any business sense doesn’t matter. However, I would love to hear from people who got hit by the cancellation of their WOW flights – what was the outcome when you made a claim with Chase/Citi/etc., or your travel insurance company? Does the coverage really work in this situation?

    • Thanks Steve and I agree and have had to use miles and points for deaths etc. Those have actually been when they have been most valuable – figuratively and literally. I heard from 1 or 2 people that were able to get their money back on Chase but hearing from more people would be interesting.


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