When it comes to miles and points you’ll read about a particular mindset a lot. That mindset basically centers around the idea that the ONLY way to use your miles and points is for travel. If you use them for anything else, you’re ‘doing it wrong.’
Don’t fall into that trap. Mathematically, of course, using your miles and points for travel-related purchases will get you the most bang for your buck. And that’s, of course, good! You want that.
However, there’s a better way to use your points. To anyone who asks, I always say the best use of your points is how YOU want to use them. For example, I prefer using them for travel-related purchases to get the most out of my miles and points.
But what happens if, on the off chance that this ever happens, there’s a global pandemic caused by a virus that kills hundreds of thousands of people, puts countries all over the world on lock down, and restricts your ability to travel indefinitely?
A global pandemic?
I mean, that kind of thing will never happen, but let’s say it does (haha…ha...ha…). Should you hold onto the hundreds of thousands of miles and points you’ve earned to - hopefully one day - use them for travel? Or do you use them for gift card purchases or use them to buy things on sites like Amazon that you know you’ll need or use now?
The case for using them for travel
After all, when the restrictions and lockdowns are lifted, people will want to travel again. Being cooped up tends to make people antsy to get out and about. Overall, there are several reasons waiting to use the points for travel makes sense:
The case for using them on other purchases
When you use travel credit cards for deep discounts when traveling, more than likely you’ll find yourself (at some point) with several thousand miles or points. Most travel credit cards have the option to use your points for purchases other than travel. American Express, as an example, teams up with Amazon - allowing you to use your Amex points for Amazon purchases. And even though using your points for purchases like this won’t get you the best return, you may find that this is a good option for you:
I had to make the hard decision to recently cancel my American Express Platinum Card. Travel, for me, to make the $550 annual fee worth it, wasn’t going to happen in the near future. I didn’t want to downgrade to a Gold Card, either. I wanted to outright cancel the card.
I had a problem, though. I had about 70,000 Amex points that I had earned and needed to use before closing the account. So what did I do? I used them to buy a whole bunch of stuff that I was going to be using now or in the near future on Amazon. It was either that or lose them all when I closed the account. When looking at it like that, there’s no question in my mind I made the right choice.
Here’s the key takeaway: there is no right or wrong way to use the points you’ve earned during your travel hacking journey. Ultimately, it’s up to you. However YOU decide to use YOUR points is up to... YOU. So go out there and enjoy those hard-earned rewards!
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