IMG_7308You’ve been taking your yearly trips, and each time have showed much loyalty to your preferred Mileage Partner teams. You’ve socked away a lovely bundle of miles, just like you would stash your cash under your bed, because your grandma told you its important to save. Well, while saving money is a great thing, saving miles is not.

With the constant changes to airline rules regarding miles and flight restrictions goes, you’re better off utilizing your miles as soon as you can.

Why? Because you’re constantly loosing the value of your miles the longer you wait.

THE STORY:

For the past 4 years, I’ve diligently packed away my mileage on Delta and their partners every time I took a trip. I couldn’t wait to reach Silver, and now gold Elite status, because it meant more mileage multipliers every time I flew. I even have a Delta American Express card, to add more mileage to my Skyteam bank.  I’ve accumulated a lovely 230,000 miles and was planning on saving it for another 4 years until I reached about 600,000 miles.

I thought to myself, wow I’m going to be able to take several long haul first class/ business class trips with it. That is, until I noticed that every year, mileage rules kept changing, and not in my favor.

A while back, while living in the continental United States, 25,000 miles on a sky team flight would get me a nice round trip airfare anywhere on the continent. Also, back in the lovely days, 70,000 miles would score me a round trip First Class ticket to Japan from Hawaii. Well those sweet days are long gone.

I was searching for flights for my upcoming trip to Argentina. As usual the business class flights on delta are a whopping $4,000 to start. So I decided to take glance at what my milage could get me . Well for that same business class flight I could say good bye to my entire bank of miles and add to it a not so lovely $1200 to make up for the miles the I’m missing. I was blown away. Essentially my milage was worth roughly only $2,300 at face value..  But how in the world could that be? Well , its because the airlines are getting even more greedy . Besides, stuffing you in and making sure your legs are cramped and a good candidate for Deep Vein Thrombosis, and making sure you starve on your flight, they’ve taken the initiative to also make sure that your loyalty equates to nothing.

Ok that was a little rant. However, I was not amused.

So I was talking to my friend Michael one day at work about it, and he said: ” OMG you have to use your miles, before they become obsolete.” OBSOLETE? what?

SOLOUTION:

Time for the trickery game. Currently, (and I say Currently because things change constantly) Delta offers 3 options for paying for your ticket. 1. Cash, 2. Miles, and 3…… miles and cash… While pure miles would cost me 250,000 to get to Argentina , I could do 180,000 miles, plus $480 as a cash and miles. How weird is that? Needless to say, I BOOKED IT ASAP

I feel as if I’ve waisted my miles away by holding on to it as long as I did. It’s still not the BEST deal to spend 180,000 of my miles plus almost $500 cash on a business/First flight internationally , when there could be a more cost effective scenario for using your miles. Never-the-less it is what it is and I’m glad I learned this lesson. Yes I know I could fly coach for half of that and have more miles left in my bank, but the reality for me is, I’ve been saving those miles to use on a luxury flight. Well, I guess I just did.

The remaining miles I may just use to book myself a hotel or rent a car or whatever I can do to just use it up . I’m sure I’ll keep flying and earning miles, but this time I’ll be a little more smarter about spending it.

So please do yourself a favor and try to use your miles as much as you can while it is still somewhat in your favor. And always check your mileage partners rules for utilizing your mileage.  I’m still learning this game as well and I hope I’ll be able to shed more light on the best ways to utilize and transfer miles …

Here’s a really interesting article about WHY YOU SHOULD NOT HOARD YOUR AIRLINE POINTS AND MILES  by one of my favorite go to magazines, Travel & Leisure

 

Ok enough ranting for today… You’ve been warned 🙂