Is the Points Game Worth Your Time & Effort?

I started Accounting Your Points just over 6 months ago. Over the course of that time I have received many comments and questions from friends and family related to the points and miles world. While my accompanying answers varied in complexity and difficulty, often times the inquirer left the conversation appreciative, yet wondering “is it even worth my time and effort?”

I admit it. The points and miles game is not for everyone. It takes time, it takes flexibility, and it takes planning… did I mention that it takes time?

But, you can invest your time and effort at your own pace, taking it slow at first until you get the hang of it!

Interested in playing? Start here!

Undecided? Proceed below!

How to determine if this hobby/passion/game is for you:

You like to Travel – The points game involves collecting points and miles in order to travel the world! Want to travel the world? Play the game!

Pigy Bank - AYP
Points and miles travel won’t break the [piggy] bank!
You like to save money – Who doesn’t!? This should apply to everyone – no matter how much money you do or do not have, the thrill of the deal lives in us all and the points and miles travel game is the ultimate deal! The points game allows you to achieve travel for less, thereby letting you travel more and experience more of the world around you!

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Please hold…

You are a planner displaying better than average patience – The points and miles game takes time and patience… but so does your day job! Earning and saving enough money to travel the world on $$ can take months (if not years) of a 9-5 job, yet a little planning behind one or two credit card sign-ups can seriously cut down the amount of your paycheck/savings you have to invest towards your trips!

Plan your credit card sign-ups, track your spending and points accumulation (and don’t ever give up on a points earning opportunity!), plan your trip, redeem your points, and achieve your travel dreams!

You are willing to “invest” in the Game – And by invest, I mean invest your time to strategize/research, invest your credit to apply for rewarding credit cards and invest minimal cash (mostly related to annual fees on credit cards offering BIG rewards)! These minor outlays in the near term will afford you the opportunity to travel the world… even in first or business class – way out of my (and most travelers’) price range! Take it from me and my experience over just the last 2 years – the investment has paid off tenfold.

Credit Score Factors
Introducing… Your FICO Score!

You understand credit and use credit responsibly – If used correctly, credit can (and should) be your best friend! Spend within your budget and pay your bills on time and in-full every single month and you have got the basics down! You, and you alone, are the master of your credit score – understand it, treat it right, and you have what it takes to play the points game in the most rewarding fashion!

You have some flexibility in your travel plans – The points have been earned, the travel dates have been planned, and now all you have to do is use your points/miles to book your free trip, right? Well, yes and no… Your trip CAN be booked with points/miles, but that “CAN” has some conditions – mainly the actual award availability or the lack there of. Airlines and hotels only release a limited amount of award availability (i.e. a limited amount of tickets or rooms that can be purchased with points/miles) and it is possible that other travelers may scoop up the award bookings before you get the chance to! But, there is a solution – be as flexible as possible and book as far in advance as possible (sometimes up to 331 days in advance)!

 

Maybe Not for you:

Big Ben Clock - AYP
Big Ben tells time… in London!

You don’t have time – Time is money, right!? I would argue that this hobby will provide more savings than the time spent is worth, but sometimes life gets in the way and that is understandable… but don’t let that stop you – AYP Travel Consulting services will do the time consuming work for you! Just sit back and enjoy the free travel!

You don’t have patience – Hate talking to representatives on the phone? Not up for the (sometimes time consuming, but very rewarding) challenge of award searching? Well then this hobby may not fit your personality. There are times when all options have been exhausted and a call to the credit card reconsideration line is your only hope of approval for a stellar credit card sign-up bonus – meaning you have to be willing to make the call! I have had the credit card application process drag on for weeks of back and forth, ultimately ending in approval and thousands of points and miles to fund my next trip!

Lucky for you, patience is a virtue… of AYP Travel Consulting! 

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Is this your worst nightmare??

You have credit card phobia – Some people just have a fear of credit cards that they cannot overcome. It is their belief that credit cards are harmful to credit, will result in overspending, and are just too difficult to maintain. While I can appreciate their concerns, I believe that they are misguided (and have the personal experience to support it)! If you use credit responsibility, credit cards will improve your credit, improve your rewards earning ability and in the process provide superior purchase protection to cash, check, and debit cards!

You are an infrequent traveler and are looking to keep it that way – If you hate to travel, investing your time and credit into the points and mile travel rewards game will not appeal to you… but, not so fast my friend! There are rewards to be had outside of just hotel points and frequent flyer miles – like CASH BACK! Would you rather earn 0% on every $1 you spend on your debit card, or earn 2% on every $1 you spend on a cash back credit card? Easy – 2% all day, right!? Duh. Spend $20k a year and that equates to $400 in cash back. And again, credit cards typically provide superior purchase protection and fraud resolution over other payment options. It is much easier to track & reimburse a fraudulent charge on a credit card compared to that $20 bill that just slipped out of your pocket…

 

Final Thought

I love points and miles. They have allowed me to travel the world at a level of luxury that I would never be able to afford otherwise!

But, the points and miles game is not for everyone.

If you are reading this post, chances are that you are at least interested in learning more, so consider the traits above and determine if the playing the points game is the right fit for you!

 

DO go chasing waterfalls!

 

 

Happy Points and Miles Travels!

DW

 


4 thoughts on “Is the Points Game Worth Your Time & Effort?

  1. When it comes to the points/miles game with my friends and family, I can basically break them down into two different groups. After they look at my trip photos and then I explain to them how I did it all for little to no cost, they say either, “Slow down, how do I do this?” And take notes. Or, “Yeah, that’s way too complicated.”
    I get that some people think it’s complicated and when I book some of my crazy itineraries even my fiance who kinda understands it, doesn’t get it/understand it. But there are some basic stuff (even for just saving some money) that I wish the “Too complicated” people would at least try. Heck, if you don’t like to travel, there are enough cash back offers out there (or redeem the points for cash instead of travel) that could make “the game” worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I absolutely could not agree with you more! People claim that it is too much work… but so is ACTUAL WORK! I would have to work my 9-5 for months (if not years) in order to afford a 2 week first class luxury trip to SE Asia, yet when I used points it cost less than $500!?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good post, I’m fairly new to the game, only about 7 months in. Feels kind of overwhelming at times but still very exciting. Got the Companion Pass already and convinced my parents to stop using debit cards and started them with Southwest to get the Companion Pass, which they got. Now moving them to Chase Sapphire Preferred where points are more valuable. I made some minor mistakes at the beginning but it’s a fun game to play. I enjoy the website, feel like it’s been valuable to me. In the beginning stages of planning a big trip with my wife, it’s an exciting challenge to try and book the whole trip just on points.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I feel your pain – convincing my parents to stop using debit cards and writing checks was a big hurdle…

      I like to think of mistakes as learning opportunities (at least that is what I try to tell myself when I screw up)! Keep at it and good luck with your trip planning, and feel if you ever have any questions don’t hesitate to drop me a note.

      DW

      Like

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