You know the question. It’s why you’re here. Should you cancel a booking you made with points if a great fare or deal pops up? This question gets more interesting by the day and though there is no single answer, there are some valuable insights and thought processes to share. Enough chit chat, this is how you should figure things out. 

Fares Are Getting Lower, Miles Are Harder To Earn…

We’re seeing record low fares in every cabin while seeing the cost in miles for a flight generally rise. Before using miles I always check the cost of a ticket, to see if it’s something I can afford to purchase, since earning miles and elite status points can be very valuable. If the price is unusually high, and the cost in miles is low, giving me a good cents per mile ratio, I use miles. If the price changes, it’s a brand new equation, you must take the emotional part out.

It’s Much Easier To Cancel A Ticket With Miles Than A Cash Booking…

Cash bookings can end up costing more than the original ticket just to make a change and if you cancel, in most cases you forfeit everything. Bookings with miles however are much more friendly. Most airlines allow you to get all your miles back, with either a very modest fee to cancel or none at all. If you can pay a minimal amount to cancel, earn miles instead of burn miles and plot a future even better use of miles, it’s hard to argue with cancelling. To be safe, be sure to cancel with miles more than 7 days out from your flight to ensure full return of miles. 

If You Have Any Pricey Routes On Your Bucket List, Save Your Miles For Those…

Some routes or hotels hardly ever feature wowing sales. One factor in cancelling a miles/points booking is whether or not you have plans to visit any other destinations which are in the “never on sale” category. On these routes, miles are particularly effective, and since you’ll now be earning miles for the flight you’re cancelling, you may even be able to save enough to move up to the next cabin. That’s a great way to maximize your points

Final Answer… Do The Math, Don’t Be Emotional, But ALso, Don’t Hoard…

A lot of your calculation is personal. If you have money to blow on travel it’s easier to see the merit in earning for a trip you can afford, versus blowing miles for a trip you can afford. If you’re working with less, there’s nothing wrong in simply taking the deal with miles and saving your money. See using a simple cents per mile equation how much value you’re getting for your points. If you know you have one where you can do better, maybe save. No matter what, don’t hold too many points for TOO long. Rewards programs are not getting friendlier, in fact, the opposite…