Confession: I’m tempted to use some of my frequent flyer miles at relatively poor value, because I really don’t care about them. That’s not entirely true, but it’s mostly true and I’ll explain. I collect credit card points and I do fly with great frequency, holding the highest possible elite status with British Airways. It’s where most of my miles are and really, the only ones I’ve collected enough of to deeply care about. As someone who chooses flights based on price or schedule, I often end up on other carriers, collecting little amounts of other miles..
I currently have about 25,000 Delta Skymiles. What can they do for me you might ask? Not much. Possibly a one way flight somewhere in the US, potentially a short round trip somewhere regional and maybe, just maybe a one way upgrade…. or I could just use them for some Dom Perignon in the lounge. Dom Perignon using miles?! 15,000 miles for a bottle of champagne which in the SkyClub costs $250? Since it’s real retail price is about $150 it’s not a great value, but since it’s a lot easier and less hair pulling than finding space for my miles, plus, I love champagne it’s tempting. It just is.
Which brings me to my point. Airlines are making EVERYTHING available using miles. Want a premium drink in the lounge or on board? Miles. Want magazines? Miles. New headphones? Miles. Free checked bag? Miles. It’s never ending and increasing by the day. Cathay Pacific will soon let passengers redeem miles for business class lounge access, Emirates is doing the same. Since miles are more mystifying than ever and passengers increasingly book tickets based on price, leaving them with small amounts of many different types of miles, it can make total sense for people to just dump them on things they can instantly enjoy. The airlines are smart. They know that we likely won’t ever have enough to do something magical, so they wave a shiny object in front of us at only decent value, but immediate use and we take it. I take it. I get it.