You’re living the dream, planning your next great adventure, earn enough points to do something fantastic – and then. That’s the part no one wants to talk about. These days “and then” is a more and more common part of the points and miles equation. Airlines and hotels are devaluing their points at an alarming rate, and there’s one costly mistake too many people make.

In The Bank

In general – the best strategy with earning points, is to earn flexible points from a bank. We’re talking Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest points. Why? Because they can go anywhere in a moments notice, but they’re protected from devaluation.

Don’t Move

Points transfers from a bank to an airline or hotel are one way only. The advice here is that once you move your points, you better be ready to use them. Moving points out of the safety of a bank, where you can move the points to multiple airlines, is a walking disaster, if you’re not ready to immediately cash in. If an airline devalues their points, which occasionally happens without any notice, you’ll be left holding the bag – for all the extra points you now need.

And Arbitrage

By leaving your points in a flexible currency, you can take advantage of the occasionally transfer bonuses which grace us. You’ll certainly feel like a fool – if you transferred points over to an airline the week before, without needing to use them, only to find that there’s a 40% bonus on transfers to said airline, the week after.