an aerial view of airplanes on a field

That rainy day may be closer than hoped if you want to get great value out of your miles. Devaluations are the new normal, they are here to stay and getting worse every day. Nearly every airline has raised award prices in the last five years, while making miles, for most, harder to attain. Revenue based earning seems to be the way forward for many, but revenue based redemption’s,  which offer a fixed (terrible) value for your miles, seem to be much closer to reality than expected. 

an aerial view of airplanes on a field

This is not meant to be fear mongering, but rather an educated opinion on a quickly shifting landscape. I write this blog because miles have allowed me to experience many travel joys and luxuries that I could not otherwise afford and I want everyone to have the same opportunity to share those joys and experiences. It is beyond debate that every airline has in some way devalued their miles in recent history. For the last few years, though changes were happening, it seemed that there was a rhyme and reason to the changes, as well as fair warning.

A year’s notice has become two months or not at all. British Airways recently gave customers just over two months notice regarding major changes, with some awards costing 140% more and most fares earning half of what they used to. That’s two months to book flights before your miles are worth a fraction of their previous value if you are using them in an optimal way. Delta gave customers a year’s warning that they would switch to revenue based earning, which I do not mind at all. Yet in the last week, without warning, they removed their award chart and changed terms and conditions to open the door for them to change values at will without notice and likely move to revenue based redemption’s. Miles, at present, are great because you can book expensive tickets in premium cabins that otherwise might be out of your price range for a reasonable amount of miles. A fair exchange for your loyalty. If airlines move to revenue based, a 5,000 dollar business class ticket would now require 500,000 miles!!! I’m not saying it’s going to happen tomorrow, but every airline is looking in that direction and laying the ground work brick by brick. It’s inevitable.

a close-up of a sign

In the words of Kenny Rogers, “you need to know when to hold em, know when to fold em”. As I mentioned in How To Keep Your Miles Safe From Devaluation, setting goals for your miles and maximizing ways to earn the miles to fulfill your goal is more important than ever. If you are short on miles look at our Ten Ways To Earn Miles Without Flying to top up or consider booking one way now to lock in a great value.

My best recommendation is to earn points you can transfer into a variety of miles. If you are earning credit card points like American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi Thank You points, you are earning points which you can transfer to the best option on a one off basis. If you are looking to book a vacation and know your dates, you simply search each airline you can transfer to to find the best option for the least miles.

Head spinning too?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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