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If you woke up tomorrow to find your bank account was missing a digit, you’d blow a gasket. If you spent three years saving points for that special hotel night, or that big first class ticket, only to find out that the day before they’d raised the rates, you’d probably blow a fuse, or fuses. Devaluations are the new normal in loyalty programs and that means there’s really only one way to play it.

a bedroom with a large bed and a television

Earn Hard, Earn Fast, Earn Flexible…

You can’t earn flexible loyalty points, those which are transferrable to other airlines or hotels for your actual travels, but you can for your spending and paying for it. Flexible points, such as credit card points allows you to potentially bypass a devaluation of a loyalty program, allowing you to simply move your points into a program with better rates and more importantly, store them in a program that doesn’t devalue, like a bank. Take advantage of category bonuses, spend everything (that you’d alternately buy with a debit card or check) with your credit card. Earn fast.

a plane on the runway

Set Goals, Get Figures, Get Ready…

While you’re earning, the dreams you’re planning to make into reality need to take shape. Learn how to search and find availability for the day you have enough points, learn to actually book your points redemption and make sure you can earn enough points in a reasonable frame of time, a couple years max is a good goal to aim for. When the time comes you’ll want to move fast, and if you’ve never transferred points or searched for space, you’re going to waste a lot of time. There are some pretty cool tools to help, and of course, a great guide

a city and mountains in the distance

Burn, Burn, Burn… And Enjoy!

The key is actually burning your points and miles while the flame is hot, while the redemption you want is reasonable and while it’s bookable. We’re living proof that collecting miles can unlock the world’s best experiences, at fractional or no cost at all. Everyone wants in, more people can now get in, so the key is to stay ahead of the trend and make your dreams come true before the gate crashers shut it down. Find an incredible hotel or first or business class seat, or perhaps just a completely free trip and make it happen. It’s happening more and more…

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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