Being a million miler is great. Holding a million miles for an extended period, is often dumb. You can blame blogs like mine, you can blame airline’s bottom lines, you can blame the “greedy bastards” that run them, but in the end, as people get better at using miles, airlines want to make miles harder and more expensive to use. I for one am happy to make hay while the sun shines and help you do the same. It is for this exact reason, coupled with the fact that virtually no miles “gain value”, that hoarding miles is dumb. 

a screen shot of a graph

Let’s say you had half a million Delta Skymiles three years ago. Business class to Europe, South America and beyond from the US cost 100,000 miles round trip per person. It now costs 125,000 miles. Instead of five people you can now take four. Let’s say you had 400,000 British Airways Avios last year, you could take five people to the US, Middle East and more in Business Class. Come April 28th, you can now only take four. You get the gist. The same could be said for United, American and more. All airlines, whether they have specifically devalued their chart or not, have added more seats that require more miles for peak travel, which of course is when most of us want to travel.

a tray of food on a tray in an airplane

If there was ever a semi acceptable currency to hoard it would be credit card points like Amex, Chase, Citi or Starwood but even so, why? If all the things you want to redeem those points for is progressively costing more, what’s the hold up. Extract value while you can. Think of being a kid and saving up for something, when you finally filled the piggy bank, did you run to the store and cash in? Of course! I set goals for every single mile I collect. Figure out how many miles you need for your dream trip and gather them as fast as you can. When I reach my goal, I cash in by snagging a premium cabin ticket to a far away destination I could not otherwise afford. Doing so generally gives more value in cents per mile and of course, most importantly, the great sense of accomplishment that I am “beating” the system. Don’t hoard. Fly. 

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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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