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A long time ago before I became involved in the miles & points hobby, I remember that my dad would always say about how miles are worthless because you need to spend 30k USD for a one-way flight to Europe, essentially earning 1 mile per $1 USD spent, without any signup bonus. This was a long time ago and I didn’t put much thinking into it other than “no wonder people hate frequent flyer miles”.

For years I thought that was the case but thankfully, I found BoardingArea and a ton of other useful websites from which I was able to learn that the signup bonus of a credit card is the king – and for everyday spend, it is important to use a credit card with bonus categories. Nowadays, most people know that credit cards give out large signup bonuses and that those can actually be used for flights to other continents… but it always doesn’t work that way because there might be no availability or in the case of some frequent flyer programmes (Delta), your desired award may cost 400k miles one-way.

It doesn’t surprise me that “normal” people hate frequent flyer miles. By normal, I mean people not involved in this hobby beyond getting a credit card and telling people they have “air miles”. That’s all fine and they love their new Delta credit card until they try to redeem their miles, which is about the hardest thing possible. They try to redeem miles for a flight from America to Europe, only to find out that the lowest price is 80k SkyMiles, in Economy, for one person, one-way. Whereas if they had miles that are worthy of collecting, they’d get a round-trip for 40-60k miles.

These people who get frustrated once or twice, will give up on miles or use them on something ridiculous, or they will keep collecting them until they have enough.. at which point they might expire (I’m not talking just about Delta miles). It really doesn’t surprise me that most people don’t know how to use miles if all they do is searches from origin to destination and expect to find a good flight matching their criteria. On the other hand, it makes the value of miles for people like us much higher since there are fewer people redeeming them for actual good value. If everyone was maximising their miles the way we do, no way would redemption levels remain the same – they’d be sky high.

Be sure to check out some of the awesome Travel Rewards Credit Cards, Hotel Rewards Credit Cards, and Point Rewards Credit Cards that are available and will earn you lots of miles and great travel benefits!


Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.