The future in the miles and points hobby is incredibly cloudy and uncertain – devaluations after devaluations.. you can only blame the economy for doing so well. In the past few years, we’ve only seen devaluations after devaluations with little enhancements to frequent flyer programmes. In fact, the most devaluations and negative changes to frequent flyer programmes have happened in the past five years – so the biggest changes in the entire history of airline and hotel programmes have only happened recently.
It really does pain me to say that all of this might be coming to an end sooner rather than later (unless the economy crashes). What most airlines want to do now is to implement revenue based frequent flyer programmes whereby the miles earned are based on the ticket cost. Furthermore, it seems like the value of miles is dropping quickly – airlines want to make miles worth the same for every passenger, which is why 50k miles will soon only be worth $500 USD at the most. You can largely blame Delta Air Lines for starting this “revolution”.
With the future so uncertain, at this point you should only be using credit cards with transferable points currencies. Don’t bother using an airline-specific credit card anymore.. there’s just no point. Using an airline-specific card means you’re tied to that frequent flyer programme and with the future not looking so bright, no one knows what airline will devalue next. Transferable points credit cards give you way more options in that you can transfer those points to a number of airlines or redeem them directly for travel (sometimes where they’re worth more).
The days of using airline-specific credit cards are gone – there’s no point anymore. Airline miles aren’t as stable as they once were and, sadly, transferable points credit cards will probably head that direction as well. As much as I hate saying this, it could be possible that we all switch to cash-back credit cards in the future once all of this is “over”. However, airlines can only devalue so much before they’re affected – United Airlines already notes a drop in frequent flyer activity since their massive devaluation a few years ago which nearly destroyed any value of their frequent flyer programme. The future is incredibly cloudy for this hobby and we must be prepared and always be smarter than the airlines.
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!