Why you should keep earning miles, in spite of rising award prices

Several days ago I offered a long discussion of why I believe that frequent flyer awards will get more expensive over time, and why the best strategy is to “burn as you earn” rather than building up large balances.

I also said, though, that the programs remain a good value and well worth participating in.

Several readers asked if this wasn’t a contradiction.

I actually believe both simultaneously. Award prices are going to go up over time, so the value of previously earned and banked miles will be diluted. At the same time it’s easier to earn new miles than ever before (part of why prices will go up in the first place) so it may not be any harder or take any longer to earn awards under new reward charts.

A decade ago you couldn’t earn miles for credit cards, telephone, online shopping, taking surveys, flying on partner carriers, renting cars, signing up for program emails, and supporting breast cancer research.

Inflation destroys the value of savings. But if earning keeps pace with inflation, then current (points) income buys just as much (award) travel.

So don’t assume your banked miles will be worth as much tomorrow as they are today. Spend those points. But earn more points for use in the future.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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