Racking up credit card points and flybuys can seem like an ideal way to pay for a dream trip. But as CreditCards.com points out, your points won’t necessarily always have the same value as they do today; it’s better to spend them than to save them.
Why? Hoarding them for some pie-in-the-sky trip or other reimbursement could lead to disappointment. You’re never guaranteed that your points and miles will retain the value over time. Writes CreditCards.com:
Case in point: Delta Air Lines stopped offering an award chart that outlined how many miles you’d need for various fares in 2015. Since then, rewards rates for some routes have fluctuated dramatically. Worse, without an award chart, you basically have no way to plan or “save up” for a flight you want to book later on.
And, there’s always the chance that you won’t be able to redeem your points for the same rewards as you can today. “Chase recently dropped Korean Air as a transfer partner,” notes CreditCards.com. If you were planning to redeem your points on that airline, you’d be out of luck.
In just November of last year American Express card owners found that their points earned with Qantas had gone through a reduction. The point system dropped down to 0.25 Qantas Points per $1 spend on purchases with Qantas. This made the card a bit redundant - as the whole selling point for the Qantas AMEX card line were to earn big points with the airline on purchases.
Convenience is king when it comes to travel plans. Being able to consolidate as much as possible into one place makes it quicker, easier and more enjoyable.
One rule of thumb then, as Lifehacker noted previously, is to “only bank points for what you plan to use in the next year or so.” Otherwise, you risk devaluing them.
Think of it this way: Why delay your joy? Entertaining dreams of a grand trip is inspiring, but it might bring you just as much joy to take that trip today. So redeem your miles and points now, if you can, not at some obscure future date when they could be worth less.