Sometimes it makes sense NOT to redeem points or miles

What do you mean it makes sense not to use points or miles?

Well, I said, sometimes. Remember, the “point” of using points (See what I did there?)… is to save you money from what you would have spent otherwise. For example, on my one way ticket to China, it cost me $132. For argument’s sake, let’s say I could have gotten the same ticket by redeeming 70,000 points, then I’d only be saving $132, or getting my points valued at $.0018 cents per point. (132 divided by 70,000). That’s less than two tenths of a cent per point. Not even a penny. Heck not even a tenth of a penny.

But, when I redeemed 70,000 points for a first class ticket from China to New York, I saved over six thousand dollars! That works out to getting more than eight and a half cents per point. In a strict evaluation of what a point is worth, I’m getting about 40 times the value from deal #2 than deal #1.

Beyond that though, the valuation of the points are irrelevant when it comes to the dollars and cents from my bank account. We can talk on and on about points and miles, but where it matters when it’s all said and done is in our bank accounts. How much money did we save by redeeming our points or miles?

If I didn’t use points and paid for everything, then I’d spend $132 on the first leg of my trip. I’d then have to spend $6,000 on the second leg of my trip. For such a low cost ticket like the one I got through, it doesn’t make sense to use any points. $132 out of pocket is nothing compared to what it would cost me for future plane rides, train tickets, or hotel stays. $132 for one way flight within the United States would be a good deal, much less for an international flight through Europe and then on to China.

In short, whenever you can get a fantastic travel deal, consider not redeeming your points unless it absolutely makes sense. Instead hold onto those points for the big ticket trips that allow you to get the most value from your points or miles, and save you the most money.