I have a challenge for you. Take a moment and ask yourself why you’re spending your time learning about points, miles, and other travel-related stuff. It might take a few moments to come up with an answer, I know I had to think about it for a while. It doesn’t matter what the answer is, just remember the answer.
Personally, I could think of two reasons.
Why Am I Doing This?
The first was to upgrade the way we travel. If I didn’t know anything about miles and points or all of the other hacks I’ve learned over the years, we’d still travel. We’d be flying in economy class and staying at Holiday Inn Express or Hampton Inn or possibly at someplace I read about on TripAdvisor that sounded nice. Instead, we’re able to stay at elegant hotels and fly around the world in lie-flat business class seats.
The other reason is to be able to travel more than we’d otherwise be able to. This could mean going away for a long-weekend trip to New York to see the closing night of one of our favorite Broadway shows or taking an impromptu trip to London because I had the vacation time blocked from work but no plans. We’re also able to make two trips a summer to New Braunfels, Texas so we can visit our favorite waterpark, Schlitterbahn. If I had to pay for the airfare, hotel, and rental car out of pocket, I’m sure we’d still be taking just one trip a year.
These are just two reasons, but I could have easily said that I collect points and miles so we can travel to see friends and family or so that we’re prepared in case of a travel emergency. All of these are valid reasons, the same as whatever your reason is.
There is no wrong answer.
I remember reading a quote a while ago that said something like “Points and miles makes the impossible trip seem normal.” I wish I could remember who it was that said it or the exact quote. (If anyone knows who it was, or if you’re the one who wrote it, let me know so I can give you credit)
Trips we take seem crazy when we talk about them to others. They can’t understand how we can just pop away for the weekend to Texas or how we can stay in a suite in London for five nights without being independently wealthy, which we’re not. Honestly, it’s difficult for me to list all of the incredible things we’ve been able to do because I found out about points and miles when reading a magazine in my doctor’s office waiting room.
Why You Need To Remember The Positives
Got all of that? Great. Remember it the next time you get upset about having to wait on hold for 30 minutes to speak to a representative to sort out a booking. Go to that place when there’s an equipment swap and your carefully picked out seat assignments are now all out of sorts.
The next email alerting you that there was a fraudulent charge on your card and you need to get a new account number or that your account was hacked and you have to change your password. Take a breath and think about all of the great things you’ve been able to do.
This is why despite all of the devaluations, cuts to service, uncomfortable seats, non-functioning Wi-Fi, broken showers and other “noise around the edges,” it helps to keep the bigger picture in mind. We are taking more trips, traveling better and traveling with a purpose more than the everyday tourist.
For that, we should be thankful. Thankful that we found out about this world of points, miles, hacks and hints that allow us to travel the way we do. Grateful for the group of people who are willing to help others learn about these things, just as we were taught when we got started.
I waited to post this until after Thanksgiving because there are other things way more important to be thankful for in our lives. However, I do think there are times when we collectively focus on the negative and forget all of the fantastic, wonderful things that we’re able to do.
So the next time you’re on a trip, take a moment to think about how you got there and how the occasional hiccup along the way is worth dealing with because of the reward at the end of the journey. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of your hard work and be better equipped to tolerate the problems you’ll encounter along the way.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary