Home Points & Miles Should You Buy Points Now? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Should You Buy Points Now? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

by joeheg

It might seem counterintuitive but loyalty programs have kept at their point sales promotions in the midst of a health pandemic that has stopped almost all forms of domestic and international travel.

This offer from American Airlines just ended.


I get it. American gets some much-needed cash in exchange for miles you can use in the future. You’re able to book award flights 331 days out and things will be better by then, right? Of course, you need to remember this about the American Airlines AAdvantage program:

American Airlines reserves the right to change American Airlines AAdvantage® program rules, regulations, travel awards and special offers at any time without notice, and to end the AAdvantage®program with six months’ notice. Any such changes may affect your ability to use the awards or mileage credits that you have accumulated.

Let me ask you this. Do you trust American Airlines to give you value for your miles even if you purchased them at their time of greatest need? If you said yes, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you shares in.

Any points purchased right now, regardless if it’s from airlines or hotels, are purely speculative. You’re betting that the discounts they’re offering will be worth something in the future with no guarantee. It doesn’t help that these offers aren’t much better than those from before this crisis.

It’s not just airlines, as hotels are also aggressively selling points in their loyalty programs. Hilton has a 100% bonus point offer thru May 27th.

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Hilton points normally cost 1 cent each, so a 100% bonus brings down the price to 0.5 cents each. In a prior universe, you could find hotels where that would be a great discount.

But let me ask this question. Do you know how much a hotel room will cost in 3 months? What about 6 months? One year from now? So what will these points you are purchasing now going to be worth?

Of course, you don’t know that answer. Neither do I. Nor do I know what airfares on American Airlines are going to be in the future or which routes they’re still going to be flying. Sure, you can book 331 days out but what if they totally cancel that route? You’ll get those miles back that you paid for but what will you do with them?

While I’m all for helping out local companies in this uncertain time, I’m not going to give a big corporation my money in the hopes I’ll get value in return. They’ve taught us that we’re nothing to them except numbers on a spreadsheet so now that the shoe’s on the other foot, we don’t owe them anything.


#stayhealthy #stayathome #washyourhands

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

Christian April 15, 2020 - 5:12 pm

The thing is, airlines could make a really compelling case for buying miles if they would do three things: sell miles for a penny a point, promise no devaluations for usage through all of 2021 and promise a minimum of two saver seats on every single flight booked through 2021. It would be the equivalent of a giant Black Friday sale. Money would come pouring in. It would be a huge win/win.


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