I know so many people who go to the trouble of collecting points, being loyal to a certain carrier or alliance and then waste the points they earned on un-efficient purchases. The source of the problem is that most people think of points as throwaway when in fact, they are just another form of virtual currency. I decided to cover a few of the many items that you shouldn’t spend points on in this article.
When you come to spend these points, there’s good value purchases and bad value purchases. The rule of thumb for spending frequent flier points, is to spend them on long haul flights in premium cabins. The more value you can squeeze out of your points balance, the better off you are.
This is a common thing I see people doing. A quick look on some of the airline websites show that you can buy a mixed case of 6 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc for 15,000 points or thereabouts. That represents a rough value of $187.50 for 6 bottles of wine. Now, sure, we’re not getting specific on the actual bottles but these kinds of deals aren’t because the airlines have copious amounts of wine to give away. They’re designed to take your points from you for a bad exchange rate.
Just like buying Euros at the airport foreign exchange is a bad choice, so is spending points on wine.
#2 Onboard purchases
You can often purchase things onboard from the duty free store, using points. The value of the item you’re buying is often inflated as it is, and the cash price will be less than the value of the points. These purchases are a scam to get you to spend your points at a bad exchange rate.
British Airways springs to mind here, you can buy a can of drink in their short haul Economy cabin for 500 Avios. That’s around £5 for a can of drink.
#3 Economy flights
If there’s one thing you should rarely do, it’s purchase economy flights with points. Most airlines have pretty high fees, taxes and surcharges when you buy reward or points tickets. Your best strategy is to get the most value out of your points when you make a purchase, so you should be aiming for the highest possible cabin (First, Business and then Premium – in that order) to get the most theoretical value for your points. The only real exception to this rule is when you buy economy flights for cash and then use points to upgrade to the next cabin, they’re often very good value for money.
There are deals out there where you can trade your points for vouchers for other companies affiliated with the airline alliance. Trade x points for y voucher. I have never seen a trade like this that made good sense. These should be avoided just as much as the other items i’ve listed. Treat the points like they’re cash in your pocket, would you trade your cash for the same voucher? Probably not.
Want to make sure you’re getting a good deal? Reach out to us, we will review any points spend for free and tell you whether it’s a smart decision or not.