When you come to spending points, there are a few things to consider. Having a plan before you begin the transaction is an advantage for you. Spending points blindly without considering the consequences usually results in a bad value trade unless you’re a pro. Make sure you ask yourself these three questions before trying to execute a points trip.
Is there any availability?
For you to spend points, there needs to be the availability of reward seats on the flight you wish to take. This is one of the first hurdles that come up and most people fail here. Availability is probably one of the hardest factors for spending points. It’s going to be hard finding it at peak times and on popular routes.
Remember to be flexible and if you cannot find availability in the cabin you want, consider taking the cabin below if that is available and then upgrade later.
Is it a good deal?
We’ve written about this subject before. If you’re spending your points on a flight in Premium Economy, Business or First, that’s a good thing. Economy flights are rarely good value, but the other cabins can be great value. The key aspect here is how does the points ticket compare to a cash ticket equivalent and do you have any vouchers or other tools you can use to extend your advantage.
Buying a points ticket that costs more than an equivalent cash ticket is a waste. It’s best to avoid doing this when possible.
Is there an alternative?
Do you even need to use the points? There’s a common understanding in the points industry that you should earn & burn fairly quickly. Sitting on a large amount of points long term risks them being devalued in some way. However, for most normal travellers, maintaining a little slush fund to use for the right opportunity is fine. Spending for the sake of spending probably won’t result in a fantastic deal. If your trip can be made using another method of similar value, then that’s what you should do.
Not sure about how to plan your next points trip? Let us know and we can work up some options for you that avoid these pitfalls.