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What's your plan? Hoard miles or burn em if you got em?

What's your plan? Hoard miles or burn em if you got em?

Old Feb 26, 14, 9:18 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: En Route
Programs: Many
Posts: 6,732
What's your plan? Hoard miles or burn em if you got em?

With the wave of devaluations going on across pretty much every program, what are you doing with your miles now? Trying to sit on a pile and hoard more for an aspirational trip, or burning them as fast as you can on future trips you may or may not take just to get them on the books? I have been trying to burn, burn, burn (which I successfully did with just about all my UA miles), but as a result, I have no time left to plug more trips in this year, and I'm worried other miles will be devalued before I can burn them.
GetSetJetSet is offline  
Old Feb 26, 14, 10:05 pm
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Boulder
Programs: AA Plat, CX Silver
Posts: 2,357
Earn 'n burn.

Just after UA's devaluation was announced I hopped on the LH YYZ-MUC F train and booked a trip to Berlin and the Alps. Using a bunch of Club Carlson points along the way.

The day of the UA devaluation, I booked BR's Hello Kitty service TYO-TPE in J for the hell of it and then added in DEN-ORD-NRT on AA/JL F and HKG-LAX-DEN on CX/AA F. Going in November.

Burning Hyatt points in Tokyo, SPG in TPE and HHonors in HKG. In fact, all 12 nights are on points.

I'll probably hold on to a small stash of AA miles (~150k right now) and keep earning those. I'm focusing Chase points on Hyatt and KE going forward.
txflyer77 is offline  
Old Feb 26, 14, 11:03 pm
Join Date: Feb 2009
Programs: AA 1MM, Hyatt GP Platinum, *wood Gold
Posts: 149
What's your plan? Hoard miles or burn em if you got em?

Burn baby burn! I'm an elite member with AAdvantage, so I use my miles to book 4-5 star boutique hotels at what appear to be industry discount rates through useAAmiles. I don't really care about being upgraded as long as I can snag an economy seat with extra legroom (and I usually do), and I need to shell out for tickets so I can maintain my elite status. I only use miles for flights when the tickets are prohibitively expensive compared to the cost of accommodations. I'm also free from the tyranny of frequent-stay programs, which don't always have the best hotel rooms in my favorite cities.
milehound is offline  
Old Feb 27, 14, 6:37 am
Join Date: May 2011
Location: NYC
Programs: UA 1K, AS MVP Gold, TK *Gold, HHonors Gold, SPG Plat, Marriott Plat, Hyatt Diamond
Posts: 570
What's your plan? Hoard miles or burn em if you got em?

if you have elite status (like I do with UA), I'd book all trips that I even remotely plan on taking. Besides that, I like to maintain 100k-ish in each program for emergencies.

But in general, earn n burn. No point in hoarding
Duffman is offline  
Old Feb 27, 14, 6:44 am
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Indianapolis
Programs: Hilton-Diamond Lifetime Platinum AA UA, WN-CP, SPG Gold.
Posts: 7,143
As we age, the desire to stay home feels better, and the miles we need is less.

The body grows tired.
satman40 is offline  
Old Feb 27, 14, 6:46 am
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Guangzhou, China
Programs: HHonors Gold, Star Alliance Gold, IHG Platinum
Posts: 187
I agree the strong trend of devaluations makes it rather silly to hoard airmiles or hotel points BURN EM !
Plissken is offline  
Old Feb 27, 14, 7:16 am
Join Date: May 2007
Location: IAD
Posts: 2,060
If they're with an airline that has such a program, please donate them. (But wait until I get my charity on the lists - LOL!)

Seriously, as someone who volunteers for a charity that depends a lot on air travel, it's much better to use miles to book tickets so that we can spend our donation revenue on our actual program goals.
jcwoman is offline  
Old Feb 27, 14, 8:03 am
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Pittsburgh
Programs: MR/SPG LT Titanium, AA LT PLT, UA SLV, Avis PreferredPlus
Posts: 28,427
Originally Posted by GetSetJetSet View Post
With the wave of devaluations going on across pretty much every program, what are you doing with your miles now?
Is there something I recently missed that has accelerated the ongoing devaluation over the last several years? Hilton was a year or two ago, SPG and Marriott 2-3 years ago. Most of the airlines introduced "Saver" and Normal award schedules, replacing what used to be only at the new Saver level several years ago, effectively doubling the cost of many awards.

Delta may have shaken up the model, but the net effect in terms of "value" is unclear, and from what I've seen about a wash across the board.

I was quoted in the USAToday travel section 2-3 years ago that the golden age of "loyalty" programs had passed and it was now a revenue stream. Several scoffed at the time, but I stand by the assessment and believe it is still true. I've seen no recent "wave" that isn't a continuation of the ongoing evolution and decimation of the original intent of these programs. If you haven't been burning over the last 3-5 years, you've lost a lot - it isn't just starting.

Personally, I'm down a couple million points over the last 2 years, though I still seem to earn hotel points faster than I can burn them.
CPRich is offline  
Old Feb 27, 14, 8:08 am
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: K+K
Programs: *G
Posts: 4,558
burn burn burn. im a hoarder by nature but snapped out of it a few years ago. i actually have a problem using miles since (1) need to book rev tickets to maintain status [&earn more miles!] (2) need to use use-it-or-lose-it travel allowance ....

now the problem is having enough time to use the travel!
deniah is offline  
Old Feb 27, 14, 9:06 am
Senior Moderator/Moderator: Coronavirus, United MileagePlus
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Francisco, CA
Programs: UA Plat/2MM [23-yr. 1K, now emeritus] WN-A List; MR LT Titanium; HY Whateverist.
Posts: 12,259
As this concerns the strategy for using miles, please follow the thread as it moves to the MilesBuzz forum. Ocn Vw 1K, Moderator, TravelBuzz.
Ocn Vw 1K is offline  
Old Feb 27, 14, 9:16 am
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: San Antonio
Programs: AS MVP
Posts: 2,276
1. Earn at the lowest possible cost, and ignore opportunities to 'buy' miles that take money out of my pocket without some way to offset it.
2. Burn as efficiently as possible and travel at every opportunity.
KennyBSAT is offline  
Old Feb 27, 14, 11:54 am
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 690
Used to horde miles, but every program has been devaluing so quickly that I've changed my strategy. Trying to burn all of my United miles, but the inventory definitely isn't what it used to be for saverpass. That doesn't get noticed because it still beats Delta and AA, but IME they have definitely reduced the saver inventory in both economy and first.
fragment54 is offline  
Old Feb 27, 14, 12:04 pm
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: ORF
Programs: UA Silver, MR titanium
Posts: 1,897
I will buck the trend and say I am still a hoarder with a min of 200k in the four main airlines, no doom and gloom for me
yuel is offline  
Old Feb 27, 14, 12:26 pm
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: PHX
Programs: Whatever you have, I have too.
Posts: 374
I've always been an earn'em and burn'em type. Joined programs back in the early 1980's and have stayed loyal to a strategy of plan the trip, get the miles/points accrued for the trip, take the trip, come home, start on the next one.
Tpa-flyer is offline  
Old Feb 27, 14, 1:00 pm
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 69,213
It was never smart to hoard miles. It remains that way today.
sbm12 is offline  

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