Why Points/Miles?


If you’ve ever had the following thoughts:

  • Boarding zone 37? How is that even possible!?
  • So now I have to put my carry-on bag under the plane because there is no overhead bin space? REALLY!?
  • Middle seat…AGAIN?
  • Who’s armrest is it? Mine or his/hers?
  • I paid $300 for this flight, I can’t even get the whole can of Sprite?
  • Yikes! I didn’t know it was frowned upon to ask for more crackers.
  • This seat doesn’t recline at all?
  • How much does it cost to sit in the front of the plane? Those passengers look very happy!

…you’re in the right place.

I’ve never heard of anyone declining an upgrade to the front of the plane. More space, comfortable seats, personal attention, great food & unlimited sprite and crackers…what’s not to love?


So, let’s start with a concrete example with real numbers to illustrate this concept. Although your budget may not be the same, focus on the big picture because this concept works with ANY budget.


Two couples have decided to go on a “couples trip” this year. Both couples are planning a week-long vacation, will be traveling from Los Angeles to Dubai, live a very similar lifestyle and have the same budget for this trip: $6000


Couple 1 begin their research and discover they have two options 1) book a slightly cheaper flight that connects in Europe and then continues onto Dubai or 2) fly on a non-stop Emirates Airlines flight from the US to Dubai.

Couple 1 has heard a lot of great things about Emirates and don’t want to waste time with a European connection. They decide to buy the Emirates non-stop, economy flight (below).

Additional costs:
Mid-range Dubai Hotel: $150/nt (x7 days) = $1050
Excursion #1: 4×4 Desert Adventure with Dinner = $100 (per person) = $200
Excursion #2: Indoor Skiing at Mall of Emirates = $50 (per person) = $100
Excursion #3: Dubai Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus $100 (per person) = $200

Remaining Balance:

$6000 (budget) – 4000 (airline tickets) – 1550 (hotel & excursions) = ~$450

I sure hope the remaining ~$450 can cover all meals for two people…for a week. Dubai can be expensive!!

Couple 2

Couple #2 has been, strategically, collecting miles and points from various credit cards and would like to travel on the same flight as their friends, however, they determine that “cashing in” miles for two business class tickets on Emirates is a solid redemption. They redeem the miles/points and pay the taxes and fees associated with the award ticket ($200) and they’re done.

Additionally, Couple #2 wants to stay at the same hotel and go on the same excursions as their friends.

Additional costs:
Mid-range Dubai Hotel: $150/nt (x7 days) = $1050
Excursion #1: 4×4 Desert Adventure with Dinner = $100 (per person) = $200
Excursion #2: Indoor Skiing at Mall of Emirates = $50 (per person) = $100
Excursion #3: Dubai Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus $100 (per person) = $200

Remaining Balance:

$6000 (budget) – 200 (airline award fees) – 1550 (hotel & excursions) = ~$4250

Both couples have a great time and look forward to next years annual trip.


Couple #1

  • Emirates Economy Class for 32 hours round-trip
  • After paying for hotel & excursions they have ~$450 remaining for food
  • Have to monitor their spending so they do not exceed the budget

Couple #2

  • Emirates Business Class for 32 hours round-trip
  • After paying for hotel & excursions, they have ~$4300 remaining for food
  • Couple #2, balls out and spends $1300 in food for the week. YOLO!!
  • Note: they also have $3000 remaining from their budget. Fiji…next month anyone?


Contrary to the popular belief, tricks aren’t only for kids. They are for adults that want to improve the quality and quantity of their travel experiences, and spend less to visit the far reaches of the world.

The example above is a simplification of the process. $6000 is A LOT of money (at least in my world) to spend on a trip. However, I want to give you a solid example of how points can be leveraged to subsidize a trip. With a little pre-planning and the right miles, literally, anything is possible.


The best part about points and miles hobby is that it doesn’t require you to do anything extra. You can acquire points by eating out, putting gas in your car, paying your cell phone bill, etc. Those are all activities that you’re going to do, right? Why not get points for doing it?

You in?

p.s. just curious…what couple would you rather be? Couple 1 or 2? 😉



  1. I think this is so important to know because i frown upon using credit cards to the point where I had one only for emergencies…but after reading this and speaking with you countless times I’ve researched credit cards that would be good for me and help in getting points, building credit,etc. I’m looking forward to being couple 2 very soon 😊 thanks for sharing your knowledge! Appreciate you!


  2. Glad to hear that you’ve done your own research in addition to getting advice. Also glad to hear that this example gave you a frame to see it. You’re going to do really well at this and I look forward to seeing your success.


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