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  • Liann Walborsky
    Liann Walborsky
    » Communications Manager, Tech CU
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    reward or not?

    April 28, 2014 Posted by: Liann Walborsky

    Oh, the joy of counting your reward points for all the various credit card, hotel and airline frequent traveler programs. Sure, they’re fun to accumulate as you think about going on that long-hoped-for trip to the other side of the world…but how long should you really hold onto these points before using them?

    First of all, similar to normal currency inflation, 25,000 miles isn’t what it used to be. Companies often increase the number of points you need to, say, buy a domestic flight ticket or book a hotel room. There are also more blackout dates and restrictions than ever before. Many points programs have expiration dates that many consumers don’t pay attention to. Below, we’ve listed a couple of signs which may indicate it’s time to cash in those points. 

    • You start receiving letters from your program that “exciting” new enhancements are on their way for all reward members. This may sound favorable, but it often means current benefits are being changed. Call the company and act fast to book a trip prior to the implementation.
    • You’ve reached your savings goal. Maybe you’ve been working towards 100,000 airline points to cover tickets for your family to go on a vacation. As soon as you reach your goal, book that trip. You never know when other restrictions may come into play.
    • You’ve got so many points, you don’t know what to do with them. This is not a bad problem to have, but they will still expire. Think about upgrading to first or business class when you fly. Book a suite at your favorite hotel instead of a smaller room. “Gift” a family member a ticket for a vacation they’ve always wanted. You can even donate points to charity.

    Mainly, don’t just sit around and watch your balance grow. Seize the moment — get the seats you want on a flight, stay at the hotel you’ve always dreamed of. What are you waiting for?

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