Bloggers have a tendency to write only about the ‘right’ ways to earn and burn miles. As is the case with many learned skills, it is often from the dumb mistakes we’ve made along the way that help us get to the where we are today. In the first, Blogger Confession, we’d like to share some of Points, Miles and Martinis poorest redemptions we’ve ever made as we were learning ‘the game’. Not surprisingly, all of these redemptions are still available to those who haven’t discovered Boarding Area.
1. Exchanging one years’ worth of Amex points for shirts
In my first year as a road warrior, I racked up thousands and thousands of AMEX points from my Amex corporate card and I really didn’t know what to do with them. I debated getting an iPod Photo but ultimately decided that I could use my corporate spend points as a 1% rebate for Non-Iron shirts at Brooks Brothers. Since I needed to replenish my Business Casual anyways, I traded in thousands of points in over and over again for gift cards. I knew that Amex points could transfer to Amex points to miles since I was flying American Airlines each week and they weren’t a partner, I figured there were better uses (Obviously I had yet to understand points diversification). For more than a year of my life, thousands and thousands of my Amex points were turned into shirts. Bad idea.
2. Redeeming SPG points for Amazon Gift Cards because I feared a devaluation was imminent
As the economy was hitting a low point and the hotels were releasing incredibly lucrative promotions quarter after quarter, I was racking up (what I thought at the time) crazy amounts of Starpoints. I convinced myself without consulting anyone else that this pace of points distribution from SPG was unsustainable and thus they would surely devalue the currency. I needed to liquidate so I started redeeming Starpoints for Amazon Gift Cards for a tiny bit better than a penny a piece. Bad idea.
3. Using SPG Flights to purchase two round trip domestic tickets to Austin
After draining my Starpoint account on Amazon gift cards, I let the account grow a little until I received an email describing the newly launched SPG Flights program in which you could redeem Starpoints for any airline with no blackout dates. I really wanted to go to Austin so I just pulled up the SPG Flights and booked two roundtrip tickets for 40,000 Starpoints. I thought I got a phenomenal deal until I checked the American Airlines website and found the same flights for 220 dollars after taxes. Bad idea.
The bottom line
It may seem that bloggers always use their points intelligently but this blog is proud of its heritage of making stupid mistakes. The best way to learn is by messing up so the next time you think you are making a poor redemption…..you probably are, but do it anyways!