If there was ever a consistent theme throughout my three years of blogging, it would be that miles and points hoarding, in general, is not a good thing. In many ways, it’s a more evolved form of greed, and can really weigh one down. It’s ironic because often people become points hoarders because they want to feel free.
In theory, it makes all kinds of sense. Just imagine having millions of miles and points! You can travel anywhere, anytime and in style! Except, most of the time people don’t. Other than a few fortunate ones, folks have demanding jobs and very limited vacation time. Not to mention, too much travel can sometimes wear you out. Just ask my husband.
But once you get the rush of collecting miles and points with relatively little effort, it becomes addictive. You want more. In some ways, this hobby magnifies your flaws and shortcomings.
I’ve noticed this about myself. If you have a tendency toward OCD, miles and points will make the condition worse, guaranteed. Were you a little freaky before stumbling across our universe? The “freak” factor is now multiplied ten fold, no?
If a person is a little selfish, many times they will become even more so after discovering this hobby. I have my own term for these folks: Mile Monster
Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
No offense, guys and gals! A few signs of a Mile Monster:
1) Going into a profanity-filled rant in the forums or comments sections when the bank denies their credit card application for having 20 inquiries in the last year. How dare they?
2) Complaining and insulting a Walmart employee who doesn’t want to help them buy money order with a Visa gift card (which is technically against the rules).
What do we want? Miles. When do we want them? Now.
The whole world exists to further increase their multi-million points’ stash. The ironic thing is, the more miles a Mile Monster has, the more they are dissatisfied. After all, now they have more to lose due to inevitable devaluations. It becomes “us vs. them” kind of thing.
Everyone, it seems, is out to get their miles. Banks, airlines, bloggers, newbies, they are the enemy ruining their sweet gig. So, they feel the need to go out and get more miles to lessen the impact of the inevitable catastrophe or MILEtastrophe.
Watch out, there is a Mile Monster inside all of us, waiting to bust out. Unless you learn to contain or better yet, squash it for good, it can turn you into a person you never thought you would become. An unkind, self-absorbed, miserable human being.
But there is the other side of the coin. Having a huge supply of miles and points can make you more generous toward others. It’s true, there is always a chance that someone will take advantage of you or might not appreciate all the work you’ve put into collecting your “free” miles and points. It’s the nature of the beast, and sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and help others because it’s the right thing to do. Not for the praise or glory, but because you have the ability to do so.
I find that I’m much more willing to part with miles and points than I do with cash. I try to do both, of course. But in general, if someone who is in need called me up and wanted to buy a ticket that costs $600, I most likely would contribute something, but I wouldn’t cover the whole thing. Though I probably would consider using 50,000 miles if I didn’t have any immediate use for them.
The same goes for hotel points. My worst/best experience with this occurred 2.5 years ago. I wrote about it in my blog, so won’t rehash it. I think I redeemed at least 50,000 IHG points on a hotel that was on a PointBreaks list, a total of 10 nights. It was a wonderful coincidence that has helped take a financial sting out of tragic situation. The rooms at that place were going for close to $100 per night, including tax.
The thing is, those 50,000 points were not free. I’ve acquired them via various promos for probably close to $135 out-of-pocket. But I was so glad that I did because finally this hobby and the ridiculous amount of time I spend on it were put to good use. There was absolutely no way I could drop a $1,000 on hotels in order to help these folks, but an equivalent of $135 was definitely within my means.
The points were not used for travel, but for something far more important. I’ve received a beautiful card from the aunt of the little boy thanking me for help. I look at it now and again. It’s hard because it brings back painful memories, but it also reminds me what this hobby should be all about. Sometimes even hoarding can be a good thing as long as you keep the Mile Monster contained.
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