Things I’m thankful for in miles & points (On Nick’s mind)

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As many of us in the United States pause today to give thanks, and as I sit in the lobby of a nice hotel where I’ve been enjoying a week with my family without spending anything on the room, parking, resort fee, or breakfast each day, I can’t help but stop and be thankful for the games we play. While there are many more important things for which to be thankful today, here are a few things I’m very thankful for in miles & points.

Rich credit card rewards

There is no doubt that the United States has an incredibly generous system of credit card rewards. Banks offer incredible bonuses to people opening new accounts and the ongoing rewards for spend appear to be unmatched in other countries.

Thanks to that very generous system of credit card rewards and learning how to leverage my miles and points, my family enjoys far more travel in far more comfort than we otherwise would.

Chase Ink 5x Office Supply Stores

Staples Store

Who in this game doesn’t love a good Office Supply store sale? That is no doubt in large part due to the generous rewards of the Chase Ink Cash card, which bonuses office supply store purchases at 5x. Whatever kind of business you’re in, you probably need office supplies — and the occasional gift card sale doesn’t hurt.

Goodness knows that I have put my Chase Ultimate Rewards to use over the years to stay in many incredible Hyatt hotels. In some cases, I’d rather not think about how much it cost me to make those redemptions, but on the other hand I have thoroughly enjoyed using my Hyatt points to be an imposter in a world where I don’t belong.

Hyatt’s award chart

It’s hard not to be thankful for Hyatt’s award chart, without which I probably wouldn’t have stayed at the Andaz 5th Ave in this 1 bedroom suite recently.

Speaking of Hyatt, one has to be thankful for the fact that, unlike their major competitors, Hyatt actually maintains an award chart, setting expectations as to how many points you will need to stay at a particular hotel. I think it’s an important promise of value to customers that deserves credit.

I am additionally thankful for the fact that Hyatt has an established award chart for club rooms and suites — even premium suites. Suites went from something I didn’t care about at all to a fun luxury now and then to something that feels nearly essential now that I travel with young kids. Being able to book a great suite using a predictable number of points (and at good value for my points) is hugely valuable to me and will likely keep me highly invested in Hyatt’s ecosystem for the foreseeable future. I’m thankful to not need to rely on elite benefits but rather to be able to lock in a suite with points at times when it really matters to me.

Stackery

I’ve always enjoyed getting a good deal (don’t we all?), but the ability to stack a deal multiple ways is something for which I have to stop and be thankful because it has enabled me to afford a “better” lifestyle. I put the word “better” in quotation marks because I didn’t have the right adjective there (better than what?). In some cases, the ability to stack deals like discount codes and shopping portals and card-linked offers and credit card rewards or benefits has meant that I could buy a higher quality (or higher luxury) item than I would have with my budget, in other cases it has meant being able to earn outsized rewards for purchases I’d have to make anyway, and it has undoubtedly meant more money in my savings and investments thanks to having spent less.

While not exactly the type of deal I was thinking about when writing the previous paragraph, a recent example that comes to mind is my flight on JetBlue this past weekend. I flew JetBlue with six other family members using points I earned entirely from JetBlue’s card-linked program. Those points were almost entirely earned from purchases made at Lowe’s that I’d have made with or without those rewards which stacked on top of a good sale and credit card rewards. In that case, stacking deals made it possible to treat the whole family to a getaway for the Thanksgiving holiday. Unfortunately, Lowe’s is no longer in the JetBlue card-linked program — but I’m happy for the stackery while it was possible.

The Amex Points Parade

There is no doubt that the past couple of years have been an absolute goldmine in terms of credit card welcome bonuses and no issuer has been more generous than Amex. We have seen an absolute points parade march onward and upward this way and that for the past couple of years. Amex is making it rain points and if you aren’t filling a bucket or two now I wonder why not?

For me, the highlight of the parade of course was earning more than half a million points when I purchased a minivan earlier this year. But that’s not been half the story in terms of Membership Rewards points earned this year in my household. We have continued to see incredible welcome bonuses, referral bonuses, and the chance to expand your membership with additional cards.  I have to stop and give thanks to Amex for the generous rewards they have been doling out these past couple of years. We flew to Europe a couple of times this year in business class thanks in part to Amex points.

Let the band play on.

Friendships I’ve made

Just a couple of conversations above with miles & points friends.

This crazy hobby of miles & points is something that just doesn’t appeal to everyone. I’m sure few people reading this will be discussing miles & points over turkey this afternoon — and if you’re tempted to do so, consider sparing your family and friends who don’t care about loyalty programs and credit card rewards. There are plenty of other worthy pursuits in life to discuss that won’t gloss over everyone’s eyes.

But I’m thankful for a community of people for whom this stuff doesn’t gloss over the eyes but who rather get excited about this stuff. It’s fun having people with whom to share the excitement of a great redemption or an unexpected stack or from whom to learn about what works here or how something else works there and so on.

I’ve further really enjoyed learning from the people I’ve met. If you spend much time attending conferences and meetups in this space, you’ll quickly find that the people who really get into this stuff tend to be the maximizers of the world – people who find ways to extract maximum benefit for minimal cost in so many arenas of life. There are a lot of smart, successful people who play this game and I’ve learned valuable lessons from the connections I’ve made along the way and discussions that expanded beyond credit card rewards. That includes plenty of readers — both those who I’ve met at conferences and those who have simply commented on posts. And on that note….

You, the reader of this blog

I couldn’t possibly consider things I’m thankful about in miles and points and not mention the people who read this blog and others like it and who listen to our podcast and watch our videos and leave comments and participate in our Facebook group and follow us on Instagram and give us tips and who ultimately keep us in business. Thank you to those of you who have indulged my long-winded posts to the end and come back for more. I have been incredibly fortunate to write for a readership that is so engaged in this hobby and tireless in their interest in hearing more about it. I can’t adequately express my appreciation, but thank you.

Greg, the Frequent Miler

Finally, I have to express my thanks to the man, the myth, the legend: Greg, the Frequent Miler. Long before I worked for this site, I read it. I woke up in the morning excited to read about whatever was on the Frequent Miler’s mind. When I first saw Greg speak at an FTU years ago, my mind was blown. I thought I had known everything I needed to know about earning miles and points and in the space of 45 minutes he made me realize that I was only scratching the surface — and that inspired me to dig deeper. Years later, it led to my wife encouraging me to apply when Greg posted a full time job opening and I have told anyone willing to listen that I hit the employment lottery. I’m thankful to Greg for so much, but for today join me in thanking him for having built an incredible resource and community and a great place to work in this blog and the things that accompany it.

Thanks Greg, readers, and miles and points for helping me get far more for far less in so many ways. There is no doubt that this hobby has continued to provide an incredible ride.

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Joe S

Did you enjoy the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress?

Wai Boon

All thanks to Greg and Nick, I managed to get Globalist with WOH, Titanium with Marriott and plenty business and first class flights in just 2 years. Dream come true for me as I didn’t know a middle income person could fly his whole family in business and first to Europe and America from Malaysia with just miles and points. I will continue to read and learn from the blog. Please keep up the good work 🙂

Michael Scott

Nick,
I am thankful that you are such a prolific content creator. Someone once suggested to learn something new everyday. All I have to do is read your blog. Thanks.

MalMel

Thank you Greg and Nick for enriching our lives. I can’t add anything more to all of the comments, they all resonate my thoughts.

Additional thanks to BBK’s comment: “Love to finally read the Gratitude and some love to a GREAT Country”.

Thank you for remaining positive, hopeful, honest and caring.

PSL

Thank you, Nick, for keeping us abreast of all the great deals to be had in the wide world of points, miles and status.While this hobby takes time and effort, when I consider that the hotel rooms on my next vacation would have cost over $8,000 rather than the less than $500 that I’m paying, it is well worth it.

Dr. McFrugal

Thank you for all that you do. FM is the only points and miles blog that I follow daily. Because of your informative posts, I have maximized so much of my travel it’s incredible.

Playing this game has made all our extraordinary luxury travel experiences feel a bit more ordinary. It’s so important to take a step back and think about how amazing this game is and how grateful we are to play it!!!

Betty Mc

Thank you for this article Nick and thanks to the entire Frequent Miler Team. You are the best!

John Power

I’m thankful for all the help you guys give people like me. And I’m especially thankful for the Air Canada Aeroplan 30% transfer bonus….just saved almost 200,000 Chase points on a US/Europe/Africa trip by using your recommendations and transferring to Air Canada for lower flight costs and the 30% bonus.

Bulls_fan

You’re a good man, Nick and we’re all thankful for you

Joseph Giorgianni

Thank you so much for a great website! Happy Thanksgiving from upstate New York!

BBK

Wonderful post by Nick as always!
I am thankful for all the value this blog has added me.

Love to finally read the Gratitude and some love to a GREAT Country:There is no doubt that the United States has an incredibly generous system of credit card rewards. Banks offer incredible bonuses to people opening new accounts and the ongoing rewards for spend appear to be unmatched in other countries”.

Opposite to the awful ‘trend’ of bashing everything US (envy? probably), the statement you made is absolutely true. When I didn’t had the privilege of living in this wonderful country, I could only drool over the opportunities you guys had.

To this date, myself and a huge bunch of all my former employees from Venezuela (who always took good care in listening to my advice) managed to move here and we couldn’t be any happier.

I even have a couple of friends from Europe who moved to the US to be able to enjoy those great opportunities.

Happy Thanksgiving for you all! and always count your Blessings.

LarryInNYC

I’m grateful to spend an hour or so each week with Greg & Nick listening to the laughter and big dreams while honing my limited skills in a subject that benefits me and the people I care about.

Stevenson

I am thankful to both Nick & Greg, specifically for their Wyndham/Vacasa redemption. Without you two, I never would have had multiple family trips to Hawaii. Thank you again.

Ann

Happy to read this post, but I do have an important question. When redeeming miles for air or points for a hotel, can one expect to get a senior discount, meaning, do they give one a break in the points or miles, as one would get when paying? You are not a senior, I take it, but I am! Any thoughts? Does one have to book via AARP website to get any sort of discount? For example, I just used a huge number of BA miles to book a flight. Did not go thru AARP to do so and booked on Iberia to get club seats. Would I have been smarter to book thru AARP? Or can I still ask BA to reduce the number of miles I used? Same question for hotel bookings I’ve made in advance of upcoming travel. Booked via Marriott and IHG sites. Thanks.

Lee

At its simplest, you guys enrich and elevate people’s quality of life. It’s manifested differently for each person but that’s what you guys do. Is it even possible to express gratitude in words?

JaviG

”points to be an imposter in a world where I don’t belong” – this line really resonated with me. I think about that often when I am staying at a room that goes for $800+ a night. This hobby has opened up a new world for me and my family. Thank you!

Jlee

My thoughts exactly!

Darin

What I’m thankful for? A miles/points blog that respects its readers. I’m thankful for all the things this blog isn’t: no pumping credit cards for the sake of referrals, no links to inferior offers, no posts about travelers behaving badly, no hyperbolic headlines, no political posts trolling for trolls, no posts about Capitol One without clear warnings that you’re unlikely to be approved. And all the things this blog is: thoughtful, researched, informative, and most of all respectful of its audience.

You guys are a class act and pretty much stand alone in your field. Thank you for doing what you do.

Frank

I totally second Darin’s comments. Frequent Miler = Integrity, Honesty, Respect, Intelligence, and just plain Good Sense. Putting their customers ahead of themselves. Head and shoulders above the rest.

Mary Jane

I third that!!!

Mark

I’m probably preaching to the choir at this point, but this!!! Honestly and integrity (in addition to great information) is what made this my top travel blog.

Mercedes

Know what I am Thankful for from Frequent Miler? The Podcast! Someone on 10xTravel recommended it earlier this year, and boy do I love it now. One of my top 3 or 4 favorite podcasts. I listen while getting my daily exercise, and yours are long enough to get me through 2 days, which I very much appreciate. Something else I have noticed this year is that you guys have taught me to like math again. I have kinda hated math since I did what I had to do to graduate college, but the embracing of points and numbers has gotten me excited about math after all these years.

Jimmy

Really appreciate FM but want to give a special shout out to Nick’s reviews which I always enjoy. So nice to see honest and thoughtful reviews without the overhype seen elsewhere. I always get useful information that allows me to decide if something is a good fit for my tastes. Great job.

billy56

Thanks for content

Raghu N

Same feeling here. Thank you The FM team, miles and points community and the whole US credit card/travel partners ecosystem. As Nick put it, I am an imposter in emirates first class cabin!!
My family has enjoyed stays at ventana Big Sur, flown premium cabin on Singapore, Cathay , Qatar and Emirates
Thank you all and a very Happy thanksgiving !!

Raghu

Jeff

Great article, Nick. Love Frequent Miler. Listen to you and Greg every Saturday and you guys have helped P2 and I enjoy some mind bendingly awesome trips with more to come.
You guys have the most integrity in the game.
Thank you.

ItsMe

You guys rock!

cavedweller

Yes a fine job and a very Good team, maybe let the others post more or more $$$$ to Them..
V Bernie

Della

What a thoughtful post! I enjoy waking up each morning and reading all of the posts here. I subscribe to many blogs but FM is my favorite for the easy to read content and layout. Keep up the great work – You guys do an awesome job! Oh and same goes for the podcast. FM is killing it all the way around!

Dee

Happy Thanksgiving to Team Frequent Miler.

It is coming up on 12 years since I took a deeper dive into the points & miles world. I think I’ve been reading Frequent Miler since the beginning, or pretty close to it. Frequent Miler is by far my favorite source for all things points & miles and the only blog I still follow daily.

My whole family (P2 + 5 adult offspring + their SOs + I) are grateful for Team Frequent Miler sharing their expertise with us. Our travel experiences are enhanced by applying what we learn from you all. So, thank you very much.

Bob

Just want to chime in and thank FM team for everything you do. What a great resource for everything miles and points. Really appreciate transparency and honesty with CC offers, hotel reviews, etc. Keep up the great work. Just one request – Nick, what is the backstory with fedora? I am sure it’s a fun one.

Happy Thanksgiving

Weather

Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

Stookey

If you love what you do, life is an endless vacation! Happy Thanksgiving!