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  • Jason

Introduction - Collecting Airline Points - Part 1

In this post and the next three that follow, we are going to provide an introduction to collecting airlines points by examining some of the misconceptions about collecting points. In my experience it's often those misconceptions that result in people placing little value on airline points and which prevents people from seeing airline points as a practical option for free flights.

For several years now I have been using airline points to fly for cheap, primarily using Aeroplan points and Alaska Airline miles and, in the last few years, British Airways Avios points. As a family of five, points have always been a part of our vacation planning strategy, making trips more affordable by getting five economy class tickets on points. In recent years I have been getting even more value out of points and miles by taking international trips in business class – and let me tell you, it’s a significant improvement over economy class!

I often have friends and colleagues asking me how I manage to take trips on points (those questions become even more frequent when I travel business class). There appears to be a general impression among most people that frequent flyer points have little value and aren’t worth the time and effort to collect in any organized fashion. Sure, most people will put in a half-hearted effort to collect points by signing up for frequent flyer programs only to often see their points expire due to lack of activity in their account or they eventually redeem their points on an overpriced toaster just so they can see some tangible value from their points.

It's the general impression people have to airlines points that brings us to one of the purposes of the PointsPals website. We want to show people just how easy it is to collect and redeem points and miles so that they too can use points to book that family vacation or luxury getaway at a significant cost savings.

So, what is stopping people from utilizing airlines points and miles? Below are the most common refrains I hear:

1. “It takes far too long to ever earn enough points to actually redeem for a flight”;

2. “It’s impossible to find award space for to the places I want to travel to on the dates I want to travel”; and

3. “The taxes and fees associated with using points are so high that the value of the points are minimal.”

First, let me say that each of the above criticisms are perfectly legitimate. That is likely the experience of an overwhelming majority of points collectors. However, there are different strategies that can be employed to overcome, at least to a certain extent, each of the above issues so that you can put yourself on the path to collecting and redeeming points to start enjoying international business class flights (or a greater number of economy class flights if that's what makes you happy).

If you are looking for a guide to tell you how with no effort and at no cost you can collect points and fly international business class around the world, then keep looking because this is not that guide, primarily because I don't think that is possible. However, I do believe that most everyone can reach the goal of taking an international business class flight (or several economy class flights) in a relatively short period of time at relatively little cost (not free) with some effort and diligence and by putting a plan in place to reach that goal. One of our goals at PointsPals is to show you how to do exactly that. Of course, our other goal is to provide you with reviews of flights with different carriers and different aircraft, airport lounges, hotels and restaurants around the world to give you some inspiration for those travel goals. For example, the next planned trip I have coming up in March 2020 includes San Francisco, Lisbon, Rome, Johannesburg, Perth, Singapore and Seoul – all in business class and booked on points. PointsPals Ladi is almost always on the road in a less predictable fashion so will constantly be providing reviews from around the world.

In our next post, we were going to discuss each of the above criticisms about airline points programs and see if we can’t clarify some of the misconceptions that prevent people from realizing the significant value in collecting points.

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