Using miles for gift cards, save 40% on a flight, keeping up the side hustle and more


This week around the web, a couple of personal finance-related posts caught my eye. While I haven’t ever redeemed my miles at 1c each for gift cards — does it make sense in some scenarios? I’ve argued no in the past — but maybe I’ve been persuaded. Is your approach to personal finance to enjoy life while you can — or to sock it all away now so you can enjoy more later? All that with some nostalgia and discounts to boot in this Frequent Miler week in review around the web:

Actual vs. Speculative Value, and why I Plan to Cash out My Rapid Rewards Points

I spent about the first half of this post completely disagreeing in my head — I didn’t initially think it made sense to value the points at less than current redemption value simply because they might devalue before you can use them. Of course, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Leana at Miles for Family was right about that — after all, points you aren’t using aren’t buying you much value (though, I would note that Leana could use her Rapid Rewards points for that dream trip to Costa Rica). I personally value Rapid Rewards points even a bit more highly than their redemption rate because of the flexibility they provide — I can speculatively book trips and decide up to ten minutes before go time whether or not I’m going to take the trip (whereas I’d only get a voucher food for a year from the date of booking if I made a cash booking, the points just pop back into my account). But when I got about halfway through the Now or Never section of this post, I got on board with Leana’s plan: the long-term cash value of investing for retirement far outweighs the value of holding the points. And so that’s a long winded way of saying that this post was a good reminder that the best value play isn’t necessarily booking an unnecessary trip.

How I view personal finance

While in the summary above, I just advocated for cashing out points at 1c each in order to invest towards retirement, but I’m definitely not a FIRE guy. This post from Miles Per Day really captured my general approach to personal finance: save more than you think you need and find a side hustle — but don’t forget to live. I find the FIRE movement interesting to read about, but I’m not really drawn to the concept of retiring early. I enjoy what I do and my side hustles. I do value financial security, so we do make an effort to both save and invest, but I loved Vinh’s take on balance. I didn’t marry rich…..but lucky for me, neither did my wife. 😀

What people born in the 2000’s will never understand about travel

Gosh, am I getting old enough to feel nostalgic? Gilbert Ott at God Save the Points ruins the illusion of my perpetual youth by reminding me that I am old enough to not just remember these, but to clearly remember them. A year or two ago, my wife and I stumbled on an old roll of film we had never developed….getting the pictures back provided the disappointing reminder of just what poor photographers we were back before you got a thousand takes at the same shot.


Some British Airways Fares 40% Cheaper On Ctrip – Whats The Catch?

Years ago, I was living in Ecuador and booking a flight from Cuzco, Peru to Lima on what was LAN at the time. I had the language on the airline website set to English and had been pricing things out. A few hours later, I must have brought up a different browser and the site came up in Spanish. Rather than take the second to switch the language, I went ahead and searched….and found that the price was about 27% cheaper. I then brought up a different browser and searched in English — nope, the price on the English-language version hadn’t changed, they were just charging foreigners more :-). I don’t often find that kind of difference, but every now and then you stumble on a flight pricing differently out of a foreign market or on a foreign website. Despite having known about Ctrip for years, I’ve never used it much. This post from Loyalty Lobby will have me taking a look.

That’s it for this week around the web. Check back soon for this week’s last chance deals.

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