David J. Danto


Travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion




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Banking The Future – October 2023


  I and others have written a lot lately about the disseapearing value of loyalty programs. If you’re still accruing and banking airline miles’ and hotel ‘points’ to save for future use, I believe you’re now in the minority.  As you bank these miles and points, the travel providers both make it harder to get them and constantly devalue them.  But what is the implication of banking for the future in and of itself?

I remember and take seriously the traditional tale of the Ant and the Grasshopper.  If you’re not familiar with it, it is a fable that details how saving for the future is wiser than living-it-up in the present.  I’m always (over) preparing for the future, and equipping myself for unexpected issues.  But was it wise of me (and many others) to be banking miles and points for ‘future travel?’  Will we ever take that trip around the world, that month in Hawaii or tour that exotic location with our spouse? 

There are two big problems with doing that.  The first is how the value of said points and miles continues to plummet.  As I’ve said before, it’s like keeping money in a bank that decides your dollar is worth ninety-five cents this month, eighty-five cents next month, and whatever the heck they want the following month.  It makes no sense to hold these when their value is always going down.  (In my first days as a Hilton HHonors Diamond there used to be a ‘week in Hawaii’ award – ALON I believe – for 200K points.  A quick look at my Diamond account just now shows six nights in Waikiki starts at 300K points at their cheapest property there, and goes up to over a million points at nicer properties – all for what used to be the flat 200K.)  Airlines and hotels both increase the cost in miles and points to do anything, and reduce your ability to earn them.  Saving them for some future time is simply no longer wise.  As I’ve said many times, as soon as you have enough for any award, spend them / cash them in for their current value before they go down further.

The second problem is a bigger one.  Will your future nirvana ever come?  At what point in your and/or your family’s future will everyone have the time, and more importantly the health to take that exotic trip?  Is taking a long walk on the beach as much fun if you are so old that you can’t handle the walk?  Is that exotic trip all you had in mind if your health is so bad that you can barely enjoy it?  Mind you, I’m taking nothing away from travelers with disabilities enjoying everything they can do.  I’m simply pointing out that we should all be taking the time to enjoy our lives now, not during some future when we may not be able to do as much as we can today.

I had my own health scare last year, and while I’m much better now and have regained just about all of my prior stamina, it was a huge wake-up-call to think that all those wonderful trips I wanted to take may never happen.  My wife and I always took the time to grab a long-weekend here and there, but we were holding off on the big trips until we experienced this incident.  We’ve now toured Europe, been on a safari and are planning to visit the glaciers near Alaska before they sadly disappear. 

We’re no longer banking points and miles for some future that may never come.  The future is now, and now is what we’re planning for.



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Add to all the above the news stories telling us that Venice is sinking, the leaning tower is closed due to a risk of falling, the glaciers are melting, and many wonders of the world are eroding.  Go now! 




This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.

All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.

Copyright 2023 David Danto


As always, feel free to write and comment, question or disagree.  Hearing from the traveling community is always a highlight for me.  Thanks!