David J. Danto
Travel thoughts in my
own, personal opinion
eMail: ddanto@IMCCA.org Follow Industry News: @NJDavidD on all
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.
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
This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal
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.