Being in the miles and points game is a very basic part of our everyday traveling routine but during difficult times it’s actually quite useful to have a stack of loyalty currency to use up.
While most revenue fares are very restricted in terms of routing it’s possible to use your miles to book complicated routings if you want to avoid certain areas and take a long detour.
This is especially useful right now where there are entry restrictions in many countries and often times travelers are forced to make a large detour around them, plus of course the cost usually involved in such a project can be completely avoided.
Here is an example what kind of routings are available when trying to book a flight from Tokyo to Bali booked via United Airlines Mileage Plus:
I use several such awards per year to keep my options open such as adding a final segment to a destination where I’m not 100% sure yet if I really want to go there. If I decide to not go I’ll just stay at the second last destination, in the example above that would be Bangkok.
In the past I was also often able to use miles in case of emergencies such as when the Fukushima nuclear incident took place and the only flight out of Tokyo were on United First Class to Singapore. Back then I managed to book 4 last minute tickets for friends who wanted to get out. Everything else was totally sold out and booking these flights with cash is pretty much impossible considering the price.
Of course we shouldn’t forget about the financial impact of a possible looming recession and given how the stock market went in the past few weeks many might choose that it’s finally time to burn off these points which have been piling up for sometime instead of using cash.
It’s always good to keep an emergency reserve of miles to be able to afford a last minute flight or hotel when the proverbial sh*t hits the fan. Very often rates boil over when the options narrow down and the most expensive cabins such as First Class stay empty but can be booked through points.
The next months will be challenging no matter where in the world people live and having some flexibility is definitely a comfortable cushion.