What’s the point?

Before the bank changed the credit card bonus points regime yesterday and halved the number of frequent flyer points you can swap them for, I swapped almost all of them. I was kind of hoping I’d have enough to one day go over to Europe on points. Or if part of a bigger expedition, at least pay for my ticket. I didn’t get around to doing an exact calculation beforehand, but somehow have ended up with just over the required 110,000 points in my frequent flyer account. Woo hoo! Not planning to go any time soon, but at least the points are in there now.

Since my clock radio has broken, I decided I’d save the last 18,000 points for a replacement model. I hit the Sony web site and discovered the one on offer for my 18,000 points has an RRP of $109, so when it arrives, I’m expecting for a pretty damn nice clock radio. In this life I doubt I’d ever spend that much on a clock radio. At that price it should make the tea and iron a shirt in the morning for me.

I realised that of the many points flying around the place, probably 80 or 90K have been earnt on my credit cards over the last 10 years or so. That staggers me, really. 80,000 dollars has passed through those cards. I suppose I put a lot of groceries and car maintenance (ka-ching!) and air tickets and other stuff on the cards, but it still seems like a lot. Thank goodness I manage to pay them off completely every month. Well, when I remember to by the deadline…

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

2 replies on “What’s the point?”

We had a similar experience a few years back when we had over 100K Commonwealth bank rewards points. I converted them into Qantas frequent flyer miles, which aren’t doing me much good here in the USA. I should let my parents start using them, I think.

We just got an American Express card that’s connected with Delta, the airline we fly most often (Deanne travels frequently for work) and, like Daniel, the points have added up fast. We’ve actually given away about 200K points in tickets for friends and family, and never used any for ourselves. We still have about 250K points between us…Delta are notoriously hard to get frequent flyers seats from, however, so they’re not going to be much good, unless we fancy flying at 6 AM.

The rule of thumb seems to be that you’ll get back one to two percent of what you had to spend to get the points in the first place.

We pay them off when we can, which is usually, and accept whatever perks issue. Ours is specific to Alaska Airlines, but reciprocity agreements have made it go everywhere we need, including Newfoundland.

And yes, that had better be the best clock radio you ever heard! Sony makes a few truly excellent radios, and you have a good shot at it.

I am embarrassed to admit that I once spent even more on a clock radio, the Boston Acoustics Recepter, but that was because it was the only radio I could find locally with perfect reception of my weakling public radio station from deep within the steel frame office building in which I work, which has antennae for competing radio stations on its roof.

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