NOTE: I’ll be going on a blogging vacation between Monday and December 31, during which there will be at least some guest posts. I’ve already gotten a few queued up from readers smarter than me, and I’m soliciting for more to complete the holiday. Posts should be non-sponsored, non-promotional, non-political, and at least travel hacking or churning adjacent. Please reach out to me if you’re interested, it’ll be the third easiest gig you’ve ever gotten!


Between 2011 and 2013, it was possible to earn miles for any Amazon purchase through the US Airways and Hawaiian shopping portals. In 2011 I was relatively new to the game and I made a common mistake: I had earned a chunk of US Airways miles through promotions and a credit card bonus, so I decided that I’d earn Hawaiian miles instead whenever I shopped at Amazon, even though had exactly no clear use case. I was sure that at some point I’d use them, just like Southwest CEO Bob Jordan is (incorrectly) sure that Southwest will never have a holiday meltdown again.

Piles of Miles

Now, please join me in 2023 and let’s peek at my current Hawaiian Airlines balance, keeping in mind that I’ve redeemed exactly as many Hawaiian miles as the number of good menu items at Chik-Fil-A, or the number of times that Southwest CEO Bob Jordan has correctly predicted the meltdown future [drumroll]:

Zero (0)

By 2013 I’d earned 40,000 Hawaiian miles through the Amazon shopping portal, but eventually they expired – partially because I was inexperienced and partially because I didn’t ever have a redemption plan in mind. This is a common mistake, especially when you’re stating out. In the last couple of weeks for example, I’ve heard from churners who:

  • Have mid-six figures of IHG points and have never stayed in an IHG hotel
  • Signed up for two Southwest credit cards without even having a Rapid Rewards number
  • Lost 500,000 ThankYou Points after a Citi shutdown, never having used a single point

Obviously some of these are more catastrophic than others, but they all illustrate a common theme: A point isn’t worth anything if it’s never redeemed, and if you have no loose plan, there’s a good chance you’ll never redeem.

MEAB, Get to the Point!

Before you earn any loyalty currency, have at least a rough idea of how you’ll use that currency. Otherwise, you’re almost certainly better off earning cash because at least that doesn’t expire and can be used effectively anywhere, for any travel, as long as your airline isn’t melting down.

Happy Holidays friends!

The easiest gig you’ve ever gotten.