I wrote the post 2023 What I Spent (And Received) in Annual Fees. I concluded the post with this photo and caption:
After it was published, I reread the post. I honed in on this line: Grand Total: $3977.06.
Is $4000 in annual fees worth it? In the old days, I would say yes because the value of my redemptions vastly outweighed the actual retail price (see Bus-Ted: TPOL Points & Cash Summary). Today, I am not so sure. First, devaluations have killed aspirational redemptions (see Do You Believe in Miracles? Emirates Showers, Dreamliner Suites, Tahiti Triumph!). Yes, QSuites is readily available but how many times do I want to be surrounded by the purple monster for a long-haul flight? While business class is fine, I much prefer flying first. But these days airlines are eliminating first-class altogether. And those that offer them do so at alarming rates. I don’t care how many points I have, I am not going to pay for anything but ‘saver,’ which is next to impossible to find.
I once wrote, Devaluation? I Laugh in the Face of Devaluation. As I continue to rack up points, I fear that the joke is now on me. I have more free time now, more income now, and more points now. The problem is that there aren’t many places left that I want to go (see 126 Countries Left, If I Go), and even when I find a place, I do not have a way of getting there in style.
Fiscally, it doesn’t make sense to keep applying for cards, paying the annual fee, and sitting on points that lose value as each day passes (see Virgin Atlantic Devaluation: I Waited Too Long). Should I give up churning as I said I would in 2016 (see I Quit Churning!)? If I did, wouldn’t I miss the thrill of instant approvals and the thick envelope coming in the mail? What would I do after that? Stop points traveling altogether? Stop blogging?
I must not. I can’t. I will find a way to keep winning this points game.