Site icon Average Joe Arbitrage

Cash or Points? The Dilemma

This Average Joe recently purchased five first class seats for a upcoming trip from Hawaii. I could have used points. But, I chose cash. So, if I travel so much and espouse the value of earning free points then why go to the trouble of using cash? Here are five reasons why Average Joe chose this reason:

  1. Organic Spending – I am a firm believer of using organic spending as much as possible to make credit card bonuses. Others espouse manufactured spending, which on occasion I have done. But, credit card companies are cracking down on this and I am beginning to hear of manufactured spenders accounts that are being closed for this activity. I am not getting my accounts closed!
  2. Extreme Sales – Occasionally airlines will offer unique sales to entice buyers to make purchases. At these times, cash is king. In my Hawaii case, I caught a unique pricing opportunity through United Airlines and I was happy with the purchase.
  3. Points versus Cash – If I had used points, my 5 first class tickets would have costs 1,312,500 Marriott hotel points through their rewards site. This was far more than what I had on hand. And, I did not have enough airline miles. I could have done a combination of points and cash, but, anticipating needing hotel points for my fall vacations and some other obligations, I decided to go with cash.
  4. Credit Card Bonus – By using cash to purchase the five first class seats, I scored a United credit card bonus of 50,000 miles. That bonus, plus the miles incurred for the purchase which was equal to 11,000 miles, will allow me to take two free flights later this year.
  5. Baggage Savings – By using the airlines credit card and traveling first class, we will get two free bags per person. Baggage could easily costs $125.00 or more for a family of five!


Bottom Line – Average Joe hates spending the hard earned cash.  But, I did not want to wipe out my hotel points bank. I use a lot of free hotel rooms every year. And, I give away a lot of free hotel rooms. And, when I use hotel points for hotel rooms I get the most bang for my dollar.  I have a number of trips coming up this year and I decided to keep my Marriott hotel points in reserve. So, I had to go cash.

But, knowing I got a really good deal on the tickets; I met my credit card bonus so I got two free flights in return and the free baggage for a family of five, helped me to seal the deal. Yes, it hurts to pay cash. But sometimes, the Average Joes just have to go old school.

When do you prefer to use cash?



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