Self examination time: Is this hobby worth the time I’ve invested thus far? I like to evaluate where my time goes and if my ROI is sufficient. If not, change is essential.
Enjoying first class flights and high end hotels is great but if you’re spending the same or more time (and time=money) than you would working and just booking what you like then it may not be worth it.
So how’d I do and what does it mean? I’ve run down the spoils of the past year to see what types of savings ($) and expenditures (miles/points & time) I’ve spent.
Here’s the 2014 year breakout:
- Miles redeemed: 738,498
- Total flight segments: 58
- USD ($) saved by using miles: $59,364
- Miles travelled: 50,415 – Light year since it is normally 100K+!
- Free hotel nights: 35
- USD ($) saved by using points: $10,006
- Points redeemed: 656,000
Countries visited (non transit): 12
China, Fiji, France – 6 times, Germany, Ghana, Monaco, Philippines, Slovakia – 2 times, Spain – 3 times, Taiwan, USA, Zimbabwe
Looking at the above numbers you can see that I’ve “saved” nearly $70,000 USD between flights and hotels in 2014 alone. I put the word “saved” in quotes because in all reality, we would not have purchased many of those first class flights when it’s possible to use miles. I just don’t see the value of spending $10K+ for a 12 hour flight… However, I use real values because we were going to take those flight routes anyway and we could afford them.
I spent about 25 hours booking personal flights with miles throughout 2014 and another 7 hours for all hotel bookings combined.
Conclusion: Each hour of my time invested in booking award travel equates to being “paid” USD $2,168/hour. Not bad! Keep in mind that since I know many of the tips and tricks in searching for award travel and I know how to extract as much value out of my redemption options, I can find award travel relatively quickly.
I also wanted to see what I’ve managed to save from the time I started accumulating and spending points and miles about 4 years ago. Here are the stats:
- Personal miles redeemed: 3,137,938
- Total flight segments: 202
- USD ($) saved by using miles: $271,428
- USD $ spent on taxes: $5,599
- Miles travelled (paid and miles): 1,131,692 kilometers/703,201 miles
- Free hotel nights: 117
- USD $ saved by using points: $43,814
- Points redeemed: 2,408,500
Countries visited with miles: 33
Total Countries visited: 76
When all is taken into account, savings of USD $315,242 in about 4 years equates to saving an average of $78,810 in travel per year. I’ve spent a total of 5,546,438 miles and points which means that I’ve received about 5.7 cents of value per mile/point.
As of now, I would have to argue that my ROI average is better than the stock market and most other types of investments. Also, unlike other investments, the money and time spent has also returned unforgettable memories and experiences!
How much money did you save and not giveaway?