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My Parents Still Don’t Understand What’s So Awesome About Points and Miles

A few days ago, I posted about my bizarre night at two SPG properties near Los Angeles International Airport.  You can find the post here.  Essentially, after a brief stay at the Four Points LAX, I realized that there was no way I could sleep at that property,  That’s how dirty and disgusting the property was.  SPG was able to cancel and refund my room and booked me a room at the Sheraton Gateway LAX.  The difference in the rate was $88.  To cover the difference I was offered either a check for $100 of 16,000 SPG points.  I went with the $100 check, and a few readers noted just how stupid that decision was.

The second the SPG phone representative offered me 16,000 SPG points, I knew what that many points were worth.  I wanted to take the points.   However, I waited to hear the cash offer.  It was $100 cash or 16,000 SPG points.  I knew that 16,000 SPG points are worth a lot more than $100 cash yet, I went with the check.  The reason for this was because of my parents.

Let's just say a few commenters weren't happy with my decision.

Let’s just say a few commenters weren’t happy with my decision.

I Knew My Parents Would Ridicule Me for Choosing Points Over Cash

I weighed my options for ten seconds before I went with the cash.  The main reason I settled on cash was because of the ridicule I would face from my parents.

Anytime I travel, I’m always in constant contact with my parents so, I knew that moment my phone call to SPG ended, I’d call my parents.  I’d have to tell them about changing hotels, and they’d ask, “how much more is the new room?”  I use my American Express to check into hotels, and that means my parents can see any purchase I make.  This means that even if I were to lie to my parents about the new hotel being $88 more, they’d just end up seeing the transaction online the second I swiped my card at the Sheraton Gateway LAX.

I considered taking the points anyway.  I’d have to try and tell my parents that 16,000 points at a hotel chain are worth way more than $100 in cash.  I knew that this would be an impossible task.  That’s why I went with $100 cash.  To my parents, $100 covers the difference of the rates between the two hotels and 16,000 points just mean more money spent on a future trip.  There’s definitely some truth to this.

(Image: Starwood Hotels)

Starwood Hotels offered me either 16,000 points or $100 cash. (Image: Starwood Hotels)

After a Few Years of Getting Into Points, Miles, My Parents Still Don’t Understand

I’ve taken points over cash before.  After an unsatisfactory stay at a Sheraton in Seattle, SPG offered me something like $20 during my stay or 5,000 SPG points.  Of course, I went with the points.  When I got off the phone with the SPG rep, my mom asked me what the representative and I discussed.  I told my mom that I managed to snag 5,000 Starpoints for a future stay.  I also mentioned the $20 offer.  My mom questioned my decision saying, “$20 could go towards drinks at dinner or breakfast tomorrow!”  I tried to explain to her that I could use those 5,000 points for a free night at a hotel.  She said, “that’d be great if points actually worked.”  Anyway, she didn’t put up that much of a fight because it was just $20.  However, if I would have taken 16,000 points over $100, my parents would have freaked out.

Whenever I make an award redemption or advise my parents to sign-up for a card with a spending bonus, they always see through the value of points and miles.  They’ve never been interested in points or miles, so everything to them boils down to the cash value.  This leads to a constant misunderstanding between my parents and me.  It’s also the reason we don’t earn more points as a family than we already do.

You should see my try and convince my dad that it’s the right time to buy points or miles.  For example, right now SPG has a fantastic promotion on Starpoints.  I’d love to top off my account and get a free night ahead of the Freddie Awards which requires me to stay a few nights in New York City.  Even though Starwood is offering bonus points, my dad would still rather I spend money on a hotel room rather than top off my SPG account and get a free night.  He just doesn’t see the value in points.

My parents are stubborn.  However, the have the right to be stubborn.  It’s their credit score and often their money.  I’m just along for the ride, and I appreciate what my parents have done for me.  Until I turn 18 and have my own credit score to wreck, I have to follow their rules.  That’s the reality.  If my parents want me to take $100 over points, I’ll put up a little bit of a fight, but ultimately, they’ve kind of got the final say.


Ridicule and maybe even restrictions on future travels are the reasons I went with $100 cash.  Sure, if I had taken the points, I might have been able to convince my parents that it was the right choice.  But if they weren’t in the mood to hear one of my “silly excuses,” they’d without a doubt, take issue with me forgoing $100 in cash.  It’s the reality I live.  My parents still don’t get the true value of points and miles.

Should I still have taken the 16k Starpoints? Is there any way I can make my parents understand this points and miles stuff?