Sometimes Priorities Matter for Things Other Than Upgrades

My friend DeltaPoints penned a post yesterday that struck a chord with me. It’s not that I’ve never heard the underlying message before, or had not preached it myself from time to time, it’s just that it was timely. There have been a handful of good deals out there of late – 100K AAdvantage, Chase Ink 60K, and now the 30K SPG card has returned for bit too.

After some dithering, I bit on the 100K AAdvantage card. I had a specific use for the miles and a way to meet the spend so I went for it. I returned to the SPG card fold before the May 1 Amex changes to collecting a new account bonus. Notably, I took my own advice on the Chase offer and did not bite. Why? Let’s talk about priorities.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “when it rains, it pours.” It started before the new year, and just kept coming. Vet bills, dental bills, and best of all, tax bills. I’m a big believer in saving for a rainy day, so we didn’t miss a mortgage payment because of any of that. However, it absolutely did negatively impact our savings cushion.

While Ultimate Rewards are probably my favorite all around points currency, the truth is that I have enough miles and points stashed to meet our travel needs for at least 2 years. The other truth is that if I were offered a choice between not having a single mile or point in my accounts or having cash in the bank to cover 6 months of expenses, I’d give every mile/point I have away and take the cash. There will always be another point bonus out there somewhere to collect. Yes, there are ways to meet the spend and not add to debt. Yes, I could have done it. But it’s just not my priority at the moment.

What I call “playing the game from ahead” is about more than not paying any interest to the banks. It’s also having a little money in the bank for a rainy day. Perhaps you can do both. Actually, I can too, but I’ll reach my cash goals faster if I take a little break from “the game.” That’s my priority. Sooner or later, there’ll be another good deal, and I’ll be ready to play the game from ahead.

-MJ, June 5, 2014


About Marshall Jackson

Marshall Jackson is a former airline pilot, grounded by diabetes. After spending several years in operations management, he exited the airline business for a more stable career. But that hasn't dampened his interest in airplanes, airlines and travel in general.

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  1. I’m working my way to meet DL’s MQD’s for this year so applying for those new cards is out for me. While those cards have enticing sign on bonuses, they also come w/ spend reqs. Yes, I can get 100K AA miles, but I have to spend the $5K and that could go to my MQD req.

    Ah, gotta love FF programs. So that’s my priority for this year. Next year, I think I might apply for that AA card since I do want lounge access to Admirals Club.

    I did, however, apply for the US Airways card so I could get the 40K bonus as well as companion ticket. We’ll see how the tides change with this card as AA/US finalize the merger.

  2. @glbetrkkr,

    Ah yes…. FF programs. Good move on the US card. I’m hoping I time my various financial activities just right to collect one last 40K bonus out of that one myself.

  3. This comment is not specific to this post only:
    It’s a pleasure to read a blog as well-written as yours. I’ve seen some travel blogs recently that were barely readable (I exaggerated only slightly), so reading this post today made me think that I should finally take a moment to compliment you on your writing abilities. You’re one of the best!

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