5 ways miles and points can cure the holiday blues

Dec 17, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Ah, the holidays! We look forward to a few well-deserved days off from work and the opportunity to visit with family and friends. There are fun parties and get-togethers with people you don’t see often enough. And even if you live somewhere devoid of snow, it just feels festive right about now.

But for so many reasons, the holidays can also be hard on people. There’s the stress of planning travel and big family dinners. The quest to find the perfect gift. The weariness of seeing how the season has been over-commercialized. And, as the year comes to a close, it’s only natural to think of family and friends who are no longer with us.

Years ago, my entire family — grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews — friends and neighbors would converge at my parents’ house. It was the place to be and mom and dad knew how to throw a holiday party. They’re both gone now, as well as nana and papa and some uncles. My house is now the place where our family gathers. And, as happy as I am to be the torchbearer — and I like to think I throw terrific parties, too — it’s not always easy for me to keep the holiday blues at bay. To be honest, I’d give up every point and mile I could ever earn if I could have one more hour with each of my parents. But that’s not the way the world works.

So, what do I do to combat the holiday blahs? I lean on miles and points — a source of pure happiness if there ever was one. Here are the ways this hobby helps me get through tough times — not just at the end of the year but anytime I need a pick-me-up.

In This Post

Plan a dream vacation

Nothing lifts spirits like planning a really cool trip — especially when using miles and points to do it. In fact, data from a 2010 study created for the Applied Research in Quality of Life journal actually shows that the mere anticipation of a vacation can make you happier than traveling itself. So, it never hurts to fire up your browser and start searching for your next adventure.

Whenever I’m a bit down, I start to plan a trip. I’ve got folders upon folders of travel info archived on my computer. Sometimes I just outline the basics of a vacation; other times I end up with a complete blueprint for the perfect foray to a special city or country. Researching the places you want to go can inspire you to actually do it and arm you with the information you need to execute the plans in the best way possible.

If you’ve never planned a trip using miles and points, don’t miss TPG’s beginner’s guide with tons of advice on how to get started.

Book some trips for next year

Once you brainstorm the places you’d love to visit and you’ve done some initial planning, jump in and commit to a trip — or two or three! You can always change your mind later. Just keep in mind these tips to avoid cancellation fees when you book an award flight.

Need some ideas for next year? There’s still time to plan a trip to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics. Want to escape the winter this January, February or March? Anguilla’s Zemi Beach House just joined Hilton Honors and there’s good availability throughout the winter for 95,000 points per night at this intimate, boutique property. And for many airline programs (Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles, British Airways, Singapore Krisflyer), you can book award travel now for Thanksgiving 2020.

Zemi Beach House - Anguilla
Zemi Beach House, new to LXR Hotels & Resorts, one of Hilton’s luxury brands. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Use miles and points to visit someone you love

Sometimes there’s nothing like hopping on a plane to visit someone you love. Maybe it’s your favorite uncle or your college roommate. Whoever makes you happy, now’s the time to plan a visit. Maybe you can even find last-minute award availability for a trip during the holidays or look further out in the new year. Don’t put this off! If you’re missing someone, book a flight. No one ever regrets traveling to see someone they love.

Use miles and points to bring holiday cheer to someone else

As last Christmas approached, I realized that I really wanted to see my brother’s family and spend time with my nephews. They were already suffering through an early and harsh winter in New England so I used my miles and points to snag award flights to my home in sunny Florida. I got to celebrate the season with my family while treating them to some good weather and access to kid-friendly attractions. They spent time at Walt Disney World and even enjoyed Christmas cheer at Universal Orlando.

Macy's holiday parade at Universal Orlando. (Photo by Andrea M. Rotondo)
Macy’s holiday parade at Universal Orlando. (Photo by Andrea M. Rotondo)

Actually, it’s already time to bring the nephews back to Florida so they can experience the newly opened Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance experience at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Maybe you can pull off a similar holiday visit by bringing your friends and family to you? Or maybe use your miles and points to send your loved ones somewhere cool. Playing Santa Claus — and gifting a vacation — feels amazing and miles and points make it possible.

Donate your miles and points

Especially when you’re feeling down, it can help to do something nice for a stranger. Giving with no strings attached just feels good. This season, whether you’re counting your blessings or feeling a little down, nothing is more rewarding than giving miles and points to a good cause.

At TPG, we are in awe of the work Rainbow Railroad does. Throughout the world, there are still countries where LGBT people live in fear for their freedom, safety and even their lives. Rainbow Railroad works tirelessly to help these people leave dangerous situations and get somewhere safe. Rainbow Railroad accepts donations of cash or Aeroplan miles. If you’ve been feeling a bit hollow this holiday season, a donation can help you feel more connected to your fellow man.

Bottom line

The holidays can be such a mix of highs and lows. Everyone at TPG hopes that no matter what holiday you celebrate, you find peace and happiness as the year comes to a close. And we want to know where miles and points will take you next year!

Featured image by Tetra Images/Getty Images

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.