TPG staff reveal their very first points and miles redemptions
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.
Even though the staff at The Points Guy aren’t traveling right now, we’ve been reminiscing on our best points and miles redemptions. We’ve redeemed millions of points and miles to get to and stay in the Maldives, to fly the best business-class product in the world, and to stay in all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean.
But before we came to TPG, we were all points and miles beginners. Some of us have better stories about our first points and miles redemptions than others. For some TPGers, their first redemptions saw them fly business class to Europe, while others experienced (expensive) growing pains.
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Before we get into my colleagues’ stories, I have a secret to admit. My first points and miles redemption was a disaster. It was laughably bad, considering what I know now about points and miles.
My first job out of college was at a national newspaper. I started during the onset of the 2016 presidential election, which meant I got to do some traveling. I flew several paid flights from Washington, D.C. to cities in the Midwest, including Des Moines (DSM) and Cedar Rapids (CID) on American Airlines, earning several thousand AAdvantage miles along the way.
I also earned a bunch of miles after flying a mistake-fare ticket from New York-JFK to Ho Chi Minh (SGN) on American and Japan Airlines. For my 24th birthday in February 2017, I decided to take a trip to Havana, Cuba (HAV). This was shortly after the Obama administration eased travel restrictions to Cuba and airlines, like American, allowed you to book tickets using miles.
I had very little understanding of points and miles at the time, let alone anything about valuations or redemptions. This was back in 2016 when I redeemed every single one of my American Express Membership Rewards points to wipe my statement charges. I only really knew about points and elite status after my boss said he’d flown to Singapore for a day and a half, just to keep Delta Medallion status.
After looking up flight options and wanting to save a buck, I remembered I had AAdvantage miles. Then I did a big no-no. I booked a portion of the ticket Baltimore (BWI) to Charlotte (CLT) to Havana (HAV), returning back to Washington (DCA), using 15,000 AAdvantage miles plus $47. I thought that would cover it, but then realized I had to book a second ticket in cash, which came out to $130. After spending nearly $180, I realized I should’ve just booked the ticket in cash as it was only a few dollars more.
Lesson learned. Here’s how other TPG staffers fared.
Brian Kelly, The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees