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Reward Points: Friend or Foe?

Written by Blake Teen on February 6, 2011.

The camera is empty. The photos are uploaded. And the souvenirs have been given away. What remains after a trip abroad? A roaring debate in my head about whether reward points are a waste of time and effort or if they’re a nifty way to save money. I have experience to support both views.

• Reward points are the enemy: A month after I returned, I’m still working on claiming my frequent flyer mile credit. The many segments of my trip were handed off to other operators so I face a complicated online form to get credited. The form requires a special 13-digit code that, alas, can be found only on the bigger section of boarding pass (the part that the flight staff keeps as you board). Plan B means I’m still scanning and e-mailing the little stubs of tickets a month later. Knowing that the cheapest round-trip flights on this airline cost 25,000 points, I’ve spent 4 hours to earn 1/4 of a trip. Yikes. Th

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