A bit before any of us, or anyone for that matter, were flying airplanes and collecting points there was a form of currency called Company Scrip. There was generally a company store, the only place where one could redeem the “money” printed by the company for merchandise.
There is so much dirty about this, but the basic gist is that the company decides what things cost and what you can buy and when you got paid. Does any of this sound familiar to you yet as a collector of points?
To me, airline miles are truly the new form of company scrip. Think about this. One of our main, and most frustrating gripes about our dear airline, is ability to redeem points the way we want. Delta tells us what a ticket costs in miles from point A to B. They tell us where we can fly and will award us miles as they see fit under whatever terms they want.
You may be saying, but this is just a silly comparison. We have a choice of airlines. Do you? Many readers are “Hub Captives” and have no real choice other than Delta. Much like the old days when you were free to go somewhere else if you could find a new place to live, work and on and on.
And then we go to the value of a Skymile. What is it? Do you know? You may have a number in your mind of what a point is worth to you – I know I do. In the old days of company scrip:
“Workers wishing to convert their scrip to cash generally had to do so at a discount.”
For us today, if we want to BUY Skymiles they cost 3.5 cents per mile plus fees. Also keep in mind, if we earn, buy or by what ever means amass points and tickets, at any time, Delta may suspend our accounts and even potentially revoke our award tickets!
If we have the CCC that is the “company currency converter”, a DELTA AMEX card, we can redeem the points at a discounted rate of 1 cent per point when buying a ticket and that can have some real value. But, if we plan to buy company merchandise, at the company store, the discount rate is much worse. For example if we want to buy a Kindle from the company store, the value of a Skymile goes down to just ½ a cent per point since you can obviously buy a new Kindle for $200 cash.
So is there a point to this post? Yes. We are all just a tiny bit obsessive over points and rightly so when we look at the places we get to go with our points. But at the same time, whenever we make choices to buy or fly or earn, let’s keep our wits about us and always remember we are ultimately getting paid with company money and it is worth whatever they say it is! – Rene
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