A stack of money. Heap of one hundred dollar bills on money background. Fake money. Shallow depth of field. Selective focus. (Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Maximusnd)
(Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Maximusnd)

Did you take a Labor Day weekend trip? Or was cost too prohibitive? You’re definitely not alone if you fall into the latter group.

Forty-two percent of a recent study’s participants passed over vacations because the trips were too expensive.

Many of us enjoy significantly discounted vacations thanks to points earned from business travel and/or credit card spend. We fly business class for the price of coach. Or sometimes without paying anything except the taxes and surcharges (there are ways around that, too).

But is the “cost” of points and miles getting to be too much?

Sunset in Barbados.

We’ve seen airlines such as Delta charge ludicrously high sums for award travel. Hotel chains and their bank partners are devaluing credit card anniversary night perks (though $49 for a hotel night is still a darn good deal for many properties, if you ask me), getting rid of lounge access, and cranking up award prices in general.

Credit card annual fees aren’t going down, either. The Platinum Card from American Express (learn how to apply) and Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN (learn how to apply) both cranked up their annual fees to $550 and $595, respectively. They imposed restrictions on Centurion Lounge access, ditched the Priority Pass restaurant benefit, and stopped allowing gift cards to credit as airline incidentals.

To be fair, though, the personal Platinum card added a $200 annual Uber benefit and Saks Fifth Ave credit. The business flavor carries a 35% Membership Rewards rebate (down from 50%…) and Dell statement credit.

If you actually use the benefits, the costs offset themselves. But are the annual fees getting to be too much? Or can you live with them?

Personally, I’m getting much more interested in no-annual-fee cards with decent welcome bonuses and/or earnings such as the Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Ink Business Unlimited, and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card (learn how to apply).

It’s pretty much inevitable that costs rise. But have you had to cut back? Are you keep or canceling cards? Are you not able to take as many trips as you once did? Or are you not affected?

Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.



  1. It’s called an MR!!!! for us quick and easy!!

  2. Happy Labor Day, Chris,
    My wife and I are kicking back this long weekend. We’ve taken a couple bigger trips this year, another in a month (on top of a wedding in 3 weeks), which is amping up our travels in comparison to years past. And in the future, we plan more trips to places never visited before, over the next 2 years.
    I like the idea of a no-fee card, but plan to keep the Delta AmEx Plat, AmEx personal Plat and AmEx Gold cards for at least a couple years, continuing to accumulate MR points for a couple international trips.
    Thanks for the Elite Mileage Run posts…great thought starters to optimize Delta status for 2020.

  3. So I’d be curious what the respondents meant by that as the question is open to interpretation. Did they mean they passed on taking a vacation at all or taking a specific vacation?
    For example, Disneyworld is a big destination, but very expensive and points have limited(though some use) as opposed to Europe where points can get you there and back and house you.
    Though, to be fair, I have cut back beacuse it’s harder to get the points needed to travel. There is only so much spend I can do and I have hit my chase and barclay limits, meaning my options for bonuses are limited.
    I am also becoming more concerned about the environmental impact of air travel which means we are trying to limit ourselves to a longer trip rather than a few short ones.

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