I love points and miles. They allow me to stay places I could never justify spending so much money for, they allow me to fly when I need to be somewhere else like right now, and they open up areas of the world to me that I might not feasibly be able to get to otherwise.
The first two reasons listed above are two ways that I am good at using miles. I have redeemed free nights at many hotels that have offered me great value. I have never, luckily, had a major personal or family emergency that I have needed to redeem miles for, but there has been a minor one here or there, and having the option to get there is very comforting.
Normally on my more major international trips, I have paid for my plane ticket. I don’t care so much about flying in a premium cabin, so I watch the deals. I traveled to Bahrain, the UAE, and Kuwait in November of 2013, on a paid fare. It cost about $700 all-in and I was able to see an area of the world that I had never seen before. I watch out for deals like this all the time, through various channels and am able to book when I find a fare, destination, and dates that work for me (the dates are usually the hardest part).
When I decide that it is time to redeem miles for an airline ticket, like I recently have considering the United devaluation that takes effect in February, I can never decide where to go! There are just so many options that are all so great.
I think one of my resolutions for 2014 needs to be to put a bucket list in order for situations such as these.