Penny for Your Thoughts

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My family travels fairly frequently, and I buy a lot of airline tickets. In doing so, I am often presented with a “special offer” along the following lines (this one is from America Airlines):


OK, look, I realize I don’t look that smart, but precisely how dumb do they think I am? Everyone with a lick of sense knocks that a “point” (in any form, whether it’s from credit card spending or airline miles) is worth, at most, one penny, and often as little as half a penny. But let’s just say one penny, tops.

This means I am being offered $25 in future credits on something I may or may not use in the future in exchange for “only” $81 in cash right now. Or, alternately, $50 in credits for “only” $162.

No, thank you. Are the same people who purchase these things the same as those who asked the Treasury Department where to send in checks so they could do their part to help pay down the national debt?