Flying is horrible for the environment. There are no two ways about it. As someone who travels regularly this is always at the forefront of my mind. It leads to me minimizing my use of airplanes, which means I don't take part in the travel hacking phenomenon that is the Mileage Run. For those of you who don't know, Mileage Runs are, "...flights taken in a very short amount of time, solely for the purpose of accumulating frequent flyer miles, with a blatant disregard for the destinations." (Webflyer.com)
In short, you capitalize on flight deals to any destination solely to get the loyalty points. Then, you use those points to go to the places you actually want to visit. If you have the time and money it is a great way to boost your wallet of travel points. Until you consider the environmental cost, that is.
But wait! Why is flying so bad?
Well, while I'm no scientist it boils down to this: planes burn vast amounts of fuel at a high altitude. While airplanes generally have better occupancy rates than cars or busses (and are thus, in a sense, more efficient modes of transportation) their emissions have a direct and damaging effect on the ozone. Boom. Science.
So? So, every time we fly we are compounding our carbon footprint. It's tragic that the cost of seeing the world is destroying it, and I am just as much to blame as everyone else. That is why I always try to limit my flying- busses, trains, hitchhiking are all environmentally preferably to flying. Yes, they always take more time and often cost more money but they are generally more friendly to that dear environment of ours.
Now, I love saving money. Really. I thoroughly enjoy pinching pennies and counting coppers and getting more for less. In that sense I am truly a product of my time, and it has allowed me to afford backpacking around the world. But we have to draw the line somewhere, and flying around the country merely to rack up points seems like an action we can get by without. At the very least, I think it's worth considering. But that's just me.