Monday, May 19, 2014

Manufactured Spend and Other Stupid Games, or, "I’ve Got A Real Job"

Constant business travelers like me spend lots of time studying the nuances of “loyalty” programs. We make sure we maximize our airline and hotel status, we have a wallet full of credit cards, and we pick our travel providers accordingly. For us, it’s all about minimizing the horrors of travel.

But there’s a whole other world of loony points fiends with quite a different perspective. They’re in the programs to earn rewards and they’ll go to extremes to do it. They book everything through online portals to maximize points, they churn through credit cards for the signup bonuses, and they’ll go to extremes to “manufacture” spending.

I read lots of travel blogs to keep on top of programs. I do this mainly to keep on top of the latest developments (it’s important for me to know what will happen to their programs when American and US Airways merge, for example) and indeed a bit to learn about rewards opportunities. When I started staying at more Hilton properties, I relied on Gary Leff’s advice to suggest which new credit card to sign up for, and the constant barrage of Hyatt/MGM Resorts coverage encourages me to swing their way if only to ease my thankfully-rare trips to Vegas.

But about half of what I read on these blogs is a complete waste of time for me. To wit:
Let me reiterate: I have a job. I spend over $100k annually on actual plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, and business meals. To people like me, jumping through hoops to manufacture a few thousand dollars of “spend” in order to earn a free ticket or hotel room is a complete waste of time.

I want benefits. I want to be greeted by name when I return to the same hotel 10 times per year (a pox on the Hilton New York!) I want a whole floor of the Waldorf in Orlando that doesn’t allow kids. I want to sit in first every time, buying an M-class ticket on United so my client thinks it’s a coach seat.

Airlines and hotel chains would be wise to court folks like me and are wise to continue alienating the manufactured spend crowd. Go ahead and cry over your Vanilla Reloads. I’ll have another Manhattan.

Image credit: Awesome Brolly Usage! by Whatleydude


Anonymous said...

Ha. My SO spends same $100K on travel, but I do lots of MS - and the perks I can get vastly outstrip what she gets - not even close (maybe 10:1?). So be disdainful of us MSers all you want - because you don't know what you are missing. As for Miles Professor, why waste time reading that boring fluff? Read some innovative blogs with real content - those pimping,er, blogging "for friends and family" how to book "free" one ways if you click X, Y, and Z credit card links is incredibly tiresome and insulting.

Anonymous said...

You are right we should all just start spending 100k a year on airfare...why didn't anyone think of that.

Sounds like you are more upset that others get the same privledges as you, Mr. High and Mighty.