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:
- It seems like most of these folks spent 2013 buying “Vanilla Reload” cards at Staples to get 5% back from the churn. But I can think of lots of easier ways to earn $50 to $100. After all, I have a job.
- Now The Miles Professor is buying PayPal cards at CVS and carefully churning those to earn “$300-$400 per hour”. But at only one $400 hour per 30 days, that’s not much of a payday, is it?
- Leff and others breathlessly exhort folks to sign up for small business credit cards just for the signing bonuses. But airlines and hotels are aggressively devaluing their points and raising redemption rates. And not even Kim Kardashian’s entourage wants a free reward ticket!
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