I’m an addict; I have been my whole life. It started with cigarettes at 14 moved to drugs and alcohol, then food, and it seems to have settled, at least for today, on miles and points.
I’ve written several times this year about my disappointment (or withdrawal if you please) with the way things have been going in the travel niche. Absolutely nothing took away that feeling of restlessness and discontent. The Carlson promos did nothing for me. We have only one property near us, and I scored a million points with them in the old Gold points days with 1,500 points per $1.89 photo purchase. I did not play the Carlson promo. Just not enough jazz for me. But a week ago, the addict in me was offered couple “fixes” and and I’m so enjoying it.
The Singapore award space availability was the first gem top spark my interest in quite some time. I snapped one up, and have been following the Flyertalk thread everyday with hopes it will all pan out for my trip to Singapore in February. $96 and 140K easily replaceable United miles, I get to see a new city, meet up with Geoffco and my son Andrew, and check out that Marina Bay Hotel Casino and infinity pool.
And the INK Bold with 5 points per dollar on office supplies is one of the best finds in years around this space. It is so good that my Thank You point balance will stop increasing for the time being as I’ll be using my prepaid cards for my dining purchases now that they earn 5 points per dollar thanks to reload cards and our favorite office supply store. The Citi Forward card heads to the drawer.
My word of caution and warning. As an addict, I am extremely tempted to put absolutely every single purchase on those two prepaid cards earning the big points. I am a greedy addict; like most are. There are never enough miles and points in my accounts. I want them all. Maximize every transaction is my addict brain talking, but that is an ill conceived plan of attack. I must now fight my addiction and put more regular spend on my category bonus card and my prepaid cards. I can’t just cash out the prepaid cards. That will kill the game for me and you as well.
Moderation must be the buzz word while this game is in play. We must put regular spend on our current most profitable cards.
If any of this touched close to home, good. Step 1. We admitted we were powerless over miles and points and our lives have become unmanageable.
My Prediction on the Hong Kong 4 Mile Tickets
For those of you unfamiliar United mistakenly offered award tickets to Hong Kong for 4 miles and the taxes for several hours this past Sunday. As I write this Wednesday at noon the only notification we have received regarding the outcome has been a notice in FlyerTalk from United that they were not going to honor the tickets and an article in USA Today online indicating that the Department of Transportation and United were cooperating in resolving the issue. Recent DOT regulations suggest that United may have to honor the tickets. The outcome is still unknown at this point but my suggestion when these things happen is: If you don’t buy a ticket you can’t play.
As this drags on I think the likelyhood that this deal in some manner will be honored increases. Some bought multiple tickets and for those of you that were here back in the LaQuinta Resort and Spa days you’ll remember people booked numerous weekends for $25 per night … The hotel and Priceline, the booking agent in that mistake, agreed to honor the first reservation only. My guess is that is what will happen here.
The DOT must put their foot down. They just made the regulations and can’t back down entirely. It is hard for me to believe that multi-billion dollar companies can’t protect themselves with all the software geniuses they have on staff.
Back in my mortgage banking days I forgot to check a box that would have given a borrower a 20% tax credit on the interest he paid on his home loan for as long as the home mortgage existed and the home was used as his primary residence. The potential cost was close to $30,000 and every year Ben came in and got a check from me for the amount I owed him. I know first hand what it feels like to make a mistake. I have made many. Back in the olden days “the customer was always right” regardless of the circumstances. United expressed that sentiment in a 2007 Wall Street Journal article where they committed to “honor any mistake no matter the cost”.
My guess is the DOT will hold them to that standard at least partially in this case and they will then fix their programming to protect themselves in the future.
Deal of the Day
For today’s Deal of the Day we have TripAlertz who is donating $50 in Trip Cash for the best overall travel deal submitted. A great mileage run, mistake fare, partner promo, new card sign-up offer, or the special twist you figured out on a deal today. Add it to the comments section of this post (make sure to include your first name, last inital, and home airport) or this afternoon’s Deal of the Day post to be eligible to win.