Over the eleven plus years I’ve been playing this game we have gone through many phases. And each phase either captures you personally or doesn’t. Let me give a few examples:
1. Early on it was mistake fares and I’d travel based on what became available.
2. Then we moved into a promo phase where I would sign up for deal after deal and promo after promo, some for rather insignificant numbers of miles. I only once dug below the rim for a Wendy’s cup. Honest only once.
3. Next came mileage runs and the quest for elite status. I had the time, a few bucks, and vouchers to get the status and it was greatly appreciated. Katy now is a business class kinda gal on flights over 3 hours. I either need to maintain my status or pony up more miles on award flights.
4. I really started pumping the credit cards right after the interest arbitrage days of 2007 and 2008 when I realized all the tricks I’d learned for 0% balance transfers could be useful with rewards cards. I miss the arbitrage days as it was really simple and easy cash. Cash was king in those days and we loaded up.
5. And after credit cards, it really became hard to get jazzed up about 1000 miles here or 500 miles there. I’m basically lazy and want the most bang for my time. To this day you still can’t beat card sign-ups. Read the Milebuzz forum on FlyerTalk. It is card signup info almost exclusively for the big miles.
Now I’m not saying I won’t take a mistake fare or nice promo if they come up, but it better pay off big to get my interest. Howie did a bunch of car rentals recently for a pile of AA miles and did very well with it at under 1 cent per AA mile. Driving to Savannah for AA miles at a penny a piece just didn’t move my needle.
I’m still solidly in the credit card game but find myself reading Frequent Miler’s blog more often on gift cards, Ultimate Rewards bonuses, and other plays for multiple points per dollar. We are blessed to be in a position we can gamble a few bucks on a gift card scheme or two, and may even buy some merchandise to resell if the payoff is right.
My interest has changed so much I’ve started reading DansDeals, FatWallet and Slickdeals again. I even called Staples to find some closeout printers I could buy with my Ink BoldSM and offer them for resale.
I’m not suggesting you all look at the gift card, bonus mall options for your own use, but it really is the first really innovative content in the travel space in quite some time. Frequent Miler should be applauded for his efforts bringing us all a new possibility for building our balances.
Let’s face it, we really don’t need any more general blogs repeating the same info everyone else is. We need more original thought and content. I can make this pledge to my readers, I’m looking and thinking every single day for the next great bonanza. It is out there, we just haven’t found it yet.
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.