By now we’ve heard from all the Fancy Pants, Pundits, Pontificators, and Experts of the Day on Delta’s recent addition of a revenue component to their frequent flyer program. I’ll claim to be none of the above, and settle for just a guy trying to go from point A to point B for as little out of pocket and as comfortably as I can at the same time. My reaction is:
Yawn and as Dylan sang:
“Times, they are a changing”
I don’t think anyone was surprised by the change. They shouldn’t have been. The airlines had a gaping hole in their system allowing us to crawl through to their top elite status with little out of pocket. I don’t think in any of the years I’ve been playing the game, I’ve spent enough in a year on tickets to qualify for higher than silver status under the new rules. And if I ever did spend that kind of money, it probably came primarily from bump vouchers or customer service “oops sorry we screwed up ” vouchers. It was their money anyway.
I’m a “gamer“. My goal is to slip through the cracks in the system and find value. Like lounge access on three airlines for $50 per year or free for two full years from a no cost existing status match. Rooms at half price with Priceline, or the latest mistake fare da jour are my “high”
I’m looking for low level award availability at saver award prices with miles I accumulate at significantly less than one cent each and redeem at significantly more retail value. I’m happy with Business Class tickets instead of first class, or god-forbid coach on long haul international flights … and a clean well located safe 3-star hotel is good enough for me. I love the game, and many have become addicted, but lets admit, it is not just the game, but the things we see, experience and marvel at that makes the travel worthwhile. Plus the bragging rights of course:
”I just went to XXX for the weekend and my flights and hotels were free”
As a gamer, I realize, that the defense (the airlines), have just brought in a new play. But they have been defending for years, and we keep scoring touchdowns. Innovative offense is always going to score. We are quicker, more agile and mobile than those big slow moving linemen (corporations) We can dodge, dart and change directions as fast as Walter Payton or Billy Sims to name a couple greats. Sometimes we can run for a touchdown (US Mint and manufactured spend come to mind) and sometimes we gain just a few yards at a time. But we are always on offense. We have the creativity and mobility of individual thought from some of the greatest minds I have ever met. The defense is stuck in committee meetings and well, just being corporations. They can’t keep up with us.
From a personal perspective, nothing of note will change for me initially with this change. Several years ago I got to the point in the game where I was able to consistently earn more miles free or cheaply than I need. I don’t care about elite status anymore. I have lifetime (well maybe lifetime) Platinum status on American which lets me book an exit row seat for my overstuffed personal frame and have the miles balances to get premium seats when I really want them. I earn them faster than I can burn them.
For some of the newer players to the game, that want or need the status, meeting these spending challenges is not that difficult. The defense gave you an out. A couple quick trips to your office supply store, local pharmacy and/or grocery store will solve this new defensive play
If you stay with it long enough, learn enough, read enough, stay nimble enough and continue to share openly with your fellow offensive players, you’ll see the world at prices you can afford.
The defense just zigged. It’s time for us to zag. Walter and Billy I miss you so.
Deal of the Day
For today’s Deal of the Day American Airlines AAdvantage® has provided 2500 AAdvantage® miles for the best deals, fares, promotions, anything related to American Airlines, their oneworld partners or AAdvantage® partners. Add it to the comments section of this post or this afternoon’s Deal of the Day post by 11:59PM ET (with your first name, last initial, and home airport) to be eligible to win.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49