Victoria Falls, photo at Nomadic Matt (see link below)
There was a big event in the TBB household. My dear wife got downsized this morning and I spent most of the day with her, reading many forms and plotting how she can pull a Frequent Miler out of her hat (not going to happen!). After 14 years in the same company and surviving way too many of these bloodbaths, it finally included her! Severance package is nice, not working and getting paid is nicer. Having to go through alll the job hunting stuff, changing so many ingrained habits with the benefits, returning laptop and iphone, not seeing so many coworkers and, most importantly, losing 4 weeks vacation (oh no!!!) hurts! She may even have some time to help me out with the blog, I sure can use it! One door closes, another begins...
I also want to say this:
We are Travel Blogger Buzz and we are globally yours too!
Please laugh, I am! Laughter is indeed the best medicine!
So, here we go:
BEST OF MILES/POINTS
I absolutely hate adding this post here, lets be clear of that. I do not like publicizing ways to earn more miles in questionable ways and cross my ethical threshhold! I do not do multiple Amazon accounts, PERIOD! I have one, wife has one, buddy and his wife each have one and we pay each other $1k for "services" every month (that sounds bad, doesn't it?). Yes the multiple accounts are out there, it's happening, there will always be hogs who will then brag how many miles/points they "scored"! I just don't think YOU blogger should feed the fire. This is just a very murky blog issue, it's like the abortion debate! Or I am so naive about these things? Does this mean Million Mile Secrets will have a giant graph with a gazillion pics and arrows showing how it can be taken to extreme levels and then one day, BANG! I sure hope not! I am only including it here because it does revolve around miles/points and some readers can take advantage of this as it was MEANT to be used! I am sure Bezos will pull the plug on Amazon Payments one day as it is likely not earning any traction, who knows!
Loyalty Lobby lists several Priority Club promo codes for January 2013. I remember the good old days when we could register for a whole bunch more promos! At the first Chicago seminar I ended up with 21,000 PC points (or maybe 22,000 as another 1k came later, don't remember exactly).
Loyalty Traveler is back with the most comprehensive hotel promotions guide for January 2013.
Frequent Miler wrote "More cash back for Amex gift cards". Looks like TopCashBack pays back 1.5% for buying amex gift cards through that portal. Please allow me to wear my veteran hat here: We are all different. We do what works best for us. I am just not the online shopping guy. Yes if I do make a purchase it is usually travel and will look to use one of these portal sites. I have had an ebates account for ever and NEVER had any problems with it! I made the mistake to use TopCashBack and had a horrible experience. NOT worth my time having to fight and wait...wait...wait for my money. So I just never went back there. Yes there are so many other portals out there. I stick with ebates and maximize my earning time with other vanilla type & churning activities these days.
You can join ebates through my link here (yes, I feel dirty about doing this!) and here is the disclosure: "I earn $5 for each referral who joins before 3/31/13 AND places an order over $25". I am also curious to see if anyone does this and your reaction in the comments (I expect insults like "you are a sell out" "your mother is ___", "go back to your own country" and stuff like that, I really find it quite amusing!)
Ben wrote "Why American's award routing rules drive me nuts (sometimes)..." Ok, readers know that I excel in earning and suck in burning (I really like this phrase by the way!!!). Stuff like this "American simultaneously has the stingiest and most generous award routing rules" makes me do a head fake real fast!
Looks like the Legal Department at Internet Brands is very busy these days! This is from September 2012 and a kind reader brought it to my attention. Internet Brands owns FlyerTalk for those who don't know. Internet Brands owns a crapload of websites actually, including FrugalTravelGuy.
Hack My Trip makes the case for a cash back card and lists the Fidelity Rewards Amex and the Priceline Visa. I generally do not do cash back cards, I am addicted to miles/points. But maybe the time has come for one! I am almost back to the very disturbing position of having NO minimum spend requirement to meet (just cleaning up the remaining $12k annual spends on both Fairmont Visas right now...so boring!).
Where does your hotel tax money in the US go? [Infographic, you may need to click to enlarge it]
Le Club Accorhotels is moving to Online Point Redemptions finally as reported at Loyalty Lobby. Minimum to redeem is 2,000 points which get you 40 euros (or $60 USD). I have no idea how I have 1,000 points. Maybe one day I will stay at these Novotels and Sofitel hotels, they look decent.
Milevalue on "Easiest Way to Get on a Dreamliner to Europe in Business". Ok, this is great info & an interesting way for me to perhaps burn some miles on my next trip to Greece. It may help some of my Europe bound readers too! I am not sure I prefer a stop over at Warsaw instead of Amsterdam:-) Near the end there is a mega credit card link fest (very curteous to pass apps to another blogger!) and the crappy US Air offer raises its ugly head once again...
The Points Guy on "Maximizing Club Carlson Series: Elite Status". An ok to average at best post about the different CC elite status levels. Still no word on the outstanding (assumes you do not get denied for excessive inquiries!) Club Carlson credit cards. I can't help but wonder if there were affliate links out there they would be plastered all over this post, no? And someway somehow we get a banner ad for the...Hyatt card! Only in the murky world of Bent Offers this stuff can happen!
Seth of Wandering Aramean wrote "American Express takes a hit in the points game". A hit to the tune of $342 million, ouch! Time will tell what happens. I am still hoping AMEX still has a shot to bounce back & attempt to win back customers who fell in love with Chase's Ultimate Rewards cards. Maybe the very short 100k AmexPlatinum promo was in indication? I like Seth's closing: "maybe there was a very real business reason so many affiliate link providers got cut recently."
Google moves into loyalty marketing again. Hmm, I did not even know they were in it! Well, whenever Google decides to enter a market, it gets noticed. Anyone may want to comment on where this is going...if anywhere? This is a website/company owned by a friend of mine by the way.
Pizza in Motion gets more details on the American Express BusinessExtrAA Platinum card. Thank you for digging out all the details for us, here at TBB we sure appreciate original work! And for confirming this is a completely worthless card, wow, I can not believe it exists! Maybe some company could take advantage of it; definitely not for me and the vast majority of my readers!
BEST OF TRAVEL
Nomadic Matt has a post "24 Stunning Photos from my Trip Around Southern Africa".
Yomadic's "Meet the Forest Whores Ouside of Warsaw". Fascinatingly unique stuff! Yeah, I am talking to you travel blogger editing yet another affiliate credit card link right NOW!! This is content, this is what is about!
The world's shortest flight is just 47 seconds! I saw this at Vagabondish.com first.
NOT SO BEST OF
Yep, Delta Points again! Sorry I can not resist:-) I was actually looking forward to reading the "Understanding the power and risk of your phone!" as the subject sure interested me! BUT, in a true Delta Points fashion, he finds a way to insert two affiliate credit card links...in a post about cell phones!! Unbelievable, yep I am still shaking my head.
Then, to his credit, he goes on with some useful info. But I found the most useful info by commenter Nicolas Vanello who wrote:
For reservations of all sorts, why aren’t you forwarding your confirmation emails to TripIt.com so that they automatically appear on your calendar?
As far as cards being scanned, I use an app for that – Card RUI. It takes an extra password to open the app, but the cards are laid out visually. It’s stunning and complete.
take photos of your luggage. When it gets lost, it’s easy to show the clerk what it looks like.
This is why I love blogging, I am learning so much!!! I hope this info is useful to you. If the affiliate credit card links were not there this post would indeed make the "Best of" Category. I keep it real:-)
ODDZ & ENDZ
I have had an online Wall Street Journal subscription from Day One I think. I would never ever expect to see this news headline in the front page. Anywere on the site for that matter:
Nudists Seek Corporate Sponsor Looking for Greater Exposure
I read this and I can't stop laughing...again and again, never fails. Epic lol material!
"Addicted to Distraction: 5 Tools to Help You Fight Back and Finally Focus" I must start using some of these!
Young credit card holders rack up debt Make no mistake about it, lots of them get started when they discover this miles/point hobby! If it wasn't for them, banks would have long ago ceased to shower us with gazillion miles/points...Yes I have benefited to a great extent but...this is definitely NOT good for our society...We can debate this till the cows come home...
I always love to hear from you with any comments/feedback/insult/tips on what to cover, etc. Ways to contact me:
Find me at FlyerTalk and Milepoint as: gpapadop