Archive for April, 2012

Points Envy Rakes in Over 13 Million Wyndham Points

Congratulations to all of you who were able to capitalize on yesterday’s Daily Getaways promotion! We were so excited about the opportunity to stock up on Wyndham points at such a low cost that over the past few weeks we quietly developed a technological beast to take advantage of the promotion. Naturally, our scheme worked, and we were able to purchase 13.8 million Wyndham points for just a little more than $35,500. Below, in a Points Envy exclusive report, we get an insider’s perspective on the brilliance behind Points Envy’s scheme.

Shortly after the Wyndham deal was announced, the Points Envy editors began throwing around ideas to capitalize on it: training a litter of puppies to buy points online, infiltrating the tightly-secured Daily Getaways technological headquarters, or maybe even just giving up. It became clear that although we possess the strength and good looks to pull off any number of such schemes, a certain intelligence was lacking. So we contacted an old friend of ours who is working on his Ph.D. in Computer Science at Stanford. After much back and forth, we agreed to pay his team a commission of 20% of any amount we ended up spending on Wyndham points. We also supplied roughly $10,000 as a technology budget, though it curiously seemed to be used largely for the purchase of a few new iPads and digital cameras.

Nevertheless, things worked out splendidly. Our team of geniuses focused on the 50,000 Wyndham points packages priced at $128.70 (after the 10% Amex discount). Through a complex use of computers and computer keyboards, they were able to get past the restriction intended to limit each account to only one promotional package. Ultimately, we were able to purchase 276 of these 50,000 point chunks. After seeing these geniuses at work, we frankly find it unbelievable that anyone is questioning the value of higher education in this country.

Points Envy’s team, hard at work.

We plan on converting our Wyndham haul into roughly 5.5 million United miles, easily enough for more than thirty first class trips between the U.S. and Southeast Asia, more specifically to our secret island getaway in the Gulf of Thailand (hint: it is not Ko Samui). Factoring in the commission and tech budget, we still paid only $0.0095 per mile, which is not too shabby at all. We do apologize to those of you who were unable to take advantage of the deal as a result of our tactics. Well, maybe “apologize” is a little strong, though we do almost feel sorry for being so much better at this than all of you. But as we always say: all’s fair in love and points!


Op-Ed: We Need Cell Phones on Planes

You ever notice those annoying people who talk loudly on their phone in an annoying voice for hours on end about inane topics? We don’t, most likely because we are usually too busy talking on the phone to someone in our extensive and impressive social network to notice them. This humble introduction brings us to the topic of today’s op-ed: cell phones on planes.

Now, as always, before we get to the juicy meat of this debate, let’s look at a few facts to provide some context. Fact: Everyone who does not own a cell phone is dead or will die within three years. Fact: Economists agree that more than $34.4 billion is lost annually due to important businessmen and businesswomen not being able to talk on their phones while in the air. Fact: Planes are noisy and it is therefore necessary to scream when using a phone on a plane.

In light of this information, we believe that simple economics and logic dictate that phone usage should, and soon will, be allowed on planes. For those of you who still believe plane cabins to be a sacred, inviolable meditation space, we would like to invite you to the 21st century. Everyone here is always connected, whether you like it or not, and it is criminal to cut people off simply because they are inside a metal tube with a couple hundred other people. We have spoken with representatives from several large telecom companies, who are obviously the foremost experts on the subject, and every single one agreed wholeheartedly that phones should be allowed on planes.

Remember us? We would also like to fly.

In sum, we think it clear that phone usage on planes is inevitable and favorable. If you are the type who is continually annoyed by hearing other people’s conversations, it now appears your only viable option is to make one friend and then call that friend and complain to them about your phone issues. Or you can avoid airplanes. Either way, welcome to the future!

Frequent Flyer Foils Convenience Store Heist

In a huge win for the frequent flyer community, a Dallas man became an instant hero Sunday night at a local 7-Eleven after foiling a robbery attempt with his Chase Sapphire Preferred card. “I was just buying some Fritos, planning on using my United MileagePlus card because of a targeted 1.5x miles on every dollar spent,” said Reginald Logan. “But when I saw this guy pull a gun on the clerk, I instinctively reached for the Sapphire Preferred.”

Thinking Logan was simply grabbing his preferred method of payment, the robber turned his attention back to the clerk and things were over in no time. During a subsequent police interview, the robber stated he was hit over the head with a large blunt object, but video evidence shows that Logan simply threw his Sapphire Preferred card at the back of the holdup artist’s head. “He dropped just like a sack of Idaho potatoes,” continued Logan. “I picked up my card, wiped off the blood and then proceeding to pay for the Fritos with my United card. Nothing was going to keep me from my Frito Pie.”

Our hero’s preferred choice of crime-fighting fuel.

In a press release yesterday, Chase praised Logan’s heroic actions, but the bank was also obviously concerned about the Sapphire Preferred’s potential as an instrument of violence:

We cannot thank Mr. Logan enough for his brave actions and for his many years as a loyal Chase customer. We consider all of our cardholders to be heroes, but Mr. Logan has outdone himself this time. That being said, we would like to caution others against attempting to use the Sapphire Preferred card as a weapon, whether stopping crimes or committing them. Chase in no way condones such violence, as is made crystal clear in the “Inappropriate Uses for Your Sapphire Preferred Card” section of every cardholder’s agreement with us.

Intrigued by the press release, Points Envy took a closer look at our Sapphire Preferred card agreement today, and it does in fact state that the card is not to be used to commit any acts of violence or rebellion. Additionally, it makes clear that the Sapphire Preferred is not to be used as a jack when changing a spare tire, a bullet proof shield for your other cards, or the foundation for a small house.

Chase can put any ridiculous restrictions they like in the agreement, but we at Points Envy take our hats off to Mr. Logan this week for making the world a slightly less horrible place. We would also advise that he send Chase a secure message requesting a nice chunk of Ultimate Rewards points as a thank you for the free publicity. New vigilante points-earning scheme anyone? YMMV.

Reader Question: How Do I Survive Coach?

Reader BigMike64 writes in this week with a question that almost brought us to tears:

I’ve got a trip coming up next week and, despite my best efforts, I was forced to buy my transatlantic ticket on American Airlines in coach due to severe scheduling restrictions. I’ve never actually flown coach, and at 6’4”, I’m a little worried. Do you have any tips on how to make the eight or so hours go by as pleasantly as possible?

We would like to offer our condolences to BigMike64, as his flight will no doubt be a harrowing experience. Although neither of the editors at Points Envy have ever actually flown coach, we have heard about it several times and feel we can offer a few valuable tips.

For starters, one strategy that has worked beautifully for us in similar uncomfortable situations (like funerals or job interviews) has been to get drunk in a classy fashion. Fortunately for BigMike64, earlier this year American introduced complimentary wine and beer for coach passengers on transatlantic flights. There is also the option of bringing your own champagne flask, an item we’ve found useful on numerous occasions.

Now boarding Economy passengers at Gate C19.

Next, we’d advise that you make sure everyone around you is aware that you are “supposed to be” up front in the premium cabin. Establishing this as early as possible will ensure you get the proper level of respect from other passengers, and should also guarantee a higher level of service from the crew. If you have elite status with AA, be sure to mention that as well. You can build additional camaraderie with other passengers by openly comparing your flight experience with every premium cabin flight you can recall. Science has shown time and time again that people tend to admire their superiors.

Finally, we have heard that just like in the poorer parts of an otherwise nice town, it can get pretty noisy back in coach. In addition to bringing your noise-canceling wireless headphones and entertainment devices, we’d advise bringing a few of your backup iPad 3s along to pacify those around you. You may also want to bring a bodyguard to carry the extra iPads and play drinking games.

We wish you the best BigMike64, though we ourselves would do whatever it took to avoid your predicament. In fact, one of us spent three extra weeks in Nepal due to limited outbound business class availability, and the other missed the birth of his first child for the same reason. Neither of us regrets it for a minute, and we would advise you to seriously consider your premium cabin options, no matter the consequences.

Points Envy Erroneously Omitted From Technorati Travel Blog Rankings

In an unfortunate error, the internet’s leading blog search engine and directory mistakenly omitted one of the world’s leading travel blogs from its most recent rankings. Although statistics, common sense and our straightforward catch phrase all clearly indicate that Points Envy is the third and a half biggest travel blog in the world, the current Technorati chart shows no mention of us in the top ten.

We admit that our massive egos were almost affected by this omission, but the real reason we decided to write this post is simple: justice. Yes, justice. Or wait, we mean fairness. Yeah, fairness. It is only fair that our blog be given its proper place in the rankings given our hard work and dedication.

Over the past couple of months, we have spent four or maybe even five hours toiling over credit card bonus details and award booking rules to bring you that hit of information needed to satisfy your frequent flyer cravings. Moreover, we regularly fly first class and stay in elite suites just to report on those experiences for our readers. Sure, The Points Guy and View From the Wing do that too, and work substantially harder, but we don’t think they should be that much higher than us in the rankings. For your benefit, we have provided an illustration of what a fair version of the rankings would look like:

Technorati rankings (with fairness taken into account).

Of course, we cannot hope to stay near the top forever (see Julius Caesar, The Notorious B.I.G., and the United States), and we therefore believe it is critical to celebrate our current success while it still tastes so sweet. Accordingly, we are throwing a huge party in Dublin next weekend and are inviting all of our female readers! More details are forthcoming, but get ready to bring your own (and our) Guinness!

Breaking: Chase Ink Bold Offer to Worsify

News has been making its way around the blogosphere this morning that we are all going to pay for Chase’s recent bender. As reported by Lucky and Daraius, it seems the current Ink Bold offer is set to get worse due to an increase in the minimum spending requirement from $5,000 to $10,000. We therefore send this advice out to all of you enterprising young businessmen and businesswomen: jump on it now!

The anticipated raising of the minimum spend is in line with the recent trend of big bonuses being tied to high spending requirements, exemplified most recently by the new Capital One Venture and British Airways offers. Given the spending habits of our business (I will be expensing the two bottles of Veuve Cliquot I drink while writing this post), we don’t personally think this will be such a big deal. But for those of you with “businesses” selling old CDs on eBay or buying used IKEA furniture on Craigslist, that extra $5,000 could be a dealbreaker.

Dip your pen in Chase’s ink before it’s too late!

So dear readers, if you do not already have an Ink Bold card, we encourage you to get one before these changes are fully in effect and the card is only within the province of the one percent. And for those readers who are the one percent, we look forward to seeing you tomorrow in first!

Plane Diverted After In-Flight Easter Egg Hunt Goes Awry

In an unfortunate incident yesterday, a United flight from Chicago to San Francisco was diverted when an onboard Easter Egg hunt went horribly awry. The airline had promoted the hunt as the first of its kind and offered discount tickets for children under the age of twelve. On final boarding in Chicago, the passenger manifest showed that more than two-thirds of the passengers were children.

According to the rules, these lucky kids would have approximately one hour to search for the more than one hundred dyed eggs hidden throughout the main cabin. A separate hunt involving genuine Fabergé eggs occurred at the same time in first class. Once at cruising altitude, the crew announced that the hunt would soon begin, and the excitement of the children was palpable. Soon after the announcement, the captain turned off the seatbelt sign and with the accompanying “ding,” a swarm of children began to run and crawl around the plane.

The first hints of trouble came only a few minutes later when two young children began fighting over an egg under 38C that both claimed to have discovered first. The egg was quickly crushed in the struggle and the children were wrestling in the aisle in no time. A flight attendant stepped in and was able to quell the juvenile violence, but just ten minutes later screams began to emanate from one of the rear lavatories.

When flight attendants were finally able to open the door, they discovered a seven-year old with what appeared to be an impressively painful wedgie. Through his tears, he complained that his eggs had been taken by some of the older children.

Despite these incidents and the fact that the crew ran out of alcohol for the adults, the hunt was going fairly well overall. Only thirty minutes remained when suddenly the captain requested that everyone return to their seats and fasten their seatbelts. A five-year-old child had somehow managed to sneak his way into the cockpit, where he found eight of the eggs.

The plane was diverted and made an emergency landing in Omaha. Fortunately nobody was injured, but we would guess that Jesus will rise again before United attempts another in-flight Easter egg hunt. In related news, it’s reported that El Al’s inaugural in-flight Afikomen search went off without a hitch.