frequent flyer programs

The New One Card To Rule Them All

For those of you who live in a state with medical marijuana, which should be all of you, Points Envy has uncovered a new method for manufacturing points that, to state it bluntly, puts everything Frequent Miler has ever written to shame. 2013 ICECDIAC’s here we come!

The plan is almost too easy:
1) Obtain a prescription for medical marijuana*
2) Find a dispensary that accepts credit cards
3) Purchase large quantities of medical marijuana using any credit card, gift card, or prepaid card
4) Sell the medical marijuana for cash
20) Use the cash to pay off your credit card bill

For those of you who need a little hand-holding, we explain each of the steps in further detail below.

Step 1: Obtain a Medical Marijuana Prescription

Finding a marijuana-prescribing doctor is almost as easy as finding a credit card affiliate link on a points blog. Simply pick up any free local paper and look through the ads near the back to find a doctor near you. Schedule an appointment, show up, and explain to the doctor that you have anxiety due to your low points balances and inability to find Vanilla Reload cards. Or you can mention back pain, nausea, idiocy, or just about any other ailment. Remember, if it’s an ailment, marijuana can cure it. Your cost for this prescription will likely be around $40, provided that you shop around and look for subtle keywords like, “GET YOUR CARD NOW – WE’LL BEAT ANY PRICE!”

Typical marijuana doctor advertisement

(more…)

Advertisements

Pointless Points: Brownie Points

The other day our girlfriend gave us a ride to the airport to begin one of the many first class journeys to India that we booked during the latest Avios award sale. The entire drive, she kept casually mentioning how much she loves saffron, repeatedly interrupting our attempts to estimate how many bottles of champagne we could consume between LAX and BOM (including both in lounges and inflight).

After the fourth interruption, we asked her why she kept bringing up saffron, and she told us that it would be nice if we brought some back from India. Despite our noting that saffron is widely available in the United States, even pointing out an Indian market clearly visible from the road, she insisted and told us that if we complied we would “score some points.” This, of course, got our attention.

We inquired as to what kind of points she meant, to which she offered a quizzical glance before referring to some mystical program called “Brownie Points.” Intrigued, we asked her if that was a new loyalty program. She again shot us an uninterpretable look and simply said, “It’d better be!” Still confused, we asked how many points we would earn, but she just raised her eyebrows and replied, “Bring me back some saffron and find out.”

She’ll never know the difference.

We are always hesitant to engage in this sort of murky points-earning, but we also have an inexplicable tendency to convince ourselves to do unwise things by repeating the phrase “Go big or go home.” More importantly, we arrived at the airport before we could ask any further questions. She kissed us goodbye, and we were off to our first first class lounge of the journey.

(more…)


The Way Things Were: Camel Cash

A true points fiend is, in unequivocal terms, addicted to the game of earning and burning points and miles. But if there is anything more addictive than the points game, it’s nicotine. Now imagine – what if you could combine those two awesome addictions into one activity? Well, in a time before “science” decided that cigarettes are bad for us (ignoring the obvious health benefits that come from looking awesome), this glorious dream was a reality.

Cool kids who understand points sorely lament the loss of Camel Cash, the beloved currency of Joe Camel and his cronies. The program was the invention of Camel cigarettes, who used to stick C-Notes onto the back of every pack. C-Notes were worth 5 cents each and could be redeemed for valuable items in the Camel catalogue, such as t-shirts featuring Joe Camel, wallets, lighters, autographed pictures of Joe Camel, and other swag.

Who do you trust?

After many years of eager fiends ignoring health warnings in their search for these treasured coupons, the surgeon general grew jealous and started a media campaign to malign not just Camel Cash but the entire cigarette industry. Thanks to the resulting changes, we now have to settle for miles, points, and cash back. Adding insult to injury, we must endure an even longer life without Camel Cash thanks to our increased life expectancies.

You points n00bs may get excited about mileage runs earning 3 cents per mile, but we continue to lust for the real thing: a carton of Camel Lights and ten beautiful C-notes.


Revolutionary Mileage Run Strategy Fails Because of Non-Fatness

Upon first meeting David Kilos, you might think he was just your run-of-the-mill road warrior, a reliable and unassuming employee. But after just a few minutes of talking points with him, you quickly realize you are dealing with a travel heavyweight (which, as you will see, is unfortunately only figurative). Kilos has been in the game for more than two decades and his knowledge runs deeper than Scrooge McDuck’s pockets, having already singlehandedly changed the way we think about points on numerous occasions. Multiple same day card applications, stopovers and open jaws in Europe on Delta awards to Africa, and the cents per mile unit of calculation were all pioneered by Kilos. And earlier this year Kilos had an equally revolutionary idea: earning miles for two tickets on a single flight.

“I kept seeing these amazing mileage run deals for around 3 cents per mile, and I just wished I could do them multiple times without it taking so long,” explains Kilos. In thinking along this line, his most recent epiphany occurred when he remembered reading that overweight people can earn miles for two seats on a single flight when they buy two tickets. With this strategy, Kilos figured he would be able to double the points-earning power of his mileage runs.

Kilos made his first attempt in early March on a United routing of FLL-IAH-SFO-LAX-SFO-IAH-FLL that priced out to about 3.2 cpm. He contacted United, explained his purported weight issues (Kilos is in reality a modest 5’9” and 160 pounds), and soon had his reservations in place. On that fateful morning, Kilos checked in with an automated teller, made his way through security and was soon waiting patiently for the moment of truth. When boarding began, he approached the gate and handed the gate agent both of his boarding passes. She seemed confused, and Kilos immediately grew nervous. He explained his purchase, but the agent did not understand and said he was “not fat enough for two tickets, even if you are a 1K.” She called her superiors and after much back and forth, the airline ultimately canceled one of the tickets because it concluded that Kilos was indeed too skinny to qualify for a double seat purchase.

When we met up with Kilos last week, he still seemed a little dazed by the ordeal. “I was so close to perfection,” he said. “Do you know what it feels like to be that close and then have it all come crashing down, just because you’re in shape?” Despite the failure, Kilos remains optimistic about his strategy. “I’ve been eating at least two meals a day a CiCi’s Pizza for the past several weeks. I know I’ll get there soon.”


Debate Over Redeeming for Domestic Awards Turns Violent

An ugly incident marred the frequent flyer community yesterday when the debate over whether travelers should use miles for domestic awards turned violent. Most of our readers are familiar with the general landscape: some argue that points should only be redeemed for expensive international tickets in first or business class because it achieves maximum value, while others think redeeming for domestic awards makes sense because it saves cash that would otherwise be used to purchase tickets.

In this latest incident, things reportedly got heated in the business class cabin of a Delta plane after Joseph Gerhard casually mentioned to his seat neighbor Steve Elkin that he had redeemed SkyMiles for his business class seat from Philadelphia to Atlanta. Elkin, a Diamond Medallion member, immediately became abrasive and began to lecture Gerhard on his “idiocy” in “throwing away” miles on such an award.

According to eyewitnesses, the passengers continued to argue for several minutes, with Elkin loudly reciting a list of premium international award tickets he had booked and Gerhard noting that he preferred to save money on routes he “was going to fly anyway.” Much of the disagreement was lost on the other passengers, but its intensity became clear when Elkin allegedly slapped Gerhard in the face and charged that he “wouldn’t know the difference between a stopover and an open jaw if [his] life depended on it.” Fortunately, several of the poorer passengers quickly stepped in and the men were assigned different seats.

On the ground, Elkin continued to boast to Delta representatives and police that he had not redeemed miles for a domestic ticket in over seven years, repeatedly yelling, “Only amateurs do that s**t!” Gerhard could not be reached for comment on his redemption strategy. While we are sure the debate will continue, we truly hope future disagreements will at least be more civil. In-flight duels anyone?


New Delta Award Booking System To Make You Jump Through Hoops

As many in the frequent flyer community have noted over the years, delta.com’s award booking system is broken. After fielding customer complaints and seeing bad press on the subject for so long, Delta is finally introducing a new award booking system, and with it comes good news and bad news. The good news is that low-level awards in both business and economy class will be far more plentiful.

The bad news is that whereas the old booking system required trickery, persistence, and sorcery, the new system makes you jump through hoops – literally. And when we say “literally,” we don’t mean an emphatic “figuratively,” we mean that you can reserve an itinerary on Delta’s site but then must head to the nearest ticketing office and jump through multiple hoops in order to complete the booking.
Flaming hoop

What would you do for BusinessElite?

“We listened to our customers’ complaints about lack of low-level award availability, and I’m proud to say that our low-level award inventory is better than it has ever been,” says Delta Award Booking VP John DiMazzo. “Now our customers can easily redeem their hard-earned SkyMiles for the flights they want. It’s all about the freedom.”

Nice try John, but if anything this is another example of Delta disrespecting our American ways.


CERN Study Determines Best Frequent Flyer Program

A two-year study by CERN has finally provided a definitive answer to the question many of us have asked for years: which airline’s frequent flyer program has the best name? CERN scientists began their investigation in early 2010 by developing algorithms that would properly evaluate the names of every frequent flyer program in the world. Approximately six months later all relevant information was fed into a supercomputer normally reserved for nuclear fission research, and the scientists crossed their fingers.

After more than a year of complex calculations that would have taken a human more than three hundred trillion years, the computer concluded that Cayman Airways’ Sir Turtle Rewards program was the clear winner. Shortly after the results were announced, Vietnam Airlines’ Golden Lotus Plus, Ethiopian Airlines’ ShebaMiles, China Southern’s Sky Pearls and Air Jamaica’s Seventh Heaven programs all filed complaints with CERN contesting the outcome of the study. The debate will apparently continue to rage in some people’s minds, but for now we take our hats off to Sir Turtle for his impressive victory.

Sir Turtle, we salute you!