As you are all no doubt aware, it has been a turbulent few days in the points and miles community. First we were hit with the exciting news that the Ink Bold and Ink Plus spending requirements had dropped from $10,000 to $5,000. Shortly thereafter the community suffered a devastating blow, as it became apparent that Office Depots around the country had received a memo directing store managers to pull all Vanilla Reloads from the shelves. As we always say: the points lords giveth and the points lords taketh away.
Throughout these tough times, we at Points Envy have been sitting on the sidelines, mulling the happenings and drinking champagne in observance of the traditional week-long holiday leading up to the Veterans Day holiday. While we were busy playing Veterans Day-themed drinking games, others were playing the blame game, pointing fingers at those supposedly responsible for killing the Office Depot Vanilla deal.
After switching from champagne to scotch and doing some further soul-searching, we came to realize there is something we must get off our chests: we are alcoholics. But, more importantly, we must also publicly confess to everyone in the points world that we are responsible for Office Depot pulling the Vanilla Reloads.
Our assistants, on their last successful Ink Bold Vanilla run.
We feel terrible, and will continue to feel terrible until we restock our liquor cabinet, but we’d like to explain what happened. When we woke from our bender this morning, we found a document open on our computer titled “OfficeDepot_LOL.docx.” It was a beautifully-worded memo to all Office Depot store managers, directing them to immediately pull all Vanilla Reload cards due to rampant cases of fraud. It seems that this document, minus the numerous profanity-laced paragraphs about “preserving first class availability,” became the now-notorious Vanilla Reloads memo sent to Office Depot store managers last week.
Apparently, we just thought it would be funny to ruin the game for everyone and indulge in what the Chinese refer to as “Schadenfreude.” Judging by the tumultuous response in the points world over the past few days, we were absolutely right. So, to all the pros out there swimming in points who have one less reason to worry about finding first class award space, you are welcome. And to the amateurs, you are also welcome for the valuable lesson we have taught you.
The entire (points) world is abuzz this week with the arrival of Bluebird, the newest Airbus model powered solely by the collective sadness of the French. (Zing!) No, Bluebird is allegedly the best thing since buying dollar coins from the U.S. Mint: a new scheme to manufacture “millions” of points. While the prospect of mere millions doesn’t usually entice us, we at Points Envy decided to spend a few minutes browsing other blog posts about Bluebird to find out what all the hubbub was about. Below we have compiled that information into a completely superfluous post repeating useful bits of what other bloggers that you follow have already told you. We are a points and miles blog, after all.
Bluebird seems to be a new offering from American Express, the folks who periodically give you money to not use a superior points-earning card. We can’t understand the real reasons behind their launching this product, but the key for the points world is that you can use Bluebird to pay for things you cannot normally use a credit card for, like your mortgage, credit card bills, and drugs (assuming your dealer will accept a check).
For the best value, all you really need to do is: (1) have a Chase Ink card that earns 5x Ultimate Rewards points on office supply store spend; (2) find an Office Depot that stocks Vanilla Reload cards; (3) purchase all of the Vanilla Reload cards in stock with said Ink card; (4) load Bluebird with said Vanilla Reload cards; (5) immediately withdraw all of the money from your Bluebird account at an ATM; and (6) head to the nearest club and have the time of your life, knowing you are earning five points for every dollar bill you use to make it rain!
So, there you have it. As Amex continues to roll back many of the most beneficial features of its cards, they appear to have thrown the points world a bone with this one. If history has taught us anything, Amex will soon cancel Bluebird and then also revoke the lounge privileges associated with its Platinum card, just for good measure. Get while the gettin’ is good points fiends! That is, until American Express gets sued by Twitter.
How well do you know your avian silhouettes?
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!