ultimate rewards

The (Last Two) Week(s) in Review

We are excited for Frequent Traveler University this weekend, mostly for the free coffee at Starbucks courtesy of Million Mile Secrets. Look out for our review next week.

Speaking of Million Mile Secrets, this week they taught us how to use elite traveler security lines by fooling the TSA with a flashy frequent flyer card. The comments section of the post heated up quickly, with people throwing around fighting words as they tend to only do anonymously on the internet. Our favorite comment was by E, and we quote: “OK Seems some incentive is needed for the loser line cutters. When i’m in the line (Either one) and I see Darious and or Emily i will call them out in Pubic.” That’s taking it a bit far, don’t you think?

Everybody is talking about getting rid of virgins by way of a Hilton, or something like that. Kinda reminds us of high school.

In a feat we didn’t think possible, The Points Guy runs through some ways in which Delta’s Skymiles program could get even worse.

In case you somehow hadn’t heard, THE CHASE FREEDOM CATEGORIES FOR 2013 ARE NOW AVAILABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thankfully, our dealer was recently reclassified as a “drugstore,” so the first quarter is already looking good for our Ultimate Rewards balance.

The Mr. Pickles is back to blogging. As practitioners of the occasional blogging hiatus ourselves, we understand the need for a break, but it is very good to have him back. Here he reminds us of an oldy but goody (and unfortunately deady). We used the diamond ring thing to prank propose to numerous girlfriends. They didn’t think it was funny, but we earned a lot of points.

The Points Guy outlines a fairly surefire way to get your PayPal account shut down, in case anyone was looking to do that without actually having to contact PayPal.

Frequent Miler issues a rare review of card benefits specifically for domestic travel, and an even rarer trip report. We find the comparison of Delta and Cathay Pacific downright offensive, but then again, we haven’t flown Delta since they updated their award booking procedures.

Last, but by no means least, the Points Envy travel blog contest will close at 5pm PST today. Winners will probably be announced sometime in the next week, or at some point after that.


The Week in Review

United is offering discounted award tickets to Europe for travel between January 15 and March 13, the precise timeframe in which nobody wants to go to Europe. But if braving cold weather and flying a U.S. carrier transatlantically are worth saving 12,000 miles to you, then by all means, have at it!

Via Million Mile Secrets, a new Ink Bold/Plus deal is on the way from Chase, requiring only $5,000 in spending within three months to receive the 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points bonus. This surely means that soon nobody will be able to find Vanilla Reloads at Office Depots, except of course those of us who are already bribing our local store managers.

Small Business Saturday is back on November 24 this year, and registration begins November 18. Last year we convinced our local wine dealer to let us split purchases on multiple cards and managed to get several bottles of fine champagne gratis. Between this and Bluebird, we are having trouble figuring out how American Express stays in business. Is the entire bank just some elaborate money laundering front?

The Mr Pickles has developed an intriguing new way of ranking your miles earning: miles earned per minute. We propose a new method: miles burned per minute. Our number has got to be in the thousands.

Lucky is back in the sky, and we are looking forward to yet another mouth-watering review of Lufthansa first class. We particularly love reading his reviews of Lufthansa first class while flying Lufthansa first class. We are meta like that.

The Points Envy assistants sent in another photographic update from their latest vacation, this time from Moscow:

Requisite Bluebird Post

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?

Churn in Hell

Getting your family members involved in the points game is a great method for maximizing the total rewards available for all of you (or, occasionally, a surefire way to marital hell). Typically this means ensuring that you and your significant other both engage in regular churning. Other points fiends go so far as to get their parents and siblings involved, but this tactic requires that your parents and siblings not hate you, which is unlikely to be the case (statistically speaking).

For this reason, we at Points Envy sought out a more trusting and loving generation: grandparents. For the past several years, all of our grandparents have been churning credit cards for signup bonuses on the regular, helping to amass well over five million points of various character in the process. Given credit histories that go back to the beginning of credit histories and steady social security income, approval has never been a problem.

       Preserve the love, spend the points

One of our grandparents has even been churning from the afterlife for more than a year now, thanks to a large freezer in our basement. The freezer was expensive, but we got it while Sears was offering 10x in the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall. We plan to buy more when the time comes, seeing that they essentially pay for themselves in a matter of months.

Of course, not one of our grandparents has set foot on a plane since the 1970s, but that hasn’t stopped them from giving their grandchildren the greatest gift of all: first class travel.

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.

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!

Bender at Chase Responsible for Erratic Behavior

It has been a terribly confusing week if you’ve been trying to keep up with the offers being rolled out and cancelled by Chase bank. Earlier in the week, the tragic news of the death of the Sapphire Preferred’s 50,000 point bonus was offset in part by a 60,000 point Ink Bold bonus and a 30,000 point Freedom bonus. The very next day both of those offers were largely dead, but a 35,000 point Freedom offer popped up. This offer was also gone within an incredibly short time, and now a 100,000 Avios points offer is up for the British Airways card. If this past week has taught us anything, it’s that you need to steal these points pies from the windowsill before they have time to cool.

The rollercoaster of emotion over these past few days has had us wondering what is really going on over at Chase. To find out, we attempted to contact our insider at Chase on Tuesday afternoon, but did not hear back until early this morning. According to our source, the bank’s credit card promotions department has essentially been on a bender since Monday afternoon, a party paid for entirely by the savings resulting from lowering the Sapphire Preferred offer.

“I can’t really remember much of what happened since around 4 pm Monday,” said our source. “There were carts of champagne rolled in and then some tanks of some kind of gas; let’s just say we’ve been having a good time.” When asked about the varying promotions, she noted that a certain prankster named Tom had been modifying links and sending them out to mess with the frequent flyer crowd. “Yeah, Tom just thought it was funny to see the frenzied reactions; we all did really, even my boss.”

It is a sad fact of life that even the best parties must eventually end, as the department found out upon waking up Friday morning to a barrage of nasty emails from its higher-ups. As far as our source knows the promotions will be honored for those who applied, though whether the department will be required to scale back in the future remains uncertain.