We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
Note: This post is satire and you shouldn’t follow any of Points Envy’s suggestions, nor should you break the law. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental.
Also note: The following is a transcript of Points Envy’s 2013 State of the Points World Address, delivered February 14 at our local JPMorgan Chase branch.
Mr. Morgan-Chase, Mrs. Teller, fellow points fiends and miles junkies:
More than forty years ago, a man employed by Western Direct Marketing, a small advertising firm looking for a way to build customer loyalty for its client United Airlines, had a vision that would forever change the world of travel. Relying on his G-d-given creativity and breakfast whiskeys, he had the revolutionary idea of rewarding customers in direct proportion to the number of miles they flew.
Over time this idea spread to other airlines and even to hotels. As customers started building accounts with the new rewards they received for traveling, banks saw an opportunity to reward their customers with the same luscious non-currency in return for the customer accumulating debt. And so reward credit cards were born, working with modern loyalty programs to comprise what we righteous points fiends refer to endearingly as “The Game.”
Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the Points World’s bloggers, FlyerTalkers and airline executives, we have much progress to report. After a year of dramatic ups and downs, our points accounts are rebounding and first class flying has almost never tasted sweeter.
But first, the bad news. We lost some true friends this year. The Sapphire Preferred 50,000 point signup bonus has been indefinitely slashed, the Citi two-browser trick looks to be on the fritz, and the Office Depot Vanilla Reload and gift card opportunities are dead in the water. And with the unfolding merger of American Airlines and US Airways, our holdings in those programs potentially face unknown dangers.
In response to these difficult times, we as a community of individuals have had to make some basic decisions about our future and the future of our points accounts — decisions that will have a huge impact on the strength of our recovery.
For example, should you transfer Membership Rewards points into Avios while a transfer bonus is in effect, or is it better to keep some flexibility? Should a non-category dollar be used to earn 1 Starpoint or 1.07 Ultimate Rewards points? Should you put off a credit card application a couple weeks in hopes of a temporary credit card signup mega-bonus?
But the Points World does not expect credit card signup bonuses and irresponsible impulse spending to solve all its problems. This year we witnessed unbridled creativity in the expansion of gift-card tactics and double-dipping strategies. For this we have many to thank, but we would feel remiss if we did not specifically tip our hat to The Frequent Miler. [Points Envy tips invisible hat.]
Going forward, we as a nation will need to examine the past in order to address the problems of tomorrow. Historically, the biggest drivers of our long-term deficits are entitlements, specifically excessive first class travel and twelve-night AXON award stays in the Maldives.
And reform will not be easy. Certain parties might even claim it to be impossible. In our own case, for example, we flatly refuse to give up any such benefits. Others, however, will need to make heavy sacrifices, maybe even occasionally flying a short leg in business class.
[At this point in the State of the Points World Address Points Envy were physically escorted from the premises by security officers, but our speech continued outside to a rapt audience.]
To further ensure our children will have the same opportunities we have enjoyed, we need to get them started at the earliest possible age. Study after study shows that the sooner a child begins earning miles, the better he or she is at earning miles down the road.
Yet today, fewer than 1 in 10 four year-olds have a miles-earning credit card, even when you count no-fee cards like the Chase Freedom. For these children, this lack of access to points can cast a dark shadow over the rest of their lives. So tonight, we propose working closely with every major credit card issuer to make rewards cards available to every single child in the world. Obviously this does not include Discover.
And as we strengthen our families and communities in this way, it will remind us how we are able to maintain our power and influence throughout the world. The three big alliances have all expanded this year, and it is these bonds between nations that ensure peace and prosperity for all. Except for SkyTeam; their bond with Middle East Airlines or “MEA” (look it up, that is real) will lead us towards nuclear annihilation.
But let us focus for now on the good developments. OneWorld added Malaysia Airlines and will soon include US Airways. If you are willing to fly business class, it got easier to go to Europe without paying fuel surcharges by using Iberia or Air Berlin. Most important of all, the first class products of Cathay Pacific and British Airways remain as refined as ever.
Turning to the Star Alliance, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, Lufthansa, Asiana, Thai Airways, and ANA all continue to have respectable first class products, in descending order of respectability. And Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program continues to provide easy access to all these products through United MileagePlus. We advise you to sample them all in the coming year.
We will of course encounter new roadblocks and obstacles going forward. We may hold different opinions on how to address these problems, but as members of this World we all share the same proud title — points fiends. It’s a title that doesn’t depend on nationality, legal status, or level of inebriation.
Instead, it describes the way we are made. It describes what we believe. It captures the enduring idea that it remains the task of us all, as a member of this Points World, to be the authors of the next great chapter in our first class story.
G-d bless you, G-d bless Points Envy, and G-d bless the Points World.