Somebody asked me that recently; which prompted me to take a moment to evaluate exactly how deep I am in this hobby. If I labeled the scale as 1 being completely oblivious to the world of points and miles, and 10 being unable to function normally to the point of needing an intervention, I’d say I’m a healthy 7.
I give myself a 7 because I feel that I’ve reached a point (no pun intended) in my journey where I can honestly say I have integrated collecting points and miles into my normal day-to-day activities. It’s a natural part of my daily life, and it doesn’t take much sweat. I give myself credit for knowing things life which credit card to use for what purchase in order to maximize my earnings, what promotions are worth my time, and how to disconnect from it all when I need to.
We all do crazy things in the quest for a deal, discount, or free travel, but there’s always limits and boundaries we won’t cross [for some of us at least].
Over the past year, I guess I could say I’ve done some things to accumulate miles and points that is beyond what the “average-leisure-traveler” would do, but I’ve never done anything in such excess that it has become destructive to my normal daily life, hurt anybody in the process, or would be considered questionable/illegal.
So what I have done?
- On Black Friday, I tested my first run at buying and reselling for points. A friend of mine reached out to me and told me that with the Black Friday Kohls promotion, I’d be able to earn 10 points per dollar through the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping purchase simply by purchasing a bunch of KitchenAid mixers that were heavily discounted during the sale and reselling them on Amazon. He also told me that because there was “Kohls Cash” involved, aside from just earning lucrative amounts of points, I would actually be able to make a profit. I was pretty hesitant before diving right in because this was an entirely different “points-earning” avenue that I had yet to explore, and I was nervous to invest “thousands of dollars”. His orignal plan was to spend a total of $25,000 at this opportunity. Being the more conservative type, I “invested” about $3,000. The best part of this process was hearing my parents on the other end of the phone when they told me that UPS had delivered an abundance of giant mixers to their doorstep. At the end of the day, the series of transactions were successful, and I earned around 18,000 UR points and about $300 in profit. The only “work” involved was printing shipping labels and scheduling a UPS pick up to have the products shipped to Amazon.
- I’ve also done my fair share of mileage runs. To most readers, mile-running a common practice of life, but others in the outside world are perplexed beyond belief.
- On a similar note, I have gone out of my way to book “mattress runs”, specifically to earn free-night certificates with SPG and Club Carlson.
- At one point, I had 11 active travel credit cards (now I’m down to 9, but will be applying for 4 more by mid-February).
- I’ll have to admit that I definitely spend a lot of time browsing the blogs, forums, and social media in order to keep up with the fast-paced environment that this is all nested in. Time is money, and it’s very easy to be distracted by all of this to the point where it takes away from other daily obligations.
Things I won’t do/haven’t done:
- I’m still not on board with the Ink/BlueBird “5x everywhere” phenomenon, but since the Ink Plus Card is on my radar for my next churn, that could change in a blink of an eye.
- I won’t abuse a loyalty program – whether it be complaining at every instance for free points or credits, or manipulating a technological glitch, I won’t be part of it. I like to keep good faith in my hobby.
- I won’t take advantage of a promotion that is valued less than what I value my time. For instance, there are so many ways to earn marginal amounts of points that take way too much time (such as e-rewards, audience rewards for 2 points per question, etc.).