Deal or no deal? This week, everybody wanted to play. Virgin Atlantic said, “So you want to book Delta awards online? Deal!” – until turning around the next day to shout “No deal!” after all. Thankfully, they weren’t the only show in town — from wine to credit card sign ups, we ran the numbers and declared where to find the deals. Read on for the Frequent Miler week in review.
I love Amex Offers — you can often save 10%, 20%, or sometimes even more. But seriously, someone at Martha Stewart Wines must have been sampling a little too much of the product when they OK’d a promo to give a $40 statement credit on a $50 purchase. And then allowing it to stack to bring bottles of wine down to two or three bucks each..? Wow. For the sake of the marketing department’s job security, I hope the accounting department has a serious case of double vision. Greg lays out several ways you can play this deal to ensure your cup won’t runneth dry any time soon.
Are you thinking about applying for one or the other? What are you going to do with the cards you have? I would love to provide a product-change data point here, but like Greg I am enjoying a $350 annual fee on my Prestige card and can’t see giving that up. I’ll easily use the $250 air travel credit each year, meaning that if I use the 4th night free just once a year on average, I’ll make out pretty well by keeping it in my wallet. I have long considered the Premier to pair with it, but being freshly under 5/24 means that I have a wandering eye at the moment and don’t foresee a Citi app in my immediate master plan.
Some people in this hobby have a lot of points. For people with balances into the millions, it often isn’t a question of whether or not to use points but rather which ones to use. In those scenarios, I think a cross-currency comparison like this one has a lot of merit in figuring out how to get as much mileage out of your miles & points as possible. In that regard, I loved this post that Greg wrote debating the relative value of Thank You points. At the very least, it will remind you that the math involved in comparing values isn’t always as simple as it seems.
While I certainly do some moderate manufactured spending, the bulk of my spend (and mileage earning) has long come from buying and reselling. On the surface, the challenge in reselling seems to lie in figuring out what to buy. But if you’re going to be successful in this realm, I think it’s much more important to figure out how to buy stuff in the sense of identifying opportunity. In fact, my most successful resale items haven’t been things I found on a deal site nor were they magical top-secret tips…rather they’ve been opportunities I’ve recognized using the knowledge and experience I’ve picked up along the way. In this post, I lay out one such deal where I’ve been able to double and triple-dip purchases to turn a cash profit and earn a chunk of miles. Truth be told, this was mostly a result of applying lessons I learned from Greg’s posts on Extreme Stacking Sears and Extreme Stacking Kohl’s – I just sought out a new place to apply what I’d learned. If and when this one dies, I’ll keep my eye out for the next thing to come along.
I was talking on the phone with a fellow miles & points aficionado the other night who told me that he had a large SPG balance that had been sitting there for a long time simply because the points always seemed too valuable to use – a sentiment I’ve heard more than once. I’d argue the other side: Starpoints are too valuable not to use them. If you’ve got a stack of Sarpoints collecting dust, head over to the new resource page that Greg added to the site on Starwood transfer partners.
I’ve heard Greg talk about the Virgin Atlantic cards before, but reading this post made me think that I have been ignoring this card for too long. I generally prefer to put big spend on transferable currencies rather than being locked into a single program — which, in my opinion, is the argument against this card. I’ve got this post bookmarked should I ever get the idea to pick up a rubber ducky of my own, as status is now a requirement for entry (using miles, anyway).
That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Check back soon for this week around the web and our last chance deals.