Let’s face it, we all love a good points deal. And while we are no longer “allowed” to call a mistake fare a mistake, a great bargain, or a zero base cost fare, it is always just so much fun to book and fly. And when a really convoluted plan comes along we are more than happy to jump through all the hoops it takes to score a win. But what is too much and what is too far (for you that is)?
For example, I have always thought if I ever had a child what I would name that bundle of joy. Then it hit me one day that I would have to seriously consider:
First name: ESPECIALLY
Middle name: FOR
Last name: YOU
Now I know it would be kinda weird for my kid to have a different last name than me, but think when the wee-one went to buy some money orders with the above gift card and those at Wally World said the card has to be in your name then… well… Plus, I could use this name for either a boy or a girl! 😉
Clearly I am kidding (I think) about this one. But I am happy to push it when it comes to points. When I say push I mean follow everything to the letter even if whoever did not intend us to do it “that way”. Let’s look at some of the deals over the years and see if you played along.
VDGCS. Clearly right now, for those who have the time, buying and liquidating gift cards is one of the best ways to crank out a bunch of points. Sometimes it costs you a little, sometimes not, but yes it does take time and effort and it is easy to get shut down (many are at this point). I have no issues when everyone is making their fee and is happy.
Stacking deals. This one can go sideways. For example you start at some portal to buy some deal. Sometimes you try a code and that works, sometimes it does not. Then you buy whatever and earn the points and cash back. Then sell whatever you got. Again here I have no problem stacking as I know the risks and am happy if I just get points net free (other than my time).
Vanilla Reloads. This is part of the blast from the past. Oh these were so simple to just buy at CVS (or other places) and then load to your AMEX Bluebird and cash out. We even did field trips from the Chicago Seminars for this one! I wish I had done more but I got lazy before the mega shutdowns hit.
IHG Post Cards. Do you remember this one a little over a year ago? The deal was you had to hand write 94 post cards and then mail them off to win with each one some amount of points. Some won a bunch and I even won a $50 gift card that offset my postage so the all the points I got were free (other than a hand cramp for me and my wife). I love this one and would do it again.
The US Mint Coins. My bank hated me over this one. I ran a bunch (let’s just say it was a large number). I hated having to unwrap all these coins (yes that is how my bank wanted it) but I loved all the points and spend I got done on my travel cards. I only wish I had not been so Delta focused then as I know many have AA lifetime Gold or Platinum today just from this deal. Oh and no I have no issue with this one, we followed the (stupid) rules in place.
Travelers Checks. This one was before my time. The skinny was you simply purchased travelers checks with a point card and deposited the checks. Oh that was too easy and I would have loved to have run that one for all it was worth. Good for those who go in.
Renting Cars. I don’t remember all the details on this one but there was a deal with a code where you could rent cars cheap. I mean really cheap and with the promo you got a ton of points. There was a guy who rented like 50 cars – all they had – all weekend again and again. Now you have to think the rental place would have to be really willing to work with you to get this done and never move all those cars. I have nothing against this one either but wow it seems like much work.
Trackit Stickers. A bunch of folks got in on this deal by buying a ton of stickers and getting airline points. The company later went out of business and personally I really liked the idea of the program itself beyond all the points. I think everyone got the points they expected and I should have played in this one more than the one order I did (I was kinda a newbee and was cautious about going all in like most).
The famous Pudding Guy. This one you have likely been told about or seen online. I have met him and he is a really nice guy. Short story is buy pudding with lids worth AA points. But a LOT of them, like all they had southern California. Have homeless shelter folks peal off lids and they keep pudding he gets points and tax write off for donation of pudding. It took media shaming to get them to pay out the points. I loved this one – well done!
Mattress Runs. This one I really have no issue with but just not the time or location. Last year in fact there was a promo where at a certain chain you could stay cheap enough that you at the end of many stays got a boatload of hotel points that could be used at much nicer hotels. Again, if following their rules I am onboard.
Buy and Return. Now we are getting into the ones that are across the line that I would not do. There is a story about a guy who went to Costco online and got a 50k Diamond engagement ring (but there was no fiancée). Then returned it in store where they did not take that card so they had to give him a check back (because, “the fiancée said no”). He kept the points that way. That, is just not inside the rules to me.
Dating for Avios. This one is recent. I thought it was funny and told my wife (I was kidding btw) that we may have to join a dating site (again I was kidding). This one was not OK because I was not going to use the service at all nor was I free to date anyone (nor my wife) so we are outside the rules to me. Oh, and the deal went sideways anyway so happy I was not comfortable with this one.
Book Refundable for Bumps. Please get I am not suggesting this one and I would not do this one as it is another one across the line that is booking fully refundable tickets for the express purpose of taking a bump. If you don’t bump you don’t fly and get money back. No thanks. Happy to bump if I had planned on flying but not speculative tickets I never intended to fly. That is across the line!
So there you are. Do you remember all of these events? Have you played along with any or all of them. Are any of these too much for you or are you game for all of them? Let us know! – René
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