Thoughts

Managing the Miles and Points Hobby when Things get Busy

That's me.
That’s me.

So as you may have noticed, my post frequency has taken a nosedive recently. This is due to a perfect storm of increased responsibilities and commitments in almost every aspect of life. Like any hobby, miles and points have kind of fallen to the wayside a bit for me, but I’ve been trying to keep in touch with things despite having very little time.

I’ve been operating like a skeleton crew, just doing the bare minimum for what needs to be done to keep my miles and points hobby running until I have time time to reinvest again. Here are some things I’ve been doing to stay active.

1. Make sure all your credit cards are on autopay

When I first started, I hated using autopay because I wanted to mentally remind myself of how much I was spending. I find that the act of checking your credit card bill – the full amount at the very least – is a good reminder and a check and balance to make sure you’re not overspending all for the chasing of points.

Unfortunately, as my number of cards has hit 20+, it’s just not sustainable to log into every single account every month – it’s too easy to miss something. This isn’t even including things like Serve, Bluebird, various gift cards flying around, etc. etc.

Then you get hit with late fees, interest charges, etc. So around September 10th when I realized everything was getting crazy I logged into every single credit card account I have and made sure they are all on autopay. That was a good thing too, because I had a bill due on 9/11 on a new card that I hadn’t enrolled in autopay yet.

Better safe than sorry! Of course, you should just enroll in autopay the moment you sign up for online access, then you don’t have to worry about it when things get crazy.

Make sure to double check this from time to time so you don't miss anything
Make sure to double check this from time to time so you don’t miss anything

2. Spend the time and energy you have clearing sign up bonuses

For people who aren’t super hardcore about earning their miles, the majority of mile earning is still probably coming from sign up bonuses. The reality is, if I was heavy into MS-spending I wouldn’t have the time to track it right now anyway. So besides doing Amazon Payments two final times, I’ve totally cut out even the small MS strategies that I use for the time being.

Instead, I’ve just been focusing on clearing the sign up bonuses that I currently need to get through. It isn’t anything huge, so it’s mostly regular spending, but it would be a travesty to miss a sign up bonus because I’m too busy – so I’m making sure I’m using whatever energy I have leftover in a day to double check that I am on pace (I am). Unlike other times, I’m not rushing to clear the bonus (sometimes I’ll try to get it done in three weeks) – just going about my regular day and making sure my wife and I are using the right cards.

I don’t even have the time and energy to bug my wife about applying for cards! But at least I’m clearing the bonuses I have.

UnitedMP

3. Just read titles of blog articles

I’m sure many of you, like me, use some kind of RSS reader or equivalent to keep up to date with blog news. But once you’ve been doing this long enough, you can kind of figure out what an article is going to tell you just by its title (the subject of much satire). Sometimes there are hidden gems, but when I’m busy I just don’t have time for all of that.

Gotta clear this RSS!
Gotta clear this RSS!

So I found myself just reading through the titles and marking everything as read unless the title and first few sentences jumped out at me. I didn’t learn too much new, but I also didn’t waste a bunch of time and energy reviewing techniques and strategies I already know. And I’m sure I could have developed some skills in more niche programs – but that is better left to when I have time and space – especially since it’s easy to make simple mistakes if you’re not completely on your game.

4. Be prepared to jump on an opportunity, but only the amazing ones

Another thing you’ll notice if you’re focusing on article titles is that exclamation marks (!) are used, shall we say, liberally. I’m not judging, I’m totally guilty of this too!!!!!!!!!!!!! (!) Most of the times the exclamation marks mean nothing (!), but there are times for sure when there are great deals to be had, deals that are time sensitive.

An example would be KennyBSAT’s mentioning that there is a bunch of business class award space to Europe next summer. There’s still some out there, but if I had just let my RSS pile up I probably would have missed it. Instead, I just clicked through article titles for five minutes a day – and when his article caught my eye I got right to work. I got a little bit less sleep that night but I figure I’ll make up for it by not having to stress about next summer later.

So be prepared to spend some time in an “emergency” to take advantage of some of the great deals out there – they wait for no one!!!!!!!!! (!) (!) But just stick to the amazing ones. Would it be great to have jumped in or jump in on some of the portal deals out there? Sure, it would, but I ain’t got time for that…major in the majors.

5. Delight in your spam comments (if you have a blog)

For some reason, I’ve been receiving more spam comments ever since I started posting less. Maybe they think I’m desperate? Anyway, some of these comments are so nice I thought I’d share them with everyone.

Currently queued for moderation: “Can I simply say what a comfort to find somebody that truly understands what they’re discussing on the net. You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people have to read this and understand this side of your story. It’s surprising you aren’t more popular given that you surely have the gift.”

I seriously do not know why I’m more popular – I have “the gift”. And I am on “the net”. Honestly, I felt pretty good about myself reading this comment – thanks bail bondsman springfield – I really appreciate the time you take reading my stuff. I will most certainly not click on your youtube link though.

Some spam comments read like fortune cookies: “It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy.”

Wow, great tip.

Some spam bots can change your life
Some spam bots can change your life

Sometimes I kind of get offended though when the spam bots don’t even have the decency to use proper grammar: “Its lke you read my mind! You appeazr to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it
or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is great blog.”

Well, Slot Pharoah’s Way Hack Android Free (!), it appeazrs you don’t use spell check so I can’t approve your comment. I will definitely add more pics though…

This one I almost wanted to believe was real: “This design is steller! You most certainly know how to keep a reader
amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantastic job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!”

Again with the bad spelling. But I’m glad that I can inspire other aspiring spambot bloggers. I appreciate that this particular spambot appreciates my biting wit.

Final Thoughts

It’s pretty sad when the most action in the hobby revolves around spambots. But, life is life, and points and miles are just a hobby, so it is what it is. Still – if you find yourself getting busy, I hope to remember to do the little things to keep things functioning – nothing hurts more than missing a payment or getting hit by a late fee or worse. Hopefully I can get back to posting more regularly soon, but in the meantime maybe I’ll just share the best spam comments each week! j/k…sorta.

Let me know if I’ve missed anything or what you all do when life gets hectic in the comments!

 

Joe
Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less
http://www.asthejoeflies@gmail.com

7 thoughts on “Managing the Miles and Points Hobby when Things get Busy

  1. Great post! It would be appreciated if you could also share the tools you are using in your post. For example, which RSS reader that you are using, etc. Thank you very much.

    1. I’m not sure whether I’m getting trolled and this is spam, but I use Newsblur free version. I’d probably prefer AOL Reader but was too invested in the Newsblur ecosystem when I discovered it. I know a lot of people like Feedly and I’ve used it in the past, but I prefer my RSS in list/minimalist form.

      I use Award Wallet to make sure mileage balances don’t expire, Mint to check on credit card balances, my own spreadsheet for sign up bonuses, and Google Calendar to send myself reminders.

      1. Thank you for your reply even though you thought it could be a spam 🙂
        I am using Feedly but will check out Newsblur. You have a great system to keeping things in check. Will look at Mint again as I was worry about letting someone else accessing my accounts before.

  2. I am so busy too…having trouble keeping up with everything!

    This was my favorite spam comment today:

    you’re truly a just right webmaster. The web site loading velocity is incredible.
    It kind of feels that you are doing any unique trick.
    In addition, The contents are masterwork. you have done a fantastic activity on this matter!

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