Chasing The Points Is Now Part Of “That Group Of Idiot Bloggers”

A reader left a scathing comment in one of my posts. Instead of replying back to it in a comment, I want to break down the post and add additional thoughts.

Well, I hope you idiots are happy. No more Vanillas with credit card at CVS. People tried to warn you bloggers that a public competition would bring unwanted attention to this hobby, and it did. Thanks for killing the golden goose.

“People tried to warn you bloggers that a public competition would bring unwanted attention to this hobby, and it did…” is completely unwarranted because a cash only policy must have been planned in advanced. #Milemadness would have had zero impact to CVS changing the policy at the end of the month. It is unrealistic to think that a large, corporation could turn around and flip an implementation within 4 weeks  to a cash only policy. As with every large company, there is bureaucracy and makes slow deployments of any kind.

If we step back, take a moment and read Matthew Goldman’s post about Manufactured Spend being a problem, many people forgot about this:

So while the travel hackers are bending the rules, there are real fraudsters and criminals who are using this exact same setup to steal and launder money.  For example, you can steal a credit card number (e.g. from the Target breach), then buy a bunch of reloads, then get cash from the credit card.  This fraud problem is going to end up with InComm or CVS in the end.  That’s not good.

The real problem is the loss of real dollars from credit card fraud.

My Take:

In the tree of Manufactured Spending, Vanilla Reloads were the absolute lowest hanging possible fruit. We knew it was going to end, it was just timing.




The blue box in the tree is where you want to be in Manufactured Spending. How you get there, will all depend on you. Do you want someone to feed you every bit of details? Guess what, if someone feeds you that deal will die just as quickly.  I will be exploring the middle and upper sections of the tree. Am I going to help you? Absolutely, but you need to put in the work and then you’ll have to work to get to that level.


12 comments… add one
  • “Am I going to help you? Absolutely, but you need to put in the work and then you’ll have to work to get to that level.”

    Man I am all ears and ready to put in the work. The only part I cringe about is someone treating me like a criminal.

    • Bart, I had the same concern when I started with VGCs for example, but I’ve come to realize that most cashiers or CS reps at WM don’t really care.

  • CVS is just a symptom – of over exposure. Way too many bloggers/pimps hyped CC signups and blithely encouraged people to “just use VRs to meet min spend”. There must have been thousands of similar posts. Add them up and it’s bloody obvious that pimps need to take significant blame for premature closures. Now we’ll get bombarded with a slew of “what to do now that CVS is gone” type posts – but only because the conversion game might suffer and all that easy money might disappear – otherwise pimps will have to get a real job.

    • Paul, I was thinking the same thing about the (to say this politely) “lower-level” blogs that basically just pepper their posts with dozens of cc sign-up links without providing useful information (or worse, pepper their posts with cc sign-up links, emoticons, and lols!). Although VRs at CVS were probably a limited time opportunity due to the fraud risk for the company, the volume of people using these to meet cc minimum spend requirements definitely brought attention to the product. With the low hanging fruit now gone, I suspect a large portion of people who were content with “just” 60K of easy MS per year will drop out of the game. The average person is just not going to want the hassle of a multi-step MS process.

      • Agreed with both of you, now the people who want to work for the MS will put in the effort to do it.

  • Why has no one commented on the amazing artwork in this post? It’s easily the finest original graph/chart I’ve ever seen on a miles-points blog. At first you think it’s a blue volcano and then BAM, you discover it’s a tree. And then there’s that box….it is a box that’s been circled for emphasis? Or maybe it’s a box that has both rounded and jagged edges! Is the artist implying that the higher level fruit can be both easy and hard to get to? Incredible stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised if other bloggers started copying it.

  • haha thanks!

    • No it wasn’t, too bad that deal still isn’t around! Would be a nice to make some money from that offer


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