You’ve all heard by now that Amex has shut down a lot of Bluebird accounts for loading and unloading too much money. We’ve had a couple of days to digest the news, so let’s look at the winners and losers.
WINNER: All of us. Look: the Bluebird was introduced in October 2012. This gig has been going on over three years. It’s survived countless credit card sales blog posts from the likes of You Know Who and He Who Must Not Be Named. In retrospect, it is shocking that Bluebird has remained viable for this long. Think about how many other would-be manufactured spending contenders have come and gone. Some have only lasted days. Thanks for the memories, Bluebird.
LOSER: All of us. I’m not going to get that counterintuitive on you. This sucks.
WINNER: People who still have friends and family members they can persuade to get a Bluebird. My big question: is this a one-time culling of the herd, or is Amex going to be more vigilant going forward?
LOSER: Points and miles people who get profiled in Rolling Stone. Bah!
WINNER: Long-time hard-core system gamers. They’ll find other deals, as meanwhile I would guess a certain number of people will curtail their activities or even leave THE HOBBY entirely (or else not get started to begin with). As MilesPointsReselling writes:
The last couple of years has been a parade of horribles. I would expect the parade of horribles to continue for some time as well. During this time we have also seen massive media attention to our little hobby, more people entering, and ridiculously easy methods to meet minimum spends and earn miles. Does anyone really believe these two things are unrelated? When has exposure ever been a good thing for us?
Everything is cyclical and we reached critical mass some time ago. This was bound to happen. I frankly am glad it did. While others may think the end is over and the future is bleak, I’m happy. With any luck the easy money days are over. It just got a lot harder for your average hobbyist, let alone a beginner, to apply for 8 cards and not blink an eye at trying to meet $40,000 in minimum spending. Believe it or not, that is good!
LOSER: The credit-card-blog-industrial complex. I could be wrong, but I imagine it’s going to be more difficult to sell credit cards without the Bluebird hook.
WINNER: People who have a good relationship with the manager of a local bank. I suspect more people will be interested in money orders now, am I right?
LOSER: People who have been using 10 Bluebird cards by getting friends and family members to sign up. That’s a loss of $600,000 in spending capacity. Ouch.
WINNER: People who have good relationships with others in THE HOBBY. There are still going to be ways to get lots of points and miles but as more deals die folks will be less inclined to share. Trust becomes more important.
WINNER: Amex. They no longer have to deal with an untold number of demon customers.
WINNER: Amex’s black list. A whole bunch of new candidates for credit card account closure! I don’t think they’ll pull the trigger but you never know.