Once upon a time, you could open up multiple Alaska Airlines cards at once and pocket the 25,000-mile bonus on each. You no longer can. Why is that?
Circumstantial evidence points to Million Mile Secrets. He put up a post on May 13 of last year (the post has since been removed, but here’s the original URL if you really want it) entitled “Got 5 Alaska Airlines Cards on the Same Day!” Merely a month later, on June 15, this Flyertalk thread popped up. From the OP:
I recently jumped in the BOA alaska offer which grants you 25K miles after the first use. I applied for 4 cards at a time, as the bloggers suggested. All got approved. I got the 25K*4=100K miles in 1 week after the approval.
I wanted to redeem the miles for myself. So I called the reservation center, and was told there is a lock on my account. Strange. So I called the customer care to figure out why my account got locked. The representative I talked to said I need to send in the US-ID for verification of the address. I did, thinking that it may be just a regular verification process.
And today I received an email saying that my account has been closed. No reason given except saying that they have the right to terminate the service. Anyone have the same experience recently? Can I fight for that? I didn’t realize which part went wrong.
And that was the end of that, as news of the Alaska gravy train came to an end.
Like I said, the evidence pointing to MMS is circumstantial, but allow me to add one thing. I live in Charlotte, and those of you who live here know that in some ways, Charlotte’s a small town… and banking can be a small industry. I was recently chatting with a Bank of America associate in a position to know, and he informed me that the MMS post was what shut down the deal. And not because too many people jumped on the deal, but because the post itself was brought to attention of a high level credit card executive, who promptly had some changes made.
I’m bringing this up not because I have an axe to grind with MMS, but to make a couple of points. The first point is that–though it doesn’t happen very often–bank and travel executives can and do read this stuff. And the more popular this hobby is, the more likely it is that something makes its way up to a decision-maker. Sometimes they’ll roll their eyes and ignore it because they have bigger fish to fry, but in this case they did not.
The second point is that over the past few years, the game has changed for bloggers as well as for commenters and forum participants. One of the reasons I started to blog–and this would be true of most bloggers–is because I love discussing this stuff. I still do, which is why I continue to write posts like this. Five years ago, somebody could have done the five-in-one-day post without ruffling any feathers or killing any deals, but those days are long gone.
And by “somebody” I don’t mean “a blogger”, I mean anybody. Even a post on a forum can blow up a deal, since it only takes one blogger hungry for readers for something to become public knowledge. A good question to ask yourself before posting a comment is, “What would happen if MMS wrote a post about this? Would the deal survive?”
It stinks that this is the case. I would love it if we lived in a world where hundreds of bloggers could boast about how they got five Alaska Airlines cards in one day, but we don’t. As I’ve mentioned before, the golden age of points and miles is over. Some think that there’s always a new deal waiting in the wings when an old deal dies, and I would appreciate it if those people will kindly inform me where the next Bluebird is. There’s been a lot of talk about reselling lately… but reselling is a job, not a technique or a hot deal. (Have you seen Trevor’s living room?)
Things will probably get worse before they get better. Be discreet in where you discuss the good stuff, and I recommend getting off the internet and actually meeting some points and miles people in person if you haven’t already done so. You could try Trevor’s reselling shindig (even if you didn’t want to resell, I bet it would still be interesting) or Dia’s family travel meet-up, and of course there’s the meetup thread on the Saverocity forums if you want to find something closer to home.
Noah @ Money Metagame says
Amen on reselling being a job. I dabbled in merchandise, but even just flipping gift cards online comes with a bunch of “hassle” between tracking inventory/sales/portals/etc.
You made TBB.
Talked to Chase Private Banking today just exploring ways to…get me more Ultimate Rewards cards and stuff like that. I blew my coffee when the words “card churners” came out of her mouth!!!
I’ll blame frequent miler and his Nacker Island Challenge. That started with 4 CC in April. The rest is history. Why does FM always get a pass? He’s been part of killing numerous deals.
Why does he take the posts down? There was a money order post hat went up and down within a day last month.
+1. It was actually my job before I got into the lucrative business of…blogging!
I was wondering the same thing, maybe advertiser pressure? Beats me.
I second that, I clearly remember his post. He blows up a lot of things, some how people have a cult-like love for his blog. Never made sense to me.
I think it’s inevitable. To expect otherwise is to expect irrational behavior from individuals who are simply responding to their own incentives. The only way a deal will live is if it stays off FlyerTalk and all blogs.
Side note: reselling can work, but it totally sucks to have your house full of strange items and boxes. I’d have a lot more appetite for it if I had a garage or basement where I could pretend the mountains of crap didn’t exist sometimes.
Yea, FM blew up the giftcards.com 1.5% cashback about a week ago with one of his quick deals. That had been happily chugging along for over a month. Gone in six hours after publishing. I respect what he has done in the past but it did highlight how quickly a good thing can go away when exposed.
It’s so true isn’t it. A great way to earn miles and points is to have any business that requires you to purchase a large amount of inventory or supplies.
Really great points. It becomes especially tough when blogging is your only job and you need to make a living making posts that people want to read. It’s tough to find a topic that people are interested and is a sustainable business model in “The Hobby”.
I had to completely change my focus a couple months back. There is so much knowledge available in private areas of the internet and in meetups that hopefully never make it public.
Our industry’s popularity has caused our own undoing.
Good points, the incentives are a little different if blogging is your sole source of support. And yeah, I’ve definitely changed my blogging since I started on account of the deal-killing thing.
I completely agree. I remember when you earned fuel points at Kroger for $500 gc. He blogged about it every other day until it died. Nobody said anything about it. Aggravated me though. And that’s just one example. There are many.
I believe mms also killed the home improve gc. I had 2k to load to my BB cards. He posted one of his circles and arrows deals showing how to use the card as a debit. After seeing that, I decided to leave work early and hit wm. Well, just as I was trying to load, the cards stopped working. I was able to use the cards at Lowes and bought staples gc’s, which I then used for vgc’s(cant do this anymore).
Also, he helped to kill BB/serve along with all the other “bloggers”. I was in the middle of loading my BB cards at a kate when that deal ended. I say this because these people talk OVER and OVER about bb/serve AND redcard. Constantly highlighting a deal is a sure deal killer. As a matter of fact, as soon as a deal is mentioned, it seems to die.
rick b says
I noticed since the bird died and his wife left, MMS has toned down his blog. It now reads like TPG….generic “lifestyle advice” like column similar to what you find in the NY times.
You’ve reached a point in this hobby where the easy fruit for you is all gone, so you have to rely on the private information deals to continue earning. Those private information deals are eventually made public (“leaked”) because larger blogs need to generate traffic by exposing “secrets,” and have a large readership of people not privy to private information. ‘Twas always thus. What has changed is that more people are in the “easy fruit is gone” category.
Yeah, Reselling definitely turns out to be a job… Great way to increase spend though!
I believe MMS took down his MO post because it was borderline sketchy and there may have been a bit of a legal scare.
Could have been one of his employers, ah affiliates, telling him to get rid of it. If anybody thinks that the banks (chase) doesn’t affect what is posted, they need to get ahold of reality.
I def understand blogging about something leading to masses getting it shut down, but how did everyone else find out about how to do some of these things and that they would in fact work? One’s own ingenuity and testing? Word of mouth from some trusted friends? Combination? Genuinely curious how others come about getting in on these things.
Was MMS really to blame? There are many places where this deal has been discussed besides the years-old thread on flyertalk.
Besides MMS, rapidtravelchai and pointscentric have both written about getting multiple B of A Alaska cards. Every month milenerd publishes his Top 25 credit cards, there is a link which he labels “Here is a great trick to get the most out of this” with a link to the pointscentric article. So maybe Milenerd is really to blame?
Or was it the article in BusinessInsider about the young guy who got four Alaska cards and flew a $60,000 First Class flights with Emirates? I think this probably that got a lot more attention than the MMS blog article.
Did some executive read one of these articles or did simply the ever-growing number of people applying for multiple cards on the same day finally get noticed?
Yes, he really was to blame. The changes were made as a result of the executive reading that particular post.
And to be clear, I’m not trying to say MMS is a bad guy or a bad blogger or anything, I’m using this as an example because it’s the one case I know of where a change was made in response to a particular post.
Expecting to get flamed says
This is the question that I have yet to see answered by any of the supposed “responsible” bloggers that don’t kill deals. Why are the masses less entitled to this information than the people on saverocity forums? Did the responsible bloggers all simultaneously “discover” this information? No, 1 or 2 enterprising people discovered something and then shared it on a forum. But if that 1 person deemed it ok to share with 1000, why do those 1000 people have any rights in keeping that deal alive or any expectation that the deal exists for their personal use? What are the arguments here because it sounds a little like sour grapes. Flame on… 8)
I, for one, try to stand up to FM by leaving sarcastic comments on his blog…it doesn’t do any good.
Noah @ Money Metagame says
It’s an interesting beast.
If somebody finds a free milk-producing cow off in a secret field somewhere, they could potentially get free milk for the rest of their lives if nobody found out. They might even decide there’s more milk available than they could ever use themselves, so they decide to share the newly found cow with some of their friends so they can all enjoy the free milk. Maybe one of these people tries to profit by sharing information about this free milk, maybe they just want to brag to others about how they get free milk, or maybe more people just happens to stumble across the same cow on their own. Regardless, eventually a lot of people are showing up to get the free milk.
What everyone involved often fails to realize is that there is somebody who owns the cow and no one is entitled to free milk indefinitely. Maybe the owner(s) allowed people to take the free milk for a while hoping they’d start buying more bottles to carry it all in. Maybe the owner(s) didn’t realize people were using their cow for free milk and assumed everyone was paying. Maybe the owner(s) didn’t even realize they owned the cow until a recent audit explained why they weren’t selling as much milk as expected. For whatever reason, the free milk eventually reaches critical mass and the owner decides to shut it all down. No more free milk for anyone.
Who caused the shut down? Everyone, no one, or maybe somewhere in between. Anyone who used it, talked about it, spread it, or tried to exploit it for profit is potentially to blame. Who knows, maybe the cow was going to die itself even if completely left alone.
Eventually someone will find a new cow in a new field and will be faced with the tough decision of whether or not to tell anyone about it. Will keeping it a secret extend it’s lifetime? Maybe, but then again maybe not.
Sorry for the lengthy metaphor, here’s a cheat sheet:
Cow = MS Method
Milk = Points/Miles/Cash
Owner(s) = Banks,Stores,Processors,Etc.
Noah – that was awesome. Thanks.
Remember when Matt from Saverocity participated in that ridiculous MS Olympics against a bunch of other bloggers a year and a half or so ago? Stuff like that isn’t helpful to keeping the hobby alive.
That’s probably why he hasn’t done another one, but I’ll let Matt speak for himself.
Ah, the people who run this game (bloggers, forum leaders, etc.) like to eat their young. It’s that simple.
MMS reader says
This is in part due to Emily and Darius no longer writing posts/running it on a day to day basis. They hired a full time writer last year, and really just pop in for their lifestyle posts. You can really tell the decrease in quality since then.
MMS reader says
The people on flyertalk and saverocity et al aren’t “entitled” to any info that the masses are. They just make the effort to seek it, and that is where the difference lies. The more effort needed to obtain info, the less likely it is it will die. Blogs spoonfeeding their customers, makes the barrier of entry to low, and thus has a better chance of killing deals. Anyone can go find the info on flyertalk or saverocity, there is no reason you cannot. Also when effort has been expended it makes the person invested in preserving the deal. Part of the problem is blog readers who have put no effort in so they could care less if the deal is dead, since “another door” will be spoonfed to them in no time.
MMS reader says
The ridiculous part was just how bad they all were at MSing 😉
Net of All says
Was there ever any real quality is that frauds posts? Over angry, mental child is what its sounds like he is. Brutal that the chick married him and then had to realize what a nightmare he was. Some of us saw this freak for what he was long ago.
I understand that he kills deals and that’s a valid discussion, but much of this is toxic, excessively personal, and just downright mean.
FBA. Merch is in my house less than 24 hours.