I had the pleasure of attending the Family Travel for Real Life meeting this past weekend. It was conveniently located in my hometown of Charlotte, and in fact it was within walking distance of my house, so kudos to Dia for holding a travel hacking conference I could walk to! Speaking of The Deal Mommy, she’s got a recap of most of the FT4RL recaps, so go take a look.
I’ve been to two of these sorts of things now, the other one being the Saverocity shindig last year, and both of them were good experiences. It’s nice to meet people you’ve been reading on the internet, in some cases for years in the flesh. I finally got to meet Chasing the Points, for example. We both started our blogs around the same time and have been exchanging emails for years but this was the first time we actually met.
But it’s not just bloggers you get to meet; there are plenty of other friendly, knowledgeable, helpful people out there who know just as much as bloggers–and often more (I’m looking at you, Bret B)–but they don’t blog about it. Talking to all the different folks there inspires me both to travel more and to earn more miles with which to travel.
One non-blogger I’ve met at both conferences I’ve been to is a fellow named Eric, who has the distinction of being the only person I’ve ever met who’s had their Bluebird account shut down by Amex.
What do you have to do to anger the powers that be at Bluebird? He bought something with an Amex gift card, returned it, and had the balance refunded to Bluebird. Boom! Immediate shutdown, and it took a while to get his money back too. He certainly wasn’t trying to defraud Amex, though I can see how that transaction might have looked suspicious to them.
The good news, however, is that he was able to open up a Redbird account after being shut down on Bluebird. This was somewhat surprising to me since Amex’s credit card blacklist is, as far as I can tell, the longest-lasting one in the industry. There was a scare recently when somebody on Flyertalk claimed to have been shut down for rapid loading and unloading of his account. The consensus on that one is that this was probably fake, but hearing that you can still possibly open another prepaid product makes it a little less concerning.