The Deal Mommy

Some Thoughts on Stewardship

My kid stayed home from school last Thursday as did 3/4 of his high school. Not due to illness or bad weather, but because someone threatened to shoot his school up on Twitter.  The police located the teenager who had a grudge, but not any weapons this time.  The police are not only charging the kid with inciting terror, but sending his parents the bill for all of the extra policing. How they calculate the value of 2,500 kids staying home from school for a day I have no idea. 

I know that seems a strange segue to miles and points, but stick with me. The episode got me thinking about personal responsibility and stewardship in the age of blogs and social media. It’s surreal that one tweet affects 2,500 families, but that’s our new normal.

Miles and points is a strange space to write in. In one sense, blogs and social media are public, but in another, we operate as a tight knit community. Most bloggers in this space are making profits off of a product that has the capability to ruin lives if used improperly. And most of us deal in “secrets” as our stock and trade.  

Most of us do this responsibly.

However, a few bad actors have outside influence and the ability to bring the entire house crashing down. To quote myself:

Selling credit cards while also selling “travel is free” is like selling a bag of tools to a customer who doesn’t understand basic construction. It’s just like ACME selling TNT to Wile E Coyote. You just stand by and wait: eventually he’s gonna blow himself up.

The Bonnie Rule: travel is not free and if you think so eventually you're gonna blow up.

Which credit card should I get next?

The collateral damage is not limited to those saddled with credit card debt. Another kind of TNT exposed its ugly head this week. A “blogger” (and I use the term extremely loosely) decided to market his access to high-status hotel benefits in a public forum. He was promptly (and correctly, IMHO) outed on a major site for doing so.  

This same “blogger” has a reputation far and wide for being “that guy”.  I’ll just let that statement stand on its own merits.

Normally I wouldn’t waste my time writing about the gum on the community’s shoe. However in this case another series of events quickly transpired. Whether these events are related is open for debate. However, the fact that they took place less than two days after the outing is, well, notable.

The second series of events included a very, ahem, interesting phone call I received from a major hotel chain.  The person on the phone (in an opaque way) tried to tie me to the same  unasvory marketing tactics.

His tenuous game of connect the dots consisted of the fact that I wrote about how a number of friends gifted me hotel nights during my remodel last year. The hotel involved wholeheartedly accepted the gifts I received and no one was deceived. When pressed, he immediately backed down, but the call was awkward to say the least.

Why FT4RL Matters: bartering is an underappreciated travel hacking tool you only get by making friends.

Which brings me back to stewardship. 

What anyone in this community does affects the rest of the community. Period.

I’m all in favor of some type of community HOA that could evict bad actors, but unfortunately I’m not aware of a way to make it work. 

I don’t claim holy ground on the “bloggers kill deals” battlefield. That said, I am keenly aware of the responsibility of both what I say and what I do NOT say.  Again quoting myself:

Nice people are travel hackers, too. In fact most of us are really nice people!  You just might have to go out of your way to meet us in person because- like in real life- usually those who scream loudest on the internet have the least to say. 

The Deal Mommy is a proud member of the Saverocity network. 

13 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Stewardship

  1. Jamie

    Didn’t the gifting of hotel nights to you from your friends violate the terms of the program, though? I mean, you weren’t buying their status or selling yours. But the people who were the primary guests were not staying at the hotel. See a big blogger’s post today and follow up. People are now getting in trouble for doing that.
    I think that if you got a phone call from a major hotel chain and were able to resolve the phone call without you or the primary member losing their loyalty account, I’d call that a win.
    Unless I’m missing or forgetting a detail here.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Hi Jamie,
      Yes, and no. I was willing to accept a slap on the hand for clarification of a policy that had not been enforced at a corporate level up to that date. Individual hotels accepted the practice and all was transparent up front. It was the implication that I was marketing for customers that crossed the line. I’m not convinced that would have entered the conversation without the above referenced situation.

  2. Mickisue

    Dia, I’ve not met you in person. But I’ve met enough of your compatriots to know that, shockingly, points and miles bloggers are just like rest of us: mostly good, some either stupid or craven or both, and a very small percentage of really rotten people.

    I’ve benefited greatly from the willingness to share information, from both bloggers and others, and done my best to do the same for those generous enough to help others.

    But, like you, I have to balance what could hurt the community as a whole with what can help a deserving person.

    Keep being your ethical self. I can think of no better way to ensure being a positive influence on the community than just that.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      I’d take a credit card hawker anyday over someone who actively torches the entire community. Ingy was the original (IMHO) coiner of “pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered”. Profiting off of newbies is no where in the same league as bringing all of us down.

      1. hanaleiradio

        Arguably the credit card con-artists, the world of which Ingy helped create, are the worst of the lot in that their deceit and “white lies” expose many uninformed newbies to the financial pain of ruined credit and debt traps–the pain of which is much deeper and lasts far longer than being stiffed out of a hotel room!

      2. Scott Castle

        Original? They’ve been saying “pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered on Wall Street for at least 35 years!

        1. thedealmommy Post author

          Not “original” as in coining the term- original as in the first time I used it heard in our context.

  3. Tim Pressman

    It’s been a busy day and I hadn’t gone through much of my feed today. To say I was shocked, when I read the posting from him, is beyond an understatement. I was told, very early on in “the game”, that The better hacks were never disseminated publicly.
    It seems that the need for clicks came early this month him. Ethics and common sense be damned. I notice there is a disclaimer. A better dea would be to just pull the piece but I have a feeling his arrogance will not let him.
    Thank you for this writing Dia. It won’t change what damage has been done already but it shows us that some just don’t care or understand their responsibilities.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      And the snowball appears to be only rolling downhill…catching us all in the path of destruction.

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