Meet the players continue with Elena, who writes her blog Giddy for Points, from Jan-April you can find her working on her florescent tan, staring at her computer screen of beaches and sunsets, and waiting to take a vacation will all the miles and points accumulated during that time. Elena mainly travels within the US, visiting family and friends but does make the occasional trip across the pond.
How closely does the activity shown here and in milemadness in general depict your Manufactured Spend habits, what are you doing differently, if anything and why?
I have been doing pretty much the same thing but on a larger scale and I have been visiting a larger number of Walmart stores so as not to alert the Money Center staff. I think some are on to me! Luckily doing this led me to find a WM atm that does Money Orders. Score! I think I’m going to call Walmart to have one installed in my house…
Your Tournament Strategy seems to focus on UR, Barclays, United & Delta…why is that?
Well the first week I was able to take advantage of the Office Max deal and was able to utilize my Chase Ink Card which earns 5x UR at office supply stores. I love the variety of travel partners that these can be transferred to. I think I got 3 fraud alert calls that week from Chase, ha! For Barclays I just love their points because sometimes you can’t book everything on miles and points and this card lets you get reimbursed for travel related expenses. I also focused my spend on my United card because for this card, if you spend 25k in a calendar year, you get 10k bonus points. For the tournament, I thought this would give me a nice little boost and I could always use United miles being based in IAH. For Delta miles, these are the cheapest miles to earn with my Suntrust debit card and WM MOs. Always good to keep costs down in this competition. Luckily the judges didn’t give me negative points for earning skypesos.
When the tournament is over, along with the fame and fortune, you will be left with a lot of points of this type, what is your plan for them, how do you squeeze that extra bit of value from them when you spend or redeem?
This year I’m taking my friend to Italy with my miles & points and tagging on a free one way to DC. I’ve already used up all of my UR points and United points I’ve earned during the tournament. Earn and burn! If you are reluctant to use your miles you worked so hard for…just remember this (courtesy of Milenomics)
What is the biggest disadvantage you have in this tournament?
This is the busiest time of year for work for me so I have little time during the day to go running to and fro from store to store. Also I don’t have the awesome Citicard that earns 5x ThankYou points at Drugstores like the MilesProfessor and MilesAbound.
What is the biggest advantage?
Living in a large city, I have many WMs and OMs nearby and many CVS that will sell me VRs with CCs. I also have a place to buy Visas for $2.95 per $500. This place doesn’t fit in a category bonus spend but you can buy miles cheaper than buying Visas at other establishments.
Who do think is the most innovative player and why?
I like Miles, Points, & Maitais strategy of using all different types of earning avenues and using triple dip opportunities when she can. She had definitely taught me a thing or two!
Who has the most boring strategy?
I haven’t really been terribly exciting but anyone that is using the same strategy over and over is probably boring to the masses.
What have you learned from the tournament, is there anything you wouldn’t do again, and have you seen anything new emerge that has changed your attitude?
I’ve already manufactured almost 50k and I still have another week to go! I never thought I would be able to do that in one month. I wish I had the time to buy and sell stuff online. That would be something I would like to learn how to do. I like playing the game and I don’t think I would do anything different. I also like the new people I’m getting to know in the process, thats what makes it a lil more worth while.
What advice would you give to a complete beginner who wants to get started?
Don’t do this if you have bad credit, don’t pay your balance every month, or are not organized. I have a spreadsheet that I keep track of my credit cards and my manufactured spend so I know which cards need to be paid and by when. Also if calendar reminders help you to remember, then set them up for your credit card payments. You don’t need this game to come and bite you in the rear by messing up your credit. Also, feel free to contact any of the players with questions. We seem to know what we are doing and are happy to offer churning advice.
If you could change anything about the tournament, what would it be and why?
I think the tournament was well thought out and I can’t think of anything I would change. I do remember someone commenting on a post saying that the judges should throw in a curve ball … cutthroat kitchen style! That would make for some entertainment! Maybe next time.
Please feel free to follow or DM Elena at @giddyforpoints or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org