In the next installment of ‘Meet the Players’ I’d like to introduce you to Trevor from QuickCityVisits – Trevor is one of the most audacious of the players, as he started off the tournament by galavanting off to Thailand rather than busting a gut in Walmart with the rest of the troops. From my perspective he implemented one of the more interesting strategies as he would buy giftcards through shopping portals to earn a bonus, then use those giftcards to buy product for resale, generating double dipping from the purchase, and resale profit. He has a unique product niche, and I am sworn to secrecy as to what that was for the tournament, all I will say, is that it was shaped like a gherkin, runs on electricity, and is a real joy for many a hard working housewife (or husband).
Trevor (@tmount) is based in Maryland, although he tries to make it overseas at least quarterly, and would prefer to travel every other week, if not for the fact that it occasionally gets in the way of his manufactured spending. His mileage accrual approach is on the lighter side, with a heavier emphasis on resale.
What approach did you take to this tournament?
I’ll be the first to admit, my mile/point accrual schemes are pretty lame. In a normal month, I’ll max out two bluebirds, two APs, and my Saturday routine, of running a circuit-Staples, Walmart, Bofa.
My approach was to leverage my normal routine, and add in a bunch of things I hadn’t tried but had been meaning to. I hadn’t maxed out my Chase Freedom Quarterly bonus, so I went ahead and swung by a 7-11 and got some OneVanilla’s. I also do a lot of reselling, so I expanded that, by looking at different stores that I could purchase product from. Really, my goal was not to do the most, because I knew I couldn’t, it was to try to be efficient and try new things.
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’m sticking with my current habits, but in addition I’m certainly trying different things, adding them to the mix, if you will. I’ve also been specifically limiting some of my normal reselling habits, because it ties up a lot of the $5k bankroll waiting for them to come in, the same thing goes with AMEX Giftcards, although clearly I was wrong on waiting for those. That’s perhaps the biggest difference.
Your Tournament Strategy seems to be focused on earning Ultimate Rewards why is that?
My strategy has been focused on earning Ultimate Rewards points, and reselling at a profit. I find UR points to be very useful for Hyatt, Southwest, and United (I’ll need even more of those with the devaluation). Unfortunately this past month, before the tournament was announced, I had already made my BB and Emerald VR purchases ($5k each for US and AA miles), but, those would be my alternatives.
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?
So, I’ve got half a trip to Oktoberfest already booked, hotel room, flight home on Lufthansa First, via Toronto, but I don’t have a route to Munich, so a lot of the UR points will go to that.
What is the biggest disadvantage you have in this tournament?
I want to say that it’s because I have no OfficeMax within 50 miles. I’d say that’s got to be my biggest disadvantage.
What is the biggest advantage?
Until a few days ago – it was reselling, but with Kohls disappearing off of Ultimate Rewards, that advantage is diminished.
Who do think is the most innovative player and why?
That’s a tough call. The Miles Prof and MilesPointsAndMaiTais have been finding some innovative approaches. I really enjoy reading about Free-quent Flyer’s latest experiments (and train rides).
Who has the most boring strategy?
Me – aside from reselling, which is pretty boring, I’d say I’m not going too crazy on rotating the bankroll, I’ve been kind’ve a weekend warrior.
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?
ShopKick for starters, that and how some folks have so many BB’s – I used to think folks were joking about asking people to sign up on the street, but I’m seriously wondering if they were serious…
What advice would you give to a complete beginner who wants to get started?
Start small, leverage the easy stuff, BB, AP. Then dip your foot in. I used to never do MO’s until Milenomics explained it to me a bit better via Twitter DMs, so that would be tip number two: connect with folks who are more advanced. (Btw – I still owe him a drink, if/when we ever are in the same place).
If you could change anything about the tournament, what would it be and why?
That it was announced three weeks earlier – to quote “The A Team” (the movie): “Give me a minute, I’m good, Give me an hour, I’m great, Give me six months, I’m unbeatable.” …well maybe not unbeatable, but!
Overall though I’ve really been impressed with how great everyone has been. I have really enjoyed this competition and the camaraderie I feel that it has engendered.