Lots to talk about this week! A Menards relapse, card cancellations, card applications, Alaska Airlines surprise mile devaluation, more cracks in the system, bonus points offers, and a website update…
General Card News
Alaska Airlines made an unannounced, overnight devaluation of their miles program. Specifically, they doubled the miles required for Emirates first class bookings. Now if you’re wondering why such a specific devaluation is making some people mad, look at what you used to be able to get for 100k miles (now 200k):
The salt in the wound was that the surprise move was executed during a “buy miles” promotion. Some people had undoubtedly just purchased miles, planning to use them on one of these flights, only to find out they now had half the miles they needed. Because of the social media outrage, Alaska Airlines backed off a bit and is now allowing refunds on purchased miles in some cases. For the whole story, read Milevalue’s post.
Cracks in the system?
Points and miles devaluations are to be expected. Stricter account approval measures are to be expected. New limitations on point usage are to be expected. I don’t freak out about such things, but some people do. Every so often, some blogger or Flyertalk poster will spout off about the “demise of travel hacking” or some such. While I agree the party won’t last forever, I don’t think it will come crumbling to the ground all at once. Programs change and get tighter. To respond, the tactic should be to plan more carefully, diversify your points and miles portfolio, and most importantly GET IN THE GAME!
If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines, thinking you want to get a card or two and do some free luxury traveling, don’t delay. Of course you have to be in a good position to take on more personal credit, and you have to be able to compose yourself and not be foolish. But if you are in a good place to take advantage of the credit cards/points and mile tactics and have been procrastinating, let these wake-up calls be your motivation to get in the game!
If you need help figuring out where to start, read my post titled Which Card Should I Get?
Personal Card News
In my last post I outlined my new card applications. The only other personal news I have is that I cancelled my American Airlines card from CitiBusiness. The annual fee was due soon and I simply couldn’t find enough value in keeping the card.
I did, however, pay the annual fee on my Chase IHG card. For the $49 annual fee, I get a free night at any IHG property. This is potentially worth $300+ in value but for a simple example, I looked at booking the highest category IHG hotel in Minneapolis for New Year’s Eve. The cash price (with taxes) would be $255.67. Not a bad deal for paying the $49 annual fee.
Menards Free Stuff Relapse
“Oh no! He’s off the wagon!” Now now…don’t be alarmed. It was just one free-after-rebate shopping trip. 🙂 I was in Menards a couple weeks ago to buy some home repair supplies and I saw a few good FAR deals, so I bought them:
As I articulated at the end of my Menards Free Stuff – The Verdict post, I’m done getting the max quantity of every FAR item. But these few items I recently bought were either known good-sellers, or useful for my own household. So I bought them. Don’t worry, Nicoleen, we’re not going back to these days:
Personal Points and Miles Update for March
Last but not least, here are our totals for March, which ends my recent era of ValueTactics laziness and catches the site up to date!
- earned 60 airline miles
- earned 2,527 hotel points
- earned 1,326 Thank-You points
- earned 3,487 Chase Ultimate Rewards
I also redeemed 8,750 My SA Rewards points for $25 in free gas at Super America. In March I pumped 52.56 in free gas!
Now you’re updated. Go employ some Value Tactics!