Manufactured Spend Editorial: The Roller Coaster Ride
I was at the Chicago Seminars this past weekend with hundreds of other miles/points fanatics and had one takeaway from the event. No one is running around talking about how the sky is falling. Those of us who have been around awhile know that it is a roller coaster ride. Change is the one constant.
This past week has been a huge set of ups and down with a number of developments BOTH positive & negative. Let’s look at some of the MS related news that we have seen over just the past week or so:
- Staples started selling $300 Visa gift cards online.
- Officemax began selling $500 variable load Visas in-store, although they are cash only (not hard coded) in some areas.
It Is All About Perspective
After reflecting back on the week’s big events, I found myself more excited over the positive developments than anything else. Sure, the bad things stung a bit, but there are new exciting deals that we can now explore and truthfully I have moved on. Perhaps it is because I have gone through this before or maybe I’m just an optimist, but things aren’t as bad as they seem to be.
The name of this game is diversification. I strongly believe everyone should only get as involved as they feel comfortable with, but sticking to one method of MS will generally only get you so far. In MS as in life, putting all of your eggs into one basket is generally never a good idea.
A few months ago I wrote about meeting the minimum spend on my Amex Business Platinum 150K deal. During that deal I bought and sold gift cards and merchandise to meet about 60% of the $20K minimum spend. Are those my preferred methods of MS? No, not really, but I now have skills that I didn’t have before and they have come in handy.
Two of our recent credit cards had $3K minimum spending requirements. Since I have been focusing on my ThankYou Preferred 3X everywhere, I decided that I would just throw one of those cards on my Paypal account and one on my wife’s. Over the next two months I met the minimum spend completely off of eBay purchases of gift cards and merchandise to re-sell. When I spotted a deal, I would purchase it and I ended up generating the combined $6K in spend at a negative cost.
What Am I Saying?
There are many methods of MS other than reselling, so I want to be clear that I am not saying you should or shouldn’t re-sell. I am suggesting that many of you might consider looking at other options besides Bluebird/Serve as you move on from REDbird’s untimely death.
I won’t be spelling out anything else in this post, but there is a wealth of information just beyond the surface in place’s like Reddit and Flyertalk. You can even join and participate in the Saverocity and Travel Codex forums to start to network and perhaps learn a thing or two, but don’t expect them to upgrade you to the level 2 MS forums until you have become a part of the community.
Life is a roller coaster ride in some sense and MS is just a representation of that. The key thing to keep in mind is that good news often comes with bad. If we dwelled on every lost deal or opportunity, then we would really really be sad people. Fortunately that doesn’t happen, because life is awesome and we are traveling around the world “for free(ish)” and riding the roller coaster of life!