Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Links in this post may provide us with a commission.
The 1 Key to Miles & Points & A Lot of Other Things
If you are new to this whole “game” as some people call it, then things can no doubt be overwhelming. There are literally thousands of things you could/should learn. From loyalty programs to credit cards there is honestly more information then you will probably ever learn. The truth is you don’t really need to.
The most successful people in this hobby and in the world actually are the ones who learn the system and figure out how to navigate just inside of the boundaries. It takes a lot of work, but honestly the key to what I write about here and what you will find on just about any points & miles blog relates back to this reality.
Setting the Rules
Think about something for a second. Lets say you are creating a set of rules. It doesn’t have to be for a loyalty program, but can be for anything. You are going to write those rules with the masses in mind. While this is often unintentional, the side effect of catering to the masses is ignoring the outliers and that can be dangerous for rulesetters and good for us.
The truth is as a set of rules grows larger, then the opportunity for loopholes grows larger as well. You, the outlier are looking for those loopholes. Those thing within the rules that allow you to make them work for you instead of against you. If the masses exploited those loopholes then they would become too costly, but if only the outliers do it, then the pain remains tolerable.
Is This Wrong
Some will say that this is a dishonest way to go about life. For example, some people think that credit card churning is wrong and so they don’t do it. How exactly is it wrong? Is it wrong to lie to a bank in order to get credit? Yes. Is it wrong to apply for a bunch of credit cards when the banks have all of the information that you are doing it? Absolutely not in my opinion.
The truth is this way of thinking applies to the real world in just about every way. Have you ever heard how Apple and just about every major company avoids taxes by forming offshore businesses in countries like Ireland? They do it legally because the rules say they can. If they are studying the rules and finding their way within the lines then why shouldn’t you?
Before I go any further, I am all about staying legal. Personally, I will not cross a legal line. For example, a suggestion that I see crop up from time to time is taking unactivated prepaid cards from one store and bringing them to another during a sale. Guess what? That is stealing. Will you get away with it? Maybe, but people do get caught eventually. I’m not ending up on an episode of America’s Dumbest Criminals for stealing worthless gift cards.
There are also moral lines of course. You will constantly be asked to evaluate whether something crosses your own personal line. The reality is that your line will also change as you mature both as a person and in this hobby. Moral lines are a good thing because they keep us from doing stupid things and instead force us to study and find alternative ways to get to where we want.
So What to Do
If you are beginner you really need to study. Don’t rely on this blog or other blogs to tell you everything. If I tell you that I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, don’t accept that value as your own. Study the program and what can be done with it. Learn the ins and outs and see if they are worth more or less to you.
What if I publish a deal for gift cards on eBay? Study how the eBay gift card ecosystem works. Buy and sell cards. Learn how to do it. Study the rules everywhere. I guarantee eventually you will find something that I didn’t. In fact, that is how many of the hacks you hear about surface. It is people reading, learning and studying. Always trying to find out how to operate just inside of the lines.
Where to Start
So many people will tell you to start by studying this award program or that credit card. You should do all of that, but the real place to start is by making the decision to make the effort to understand. Whatever you are reading about or looking at you need to understand it. As I always say, “Slow & Steady Doesn’t Make You a Loser.”
The 1 Key
Ok, I’ll finally address the title of this post in one simple sentence. It really applies to everything in life and is something that has worked well for me in many ways. Oh and I love that the word “maximize” can mean so many things! 🙂
Understand it so you can maximize it.
The truth is blogs are amazing stepping off points for an almost limitless world of possibilities when it comes to miles & points. With that said, I wouldn’t be to the level I am without spending time researching, talking to others and reading. I do sooooo much reading. Of course I will continue to share my knowledge and perspective here on Miles to Memories, but that should just be the beginning for you.
If you made it this far, tell me one thing? Do you feel like this entire post was worthless or did it help? Do you value the occasional editorial like this?
Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.