Let’s take a ride through another beating by Delta, where the hobby is going (less flat beds/caviar/champagne/duckies) along with the usual quality variety of stuff I find along with my own inflammatory commentary!
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I enjoyed reading all the posts about Delta and its recent announcement moving to a revenue based system in the earning side. Oh boy, where to start, I have so much to say about this and some of it may be censored by the banks feeding my site with loads of dinero to toe their line. Ok, that was a joke! Well, I looked back in some past TBB blog posts and would like to remind you what I said to prove that I am a genius. Ok, that was a joke too! What can I say, I am in a joking mood while swimming in my sorrow and depression watching my dear hobby slipping away from us…

Back in January 17, 2013 I wrote “Delta one step closer to going rev based. The end is almost here” and warned to stay tuned for more. Well, there has been a constant barrage of “enhancements” since then for sure. Oh, wait a minute. Here is what I said on January 18, 2013BUT you are all missing the POINT here! The point is: a big legacy airline has broken the taboo finally and now the flood gates have opened! Expect continued “enhancements”, it will be the death by a thousand paper cuts. And the others WILL follow! So, my original prediction that this will happen effective in 2014 was right on…again! I am guessing the “redemption” enhancement will start in 2015″. So, you see, the writing has been on the wall. I was expecting to see this around June 2014 or so but Delta execs just could not contain themselves I guess.

But after each enhancement the hardcore miles/points hobbyists always look on the upside and console themselves that the loopholes will still be there someway somehow. I have news for you! Wake up and smell the coffee. The days of showing off by taking selfies in the Emirates First Class bathrooms, sleeping in flat beds eating caviar and drinking champagne, getting high fives from fellow enthusiasts for each dumb looking yellow duckie you managed to find in the Frankfurt Lufthansa First Class Terminal, going on and on about the insane mileage runs you went on for $67. 69 at just 0.32 cents per EQM, the incredible disgust you may have to actually turn right when you get on a plane and sit in cattle class (oh the horror), expressing your disdain for the flight attendant who has been busting his/her ass for not getting you the predeparture drink as quickly as you wanted. Well, I could go on and on and on…

I find it incredible that people expect any good news from Delta when they announce the changes on the redeeming side later this year. Even after so many repeated instances this company has shown they do not give a damn about you and me. We are free loaders basically for the most part. We want everything for nothing….okay, not nothing but as little as possible lol. Well, as we say in the investing world, the most dangerous words are “It is different this time”. Well, in the loyalty world, IT IS TRUE, EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT THESE DAYS! Airlines have consolidated to just three legacy airlines, hello? Capacity is way down and airlines are better run for their shareholders. They do not need to woo the gamers like us; they want to kick us to the curb. How do I feel about the changes from the business or shareholder perspective? I think they are GREAT. Delta has done a masterful job on pushing their advantages that matter (well run, nice seats, wifi, some upgrades, great schedules, people well trained and of course MAKING MONEY!) and making Skymiles such a hated program that its passengers just don’t give a flying (pun intended) phuck about it. Where would the businessmen go? United or AA? “Umm, HR dept, can I fly United because I like its miles more” LOL. Airlines have the upper hand now boys and girls. You either play or where are you going to go when the other two will surely copy Delta’s moves? (not if but when).

I have been reading Gary Leff at View from the Wing since day one. And he has ALWAYS been very pro loyalty and always fought HARD to preserve the flat bed along with the caviar and champagne. Even now he wrote today “Pushback matters, whether or not Delta will rollback any of their changes.   I have been saying the game is pretty much over and all airlines will be going revenue based by 2015, or 2016 at the latest. I became a free agent. Are you a true road warrior who buys the expensive tickets? You do matter to Delta, just don’t expect them to bend over backwards anymore okay?  As far as the rest, just shut up and take your seat. Oh, the Elite qualifying mileage runs on cheapo fares era is over! The only pushback Delta will understand and the only way to perhaps save our caviars and flat beds is by starting a massive boycott campaign AND actually going with another airline so Delta’s bean counters call for an urgent executive meeting (right, good luck with that). And, my gut feeling is, there will be none of that. Just a few more pissed off Skymiles members but most will stay put for several (some valid) reasons.

I have not given Delta a penny of my money since 1/1/2013. Sometimes you need to take a stand in life. After repeated insults and being treated like a dummy I had enough. No mas! As noted in my blog, I have moved on to collecting cold hard cash back rewards. And then aiming for Barclays Arrival points to offset travel at 2.2%.  I have written about my current credit card spend strategy here. Actually I want to burn my last Skypesos for two tickets to Australia with my daughter before it is too late! And my concern is finding the domestic seats to LAX, how absurdly cruel & unique Deltassholish is that!

Soooo, there was SO MUCH written about Delta. I picked out the following blog posts that I found TBB worthy for readers to be aware of:

Delta Devalues: A Paradigm Shift in the Skymiles Program” by Travel Summary. Well, like I said, this was the best kept “secret” in our world. Get used to it folks.  Pretty soon we won’t have bloggers pushing cards by seeing pics of them in FC flat beds sipping champagne with titles such as “I am flying First Class for Free, you can too!” The thing is….that “free” First Class ticket only cost 1,455,000 miles LOL.

Why the Delta Skymiles changes don’t matter” by The Wandering Aramean. Yeah, what’s the big deal. This has been done before by several airlines! Expect more! And Seth absolutely nails it in the comments with this: ”

The whole point of loyalty is that you do it because you want to do it, not because you get something out of it. In many cases the true test of loyalty is maintaining it in the face of a challenge, not when you are profiting/benefiting from it. The belief that time spent or miles flown is a true measure of “loyalty” is just as broken as revenue. It just happens to be the option chosen 25+ years ago. That doesn’t mean it was the correct choice; it just happened to be the choice.

Delta Strives to be the worst airline for business travelers“. By Rapid Travel Chai. Very well written showing the numerous patterns of what people we are dealing with at Delta. But you know what? This is a very well informed business traveler point of view. Most don’t have a say in the decision and are clueless to realize the cumulative impact of the changes. And I bet you most still like flying on Delta planes. Until they stop bitching and redirect the cold hard cash to other airlines Delta will press on!

Bringing your kids to CVS to buy Vanilla Reloads. By Online Travel Review. I NEVER bring my kids along, I leave them back home with Doritos.

Wife’s AMEX PRG card is coming up for the annual fee and we are looking to close it. So I am thinking about giving her that 2% cash back Fidelity card but I think we should make time to open a Fidelity brokerage account first.

I will be at the Centurion Club in Dallas Fort Worth airport all day March 14. Just 15,000 British Airways Avios miles and $5. Stop by and say hi. Yes I am looking to cancel the card shortly after that.

Got almost 150k Membership Rewards points I need to transfer out. And there are so many options and no transfer bonuses, what’s up with that?

I see The Points Guy is working with Wallaby on the beta TPG Maximizer tool to “help you choose the right credit cards“. The software asks for your credit card logins. Excuse me? And it is in beta. I am sure it is a secure site, they all are until, well, they are not! No thank you. Looks to me like another way to maximize TPG revenue. The never ending search for the holy grail to automate this credit card app process and make more dinero! Let’s get it out of beta first and then I can go on to officially ignore it :-)  Dear reader, if I ever did such a thing here you would bet your cold hard cash I would have tried it to death myself and only if I was a fanatic fan about it I would put it here, I mean, in the TBB Support page because I still feel pimpy pushing links in blog posts. I guess I am different. Maybe deep down I am a Communist lol.

45 eerily beautiful abandoned places. By Matador Network. There are some really eerily places here!
Talisay Mansion, Talisay City, Philippines

Talisay Mansion, Talisay City, Philippines
This enormous mansion in Talisay City, Philippines was built by a sugar baron in honor of his 11th wife. In World War II, Filipino guerillas employed by the US Armed Forces set the building on fire. It burned for several days and sat empty for a long time, until it was remade into a restaurant.


These 20 photographs will leave you speechless. By Bored Daddy.

World War II veteran from Belarus Konstantin Pronin

World War II veteran from Belarus Konstantin Pronin, 86, sits on a bench as he waits for his comrades at Gorky park during Victory Day in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, May 9, 2011. Konstantin comes to this place every year. This year he was the only person from the unit to show.


Assam baby elephant pulled from hole

Assam baby elephant pulled from hole

Assam baby elephant pulled from hole, India



Saving Investors from Themselves. Probably one of the best personal finance articles written in 2013. Highly recommended. Well, like everything around here, we like quality and we don’t like to pump you up with things that line up our own pocket at every post. Come to think of it, thank you to E. for signing up for Uber using my link! You know where to find my referral links, I am sure you do not need an arrow :-)


Toledo Spain TBB family

In Toledo, Spain, NOT Ohio! April 2011


Warning to all blogs I follow:

blogs broken door cat

you can blog but you can not hide


Have a great weekend, mine is going to be full of the IRS tax code for the most part. Thinking of Maui already…


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75 comments on “Delta latest massacre, State of hobby, Free Agency, Maximizing Credit Card Rewards, Abandoned Places, Toledo, Cute Baby Elephants, Warning to Blogs

    • For a potentially useful comment … the game has shifted. There used to be awesome mileage runs. Now there are only occasional mistake fares and actual flying gets less valuable. There used to be wonderful promotions – my friends and I bought 800,000 USAirways miles worth of luggage tags. We got great North Asia business class redemptions from that, and we were very happy. Now, there’s beans and birds and other farming.
      From the airline perspective, this is fine, because they’re selling miles at a profit. From a pimping perspective, because credit cards get relatively better, I expect things to get worse. Now we’ll get to read about 2.267847 cents vs 2.267851.

  1. I also don’t get all the hype the Delta announcement generated, even though there aren’t any great Delta affiliate links to push. I guess there isn’t much left to push if the buzz is all about a vague (and somewhat expected announcement) and the Fido AmEx card that’s been around forever.

    With the former, I cannot see how much can these many people speculate about things without Delta actually announcing what those new categories are and how they will work. Even with earning part announced, it doesn’t matter until we know how we can burn it.

    With the later – there always seem to be offers floating around to open a Fido brockerage account and get up to 50,000 miles with that. Heck, maybe you can find one for 50k Skymiles :)

  2. @ Adam. Congrats on the first, you should feel really special :-) Yeah, things have shifted on the burning side. But things have improved on the earning side—->which is contributing to the faster process of moving to ALL revenue based.

    @ yuneeq: So, so close.

    @ TJ: Did not see that clearly stated. Oh, wait. Like I see the other regular disclosures in every post. Like you will be recommended to a non affiliate offer….Ever with this thing!

    @ Dima: Mark my words. Here is what I predict Delta will do. After they get the IT issue handled going ALL revenue based in the burning side (a la Southwest), they will come out suddenly late at night with an announcement full of usual spin “We heard all the feedback from our valued members and what came out loud and clear that you want a simpler program. Going from 3 to 5 tiers was the most frequent complaint! So, we want to announce that we will go to just 1 tier, every mile you burn is worth x.xx cents. If there is a seat for sale, you can book it. We are the first industry to simplify our royalty program and allow all seats to be booked as awards”. Notice the spin? I may eat broccoli about this but I sure had fun making it up. And IF THERE IS A COMPANY THAT MAY DO THIS…IT’S DELTA!!!!

    Last time I checked with Fidelity I was still banned. Time to check their systems again me thinks :-)

  3. Really liked the article by Jason Zweig. Sent links to my guys. I dated a guy named Zweig in HS but not this Zweig. I think my Zweig became a dentist.

    See ya tomorrow.

  4. I don’t get the outrage over the DL devaluation. DL did the mileage-running dinosaurs a favor by forcing them to face that the world has changed. Now, the way to “beat the system” is to MS at low/negative cost.

    But reading some popular bloggers, it seems they are relative noobs at serious MS – they’ve been spending too much time overseas and haven’t had the time to MS – but that game is quickly coming to an end (MV is going to have to move back to the US, as will Travel Is Free, and start learning to MS – they are way behind the curve).

    I disagree with your cashback strategy. Miles can still beat cash back – putting MS into 2% cb cards seems dubious for anything other than short/cheap flights. Just say you want that international biz seat and it costs ~$3K. Are you going to MS ~$150-$300K @ 2% (depending on what your cashout costs are) to get that seat?

    Why not put that same $150K-$300K on a PRG 2x and get 300-600K MRs and transfer to DL instead? You could get ~2-4x more flights out of the same spend depending on Saver/Standard availability. I’d hate to give up that potential leverage just because I was tired of all the devaluations. The way to combat devaluations is to earn more points/miles at lower cost, not give up on them.

    The only way I’d do 2% cb cards is if all the airlines go to 1cpp value per “mile” – until then, will still enjoy leverage that points (sometimes) offer.

  5. 1. Gary’s been on fire today, reinforcing why the community really benefits from his voice — a) His “Seven New Thoughts” I think is the most coherent, concise set of talking points against the new Delta changes, and b) He appears to be responsible for getting SPG to rectify an official position that was leading to all out riots on the FT SPG board. (In doing so, the Lurkers were kind of thrown under the bus, although I’m sure they’re just playing their role).

    2. Randy and Gary (and others — even you!) have been warning of the shift to a revenue based system for so long (years) that it almost felt anticlimactic when it finally happened.

    3. Someone please put a stop to this Silvercar madness. I’d love to know how many blog readers ever rent one of their Audis at the full $100/day price.

    4. Shame you won’t be at DFW the day before.

  6. Interesting comments section today. (See, this is what happens, George, when you let people be anonymous. They often make interesting points and put their pseudonym to it. {/Ingy})

    I agree that we’re still waiting for the second shoe to drop. We don’t know what availability or the five levels are. I think FM celebrated prematurely the idea that Delta would increase lower-level seat availability for redemptions; little in their history indicates that Delta will make moves favorable to its thrifty customers. I remain wary (and not collecting Skymiles).

    Although I like big bonuses (and big books, and big balloons, etc.), I’m not jumping, always waiting to see if our habits eventually lead us to live somewhere where the Delta Amex will come in handy for baggage fees. Being free agents also, in our case, means relying on CCs to waive fees.

    I found a small GC churn opportunity in my Offers for You at Amex. One can buy a gift card for the store located above 59th and Lexington for 20% off and sell it (for now) for a bit more. Can also go through portals to do the same, including portals that allow GC purchases. Offers for You is obviously targeted; I earlier churned GCs from the Dallas Buyers’ Club and J.Crew.

    Off today to teach friends how to drive stick so they can drive in Spain for spring break. Gonna use the time to run errands, and try to buy VGCs at my local -4.

  7. Here’s my two cents on Delta. At first I was guilty of the herd mentality panic in the community then I actually stepped back and thought about this. And here is the conclusion I came to. I, like most people these days, do not earn my miles the traditional butt in seat way. So if Delta wants to switch to making earnings revenue based…snooze. Has no impact on me and no impact on the majority of us. Same holds true if the rest of the industry falls in line.

    The concern and what remains to be seen is whether Delta moves redemptions to being earnings based, a la Southwest. I think moving to that sort of system is probably much more difficult than it sounds. Hence, the delay from Delta. I’m also fairly confident they will fuck it up, badly.

    While I am certain the other airlines will move to earnings being more revenue based I am not so certain redemption will be. So, I will not succomb to the herd mentality in the community telling me the sky is falling…just yet. Bottom line, if you mileage run you’re a dying breed and sorry the end is near.

      • -2. The problem is not Delta (I couldn’t care less about that lost cause), but that if successful everyone else will follow. I almost never do JetBlue even though I like the airline and the service, why? Because revenue-based scheme is almost always the worst to us, any which way you look at it.

        • We are the 1% and in the end Washington’s matter the most to me. if the prices are the same I would take Jetblue 10 out of 10 times because comfort, service and free TV and snacks matter plus I also have to check bags most of the time so that is another 50 Washington’s. Plus I am getting something back that will save me Washington’s later.

          • I love Washingtons as much as the next guy (and you), and since I’m probably not 1%, I prefer to keep my Washingtons to myself and use SkyPeso and other alternative currencies to feed my addiction. :) And unfortunately, as much as I love JetBlue, their revenue-based program has almost always cost me more compared to legacies.

  8. Mommy Points posted pictures from her comp trip to Caeser’s Palace trip paid for by SPG. I was was surprised there were no pictures of Little C at the blackjack tables, and disappointed there were no pictures from the topless pool. How does this work? The credit card companies pay them a commission and they send them on luxury trips too? What a country!

    • It was not paid for by anyone other than ourselves and our points. This particular trip was a SPG Moments redemption that any SPG Platinum member could redeem for, and that’s what we did. It was a heck of a value for 15k points, though clearly would have been way better if we had won at that final table for 1 million points!

      That said, our daughter has already learned to card count and is preparing to make her millions off of the casinos as we speak. God Bless the USA.

      • Sorry MP English is not my first language. I like the pictures though.
        Jack why are you so testy, have a shot of vodka. Ваше здоровье!

      • Mommy Points: If there is a poster blogger how to respond to criticism online, YOU are number one. Thank you for doing it in a classy style, hope everyone else did it the same way!

        Starwood is VERY good on unleashing them 1099 forms for the prizes. Luckily, I have not received one yet from Virgin Atlantic for the trip to London I won last year and you bet I am not going to call them to inquire about it LOL. I agree taxing prizes absolutely sucks. I always scan quickly the FMV of a trip to see if it is worth “winning” it.

  9. @ TWA44: I was referred for a root canal by my dentist to Dr. Fear…no joke! I was scared but it turned out well, he was a nice guy and the pain was manageable :-)

    @ Paul: No doubt that MS is where it’s at these days! I was a miles/points guy for man years. Only recently I added cash back cards. I have too many miles/points and limited time to use them so, right now, my go to cards is my Blue at 5% buying icecream and gas and then fall back to the Arrival card. I see what you are saying. Which is fine if you earn and burn pronto. But you are betting that the devaluation rate will decrease so you can still get a bang for your buck so to speak. I am saying that it is a matter of time before all three legacy airlines go the way of Southwest in burning. And Delta, being assholish they usually are, will go to 0.39 cents per mile…not even 1 cent LOL. Gary is right that we need to fight back to get them to slow down the move towards the inevitable burning of over 1 million miles for that first class seat (business for Delta lol).

    @ Agenda Guy: If you have nothing good to say don’t say it :-) If there is one person who needs a nose job it is moi LOL!

    @ Richard: No doubt Gary is one of the top bloggers in this space, his expertise is real (unlike so many others). But he has been so pro status quo because it serves him right. He had mentioned the move to revenue based but he was hoping (praying) that it is not going to happen even though all evidence has been pointing to the opposite. He is still fighting hard for the flat beds/caviar/champagne and I admire his tenacity. But I think it is a lost cause, this time is indeed different. I looked at that Silvercar crap and I won’t even list it in my referral links. Ridiculous to see bloggers pushing that….I guess some will do anything for a buck. Too bad about DFW. I can not get me a seat flying out so it looks good for a bump :-)

    @ Harvson3: You are right, a bunch of angries in here whining huh? I think Delta will live up to expectations and it will be much more bad news than everyone expects…typical Delta. I so hope I am wrong but these guys are indeed different. Actually I wish I was a shareholder lol. And, don’t get me wrong, getting cards for the signing bonuses is of course still lucrative :-) Good luck on the deal you found and especially good luck on teaching how to drive a stick!

    @ Scott & Mileage Update: I believe the move to a la Southwest style of burning is coming sooner than you think. I say by 2016. I so hope I am wrong. And I think Delta will get there first. I fear the 5 levels award rates is a smokescreen to say “phuck it, you want a simple system, instead of 5 levels we decided to give you just 1, you can book any seat that is for sale, blah blah blah”. No more gaming it the system, we look at flat beds from coach and we all talk about the good old days unless you can afford to buy them seats from your cash back rewards lol. Again, I so hope I am wrong.

    @ Ramsey: I have not had ribs for so long!

    @ Point Princess: You’ve been to Tirana? I am impressed. One of these days we will do lunch :-)

    @ Yakov Smirnoff: If you can get Starwood to do this for me I guarantee you that I will post lots of pictures from the topless pool LOL

  10. So I supposed to give a greedy random guy with absolutely no credentials, who probably has me agree to some “terms” where he is not responsible for any security breach all my banks passwords??? Seriously? Why would anyone do that????

    • You see lots of people online. Some can’t do anything without arrows, some will believe anything, some think burning 75k Skymiles for a RT to Orlando from Atlanta is a good deal, and on and on. Not to stay behind, FTG (the blog) has its own credit card analysis tool. I played with it and guess what? Every time I am pitched SEVEN credit cards (as business owner) or FIVE credit cards as a non-business owner. And it is the SAME FREAKING CARDS EVERY TIME. Even when I asked I am only interested on Cash Back cards!!!!! Even the founder got pitched SEVEN cards too (the same ones I suppose). So, they ask for feedback and told them on Twitter that this is a giant load of crap of a tool. I did not send my “results” to the founder for analysis since he only writes once a week for the site. Now wait…

  11. Looks like one of your favorite bloggers has found a new place to put affiliate links: the comments section! Seriously, in his replies to comments, he slips in an affiliate link!

      • Because I think TBB and others are under estimating how difficult the IT issues are. We are not even sure Delta is moving towards redemption being revenue based, we just assume so. It is not as simple as announcing overnight changes to an award chart.

    • Check this out: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/01/your-money/credit-and-debit-cards/now-may-be-a-good-time-to-bail-out-of-frequent-flier-programs.html?ref=business&partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=1&utm_content=buffer512e1&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
      I know the writer professionally, he knows his way around Flyertalk and the miles world. It is the first instance I have heard that Delta execs considered going all the way but got cold feet. So I am revising my estimate of going all the way until 2017 :-)
      Comparing the IT issues of the 5 different levels vs just one flat valuation per mile like Southwest I would think the 2nd way is much easier. But I am not qualified to form an informed opinion on the IT stuff, we all know that the current award search systems is basically a giant load of unfixable manure (well, fixable but the bastards will not spend the money for so many years and they are not going to do it now so help us God).

      • Damn, I hate being right. :) Although, it appears for a reason different from what I thought. It makes sense though that from a marketing standpoint letting customers believe they can obtain miles to X country in first class has a lot of value even if the price tag is beyond reach for your average flyer.

        • Yes. But what is more valuable after having them conditioned to go through lots of frustration finding and booking award seats or having to pay double or triple the lowest cost while unused miles balances keep skyrocketing? Yes me and you can find a way around it but the average Joe can not and gets pissed off when they can not use 25k to fly from LGA to Vegas :-) So, what is better marketing? “flat bed sipping champagne eating caviar” vs “you can book any seat, if it is for sale you can fly it?”. Well, for the bloggers pushing credit card products to “friends and family” (ok to laugh) we know the answer. And I bet you for the average loyalty program member the second one is better. Why? Because the true road warrior keeps accumulating miles fast and would not mind burning a ton of them to fly up front. This is the award bookers’ bread and butter client! And the average Joe loves it when they can easily book the family trip to Orlando without tearing their hair apart. And of course all this looks better in the bottom line. And when everyone does it the same way our way of living is forever affected. So, MS your heart out, the end is near, it’s been a hell of a ride.

          I so so so hope i am wrong, I will LOVE to eat broccoli!

  12. TPG didn’t do jack with that new tool. It was an already existing tool that just gave TPG some $$$ to put his name on the product

    So in a sense, you don’t really need to worry about giving personal info to TPG when using this tool…. because he’s just a paid spokesperson for it

    He has as much to do with the development of that tool as John Madden does with the video games that bear his name

    • And LOL at his valuations

      What a surprise… UR, United and Hyatt points are all grossly inflated

      It’s almost as if he is bumping up their points so that the CSP, CIB and CIP will come up more frequently in the “results”. Nah…. that can’t be it, right? :)

      • Yeah, I might be confused or something, but I don’t see any value left in Chase UR.
        Zero. How can you still assume it’s as valuable as SPG points? I’m slowly canceling most
        of my Chase cards, my Delta cards gone too. Focus on SPG and recent AA 100K cards.

        • @andrew, UR points are still a great deal for hotels especially at Hyatts, but also to top off Marriott and IHG, SPG is only good at the bottom level hotels otherwise it is like Most airlines ff where you have to pay ridiculous amounts to use the front. Plus with UR you can still use to pay for flights in various programs as long as you are willing to turn right.

            • SPG takes a long time to transfer. Then again lot of mile redemption are in economy and I don’t fly to all my destinations so the ability to get free nights for my travels is very important. These days my strategy to whore up AA until that cow drys up and rack up cahsh back and hotel points for more weekend/family trips.

              • We are all different with different goals. We do what works for us. I think the SPG transfer delays are inexcusable and so unnecessary. Not sure why they don’t fix that, should be easy to do.

                Steve: Check out the other credit card tool in the market!

  13. It is the same question I asked Gorge (thank god he has an English name) would you fly Delta if they did not have a ff program but offered the best price and schedule for your flight? What is your loyalty towards? I will say mine is all about the Washington’s, points and miles are added gravy that save me the Washington’s but that is all. The future looks a lot like the SPG program in terms of spend, you can use it basic properties but if you want the champagne and campaign you have to pay up. I expect that free upgrades will become really difficult in few years’ time and the same will have to suite upgrades.
    As for all the carpetbagger and snake oil salesman getting upset with this change it is understandable, they are losing a massive income source; better get back to that day job, much harder to pump without the champagne and campaign lifestyle.

    As for the five levels of delta redemption this is what it is may look like
    Level 1) discount economy
    Level 2) standard economy
    Level 3) Last Seat economy and discount domestic first class
    Level 4) Domestic first class and discount BE
    Level 5) Last Seat Domestic first class and regular BE
    For domestic I see levels points broken like the following:
    25k, 50k, 75k, 100k and 200k
    For Say Europe
    60k, 90k, 150k, 300k, and 500k

    All these MS we have now enjoy them get what you can because they will be shutting down to enjoy the banks and their stupidity. Look for the next set of things to exploit.

    • It is the same question I asked Gorge (thank god he has an English name) would you fly Delta if they did not have a ff program but offered the best price and schedule for your flight?

      In our neighborhood are several cars with the “Ithaca is Gorges” bumper sticker. I sincerely hope the next time TBB takes his kids to the Grand Canyon or any canyon he takes a photo and calls himself “Gorges George,” because embarrassing your kids with corny puns is the best.

    • @ Stuckintraffic: I would probably fly Delta then IF the other alternatives had no loyalty miles I could use, of course. But since I can find my way not to give up my Washingtons Delta can stick it up to where the sun doesn’t shine. If I run out of alternatives I still doubt Delta will be the best choice as far as Washingtons are concerned because, you know, they have invested in our flying comfort and we sure have to pay for it :-)

      @ harvson3: “…“Gorges George,” because embarrassing your kids with corny puns is the best“….No doubt, no doubt! :-)

  14. There he goes again. OMAAT is talking about his next trip to Dubai and is considering spending $2,200 dollars on a room for 1 night………….. I vow to never ever click on his cc links……….Why fly halfway around the world to go to Dubai? What am I missing here?

    • It is daddy’s surprise birthday. I wonder if the guy gets on the web at all?
      $2,200 is a portion of the clicks that come in from a “Top 10 credit cards” blog post so, you know, he deserves it :-)
      Even if I won the lottery I could never even imaging seeing myself paying that ridiculous amount for a night. I would be so ashamed of myself I would never ever click on my own Amazon link LOL.

      • I have to confess I paid to stay at Burj for 4 nights back in 2006. Hey it was back in the hay days… working for big ass Wall Street bank, had not been on vacay for four years because of kids… and the flight was truly free, 80k BA Exec Club miles for two of us to go from LHR in F using British amex 2-4-1 back in the days before fuel surcharges. It was nice but have been to better. We also stayed at the Al Maha resort in the desert which really was awesome (and also was $1k per night)

        There is of course an entire FT forum on luxury hotels and plenty of mile nerds who still are ok dropping some big rates on hotel rooms

        • My mother will kill me if she ever learned I paid so much for a hotel! Instead, she keeps giving me a high five when I see pictures of hotels I have stayed for free :-) I prefer to keep it that way but I may make an exception if I win 7 figures in the lottery (which I don’t play!).

  15. I happened to catch TPG on Bloomberg yesterday and just felt like laughing when I heard him bragging how his “$18,000″ first class ticket to Australia only cost him $100. So false – I remember him writing that he bought US airway miles for his australia trip and paid $1,800 for the miles. Did he forget about that? Of course, it sounds cooler to say you only spent $100 and that if you get the CSP, you are well on your way to doing the same thing. Whatever it takes to get clicks, I guess. Now he gets to write-off the $1,800 as an advertising cost…

  16. I am testing the Walla.by beta, but have been using it for a few weeks before TPG recommended it. Its an interesting idea, they will alert you when you go above the 30% utilization ratio, but thats the only thing that is helpful. Plus you cannot use multiple log ins for the name bank. The Chase Ink Bold card does not show up under my normal login. It’s fun to test out beta programs, sometimes you get cool perks.

    • There has been a search to come up with the nifty techie tool to automate cc advice and sell more credit cards. Nothing will replace the human brain of a true expert. They may get some market share from total newbies who don’t know any better but every tool I have seen ranges from complete junk to a nicely designed front and light on advice quality. And they are all so freaking biased on what makes them more money. In other words, they are just dangerous and can hurt people. For example: in the FTG tool, I pretended to be a non business owner beginner who does not spend much and interested in cash back cards. Guess what? I was recommended 5 cards, the same as in every other non business owner scenario. If I was a business owner I would be recommended 7 cards. EVERY time. No cash back cards to sell it appears (for now). I chose not to send my results for further consultation:-) I have no words to describe! By the way, sometimes I do get a little angry with stuff like that, how can you not to? They need to take that thing down, it is embarrassing! Or hook up with Wallaby, at least that one just looks better.

  17. Okay okay, I hear y’all. I made the (newbie) mistake in early 2012 when I got (not just the great Ink Bold, which I am mostly happy with; I’m annoyed at how many portal increases DON’T come through, and I’m too busy to keep tracking them down. Oh, and I HATE HATE HATE their version of ‘business categorizing’ for charges — it is beyond useless!!) — but I also got the Delta AMEX. Before my husband died, he had the Platinum Delta AMEX, and racked up lots of miles with biz spending, and we never had a problem getting award tix in first or biz class (we must go weird places or at weird times).

    Today? I know my Delta AMEX is probably a waste. My only use is to buy my groceries at Costco. I can’t use the Delta AMEX to buy gas, so I use my Ink Bold to buy AMEX gift cards at OD, take them to Costco (just a mile away — but I have to wait a day or at least many hours before Costco can TRF the $$ {eye roll} cause the AMEX GC isn’t ‘working’ yet) and get them put it onto a Costco Cash Card (cause even the AMEX gift card won’t always work at the pump).

    I don’t actually mind the extra work too much — Costco gas is so much cheaper, I’m at Costco at least once a week, and I always have a nice chat with the CSRs at Costco. But, I’m really thinking, since the Delta AMEX is SO stingy with Skypesos, and I only fly once a year — I should try to swap out the Delta AMEX for the Costco one? (I prefer flying Delta biz class; they do it best! But I’m all domestic flights nowadays and no pleasure travel.)

    Any advice from all you smart folks who’ve been doing this for years? I don’t mind using the OD AMEX GC to Costco Cash Card for groceries purchases as well as gasoline, so if I should dump AMEX entirely and go for something else, I can do that too… Thanks!

    • I would definitely dump the Delta Amex :-)

      How about the Fidelity 2% cash back? You would need to open a Fidelity brokerage account. I am thinking to do this for my wife as she also likes to use it at Costco but won’t do what you do (too much work & hassle she says). Or

      Just go for the Starwood Amex. You can alternate between the personal and business every year. The SPG points are always valuable. And flexible too as you can transfer to Airline miles if you need to.

      Or go for one of them 50k AA miles offers I am sure they are still out there. One is for an Amex issued by Citibank. Update: I do not see an Amex branded AA card now. Check this link and keep an eye on the wiki on the top which is required reading by all miles aficionados.

      I am sure others can have other ideas. Thanks and enjoy the weekend. Never be angry :-)

      • Thanks George, I’m never angry — disappointed sometimes, but no point in getting angry; it just messes up my brain chemistry! I’ve been looking at the Starwood Amex; l appreciate the vote from the wisdom side!

        (p.s., you’re tying up more and more of my mornings — better and better links leading to more links with more interesting stuff… Good thing I own the company — I probably won’t fire myself!)

  18. Pingback: Delta Airlines, Hotel, and Casino | The Lazy Traveler's Handbook

  19. @Elenor The SPG card is a great card. If you think you’ll get it let TBB refer you during a promo period and he’ll get some SPG points for the referral. Come on George, don’t be shy.

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