Let’s go on a wild ride and learn about Hotel reward programs, the new Curio Collection, the Top 5 Hotel Offers, Visa prepaid card standard, Walmart messing with us again, Saverocity pump for more blogs, and then travel to Sri Lanka, Ecuador, remembering Tiananmen Square, KKR buying Internet Brands, and watch how bloggers started suddenly pumping the “new” Hilton credit card. And lots more! Your mother in law should read TBB. If not her, your mother instead! Spread the word, so many Amazon clicks to capture, I want them all #shameless #greedy #blogger :-)


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Did you miss reading my epic rant? Here it is again: The “Travel” Miles/Points Blogosphere Has Turned Into a Giant Credit Card Pumpization Scheme!  I think you will enjoy it. Will go better if you drink some beverages with it. Or eat some popcorn. Enjoy!

Best Hotel Rewards Program. Interesting huge infographic by Travel is Free. Go check it out.

Hilton has a new brand out. Curio Collection. Luxury. Coming to you soon. This is brand number 11. Umm, how about cutting a few brands, getting pretty hard to remember them all! Inside sources say that to get a free night will cost anywhere from 459,00 points to 945,678 points (for Suites ummm, forgetabout it, might as well start a kickstarter LOL). I don’t like the name, how do they come up with this stuff? Reminds me of Coolio (the rapper)!

Saverocity has a “Join Us” post. I would highly suggest bloggers to check them out.

Top 5 Hotel Stay Bonus Point offers for June. By Frequent Flyer Bonuses. BW, Hilton IHG, Marriott, Starwood promotions and links to register for them in case you have not done so yet.

Visa is Preparing a Standard for Prepaid Cards. Sounds pretty good and looks like prepaid cards are here to stay. The CFPB will be releasing new proposed rules about them in the near future as it has been studying them for a while.

New(est) changes to Walmart point-of-sale systems. By The Free-quent Flyer. What, more changes? Oh Lord. Going to Wal Mart is turning into visits for a root canal!


12 Highlights from the 2014 Nat Geo Traveler Photo Contest.

End of the World swing. Banos, Ecuador

End of the World swing. Banos, Ecuador. Photo by Sean Hacker Teper


Yomadic goes to Sri Lanka. Great pics and stories again. I am not that rushed to visit there after reading his report. A few non credit card affiliate links with disclosures were inserted which is fine. At the end of the day, this online stuff is about trust.  I read that somewhere. It sounded good. So I copied it :-)

Thalpe Beach, Sri Lanka

Thalpe Beach, Sri Lanka


Hard to believe it has been 25 years since the Tiananmen square massacre. Graphic account of what happened, we need to educate the youngsters. Looking at you Grant and Jeff :-)

tiananmen square massacre China Beijing

Butchers! Hang the mfers!


Well Traveled Mile quit school and joins the growing crowd of full time bloggers. Umm, expect more credit card affiliate links coming to you. At least he is honest and concedes that they are the “bread and butter as far as income goes”. I think we have all noticed something like that :-)

Internet Brands to Be Acquired by KKR. At The Gate. Internet Brands owns both Flyertalk and Frugal Travel Guy. These KKR guys are ruthless. I am worried about the future of Flyertalk and I expect even more credit card pumping at Frugal Travel Guy, brace yourselves! I have no idea on the terms of the sale. If the world was right there should be some bonuses paid out to all the volunteers at Flyertalk. Haha, right…like that is going to happen! Elaborate in the comments if you know more.

Wallet Slot forgives me for calling him a slut. I do not remember doing that, it is probably because I got very angry after drinking and ranting late at night. Thanks for forgiving me. I apologize. Never forget I do not mean things personally, TBB is all about the blogs. I am the blog reviewer. Been around the block, follow almost 500 blogs. I blog what’s on my mind primarily to entertain, sometimes educate, rarely inspire. My blog is not sponsored by anyone and has no ads. We starve with just Amazon links lol. I advise you to ignore me, almost everyone in the Ignore list does! Best to you and your family.

View from the Wing and One Mile at a Time, after their amazingly insightful commentary on poverty in places such as India and UAE, now go on and offer us their true expertise on “Burgers in First Class”. Discuss. Here is a tip from TBB staff: Don’t eat them. Go to the gym! You are welcome.

It didn’t take that long for Delta Points to…sell the Barclay Arrival card again. The affiliate link expertly inserted into a post about…another domestic mileage run. Expertly again inserted a link about the Delta Amex Reserve card but, somehow the link leads to the Credit Cards page where you need to scroll through all the crappy affiliate credit cards the site sells to finally find the Amex card links. Great! You click on the link and it takes you to….Delta.com WTF!!!! Is it really so hard to help your readers to at least land on the Amex site?? Of course I am angry…smh.

If you are afraid of heights please do not watch this video! Urban Climber Goes To Insane Heights On London’s South Bank Tower Crane. Found at The Adventure Blog

Personal Finance: “When assessing investment advice, consider the source

Of course you all saw the usual pumpers pumping that Hilton card all of a sudden. The sudden appearance of an affiliate link for it had absolutely nothing to do with it! This was the litmus test for View from the Wing and One Mile at a Time, they both jumped at it! This was not like this prior to 2014. Welcome to the Ignore List! I will edit the page when I get around to it but you are both in, congrats! Oh crap, looks like I will never be invited to Boarding Area again so I can see Delta Points leave it as he promised, rats!

Please click our Amazon link. We need to replace several monitors as this happens quite frequently around here lol.

angry computers punch monitor explosions

What, you just discovered the Hilton card, really? Found here



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71 comments on “Hotel rewards ingographics, Curio Collection, Top 5 Hotel Offers, Visa prepaids, Walmart messing again, Saverocity pump, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, remembering Tiananmen, KKR, Pumping the “new” Hilton credit card

  1. Thanks for the Yomadic link. Going to Sri Lanka in July. Can already agree that prices quoted for tourists can sometimes be ridiculous. Very much looking forward to the trains.

  2. @ Helixcardinal: You are slipping lately. But I have faith in you :-)

    @ TJ: Great! Be careful about those mfers :-) Enjoy. That dude’s travel blog is my favorite!

    @ Brian: I am not into hamburgers at all. Would love to hear what people are talking about inside the IB Headquarters about the transaction. All I know is that these KKR guys go in, clean up ruthlessly, resell at a profit. And just as I was negotiating my sellout to an incredible offer in my hands from IB (lol)

    @ Nick: Do you know any details? What are your thoughts about it? Are my comments on target or off?

  3. a 22 hour work day is a bit much guys. Trust me.
    Anyway, I think a good blog is still a good blog. I’m gonna get back to mine with full attention.
    I was kind of down after seeing the “blog picture”, but I like it and it might keep me sane.

  4. I’m amazed that there is enough money out there in affiliate links that another blogger I have never heard of goes full time. Just shows you if the little dudes can go full time how much the big fish must be raking in.

    I do think we need a new name for these mile and points blogs. They really should not get lumped into the same category as other true travel blogs like yomadic or matador network, or even a legit travel hacking blog like Travel is Free. These days these blogs rarely talk about travel and when they do it is basically an advertisement for their real goal…”it’s all about the conversions.” We should just call them what they are credit card blogs.

    • These are great thoughts Scott! I was surprised to see that. There are many others I follow who basically repeat/copy/ the main “news” we see and squeeze credit card links. They are so bad and small I just don’t bother. We can certainly use a clean up process…so I can keep my sanity!

      Great point about calling them “credit card blogs”. I will edit the Blogs to Ignore page next time I get around to it!


  5. Regarding the Hilton Reserve, Gary had posted about it several times before it had an affiliate link. So your comment is not fair at all.
    Ben, not so much. Making things worst, he has posted the worst version (with the statement credit) repeatedly in his monthly “best offers available”.

    • Yes. James in the previoius epic rant post had a comment listing one of GL’s posts pre affiliate link and after. It was an eye opening comparison. You can tell the first post was just a very low key sell job. The second one had it all! Bold fonts, bullet points, much longer ‘selling” all the benefits and even a picture of the personal Vila at the Conrad Koh Samui. So, I think my comment was fair ;-)

      To me, these two guys were the old timers who likely would be still blogging if the cc money was not around. BUT, they sold out which happens when you need to pump to keep the links. And that is just kind of sad. Look at their posts this year…ludicrous!

    • Whenever I see flyertalk I now think KKR. These guys are giant assholes. At least the IB guys did not mess up too much with a good thing at FT, they just decided to turn FTG into the $$$ pump venture.

      Pictures, to me, make or break a trip report! I have told Christine to get her trip pictures to be larger. Nobody cares to see tiny pics in trip reports! Finally they listened, the last one was decent (the Alaska one).

      Like the two pics at Brighton, interesting site. The text must CONNECT with readers which is extremely hard to do! At least I don’t have that high expectations of my trip reports here LOL. Actually I don’t care.

      I will eventually reply at the PM. I am just buried these days!

      • I agree, George.

        I started with England because I had a malfunctioning lens on my camera when I was there; so the photographs are not as good or as plentiful as I would have liked.

        I promise you that the photographs of the Presidential Palace in Bucharest — and other places to which I traveled — will be far better.

        I may also include videos — but I have to create a YouTube account or something like that. I am like you, George — who’s got time for that?!?

      • Christine’s a great writer and I agree, large photos are ideal for trip trip reports, but the size of the pics in her Alaska article is the same it’s always been.

        • Hmm, the size of these pics sure appears larger than in the past. Maybe I am wrong.
          Before also the text used to be so short it appeared you guys did not let her go on. Apparently, you are probably paying by word so, as we all know, it is all about maximizing profits at FTG.

          To make myself clear about how I feel about FTG (the blog now owned by the KKR assholes):

          FTG, imho, is a front for selling credit cards. It lacks credibility. Adopting newbies is hypocritical when the site targets them to buy credit cards from it. There are so many truly awful features ( CC tool that recommends to apply for 7 credit cards at once when you…wanted a cash back card!, travel “challenge”, success story, the 3x First Friday CSP pump post etc that I would be embarrassed to be associated with it. Apparently, you are all tolerating just for the money. Enjoy it!

          Thanks for the Chicago Seminars, where most of the blogs in the TBB Ignore list would be presenting to lots of newbies hoping to fool them enough so they can get use their links.

          It appears Drew saw the light and stopped writing for it. I gave him my last Ink Bold app (because his site deserves it).

          I am not angry, just calling it like I see it.

          I could go on. That epic rant was the highest traffic post in TBB history. Not that I really care too much about that. Please tell the resident troll to check my traffic numbers again, he always seemed more interested in them than me.

          So, tell us how y’all feel about KKR?

          Maybe the KKR guys put a stop on the trolling here. These guys mean business!

          • Not at all – in fact the more she writers, the better. One of the first things I did when I came onboard was get Christine two writing slots per week. She really is a great writer and her topics are always interesting and useful.

            Some of those same presenters are also at FTU, but who’s keeping track. Trust me, you have made yourself clear on the topic of FTG multiple times. :)

            • I speak my mind. I did delete a reference in new Friday Buzz post about the post by Howie pondering if we had only one card…It was an angry term :-)

              I am sorry it is not about you, it is about the blog…

  6. +1 to what Sam and AZTravelGuy said in the comments to the previous post. Your note today about beverages or popcorn reminds me of Our Dumb World‘s joke about hiking Chile. My personal distaste for the big blogs isn’t the pumping noise itself, it’s the very low signal-to-noise ratio. I haven’t gotten anything worthwhile from the big credit-card pumping blogs in ages. Hence I don’t read them, and I don’t encourage others to read them.

    I still don’t understand, however, the tolerance for mendacious types. We’re all (more or less) in agreement that pushing sub-par affiliate links and deleting comments that point out better alternatives is poor behavior. We can call it violating the mother-in-law rule, or “pulling a MileValue.” (Side note: cutting ahead of someone else’s mother-in-law in airport security lines by flashing your ANA card is still a-ok.) So why do MileValue and his ilk still get invited to present to marks new hobbyists at conferences? In a competitive field of bank marketing material authorship “travel blogging,” why tolerate competitors who give bloggers a bad name? Why not more in-crowd policing?

    • Great thoughts as usual.

      I am thinking of doing a post tomorrow titled “What do all these bloggers in the Ignore list have in common” They are presenting in the Chicago Seminars”.

      But then smittytabb may not like me anymore…

      “pullling a MileValue”
      Kickstarter-ing it

      Signal-to-noise is sooooo on target!

      I need to catch up and do some writing for the other blog….I feel so blogged out sometimes LOL

    • Who else would travel half way across the country to present to a couple of hundred people?! No-one without lots of links would bother travelling to an event in order to gain another 50 regular blog readers that couldn’t be monetised!

      • I have to disagree on that. So far I have bloggers willing to come from Vegas, Denver, and Charleston to my little party. People who have PASSION for the message will come.

        • Glad to see the word Passion come back as from the Chicago Seminars and FTUs all I got was passion to market blogs and, cough, credit cards. I sensed that passion in Charlotte which was kind of bizarre and made me very happy. Hope you get the same “vibe” with it.

          Maybe Mommy Points can present how to travel to the Maldives with children. Oh wait…real life is the theme, pardon me :-)

  7. OK, Scott said:

    “I do think we need a new name for these mile and points blogs. ….These days these blogs rarely talk about travel and when they do it is basically an advertisement for their real goal…”it’s all about the conversions.” We should just call them what they are credit card blogs.”

    Here’s my (first) nominee: Credoggers.

    But that may not be descriptive enough. Maybe Creditcardoggers.

    Might be too long: Conversionoggers.

    Just as long. But I kind of like it. Conversionoggers. Has a nice ring to it.

    Your suggestions are most welcome, at least to me. Probably George will be OK with too.

  8. I visited Sri Lanka in 2009 when the war was still going on in the north and tourist numbers were down. The Ancient Cities, Hill Country and down through Adam’s Peak was one of my favorite tourist routes anywhere, much of the charm of India with much more manageable distances.

    I was lucky to find a good driver and laid out very specific groundrules, such as I would choose my own hotel and if that hotel did not provide free accommodation for the driver, which many do, then I would pay for his room. I spent a little more but got what I wanted. It is not a difficult country to drive and in the future would rent myself.

    The best advice from my driver was to minimize time in Colombo and the nearby coast which attracts budget Europeans and Russians on sex tours in the worst of tourist dumpiness. All the way down at Galle things get better.

    Stay in heritage hotels in Kandy and the Hill Country and have a fantastic time.

  9. My understanding is that FTG/Flyertalk is an afterthought on this deal. The other IB segments are the focus, although KKR thinks they can increase add revenue in the ‘Home and Travel” segment, which includes FT. If they can’t better monetize the eyeball traffic, they’ll spin it off, or close it down. Pumping of CC on the big blogs will look like nothing compared to what we’ll soon see on FT–and it won’t just be cards! Fees for premium services or functions have been discussed. We’ll see increased mining and sales of user data across all the IB brands, including FT. One thing will soon be certain: RIP Flyertalk as we know it.

      • If the declining FT reader numbers that are occasionally discussed are true, KKR may prefer to sell it. This may be Randy’s chance to get his hands on it again.

        Fundamentally, to turn FT around it needs to turn into a mix of Boarding Area and FT. Forum page views are a terrible sell to advertisers, unlike blogs.

        I did spend 11 years in private equity, I know how they think ….

          • I think I saw some posts about this (Oliver, was it you?)…that the historical trend shows indeed declining numbers for FT and quite the opposite for BA.

            It would really be THE most genius type moves if Randy buys it back for a fraction of what he sold it for :-)

            I just feel FT will change and not for the better. Hope I am wrong. Hey Raffles, maybe you can buy it, increase your empire across the pond. If David Beckham can do it (starting Miami MLS soccer/football team) you can too :-)

            Or maybe we can all kickstart it and buy it back. For the people to the people kind of thing. Hehe. Let the moderators stay on and pay them a little this time. All except mia who has banned me twice #menotlike

            I think it is time for me to go to lunch now…

  10. I’m not current on KKR so I have no opinion on what body parts they best resemble. Folks wanting to learn more about Henry Kravis should pick up and read “Barbarians at the Gate”, a great read, which tells of Kravis and his world back in the 1980s.

    To the extent this purchase was driven or enhanced by FT and the blogs, I find that very encouraging, It would suggest that KKR thinks airlines will keep the programs attractive, the banks will continue to offer cards with bonuses that will attract the masses, that they think the masses the banks reach to will grow from here, and that our good ol’ card pumping bloggers will continue to be a meaningful part of the banks’ marketing plans and sales forces.

    All of this is good news for the folks who thoughtfully play the miles and points game-the game continues bigger and better, and there are more ignoranti at the trough to keep the banks from looking too hard our way. Sort of like using the restroom at McDonalds during lunch-it’s so busy, nobody cares if you don’t buy something.

    • I think FT and FTG was really such a tiny tiny part of the whole deal. Rounding error. They may decide to get rid of them, I will definitely not be surprised. Changes are coming, no doubt.

      The last time I went inside McDonalds was to go to the bathroom #fulldisclosure

      • As a world traveler you know McDonalds will provide you with a cheap and reasonably clean toilet experience. #Besttraveladviceever

    • I’ll second the recommendation on “Barbarians at the Gate”, it was a good read.

      If memory serves, that’s the one that contained the line about the sleepy town of Winston-Salem, NC that goes something like: “It’s not the end of the earth, but you sure can see it from here.”

  11. McDonald’s has been my go-to bathroom resource for years. Last time I bought anything there was around 1997 when I had a cup of coffee, but if they punched a card for toilet stops, I’d be giving away passes more often than the IB bloggers.

    Once a few years ago, I went into a McDonalds men’s room in Paris and-I swear this is true-a guy in there had a big bag of clothes and a box of other personal items. Yes, he was living in there. I could not believe it.

  12. Why do I love reading your blog so much?

    So… I made a big faux pas – my post today is about a shindig I attended in NYC on Tuesday thrown by IHG (not for bloggers, but for Chase IHG credit card holders) – In addition to lots of food and drinks, the goody bags contained a code for 10,000 IHG points and a free night certificate at IHG’s new brand, EVEN.

    so, what’s my faux pas? —- I never discussed the credit card or included an affiliate link….

  13. @MilesAbound:
    You said in a comment on the previous TBB post “I am sorely tempted to start a bunch of anti-bank posts… so how to churn, retention numbers, love the “acquire & attrite”…. all the stuff we all used to talk about…”

    I also was quite taken with the “acquire and attrite” phrase. I’m pretty bookish but it was the first time I came across “attrite.” Apparently it is the same root as “attrition” and was first used in the early 17th century, from the Latin “attrītus – rubbed against, rubbed away, worn away….” [To the boys here, please, no jokes – do not go there!]

    Yes, do the posts. This info is on the web for sure, and when I started only a year and a half ago, it was easily findable on the blogs and then I could refer to FT for additional info as needed. But soon thereafter, links with recon numbers disappeared overnight on some blogs and then the incessant pumping began. The FT wikis are super helpful, but who knows what changes may be coming now with KKR.

    Make it easier for those newbies who want to escape from the MMS/FTG world into the one represented here.

    Plus, it will be a break for those of us not entranced by the Maldives ;) and you might just make the Blocks He Loves list :) ;) !!

    • Yeah, that stunk – I had a great big post about to go about “Destination: LL Bean Headquarters in Freeport, Maine” and had that card in there about 9 times. Shoot, now I have to wait until the pause is cancelled. :)

  14. ..More fake humility, today from Gleff….post name I”M FLYING COACH MORE AND MORE AND LOVING IT. Thanks for joining us peons in coach Gary, and put away those M and M’s. You need them about as much as I do………………………Buzz, the hospital screwed up while I was knocked out, they gave me a Penis Enlargement instead of a Colostomy. I’m off to Whore Island with my new big little friend.

    • While I was reading that I was thinking “…hmm, it appears I may have rubbed some people the wrong way lately with my blog posts and stuff…so I am going to make an effort to make it appear I am like them…plus soon this luxury travel thingie is not going to be as lucrative so might as well start to position myself to a different, MUCH larger, target market”…Something like that ;-)

      Have a grand time in Whore Island! Any bloggers you see take pictures so we can post them in my blog and comment on them (hey, other bloggers do it why not angrys here) :-)

      You like my new (Friday) gif? I embraced my inner Liberace woohoo!

  15. Pingback: Gems from the TBB Comments June 1 - 7, 2014 | TravelBloggerBuzz

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