TBB Mission: To Entertain, Educate and Inspire. Aim to at least do one well!
This blog has been a labor of love so far. If you like what you see here, please let others know by passing them a link to my blog, thank you!
This blog was started on November 9, 2012 as a personal challenge to see if I can do this for three months. At over eleven months (and counting) it has been quiet a ride! One day I may do a “What I learned after one year blogging” post.
I am still making it up as I go along and learn more about blogging. The theme of reviewing travel miles/points blogs and bringing you what I have found worthy will still be the main theme here, along with my entertaining (some say incendiary) commentary from my many years of experience of being part of this quirky community. These Buzz posts are scheduled to be posted every morning on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The other days I will do my best to get something out there but no promises. Feel free to keep visiting my site 🙂 Whatever shows up here will be an attempt to entertain, educate or inspire you.
There is a lot of action on my Twitter account, you can follow me!
I am a mileage junkie. This is a disease that makes you do weird things to earn miles. It is, in a way, a way of life. I think about miles/points 24/7. Every action I take there are brain waves shooting off inside my head asking my psyche “so, if you do that, how can you earn miles? Or, even better, how many more miles can you earn doing this instead?’ You get my point…I hope. If not, it’s okay. If you keep reading here, maybe one day soon you will understand too. This disease spreads. Once you have the virus, you are a lost hope. If you can’t handle it, stay away 🙂
Sooooo, here is what happens when you find a miles/points deal that you have seen nowhere else. A gazillion light bulbs start going off in your brain. It is like having multiple orgasms. I bet there are people in this hobby who will prefer a bunch of miles to hot sex. I myself prefer to have both lol. Of course I would secure the miles first you silly! So, back on point, I was going on my routine and then it hit me! Is this what I think I saw? Went around it, came back to it, yes it is omg! So brain starts thinking fast…it is time to test it. Acting cool, chatting with the cashier, pull out my credit card (the one that earns 5 points per dollar now on a targeted promo) and bang, no sweat! This was not the end. The mega aha moment came later, there was an extra zero on the receipt. I had to get the receipt closer to me to make sure I am not hallucinating. Nope. Ok, this can’t be happening, it must have been a fluke. On to the next store. I use the Chase Ink Plus card and bang, same score. Needless to say in three days I had earned almost 35k miles points and made about $150 in gift cards in net profit. THIS is the ultimate high in this hobby. The high you get from a score like this. There is nothing like it, it is a special feeling. A feeling you got something out of nothing and earned you enough to travel and (in this case) go Christmas shopping. Could we travel and go Christmas shopping without this? Yes of course. But doing it this way it is a LOT MORE FUN.
Many have offered to volunteer me to spill the secret. First, this does not apply to most of you as it is restricted to some states (mostly around Midwest). Second, the minute it gets out it will be shut down. The special angle to it will likely be fixed any day so I do not expect the gift cards to last much longer. When that happens I may just come out. Or I also expect some other blogger to figure it out and spill the beans to gain some publicity. This is the first time this happens to me as a blogger so my emotions about dealing with this issue are tormenting me. In my heart, I know if it gets publicized it will get killed. If I keep quiet, two things will happen: either the company fixes the “problem” (more like oversight) or some other blogger gets it out first. Or if I do it now (or soon) I can help more people earn some miles/points (maybe some gift cards too) before the whole thing goes down in flames anyway. It is really a bizarre situation for me. I can go either way. For the moment, I am keeping totally quiet (maybe drop a hint or two on twitter) and having fun tormenting fellow junkies :-). So let me hit it some more as I do have a family of four. You won’t believe how fast miles/points go in a family of four!
DIVERSIFY YOUR PORTFOLIO
Fellow FinCon attendees, this is not investment advice 🙂 I am a well known passive management indexing Vanguard devotee and of course do diversify. I was talking about another portfolio: our credit cards! For financial bloggers who focus on budgeting & debt management this is anathema to you guys. Look at this!
How dare you might think? Let me assure you financial blogger, this is totally normal in this hobby. We pride ourselves in our super detailed ways of acquiring/using/cancelling our cherished credit cards. And of course most of us DO KNOW how to manage our credit very well and pride ourselves in never having paid a dime of interest to a bank! We understand that the biggest bang (by far) in this hobby is the rewards credit cards. BY FAR! My point here is that what I aim to do is diversify my credit cards by different issuers: Chase, AMEX, Citibank (the big three) and then the other ones (Barclays, US Bank, Capital One, Bank of America, etc.). And keeping track like a nuclear scientist my application dates, spending requirements, signing bonuses and cancellation dates. Ok, I got sidetracked again. My main points is we should aim to be good bank customers by USING the cards at every opportunity! And we should be spreading the spending around (of course always maximizing bonus categories or special promotions). Mrs TBB left a sizeable 401k account at Chase Bank when we could easily roll it over to the brokerage company we hold our investment accounts. Why? Because we want to be good customers of Chase Bank! Perhaps this is the reason she has never been denied by Chase. This spreading of love around also helps to avoid certain spending patterns that may be deemed suspicious. In my recent deal discovery I used most of these cards above (of course I used the ones giving extra points a little more but NOT exclusively!). Ok, I think I made my point, be a polygamist with your banks, it is okay 🙂
BLOGGING AS A BUSINESS
There were two phenomenally educational posts this weekend.
Saverocity: Professional Blogging Reality Check
If you are interested in the topic it would be a great use of your time if you read them too.
To this day my blog has not been monetized, it has been truly a (hard) labor of love. Would I love to monetize and make as much money as some other bloggers do? Of course, I can sure add more to kids’ college funds and pay off the mortgage earlier (if I do my credit score may fall—>less card signups—->less approvals—–>less miles OHHHH NOOOOOO kidding,well, not really!] But the more I read about how this non transparent business operates the less impressed I am by it. I am also wondering if the only way to survive (commercially) is to pump and pimp the crap out of the affiliate links (because if you don’t, you can’t keep them…how cruel is that!). Is there a way that will not force you to compromise your originality, credibility and integrity? Of course some intrusion is expected (and probably a good thing to comply with rules and regulations). But when is it “too far”? I guess that will depend on the specific blogger and I am certain his/her “production” also plays a big role! Anyways, this is the reason I am going to the financial blogger conference FINCON13, to learn more about this aspect of this blogging thing. I still see myself as the outsider and truly cherish my independence and not having to….keep pumping crap non stop. And, no doubt, this blogging takes a toll. Maybe the answer is indeed to join a blogger network to get the advantages that come with that…but then, I am not an original 🙂 At one year anniversary of TBB I need to make some decisions where TBB goes…Thanks for the journey with me. If it was not for your support along the way TBB would have folded like a cheap suit months ago. I still reserve the right to fold like one lol.
And I leave you with this: