Growth of the Miles/Points Habit/Game

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by richinaz, Apr 7, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. richinaz
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    richinaz Silver Member

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    I've only been a member of FlyerTalk since late 2008 and only started reading it frequently in late 2009 so I'm wondering if long time FFs think there are many more people chasing after miles and points than there were a few years ago? Obviously I haven't been around long enough to know.

    In my case the only smart thing I did for years was keeping my United miles active by signing up for the credit card and then canceling it at times. Over the years it allowed my miles to grow and coupled with miles from several international trips in the 90s (yes, the 1990s) I managed to get enough for an international F ticket.

    I was also lucky that I had some miles with US Airways (since they were big at BWI years ago) and some with America West so when the merger occurred it helped me. Unfortunately I let miles on AA expire.

    From reading these sites and blogs I've gone from someone with no status and limited miles to someone who will have ~600,000 miles/points. That doesn't include the 240K miles I cashed in late last year. Most of which have been obtained via credit cards (carefully selected and not doing the coin thing) and some MRs on US Airways during their frequent double mile bonuses last year.

    Just curious whether people believe it has grown significantly in the last year or two or whether it just seems that way since I wasn't aware of it.
     
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  2. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    I'm not really sure how to answer this. I'm relatively new to MP and FT, but I always was interested in earning miles with United. I even did a mileage run to secure my 2P status back in 1997, before I even had heard the term. After discovering the sites though, I've gotten a lot better at the game. I've since signed up for a few hotel programs and an extra credit card or two. I've started paying more attention to miles and points with other airlines that I don't normally fly, and do my best to make sure they don't expire that doesn't involve actually flying (online surveys, online purchases). I've also taken advantage of some of the great deals I've found on FT to book a trip just in order to earn enough miles for another trip the following week- as in the mileage run was cheaper than the one way ticket i used the miles for and my status is now 1P...so the chasing continues as it always has, but now I've got a few extra tricks up my sleaves thanks to lurking around these sites.
     
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  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Well, in my case, I joined most FF programs very early, when my goal was never to take a flight which didn't give me credit. I always paid attention to the precise rules of my primary program--where carrying a copy of their annual brochure saved my upgrade a few times--but everywhere else I participated passively. I think I stumbled upon FT and started lurking in about October 2008, due to the infamous botched LHW $19.28 promotion. When NW and DL started their merger, I remembered the site and started lurking in self defense. I joined in about September 2009 in order to participate in my first (minor) DO and then became relatively active rather quickly: about 2750 posts in about 18 months. FT is largely responsible for my getting a bunch of SQ FC tickets with my old NW miles when the account merged into DL.

    If you spend much time on MP, you'll start to be aware of differences between FT and MP. Let me add my welcome to those that I'm sure you've probably already received.
     
  4. wanderlust
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    wanderlust Silver Member

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    Addressing your broader point, I think part of the problem of being objective is our perspective. Since becoming obsessed heavily involved in the "miles game" I feel like I've lost some perspective on how the majority view this activity. So it seems to me that more and more people are becoming involved, but that's probably a result of my general awareness combined with heavy involvement, e.g., before I may have never seen the relatively frequent newspaper articles on earning miles, but now I read and participate in active discussions on them.
     
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  5. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    I look at supporting companies to measure the growth of a particular business model / industry. It seems to me over the years more startups appear in support of tracking, converting and managing miles. As the internet grows and the sharing of information has become easy, more folks are privy to the strategies of accumulating and using miles.
     
  6. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Sabore makes a good point. The same phenomenon has increased price sensitivity for all manner of things, value of points/miles among them. Airlines selling interest in their FF programs is the clearest evidence of the value these things have now to airlines, and customers obviously feel the same way about their points/miles whether they have many of them or just a few.
     
  7. Exiled in Express
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    Exiled in Express Gold Member

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    Depends on the connections. ;) I have been vocal about my scheming and redemptions and recruited a few to play the game, a few have redeemed internationally thanks to my guidance. If the US Grand Slam is as good as last year I will be taking upwards of a dozen people through it.
     
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  8. RedM3Pilot
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    RedM3Pilot Gold Member

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    I'm the only one afflicted in my circle of friends, family and acquaintances. Even my CEO who is a perpetual UA GS does not know or care too much about the FF game(s)...he just kinda sits back and let the perks and benefits come to him. He still doesn't understand why I sometimes go through TPA or FLL on my NorCal-SoCal commute....he knows why, but he doesn't see the point.
     
  9. DonV.Smith
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    DonV.Smith Gold Member

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    Some great points above. I think for me, I've traveled off and on over the years... but didn't realize "this world" of collaboration and sharing existed until maybe 5 months back. I did a bit of lurking and have since been jumping in.

    Since getting into this, I'm fully confident I've had significant boosts in points and miles due to the tips and promos I've come across - which has already paid off for use with a family vacation (domestic ;)). There's a lot of value in getting into this, and I'm sure I'm a bit of a newbie still.

    What amazes me is that I'm in the consulting biz, and so many of the folks I work with are still so unaware. They are giddy when a promo email comes there way... And then I tell them what I've already done and how they could have too. At least they SEEM happy for me. I've been sharing links to help get them started in this, but I know there's a lot of missed opportunity for many of them as so many, like RedM3Pilot's boss, don't seem to be aware or to care if they otherwise are aware.

    So to your original question, from my viewpoint, I'd have to say more are getting into this as these networking sites grow.
     
  10. dhammer53
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    dhammer53 Gold Member

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    In the old days, all I did was sign up for the telephone mileage promo schemes. Many of us scored big time changing plans. A little old lady from Brooklyn kept pestering me to sign up for the various credit card bonus' that were out there. I couldn't be bothered. This woman kept bragging how many miles she had in this program and that program etc etc.
    Eventually my ears perked up. There was some Marriott credit card promo that caught my eye about 5 years ago. Get bonus points with a no annual fee the first year deal. Ok. I pulled the trigger. That was my first. ;)

    UA/BA/CO/AA/Starwood/Marriott/Priority Club/Hyatt. You know the drill. My once meager AA account now has more miles than my UA account, and I actually fly on UA. If you play your cards right, you can amass a fair amount of miles and points for no cost, or a small fee. I'll gladly pay $95 for 100,000 BA miles. Even with YQ... or better yet, I can use those miles on AA with minimum fees.

    I stay on top of this by reading various travel boards and blogs such as www.frugaltravelguy.com pointsguy, and gleffs blog. It's like having family look out for me. :cool:
     
  11. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    What surprises me is how many know about it and choose not to participate. I try and walk friends through what we are doing with the churning and they mostly look at me like I am some crazed madwoman who is on the road to financial ruin with my behaviour.

    I've managed to convince 4 sets of friends to sign up for various promotions, but none of them have dived all in. I'm talking about middle-aged, financially secure folks who are college educated so the concept should not be beyond any of them. There seems to be an inherent fear that if it sounds too good to be true it must be wrong.

    That said, when I sprout like a woman possessed with all the knowledge I have gathered from this site and TOBB they all look at me like I am a genius. Then again, maybe they could be thinking that I need to increase my meds or perhaps get out of the house a bit more often.
     
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  12. DonV.Smith
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    DonV.Smith Gold Member

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    I prefer this part, coming across like a genius... even though the resources are there and you just have to know how and where to find them. ;)
     
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  13. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    My favorite is my friends that say something along the lines of "dude, why didn't you tell me about this?" So the next deal that comes along, I tell them and they sort of shrug it off saying "too much work" or "I don't have the time". They then see me traveling around the world (occasionally in premium cabins) and ask me how I manage to do it...

    Rinse, wash, and repeat...
     
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  14. chemist562
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    chemist562 In Memorian

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    Lately, we got alot of miles through credit card signups. My wife picked up 275K AA miles from CC signup bonuses. I picked up 150K myself. Some other notable bonuses: 110K Cap One, 50K AMEX MR (Gold Rewards offer that came in the mail), 50K CO, 2 free nights Hyatt, 80K Priority Club, two 30K Starwood AMEX, and some others.

    Will try for the 100K BA next month. Nice thing about MP & FT is the nice deals are posted. Also, there are so many tools one can quickly use to find deals that wasn't around in years past.

    One nice thing is people at my work ask me what is the latest "deal". Whether it is a nice "juicy" CC signup bonus, cheap airfare, etc. Of course, I give them the resources (blogs, etc) to find the deal themselves. Makes work a more interesting place. ;)
     
  15. penumpang
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    penumpang Gold Member

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    Whenever I talk to my friends about mileage accumulation and the places I've flown to on award tickets, they seem to always be fascinated. But, when I start telling them how to do it, they look discouraged. I then say that it's actually not that hard to do and I give them websites to go to. But, none of my friends actually tried it. I directed them to FT, MP, and some blogs, but they said it was too complicated. What??? :D

    I think the miles/points game to me is like a hobby. A good friend of mine is into extreme couponing. She spends hours and hours looking for coupons, just like me with miles. She can go to a grocery store, buy a bunch of things, and pay only a few dollars. This sounds just like the miles/points game, except it has to do with buying things. She's told me everything that she knows about it but I can't get into that as much (I did try a few coupons here and there). Why? It's because it's not my hobby :). If my own experience can be used as an example, I can understand why my friends have similiar attitudes towards the miles/points game.
     
  16. neil
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    neil Silver Member

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    I don't think there's anything wrong with friends who scoff at the game being too much work. Really, it is a fair amount of work churning, especially keeping track of everything. Most people have 1 CC (maybe 2 if their primary is an AMEX.) ... I'd hate to convince a friend to apply for 5-6 new ones only to have them incur fees and have difficulty meeting spend appropriately.

    That being said, all of my friends jumped on the more "mainstream" BA 100K offer.
     
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  17. cptnkirk77
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    cptnkirk77 Silver Member

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    Just as penumpang said, it really is best to think of this as a hobby...it is a lot of work to be anything less really. Which is probably why the airline mile game is lucrative for the airlines, as a lot of people end up not wanting to put in the time or the effort to spend or take advantage of their miles.
     
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