Is this pretty sick or what?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by newbluesea, Jan 8, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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  2. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    I read this moments after it posted and assumed that no one would even respond. Don't know the OP - and don't want to. There are people I read about and I only wish I was as creative and daring as they are. Not this case! This guy is trash and I have to imagine his credit rating reflects his choices.
     
  3. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I don't even want to think about his tax return...
     
  4. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    I wouldn't necessarily call him scum. He's exploited every trick out there to their full potential, so he asked for all the trouble he got. Lots of us exploit a trick here or there ...just not to that degree. And although he got belligerent with the CVS manager, I would guess that she probably started it and tried to throw him out. It sounds like he's just having some fun recalling his misadventures.
     
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  5. deant
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    deant Milepoint Guide

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    I would never consider going to the extreme that the FT OP did. He ABUSED the system big time and got exactly what he deserved.
     
  6. Mike1625
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    Mike1625 Silver Member

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    Here is what I worry about .... how many great opportunities are out there right now, that I don't know about ... because they never get reported on sites like this, because someone will kill the deal. When I read posts like that, I really get a feel about how people can kill the golden goose. Oh well, my loss.
     
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  7. FlyingBear
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    FlyingBear Silver Member

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    A decent number of things he did are not quite in a category of a "golden goose". Costco and diamonds? That's just low. I don't think you are missing out on much.
     
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  8. MLW20
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    MLW20 Gold Member

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    I'd just like to know why he needs so many CVS giftcards??? Very weird...
     
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  9. Mike1625
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    Mike1625 Silver Member

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    I am not saying those things are the golden goose ... I am just saying, others have deals, that if I knew about I wouldn't abuse, but I will never find out about them because those with knowledge are afraid to share, because someone will abuse it.
     
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  10. Casey Friday
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    Casey Friday Silver Member

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    Heh, I do find the OP of that thread quite annoying, but I can't say that I don't jump at opportunities to milk the miles too. However, my current strategy is a bit more legit than most of the ones listed. I'm not a fan of buying gift cards - I prefer to get cash for my miles purchases so that I can use it on whatever I want, however I want.
     
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  11. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    They were visa gift cards, just labeled cvs. Iirc, they could be redeemed for cash for less cost than redeeming Amex cards.

    Factor in these big crumbs/ebates type overrides, certain card plans could generate points and a small cash profit.
     
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  12. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Having read many of Marathon Man's (op of the FT thread mentioned above) posts on FT when I was a newbie there, my impression of him is that:
    1- he is addicted to accumulating miles in large quantities
    2 - he has very, very few scruples in how he does so
    3 - he loves to tell stories/ boast about his exploits/ show what a "bad boy" he is

    my points 1 & 2 are fairly obvious from what he has shared.
    # 3 is something I realized after reading him for many months (until I learned to stop paying attention to him). And yes, he does seem to relish the attention.

    As much as I disagree with most of his exploits, I must admit that he and others like him helped me to realize the importance of what my own values are and how I chose to acquire miles. Seeing/hearing what doesn't feel right does help me be clearer about what does feel right.
     
  13. MLW20
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    MLW20 Gold Member

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    Gotcha! I knew there had to be some catch... Just saying that he bought CVS cards for Amex didn't make much sense.
     
  14. FlyingBear
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    FlyingBear Silver Member

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    Don't think that's much of an issue for most opportunities. Most of the exploits that go away are either temporary in nature or are in the gray area to begin with. With guys like Marathon Man, you should worry not about missing a deal that no one talks about, but having to share your mile/point gatherer reputation with someone who has no scruples whatsoever.
     
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  15. kyunbit
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    kyunbit Silver Member

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    My impression about MM is that he doesn't do anything illegal but always pushes the limits. His methods and values are of course different from others.

    Values and principles are something that you imbibe; your personal choice.
    For example, accusing someone and calling someone sick without knowing everything is against my principles.
    How would I feel if someone accused me of gutting Aeroplan's award chart by booking the cheap RTWs?
     
  16. craz
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    craz Silver Member

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    I just finished a long post on FT (same handle) as long as what he did wasnt illegal I dont get the beef. No I wouldnt have done it to the extent that he did, but has anyone here ever purchased a hidden city tkt, how about FDing, have you traded something with someone even thou the T&Cs say its not allowed, have you sold your miles or pts, ever have someone else stay in a room you booked but didnt pay for in order to get the stay credit and pts? Ever use a code for a car rental or hotel that you werent entitled to? etc etc if you have then you really shouldnt be throwing stones at MM (the OP on FT) All of these cost the company $$$ why is that any different then ordering diamonds or whatever, its not its just most of us did it for much less amounts but in the end its still exactly the samething

    Did you boast on MP or FT or friends or family how you beat this program or that, have you ever gotten rerouted for whatever reason and instead of getting credit for the ElCheapo you purchased you got credit for the Y you were rebooked into, Im sure everyone immediately called that carrier and asked that they remove all the extra mileage that was posted

    My friends we all have in us some MM and have done what he has the only thing is to what extent, just cause it may not be to the extent he has taken it it doesnt make any of us any better then he is, no matter how much you want to rationalize that its OK what I did since it was only to x level and not nearly to what he did. As the saying goes you cant be alittle bit pregnant either you are or you arent, and if you are then how far along are you, but once you are thats it you crossed over

    If you were at a casino and the dealer by mistake paid you off thinking you won did you or would you say wait I lost you paid me and should have taken my chips and not give me more chips, please take them all. Did you ever order anything at a resturant and you received it but it wasnt on the bill did you call the waiter/waitress over and tell them they forgot to charge for that item.If it didnt happen yet and it does would you make it known or would you simply say what they dont know wont kill them?
     
  17. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    What's sick about what? Some of us play the game to the hilt; some do not.
    I am in between and have not been so much as cautioned, but I'm not going
    to label either the gamers or their self-appointed policers "pretty sick."
     
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  18. mailbroad

    mailbroad Silver Member

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    Yes, I have told the waiter/waitress and I would tell the casino dealer.
     
  19. FlyingBear
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    FlyingBear Silver Member

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    That is as false of an analogy to the situation as it gets to be. You are trying to defend someone operating in the gray area with black and white definitions and you neither succeed at defending nor make yourself look any good. If you think that the guy operates within legal and ethical boundaries, that's fine, but don't try to drag everyone else into the same bucket as him just because they happen to use the same forums.

    The guy gave plenty of info already, do you need his FF accounts for proof too? It is also quite interesting that you think it's against your principles to have an opinion, which is what OP shared with us here.

    How is that even in the same category as fleecing Costco.com with diamond purchases? In your case you are using what's available for the purposes it was created for, in MM's case, he is abusing the hell out of a system that was meant for an entirely different purpose. Trying to force comparison where non exists makes the guy look even less defensible.
     
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  20. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    I disagree with many of the above posts. God help us if the standard we and our friends use in this world boil down to the lowest common denominator of "is it legal?" It's not illegal to cheat on your wife or have her cheat on you.....

    I try to be understanding. In my past, I would get letters from the Book of the Month Club every few months, sign up, get the free books, buy the minimum and quit. And silly people that they are, they would keep sending me invites and I would keep accepting!

    Years later, we did some marketing in our dental practice and there were indeed some people coming in for the freebies who never intended on staying on as patients. When the staff got uppity about them, I had to look in the mirror and realize that what goes around, comes around.

    But there is a difference between taking up something offered, be it books or BA Miles, and looking to screw Costco out of money simply because there is a devious way to do it. Again, maybe not illegal but this is a guy I would certainly not trust and would not have as a close friend.
     
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  21. craz
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    craz Silver Member

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    Sorry to disagree with you, he definitely is within legal boundarys if you or I like it or not, otherwise Im 100% sure Costco would have taken him to court and they didnt.

    You might not care for him or want such a person as a friend of yours, but he found a loophole and took it for all he could.Why is that any different then a person purchasing a few tkts where he was able to FD the heck out of it, we only get that fare since theres a loophole thats in place. Why isnt everyone who disagres with MM posting on the FD thread be it on MP or FT that its not Right what you are doing and you are ripping off the Carrier and its a very grey area and dont purchase such tkts. I cant ever remember reading such a post

    I said I wouldnt have done what he did but I wont condemn him for doing it. It seems alot of people will call his Morals and Ethics into question, and I was doing was simply trying to point out that most likely everyone on FT or MP has at 1 time or another crossed over the line as well but in their own opinion what they did was AOK and thusly allowable.

    If you will sell your miles to a broker or trade your AA miles for some UA miles, you have broken the T&Cs of the programs but some will say well they are mine I earned them and how dare AA or UA tell me what I can or cant not do with them, after all I wont be put into jail or arrested. Well when you joined you agreed to abide by the terms of taht program if you dont like them dont fly them, but it doesnt give Me or You the Right to do as we please. Of cause if not caught then no harm done, if caught then wed be on FT/MP ranting how the Program closed my acct and have no right to blah blah blah

    have you ever booked a family member or friend intoa Hotel in order to get them the benefits that come along with your status or get the stay credit. read the Hotel forums this advice and how to go about doing it and what Not to do is all over the place , yet no one posts Its Wrong to do so if you arent in fact gonna be sleeping in that room or wont even be staying in that Hotel

    Again my pt is people are saying most everything is Game but simply do it in moderation, well stealing a $1 off the counter of a store is no different then if you took $1000, stealing is stealing but people want to say all that matters is amount you take ,if you take a small amount its AOK but if you take too much or go back everyday and take a $1 thats not Right.

    guess we will have to agree to disagree
     
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  22. 2soonold
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    2soonold Gold Member

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    (bite my tongue)
    I like M Man ok but; I suggested to people over at FT a couple of years ago that they not intentionally try to beat miles/points out of Costco.
    Sure, some of my money spent at Costco went to pay for those miles/points; but as long as Dave and his buddies are doing their job, I'm a happy Costco customer! Think I'll celebrate with a slice of combo pizza.:) It's a good day.
     
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  23. FrequentMiler

    FrequentMiler Gold Member

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    This is a great conversation! I'm especially interested because not only do I do some of these tricks, but I blog about them too. I'm constantly worried about whether I've stepped over the ethical line, but that line is not easy to see! In the end, I think each person needs to decide for themselves where that line is. Everyone will draw it in a different place so I do not fault Marathon Man for drawing it further afield than most would. Here is where I currently stand on some of these hacks (but I don't fault others for feeling otherwise):

    Buy Amex gift cards for 1.6% back: Since Amex offers the cash back through Big Crumbs, I see no reason not to take advantage of it!

    Use Square to cash out gift cards: I used to think this was OK since Square would get the same transaction fee from this process as they would get if you used Square for any other purpose. However, I later discovered that Square explicitly forbids using their service for cash advances (which this is) in their terms and conditions. So, I recommend against using it for this purpose.

    Amazon payments: Setting up multiple accounts in order to exceed the $1000 limit clearly goes against the intended usage of this service, so to me that is over the line. Using it to pay a friend or spouse for a made up purpose is probably over the line too so I don't blog about it, but I'm not above taking advantage of it now and then. I'll be the first to admit that I don't always practice what I preach!

    Buying gift cards with gift cards (e.g. CVS example): If the store allows it, I see no ethical reason not to do it. As far as I can tell, no one is hurt by such a transaction. On the other hand, there is a very real practical reason not to do this in very large amounts: gift cards are notoriously known as vehicles for money laundering. So, when Marathon Man was picked up by the police it was most likely due to suspicion of money laundering. Whether or not it is ethical to buy tons of gift cards using gift cards, you do risk being the target of an investigation. No one wants that!

    Costco and other schemes requiring merchandise returns: I would never do this because it feels too much like robbery to me. You gain from the transaction, and the store loses (at the very least they waste time and effort, but for some schemes they can lose significant money too). Again, I don't blame others for having a different ethical line than I do, it is just where I stand.

    Gift card double-dips: This wasn't mentioned in the original post, but I write a lot about how you can earn extra points and miles at some merchants by going through an awards portal to buy gift cards and then going through again to buy merchandise. Is this ethical? I'm not sure. On the one hand, it seems similar to finding a great deal or searching the web and finding a 30% off coupon for something you would have bought anyway. On the other hand, it is certain that these merchants didn't intend for anyone to do this, so it does seem wrong in that way. But my gut tells me it's OK and so I'll continue to take advantage of these opportunities until they disappear or my gut changes :).

    So, rather than point fingers, I've laid out where I stand on these topics. Now, feel free to point fingers at me :)
     
  24. tondoleo
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    tondoleo Gold Member

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    I suppose we will be seeing folks like this on a hoarders reality show one day. At some juncture the value of these points and miles are significantly reduced by the time and effort spent thinking about and effectuating the schemes. This is nothing to brag about.
     
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  25. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    Same here, the ethics I was raised with would demand that I admit to the mistake as not doing so makes me a thief in my eyes.
     

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