I am a relative newbie to the Points and Miles community. While I’ve been a super bargainista and travel lady all my life, I only started collecting points and miles a little over a year ago. I’ve learned a lot since then, but I don’t know it all…not by a long shot. That is why I keep my ear to the ground, keep my back to the wall, and sleep with one eye open. Just kidding about those last two. What I really mean to say is that there is a lot to be learned if you know where to look and listen. I’ve realized that the absolute best source of information – better than any blog or article or conference presentation – is advice from old-timers.
Who are old-timers?
You can find old-timers on Flyertalk. They’re the ones with 12,345 posts and “Flyertalk Evangelist” displayed proudly on their biography. They’ve got a string of programs below their names (UA 1K, AA EXP, HH Gold, Hyatt Diamond, Starwood Plat). They hang out on obscure or esoteric threads such as, “Marco Polo Gold Through Amex Platinum; Long Haul YVR<->HKG Upgrades” or “Premier Line: Will It Auto-Recognize Incoming Calls?”
Some old-timers are kind of curmudgeon-y, but I think that kind of goes with the territory of being an old-timer. I like to think of them as grandpa/grandma on a rocking chair: whatever slight crankiness and grumbling they possess, they’ve earned it. Of course, some old-timers take this too far and cross over into the category of meanies, and that is another story. There is never an excuse for meanies. As I always tell my kids, “if you can’t say anything nice…”
The old-timers are filled with an abundant wealth of Points and Miles lore and knowledge. Ask them a question, however brief or mundane, and they can dazzle you with an encyclopedic, cross-referenced response. They’ve been around. They’ve seen and done it all. They know their stuff.
So when they talk, I listen.
Why should you listen?
Early on in my miles and points collecting days, I missed out on several AMAZING deals because I failed to heed the old-timers’ advice. I passed on the Nordstrom 36x Avios promo, didn’t get in on the 30,000 Delta miles Suntrust offer, and let tens of thousands of Club Carlson points slip through my fingers during the Big Night Giveaway. These days, even if I don’t completely understand why I should sign up for a particular promotion, if it makes sense financially (ie, there is a minimal cash outlay), I am IN.
The rewards always become clear after awhile, but I find that if I wait to collect all of the information and details, often the deal ends and I am left wishing I had jumped on it while I had the chance. Don’t let this happen to you.
How do you know if a promotion has caught the collective eye of the old timers?
- There is a huge thread on Flyertalk about it
- People are really upset that the deal might die because it is being shared
- There are a lot of emoticons in posts about it (smiley faces, thumbs up, etc.)
- There are a lot of references to “back in the day” or “last year during this time” or “in the days of the mint”
Any Deals On The Horizon?
One deal that I did manage to hop on last year was Daily Getaways. At the time, I wasn’t 100% sure that it was a good idea to buy 32,000 Wyndham Rewards points for $99. However, those points sure did come in handy, as I transferred some of them to Southwest to complete the points I needed to earn my companion pass (16,000 Wyndham Rewards points = 4,800 Southwest Points), and the remainder to United (16,000 Wyndham Rewards points = 6.400 United miles) to top off my account for a flight. Fantastic. Apparently this deal is on its way back. I personally will be waiting by my computer at 12 pm EST on June 10.
So, if you are new to the game, or are looking to up your game, pull up a chair and sit a spell. Listen to that old-timer in her rocking chair…she’s got wisdom to share.
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