To my new readers or those living under a rock, it’s when you buy prepaid money cards, such as Visa or Vanilla, for the sole purpose of getting miles and points. Then you cash them out and rinse and repeat. It’s a little more complex than that, but I won’t burden you with further explanation. Usually, there is a fee associated, but not always. But even if there is no fee, there is cost involved. Your time.
I mentioned in this post a while back that time is your most precious commodity of all. My blog is geared towards a regular family with jobs and kids. The cost of your time is very real. You have to be very selective as to how far you are willing to pursue this hobby. A lot of folks who take miles and points to the extreme are single, young people with a lot of time on their hands. This is their hobby and passion. They enjoy driving around different CVS stores and hunting for Vanillas. Do you?
I would argue that it would be more productive for people to spend time taking additional courses, so they can increase knowledge that pertains to their real job. You can potentially further your career and qualify for a better paying position. In all likelihood, your ROI (return on investment time-wise) will exceed anything you could ever get through manufactured spending.
Honestly, if you only have a few weeks off each year, the sign-up bonuses should be more than enough to fulfill your needs. I stress the word “needs”. No, you will not be flying in first class, but you probably wouldn’t find 4 seats on the same flight anyway.
Personally, I like to make a 2- or 3-year plan. Anything further than that would be pointless, as award charts will change anyway. I do have to regularly bring my parents from Europe, so miles are very important to me for that reason. But not as important as cash. We don’t have a lot in savings and can always use more real money.
That’s why I encourage you to craft a plan of your upcoming needs (or wants) for the next few years and sign up for bonuses accordingly. If you don’t see yourself using those 50000 miles from Delta in the next 2 years, perhaps it’s better to pass on that card and sign up for a $300 cash back offer instead, if you can only pick one. Sam from Milenomics came up with a travel “demand schedule” spreadsheet, that you can download from this post.
This hobby is constantly evolving. I predict that very soon there will be a “reselling” forum on Flyertak with Big Habitat ( a blog I enjoy reading) being the most referenced site. To those who don’t know what “reselling” has to do with this hobby, you really don’t need to!
Readers, what are your thoughts on the whole manufactured spending craze?
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Picture credit goes to thoughtspeaks.com