Bloggers Don’t Have a Crystal Ball

This is a filler-type post, so take it as such. Originally, I planned to wait till Friday, but wanted to just get it out of the way. Recently,  I came across this post on Free-quent Flyer blog US Airways anniversary miles (and affiliate bloggers acting shamelessly)

Catchy title, no? I try to avoid linking to controversial posts from other blogs, and instead prefer to stir controversy myself. But I feel compelled to respond  because it actually happens to involve yours truly.

No, my name isn’t mentioned, only the well-known  bloggers. But  even though I’m a “small fry,” I value my reputation very highly. First, let’s be clear, I’m not speaking for the other guys and don’t claim to know their reasoning on this subject.

Some of you may remember that for the longest time the best offer on US Airways MasterCard did not pay commission. In fact, I promoted it for many months. Then that link died and the best offer actually started offering bloggers incentive. It’s still the offer I have on my list of bonuses. Here are the details: 40,000 miles after the first purchase and paying an annual fee of $89, no anniversary miles bonus.

Then in April another offer appeared (now dead), and here are the details:

30,000 miles after first purchase, no annual fee the first year; 10,000 miles each year upon renewal and paying $89 annual fee. I didn’t focus on this offer, though, if I remember correctly, I did a retweet with details.

Shameless plug alert! Follow me on Twitter for all lukewarm deals.

The important part is: I kept the affiliate offer as my top pick. Why? There are several reasons:

1) As much as I can, I prefer to apply for public offer instead of the rogue one. You never know with a 100% certainty if zombie bonus offer will be honored, so why take a chance? If I go with the latter, there has to be a substantial incentive. For example:  At one time, US Airways card came with 35K miles and no annual fee (rogue offer) vs. affiliate offer of 30K miles and $89 fee. I directed my readers to the first one, since  it was far superior to my link.

2) At the time there was every reason to believe that the 10K miles bonus would be discontinued after the first anniversary. So to me, it was a question of getting 40K miles (after $89 fee) vs. getting 30K miles now, paying $89 later and getting the 10K miles… maybe. That is if Barclay’s honors it. A lot of people reported problems getting their anniversary miles.

I personally went with affiliate offer. Of course, I did make commission on it, so it influenced my decision. But even if I didn’t get paid for it, I would still pick the public offer. But that’s just me. That’s why I mentioned this Flyertalk thread, so you can make an informed choice that’s right for you.

The most important thing is: I acted in good faith. If I knew that Barclay’s will continue this perk, I would probably devote more time to the rogue offer. But I don’t have a crystal ball. No one does. A lot of what we say is just an opinion based on info we have at that time.

There is no question that this industry is plagued with serious issues. I’ve said it many times. But IMHO the biggest issue of all is how poorly fellow bloggers treat one another. Just my two cents or miles, whatever they are worth.

Readers, agree or disagree? 


4 thoughts on “Bloggers Don’t Have a Crystal Ball

  1. At the very least the card issuer would have needed to honor it for the first year, otherwise it’s misleading advertising. Given that you can cancel the card after the annual fee hits, get the miles and get the annual fee refunded the other offer has always been better.

    In terms of Zombie links vs non zombie – why not just let your readers make that decision by offering both links? I think you also kind of missed the point of the original blog post you linked to. He is complaining about the fact that bloggers promoted one offer, but obviously applied for a different offer themselves and then celebrated when a benefit that their readers didn’t have (because of them) was continued.

    You didn’t do that, you applied for the offer you promoted.


    • William Charles, thanks for your comment. I truly appreciate it. As far as Barclay’s honoring the offer, I don’t see how it would be misleading for them not to. If I remember correctly, there was no landing page for the rogue offer. Though, I could be wrong.

      As far as getting a refund of the annual fee, once again, not a guarantee at all. Plus, remember, I’m writing for busy families who, I assume, don’t want to deal with such hassle. And I did a retweet about it and meant to mention it in my miles segment. Need to go back and look, could have forgotten.
      I do usually include links to various offers (paying or non-paying), as long as they are beneficial to readers. I didn’t believe it to be the case here. I still think that given what we knew at the time, it made more sense to apply for the public offer, but it’s only my opinion.
      I did understand what the post was about and felt it targeted all bloggers who didn’t promote the rogue offer. I was one of those bloggers. Also, it mentioned that those individuals had the offer with anniversary miles, but failed to tell the readers. OK, true. But do we know for sure that they got the cards in April of 2014? Few years ago, there was a rogue Barclay’s link with 10K anniversary miles. Perhaps, they just applied then and never cancelled their cards.
      Bottom line is: We don’t know the full story. I would hold off accusing people till I had all the facts. Once again, I’m not saying there aren’t any issues with miles and points world. It would probably be my craziest statement yet. Just look at Chase Ink Plus vs. Ink Bold (now gone) posts ratio. But I also don’t think it’s productive to look for drama in everything bloggers do.
      Thanks for the comment. I enjoy your blog.


      • The terms of the offer were clearly laid out in the fine print which was available in the offer page. If Barclay didn’t honor the offer (which was publicly available) then a simple complaint to the CFPB would have rectified the issue.

        I won’t comment on the rest because I’m not part of a busy family.


    • William, thanks for letting me know! I wasn’t aware of that fact. I also didn’t know that it was publicly available. Still, considering the potential hassle involved, I felt the public offer was superior. That’s why I didn’t focus on the other bonus or include it in my Best Deals page. Though like I said, I did retweet it, if I remember correctly.
      Let me illustrate, even though it’s not apples to oranges kind of comparison. It would be kind of like linking to 49K Citi AA offer when 50K offer is available. Makes sense? If I knew that the whole anniversary thing would continue, I probably would focus on it more.
      IMO what made even more sense was getting the public offer, then canceling it 6 months later and reapplying for it again. That’s what I plan to do. To me getting easy 40K miles for $89 fee beats the whole anniversary bonus any day.
      What I hoped to show with this post is things aren’t as black and white as they are presented. Are affiliate bloggers influenced by commission? Sure, we all respond to incentives. I just think “shameless” is too strong of a word in this particular case.


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