I know the title is clickbaity, but I just couldn’t resist. First, let me say that I’m not being antagonistic and the post is written in good fun. So, hopefully, the author won’t take offense. So, what’s the big deal? Well, today a certain post caught my eye: Membership Rewards are not worthless, but they are worth less
So far so good. I totally agree with that statement. After Avios transfer ratio was cut, I believe the value of MR program went down a bit. I actually raised my (speculative) valuation to 1.25 cents before this development, but probably have to downgrade it to 1.15 cents now.
Ok, so what’s my beef then? Well, the post went on to criticize bloggers who promoted recent lucrative offer of 100K points on Amex Platinum. I was one of those bloggers and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Why? Because it really was a good deal.
It didn’t pay commission to anyone, yet multiple sites wrote about it anyway. So, the statement from the post “Is that you, or is that the steady drumbeat of bloggers trying to sell you more and more expensive credit cards?” doesn’t really apply. But let’s take the arguments of Gideon (AKA The Free-quent Flyer) and address them one by one:
1. Making a big deal out of ability to receive reimbursement on airline gift cards is ridiculous.
Well, nobody says it’s a guarantee, but it definitely warrants a mention IMO. There are other sneaky ways to take Amex to the cleaners and personally, I don’t want to endorse them. But the point is, with some creativity, you can get at least $400 of the fee back. Will everyone do it? Well, no. Just like not everyone will get the best value from their MR points. But more on that later.
2. Making a big deal out of all the perks is ridiculous.
I will admit that they were not a swaying factor to me, but they could be to some. We all have different circumstances, and for certain people Centurion lounge access and Global Entry reimbursement could come in handy. Once again, it’s the case of “different strokes to different folks.”
3. Membership Rewards points are not that valuable and this bonus isn’t all that exciting.
Say what? Even if you never take advantage of all the perks and redeem the points for gift cards, you can get $1,000 in value. After deducting the fee of $450, that leaves $550. But let’s say you plan to sell the gift cards and take a 20% loss. We would be left with $800 in cash. Deduct the annual fee of $450, and it’s still a surplus of $350. Sure, it’s worst case scenario and I’m not saying you should do it, but still.
4. It’s much easier for everyone to MS on Chase Ink Plus instead of signing up for a new credit card.
5. Many people who have signed up for this offer have no idea what they will do with their MR stash.
I’m one of those people. I have no clue what I’ll be doing with my points. But that’s the advantage of having flexible currency. You don’t have to decide because you are not locked in one program. Later on, I plan to sign up for Amex Everyday (no annual fee) credit card and cancel Amex Platinum. That way, my MR points will retain their flexibility for when I actually need them. Who knows, I might even redeem them for gift cards.
This argument doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Let’s say an offer comes out and it gives $400 bonus (real cash). But at that moment you have a decent amount stashed away in a savings account. Do you say to yourself: “Well, I have too much cash already. I don’t really have any plans for this bonus, so will pass”? Same logic applies to flexible currency. Sure, I prefer Chase Ultimate Rewards points, but beggars can’t be choosers. Chase doesn’t want me (weeps).
This was a very good deal and I have no regrets about publishing my post on it. That’s the job of miles and points bloggers: to report news that apply to their specific audience. Can all of my readers afford $450 annual fee upfront? I’m sure that’s not the case. But I trust each and every one of you to make that judgement call.
And if this offer comes around again, you better believe I will mention it regardless of whether it pays me or not. Well, unless I’m taking care of my kids at the moment. Speaking of…