I’m Challenging (The) Free-quent Flyer

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).

Bottom line

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…



12 thoughts on “I’m Challenging (The) Free-quent Flyer

    • Uri, thanks! I just hope my post didn’t come off as angry. I had fun writing it! I think it’s good to have contrarian blogs like Freequent Flyer. His content challenges conventional wisdom of this hobby and encourages folks to think outside the box. I’m a big fan of questioning undisputed truths when it comes to miles and points.
      To me, most things in this hobby are very circumstantial. However, I do take issue with claims that 100k bonus on Amex Platinum isn’t all that great. I truly believe it is for 99% of people in this hobby, even beginners. The only issue is the annual fee, which I’ve mentioned. If it causes you to go in debt, stay away. But I have no way of knowing who can afford it and who can not. Plus, I’m not writing for little children.
      Overall, the coverage on this offer was perfectly justified. That said, can you imagine the criticism fallout if this card actually paid commission? 🤑


  1. I would like to see a future post about your stash of annual fee credit cards that you actually keep year after year and how do you justify them and how do you maximize them.


    • @ Caveman Yup, I like to think of myself as a rebel with a cause! As far as renewing cards with annual fees, I did put together a post on this topic awhile back https://milesforfamily.com/2014/06/25/when-is-an-annual-fee-worth-it-for-most-regular-families/
      For the most part, the info in it is still relevant. Personally, I have renewed Chase IHG card and US Bank Club Carlson Visa. I may cancel the second one next year, though. I’ll reavaluate In December if it’s still worth it, but it made sense to pay the fee this time around. Oh, and I do plan to renew my Chase Hyatt Visa in August. Hyatt has some nice cat. 4 properties in Florida, so for $75 per night it’s a good deal.
      But your situation may be totally different. I constantly switch credit cards, so it’s hard for me to justify paying annual fee unless I get some sort of perk in return.


    • @Caveman I do think that Amex SPG is worth renewing for some. See this post https://milesforfamily.com/2015/08/13/is-amex-spg-still-worth-renewing/ Ditto for Chase Ink Plus, which is definitely a keeper if you are after UR points. However, very little of my spending goes on my permanent collection of cards. I would say 90% is channeled towards new sign-up bonuses.

      So, if I chose to renew cards with annual fees, those few earned points would be quite expensive. I’m not saying, of course, that this strategy applies to everyone. For those who are into reselling or MS, Ink Plus definitely makes sense. Amex SPG could also be a keeper for SPG loyalists or those who are after Alaska or AA miles. But for me, the juice is just not worth the squeeze. I’m cheap.


      • Yes I know. I just meant philosophically you stated your point quite well. 🙂 I thought about this offer briefly but was freaked out by the up front fee and didn’t decide on time. Also I guess I’m freaked out by “points”. Isn’t that hilarious? I feel safe collecting miles but points make me nervous. More work keeping them active and moving them around to different accounts that don’t have annual fees. I’ll get there eventually I’m sure.


    • @Amanda No worries! I knew what you meant. I do understand the hesitation due to this giant annual fee. It’s not an offer everyone should have jumped on. Only you know your budget, and in my opinion, it’s better to be overly conservative rather than reckless when it comes to finances. Not an advice I always follow, but still.


  2. Pingback: Selecting Spirit Airlines for Annual $200 Fee Credit from Amex Platinum | Miles For Family

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