1. Get 3,000 bonus AAdvantage miles by making your first Rocketmiles reservation by October 31st. Not my referral link.
2. A promotion from National where you get a free car rental after 2 paid ones. Valid through January 2015, and need to reserve rentals of 2 days or longer, midsize car or bigger. Link to register.
Update: This is not my link. Apparently, you can refer someone and get 300 miles if they complete this promotion. See comments below.
On my mind
When I first started out in this industry, I was puzzled by how calling your blog a business is a huge no-no around here. But I’ll be honest, after being involved in this crazy world for over a year, I finally understand. Bloggers don’t want to anger their readers. And who can blame them? The truth is, for many this is their job, it’s what feeds the family. You almost have to be a skillful politician to operate in the upper crust of miles and points industry. Obviously, I could never do it, y’all!
While most readers are reasonable individuals who understand that full-time bloggers need to make money somehow, there is a small and very vocal minority that literally goes bananas when any form of compensation is mentioned. The whole affiliate situation is a big (and I do mean “big”) elephant in the room. This minority knows that credit card links pay handsomely, but they prefer not to think about it. Don’t ask, don’t tell.
And if bloggers even indicate that they are motivated by money in any way, there will be swift and severe punishment of boycotting their affiliate links. Obviously, it’s not ideal when commission pays for mortgage and food.
Here is the thing: Most of us care about making money from our blogs. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have applied for affiliate links/Adsense in the first place. I care, even though we don’t depend on this money. Full-time bloggers very much care. And why wouldn’t they if it feeds their family? In fact, if they didn’t, they would be something wrong with them. Unless they are running an illegal million dollar drug cartel, and their blog is just a front, they should care.
To those who argue that it’s wrong somehow for travel bloggers to promote credit cards. Guess what? We are technically not “travel”, but “miles and points” bloggers. We sell a product that is relevant to our line of work. Of course, travel is the whole point, so we show people how to achieve it close to free. Still find credit card links offensive? Don’t click them. No one is forcing you to.
As hard as it is for Angries to comprehend, most people hope to get compensated for their time and energy investment, even if money isn’t the primary motivator. That doesn’t make us greedy. Of course, any time someone is making commission on a certain product, beware! That goes for car and insurance salesmen, as well as investment advisors who get a cut on every sale they make. While conflicts of interest are much more pronounced in this industry, they are by no means unique to the miles and points world.
You should absolutely mind that fact and be skeptical about any card I review, that also happens to pay me. That’s why I directed you to Flyertalk credit card forum where you can count on a somewhat unbiased advice. You may have to spend hours digging through threads, but eventually you should find what you are looking for.
One of the worst things readers can do is put bloggers on a pedestal. You are setting yourself up for disappointment. Bloggers are just humans who make mistakes from time to time. There is enough pressure in this industry already, without needing to worry about every word you say, and wondering if it will cost you a reader.
Sure, not all bloggers are honest, and some are downright sleazy and manipulative. But many are just hardworking guys and gals, doing their best navigating this bizarre and complex industry.
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Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.