1. February 24th is the last day to apply for an increased sign-up bonus of $250 on Amex Simply Cash card. It pays me commission. You can read about all business card bonuses including this one in my post here
2. I’ve mentioned this before, but in case some readers have missed it: Few have reported getting an offer of 30,000 points on Amex Starwood Preferred Guest card when getting a new SPG account and trying to make a hotel reservation.
It’s a huge case of YMMV, but worth a shot. This sign-up bonus is better than my affiliate offer and is as good as it gets. Only available to first-time applicants. (h/t Doctorofcredit)
3. Got an email that you can book a hotel through Rocketmiles (not my link) by February 22nd and get 5,000 Rapid Rewards points. Valid only for new accounts. Can be a good deal for 1-night hotel booking. May count towards Companion pass.
4. If you are a Chase Hyatt Visa cardholder, you’ll be able to get 20% off your award reservation during a specific time frame. New applicants are also eligible. Read this post for more details
While it’s a nice perk, it’s not worth applying for this card just to get this rebate.
5. American Express has decided to cut partnership with Jet Blue. This is probably your last chance (well, within next few months) to apply for their co-branded credit card. You get 20,000 points after spending $1,000 in 3 months, good for $220-$350 in airfare, depending on the route. First annual fee is waived. This may mean the end of Jet Blue as a Membership Rewards partner. The link does not pay me referral. (h/t Mommypoints)
7. I know some of my readers have gotten Chase Ritz Carlton offer of 140,000 points while it was available. Here is a post on Frugal Travel Guy with some tips to maximize this deal
8. Evolve will start charging 3% fee for payments made with gift cards, starting next week.
10. New Discover It Miles card that effectively gives you 3 miles (or percent) per dollar for the first year. The miles work as credit to offset purchases or can be redeemed for gift cards. Link to apply, does not pay commission.
On my mind
This rant may ruffle some feathers, so I apologize in advance if I offend anyone. Sometimes I just need to get things out of my system. So come back next week, I’ll be a good gal, I promise!
Some of you who have been to Kauai are probably familiar with the island of Niihau. It was purchased 150 years ago from the kingdom of Hawaii and was privately owned ever since. It’s currently in possession of the Robinson family, the direct descendants of Eliza Sinclair, the original owner.
In Hawaii it’s also known as the “forbidden isle,” because basically, it’s off-limits to outside visitors. Sure, one boat company has an agreement with the family and can take tourists very close to the shore for some snorkeling. And if you pay $1,750 per person/per day, the Robinsons may let you have a safari on their little slice of paradise.
But one place and what visitors really want to see the most is the Hawaiian village, and it’s off-limits. Apparently, Hawaiian is the primary language and traditional ways are intact. According to Robinsons, they are keeping their 150-year old promise to preserve the true Hawaii of old.
Of course, things aren’t always what they appear. While mingling with some Kauai friends, I found out that a few have talked to the people who used to live on the island. What Hawaiian village resembles is a slave camp with very poor conditions. There are no paved roads, electricity or any stores. Conditions are rough and you better not get sick. It’s no paradise.
I think sometimes this hobby is sort of like this island of Niihau. A few want to keep visitors away so they can preserve the old ways. They cling to this utopian idea of what this hobby should be like. They want bloggers to work for free, putting in countless hours per day, so they don’t have to.
Affiliate links are like kryptonite to these folks. They only apply through bank’s site to make sure that no blogger (whom they regularly read and benefit from) gets paid a dime. I’m certain a few have fainted when I used the word “sales” while referring to commission. Friends, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck…and you know the rest.
Oh, and bloggers better speak in code, so only the old timers can understand the information presented. And if the code is not to their specifications, they will spew foul language in the comments section and let you know what a bad girl/boy you are. After all, we don’t want any outsiders to come in and spoil our slice of paradise, do we?
To be clear, I’m not saying there aren’t any issues and that bloggers shouldn’t be held accountable. Readers have the right to know about deals, whether they pay us or not. Blogger should put readers first, period.
However, it’s not reasonable to expect us to write about every offer under the sun and search 24/7 for links that don’t pay us. Literally within minutes of when a better non-affiliate offer is found many start going nuts with indignation. Come on!
Speaking of, it’s unreasonable to dictate which monetization strategies we should or shouldn’t employ. Not all of us get hundreds of thousands of page views per month and a decent Adsense income as a result. Many don’t use ads on their blog which means they are almost entirely dependent on affiliate commission.
Some charge consulting or blog subscription fees and choose to forego credit card links altogether. Others like myself do it for free in hopes of gaining a long-term reader who will possibly apply through my site in the future.
My point is: This situation is much more complex than it’s presented at times. Blogging is a lot of work, and it’s unreasonable to demand that people do it for free. Don’t get me wrong, I admire those who do, and you are much more likely to get an unbiased advice from those folks.
But it needs to be a personal decision, period. No one should be bullied for their monetization choices. Judge bloggers by their content. If it becomes too spammy/self-serving, simply support someone else. Boom.
End of rant.
Leana is the owner and 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.