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Miles and Points, Niihau

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)

6. You can refer a friend if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred and get 5,000 points per approval. (h/t Miles to Memories)

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.

9. Southwest schedule is open through October 30th. (h/t Million Mile Secrets)

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.

Author: Leana

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.

2 thoughts on “Miles and Points, Niihau

  1. I understand what you say, we all need an income and if you choose to blog as a way to earn one that’s fine. I have to say though, that I’ve always appreciated your honesty when, for example, you told me to apply to a certain card that had a lower annual fee than another even if the one that had a higher fee would pay you a comission. That was very generous of you. Of course, if you hadn’t told me and I had found out the whole deal (you recommending something just because it was good for you and when it obviously was a bad deal for me), it wouldn’t have made me happy. Anyway, I totally get it. As readers we also have to do some work, try to figure out if even if a blogger over and over recommends a certain credit card, it may not be the best deal for our personal situation. It is a lot of work though. There are tons of blogs out there. I stick to 3 or 4, that’s as much as I can do for this hobby/obsession. Again then, I appreciate your honesty and help and as much as it makes sense for me, I always try to support your blog and feel bummed when I apply to a card that does not pay you commission. By the way, why do some cards only pay some bloggers?

    Leticia

    • Leticia, thank you so much for your comment! It’s always a pleasure to try to help you so, please, don’t hesitate to contact me. This industry is very tricky, and this rant was more of a commentary on some of the latest trends I’m seeing. It isn’t so much directed at my readers, as I find all of you guys extremely reasonable. I’m very fortunate to have a very mature audience.
      However, overall, I think this industry has a very hostile environment where affiliate bloggers are questioned on everything. In a way, I understand because there is a conflict of interest. I just get tired of how we are portrayed like the bad guy on a regular basis. Not too long ago, there was an article on a well-known consumer advocate website just trashing points bloggers with affiliate links. It’s extremely one-sided and unbalanced. Perhaps, I should stay out of these discussions, but sometimes I just feel the need to chime in. I do plan to leave this topic alone from now on. I think I’ve said what I wanted to say at this point.
      As far as recommending the best offers even if they don’t pay me, I feel it’s the right thing to do. I try to imagine that I’m talking to a family member so that helps! 🙂 But this too is a bit complicated because this blog doesn’t support my kids and I don’t have to pay employees. Everything is this hobby is so darn complicated! I’ve mentioned it before but you should check this Flyertalk thread now and again to see if there are better deals out there http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/credit-card-programs-599/ You are your own best advocate.

      I wish all offers paid commission as well as the same amount per each card. That would make things SO much easier. Alas, we don’t make the rules. Bloggers do their best to operate within an imperfect system. Please, don’t feel bad when the offer doesn’t pay me. You should ALWAYS do what’s best for your family. I understand and it doesn’t bother me one bit. Thanks again for reading!

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