Birds Eye View

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Before we get into the weeds about all of the particulars of playing the miles game (and we will get into the weeds,) it would be useful to look at the whole endeavor from a distance.

eagle eye
We should answer some basic questions.

Q: Why play the miles game?

A: The reason to play the miles game is to get something valuable (travel ) for free (or very cheaply.)

Travel is expensive, and enjoyable. Fortunately, here in America, we have multiple credit card companies competing over our business. This means that a good credit card offer, is worth 50,000 miles (Or 500 bucks at minimum value.)

To put that in perspective; a round-trip coach ticket from America to Japan costs about 60,000 miles. So by the time we’ve reached our minimum spending requirements, most successful credit card applications should be worth almost an international round-trip ticket to the far east.

Combine that with the fact that you can be approved for up to eight credit cards per round of applications, and you’ve got a pretty lucrative hobby.

Q: How does someone extract maximum value from the miles game?

A: There are really three aspects to maximizing the miles game.

The first and most fundamentally rewarding aspect of this pursuit is “credit card churning”. The idea here is to turn successful credit card applications into an impressive number of miles. By maintaining a good credit score, and applying for cards wisely, one can expect to gain 2 to 300,000 miles per round of credit card applications.

The second, and almost equally important aspect of the miles game is “manufactured spend.”. This is somewhat of a grey area. In my opinion, manufactured spend, allows the miles game player to convert each dollar of normal spending into a dollar of credit card spend and in so doing get increased rebate value from every dollar spent

Taken to the extreme manufactured spending can mean essentially spending/making lots of money on credit card purchases by buying lots of nothing.

There are many aspects to the art of manufactured spend. They include buying cash equivalents with credit cards in order to run up large credit card bills while not actually buying anything. In addition manufactured spending can mean using online shopping portals to buy items you would have already bought for considerably more rewarding miles totals.

At it’s most extreme, manufactured spending can involve buying items solely for the purpose of reselling them, for little to no profit, in order to gain the miles from the initial purchase.

The final aspect of the miles game is “Mile Utilization.” This involves using the miles that that you have accrued in the most clever way possible in order to extract the maximum dollar value per mile spent.

This requires understanding the particulars of each loyalty program’s terms, and leveraging that understanding into particularly valuable redemptions for the miles that you have already earned.

Q: What’s the downside to playing the miles game?

A: Assuming you’ve passed all of the prerequisites previously mentioned before participating in the miles game, the main downside is the time that it takes to play it.

This game can get pretty addictive. And there’s a bit of a slippery slope aspect to it, where if you’re not careful you can find yourself doing things that are not strictly in keeping with your own moral code.

blingPerhaps buying this with my credit card through the Ultimate Rewards Portal will put me over budget…

But for the most part it’s a fun pursuit that allows you to add tremendous value to your life, for minimal effort. And with minimal financial risk.

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