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The miles game is not a discrete  object.

It cannot be looked at from multiple angles and judged to be a specific thing.

Instead it is malleable and plastic.

And so it can not help but become a reflection of the player who plays it.

In my mind there are three categories of (serious) miles game players.

There are The Aspirationals, The Professionals, and The Transformationals.

I thought it would be fun to anthropologically define these three species of miles game players so here goes…

Group 1: The Aspirationals


I choose not to ride in the back of the plane….

Estimated Prevalence within the miles game: 90%.

Motivation: living the life of luxury on a dime.

Signature Move: using miles plus cash to fly on an elite first class product.

Motto: “Pursue the ultimate experiences, never apologize, and never ever let them see you pay retail.”

Favorite metric: Cents in value per mile used.

Best Quality: fearlessness to pursue what they want (luxury) on their own terms.

Worst Quality: Susceptibility to advertising. (Though they’re clever to live a luxury lifestyle for pennies on the dollar,in some ways they are buying into the dominant message of our culture. “Spend more, be happier.” In many ways this is a golden Bridge to nowhere.

An example of aspirational blogging can be found: Here.

Group 2: The Professionals.


Nothing gets in between me and my miles…Nothing.

Estimated prevalence within the miles game: 9%.

Motivation: Earn more miles, no matter what.

Signature Move: “Triple dipping” through the Sears Portal in order to buy multiple tablets for resale on

Motto: “In a dog eat dog world, it pays to be a pitbull.”

Favorite Metric: number of miles/cents turned per dollar spent in manufactured spending.

Best Quality: extreme creativity. Where the average miles game player might see the opportunity for earning 5X cashback by buying an item through an online portal, The professional sees the opportunity to triple dip by first buying an e-gift card, using the e-gift card to buy an actual gift card, then using the actual gift card to buy a product (with each transaction earning points by going through the online Portal.)

Worst Quality: combatitiveness. These guys are all about success. They see any counterparty as a potential sucker, and are not afraid to extract their winnings. Also, on some level playing the game as a professional means that your hobby is no longer a hobby. It is a job.

An example of professional miles blogging can be found here:  Triple dipping!

Group 3: The Transformationals.


Transformationals:  More than meets the eye…

Estimated prevalence within the miles game: 1%.

Motivation: use the miles game to add value to your life. (On my case this means investing your winnings from the miles game in the market and leveraging your earned miles towards years of early retirement.

Favorite Metric: early retirement years purchased per year of playing the miles game.

Signature Move: Saving $2000 in airline tickets for your family, and promptly turning around and investing $2000 in the market.

Motto: “Playing the miles game and investing the savings is like adding gravy to your life. Rich delicious gravy.”

Best Quality: good values. Being a Transformational means keeping your eyes on the ultimate prize which is one thing, and one thing only: happiness.

Worst Quality: never maximizing the miles game. A transformer may never rake in as many miles and points as a Professional, and will seldom taste the sweet Dom-Perignon-lifestyle of the Aspirational’s.

An example of transformational blogging…(you’re looking at it.)

And as with any categorization people usually don’t fall 100% in any one class.

As you may have guessed,I consider myself largely a Transformational. But I’ve had moments of pursuing a more aspirational course, and plenty of moments of manufacturing spend like a professional.

In the end idealogical purity is best left to fundamentalists and fools, I guess.

The important message here is that the miles game is not any one thing. It is very flexible and can be bent to fit almost any mood, philosophy, or goal.

Have I missed any categorizations of serious miles game players? And if so what new category would you propose?

And if not, in which category would you place yourself?

Please leave comments below.

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2 Responses to “Gravy”

  1. Robert July 13, 2014 at 4:25 am #

    What are you if you have already reached early retirement, living modestly within your means, and use the mileage game for retirement travel?

    • Miles Dividend M.D. July 13, 2014 at 8:35 am #

      I’d call that a successful transformational, using the miles game to draw down less nest egg in retirement.

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