Devil’s Advocate stolen and unmasked


Bet You Didn’t KnowThe blog Travel Codex (very recently renamed from “Hack My Trip”) publishes a regular series called “Devil’s Advocate.”  I’m a fan.  The  series is not written by any of Travel Codex’s named authors (found here), but by an anonymous writer.  We’ll call him “Julian”.


The Devil’s Advocate series is about… pretty much what you’d expect from it’s name.  I’ll quote directly from “the first post written by “Julian”:

We’ll take a common piece of wisdom that’s generally accepted by the points and miles community and argue the opposite view. Along the way, we might find some of the conventional wisdom is correct. We might find some of it was correct at one point but has lost its validity over time. And we might find some of it is just plain wrong. Hopefully we’ll at least have some fun discussions in the process.

I always thought this was a great idea and actually wished I had thought of it.  Since I’ve often struggled with how best to value points and miles and award redemptions, I particularly like that first post: Yes, You DID Get 10 Cents Per Mile for Your Award Redemption.  Whether you agree or disagree with his position, I think you’ll find he makes persuasive arguments.  I especially like the fact that he anticipates counterarguments and addresses them within each post.  My favorite line from that first post?  “You didn’t get a Hyundai. You got a Porsche.

Other Devil’s Advocate posts I enjoyed

Julian’s second post, App-O-Ramas Are Your Father’s Oldsmobile, was another great one.  There’s no doubt that applying for credit cards with big signup bonuses is the fastest way to earn points and miles.  However, “Julian” calls into question the idea of bunching up your credit card applications into “app-o-ramas”.  Regardless of the fact that I’ve always hated the term “app-o-rama,” I think that Julian makes several good points here.  It could very well be that applying for credit cards sequentially is the better way to go. What do you think?

Here’s another Devil’s Advocate post that questions conventional wisdom regarding credit cards: Close That Unused Credit Line!  This post is dripping with irony.  Outside of the points & miles world, conventional wisdom tells us that closing unused credit card accounts is a good thing.  Within the points & miles world, though, the conventional wisdom says the opposite: don’t ever close a no-fee account without good reason.  So, “Julian”, here, sides with the conventional wisdom of the masses when he plays Devil’s Advocate against the experts (ironic, right?).  But… the advice he gives is really intended for those who are experts in this game.  I believe he would tell the beginners not to close those cards.  Confusing?  Indeed.

I often think of the points & miles game as being like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, except that it is realYou really can signup for a few credit cards, meet minimum spend requirements, and travel the world for (nearly) free.  Why in the world would anyone want to pass that up?  The Devil’s Advocate tells us why: “Three Reasons To Avoid The Points and Miles Game.”

Stealing Tapping unused words

I contacted Julian (yes, that’s his real name) recently and asked him if he would consider writing posts for me.  I was clear from the get-go that I didn’t want to take anything away from my friends at Hack My Trip Travel Codex.  Instead, I told Julian that if he had any extra time on his hands words in his brain, I would like to publish them.

Luckily for me, the answer was yes.  Julian and I each double checked with Scott at Travel Codex to make sure he didn’t mind.  He assured us that he didn’t.

After email brainstorming, we decided to begin a new series to be published here (most likely starting tomorrow).  The new series will be called “Bet You Didn’t Know.”  Each post will focus on one cool tip having to do with points and miles.

Please checkout Julian’s Devil’s Advocate series, and welcome him also to Frequent Miler!

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