Frequent Miler’s 2011 Fails


Frequent Miler has existed for only 4 months, so it’s a bit silly for me to produce a best and worst of 2011, but hey I’m on vacation so I don’t mind “phoning it in” as they say.  This will be a two part post.  In this post I’ll present my top failures of 2011 based upon my own subjective option.  So, without further ado, let’s start with the worst of Frequent Miler and I’ll follow-up with the best in a second post:

Frequent Miler Fails:

  1. How to meet credit card spend thresholds without breaking a sweat, How to buy points and miles for less than a penny.
    I’ve listed two posts here because they both had the same flaw. They relied on a technique of buying American Express gift cards through Big Crumbs and then liquidating the cards through a service called Square. Well, it turns out that Amex doesn’t like people to do this, and neither does Square. Both companies have frozen some people’s accounts for doing this. Yikes.
  2. Buy American Airlines Miles for less than 1.6 cents each.  No limit
    This one started out as a big win.  At the time, many people were anxious to build up their AA miles while they still counted towards million miler status.  Unfortunately, this trick relied on the Aadvantage e-Shopping Mall and the purchases of Sears gift cards.  To my knowledge, no-one who followed this lame advice received miles in time to count towards million miler status.  Worse, only one person has reported receiving miles at all and that was only after many months, many phone calls, and many emails.
  3. Post Christmas Cash
    In this post I reported that Monday, Dec 26th was “Gift Card Exchange Day” and that people would be able to sell their gift cards for more money than usual. Well, December 26th came and went with no discernable difference in trade-in values.
  4. Hacking Hawaii
    The goal was to show a couple who were not into credit card churning (or any other hacks) how easy it would be to take their family to Hawaii for very little money.  Unfortunately, even though I left out a number of hacks that would have made things cheaper, it was still too complicated and too much trouble for most people.
  5. Hacking Hawaii Revised
    I tried a second time here with a drastically simplified plan, but the end result was less than satisfactory.  Even though I love the title “Hacking Hawaii”, I decided it was time for me to hang it up after this one.
  6. Business Class Tickets to Australia, Cheap
    This one was actually one of my favorite posts.  I wrote it in anticipation of the Delta Skymall promotion in which they were giving away 25000 Delta Miles for purchases of $500 or more.  I got word that the promotion would open up late at night so I scheduled the post to appear early the next morning.  Well, when I woke up and checked my email I learned that the promotion did go live in the middle of the night, but it also ended in the middle of the night thanks to all of you night owls who placed 1000 qualifying orders!

So, did I nail the failures or do you want to suggest your own “worst of Frequent Miler” post?  Comment away!  And, have a great New Year’s Eve everyone!  On New Year’s day I’ll post the “best of”.  See you in 2012!

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I think you missed the single biggest Frequent Miler Fail of 2011:

There is no such thing as your PPM as you describe it!!!!!

If miles/pts were PPM-able, they would inevitably hurt one party, as at least one party is footing the bill for those miles/pts. Either it is the merchant who you get the miles from who pays the airlines directly, or the airline who takes a haircut by offering them cheaper somehow. The miles are not free.

And yes, there are things that are very close to your ideal PPM, however one party will be harmed financially. In fact I know of multiple “almost PPMs” (minus the “doesn’t harm either party” guideline). But the problem is that nobody in their right mind who knows of a PPM (or anything close to it) would be caught dead posting a whiff of it on your blog, nor even on FT as that would kill the deal ASAP. So just realize that the second you find your “ideal PPM” and post about it to your blog, it will just as soon vanish as all your blog readers will jump in and kill the deal for you. My advice to you for 2012 is that if you ever do happen to find your mythical/elusive PPM, don’t post it on your blog or it will die a very quick death. 😉

[…] but hey, that’s OK.  In case you missed it, please also check out my top failures in “Frequent Miler’s 2011 Fails”.  Now, back to the good […]


Frequent Miler, you should have applied. AMEX came thru in the end. I was just sympathizing with your sentiment that for those who are new to credit card churning, it’s sometimes better to have them pick the low hanging fruit first before introducing them to the more complex and YMMV offers.


Love your is very refreshing vs the other blogs that tend to recycle the same news……Keep it are on to something..!


Happy, Scottrick: thanks!

HikerT: Well, as I said, it didn’t fit my plan. I had just completed one churn involving two Amex cards and I had a couple more Amex card apps in my plan for a couple of months later, so I don’t at all regret passing it up. And, I’m very glad to have passed up the headache so many people faced.


I agree with Aadvantagegeek. Half of the stuff you write, I think, “that will never work.” And you’re man enough to admit it. But you do have a knack for putting together the pieces and asking the questions in the first place. It makes it worth reading.


Here here to being on vacation! Thanks for the ideas and fun reading… Thinking outside the box often involves some fails, but good planning can minimize them and it makes the successes (why do I get the feeling that we will hear about the UR Mall a time or two in that post?) that much sweeter! Keep up the good work.


Vik, BothofUs2, aadvantagegeek: Thanks!

HikerT: Glad to hear you only had one friend chase that offer! I came within inches of signing up for that card with a referral from Lucky, but fortunately I backed off since it didn’t fit with my credit card churning plan.

Steelsnow: Thanks! And, thanks for all of your contributions to this site as well!


Even your “Fails” are imaginative. Keep up the original thinking in 2012!


Appreciate your honesty and enjoy reading your blog anyways. There could be a diamond in some of these so keep up the good efforts!


My fail would have been convincing family and friends to sign up for the PR Gold card, call AMEX to get the 75K bump notated, meet spend, wait 3 months and call again to get the points. As it turned out AMEX made life much more difficult, and it probably would have jaded anyone that isn’t passionate about earning points and miles from earning more, so it’s probably good I only convinced 1 of them to go for it.


Love this post. Don’t beat yourself up too much though. I’ve learned a lot from your posts and don’t mind the odd failure here or there in order score the big hack/PPM

Good luck for the coming year