Monkey gangs square off in Thailand, Global Entry gets pricier and Amex letting folks out of referral jail (Saturday Selection)


Rival monkey gangs create chaos in a Thai tourist town, Global Entry is about to get more expensive and Delta oversells a flight by 42 passengers and pays $63,000 in compensation as a result. All that and more in this week’s Saturday Selection, our weekly round-up of interesting tidbits from around the interwebs (links to each article are embedded in the titles).

Amex releasing folks from referral jail for good behavior

The emotions overwhelmed young and old recently when this man was finally able to refer from his personal Amex again.

American Express is probably the best, easiest bank for getting points from referring friends, family, co-workers, that guy walking down the street and anyone else you can find. Not only does it offer consistently attractive referral bonuses, but several years ago it enabled folks who hold Membership Rewards-earning cards to refer to most other cards in Amex’s portfolio, regardless of whether or not they have that specific card. This gave rise to all manner of fun chicanery, from referring one’s spouse or child (a household referral) to the dodgier practice of “self-referring” from one card to another. As you can probably imagine, Amex wasn’t a big fan of folks referring themselves from their own cards, and banned many of those who it caught doing so from being able to refer from their personal cards ever again (there’s another, even more sizeable group of us that can’t refer from some of our personal MR cards but have no idea why). Six years later, it sounds like Amex has finally decided that these referring rascals have paid their debt and, based on this reddit thread, is starting to let them back into the world of friend-making. DDG has the full story.

Monkey gangs overrun Thai tourist town

(Image courtesy of Facebook/Wisrut Suwanphak)

One of my favorite movies as a kid, in the pre-VCR/DVD/streaming days, was a fixture of late-night reruns called “Planet of the Apes.” The basic gist is that an extremely dramatic and overly masculine astronaut (yep, you guessed it, Charlton Heston) crash lands on an “unknown” planet, only to find that it’s ruled by talking apes that ride horses and tote machine guns. For forty years, I assumed that the movie was flight of 1960’s fancy…until I read about what’s been going on in Lopburi, Thailand. It seems that two rival 1000+ member “monkey gangs,” stirred up by not being able to gorge on tourist’s bananas during the pandemic, have taken to the streets to act out a primate version of West Side Story. Local police have arrested (!) several key leaders of each gang, but their efforts to further quell the – um – monkey business has run into difficulty, since their targets can now recognize the tranquilizer guns that the police use to capture them. It’s become quite a mess that’s been difficult to break up, as you can tell from this mob-style organizational chart showing the gang’s respective chains of command. Not only was I completely oblivious to the sordid world of underground monkey gangs, I’m honestly stunned by the news. Until this week, I thought that nothing was as fun as a barrel full of monkeys.

Delta oversells flight by 42 passengers, pays out $63K in compensation

It’s fairly common practice for airlines to overbook flights to account for folks cancelling at the last minute or simply not showing up on the day of travel. Sometimes, though, the amount of lollygaggers is less than anticipated. In these cases, the airline will often offer compensation, usually in the form of a voucher towards future travel, attempting to lure confirmed passengers onto a different flight. If they don’t get enough volunteers, the price goes up…and up. Just such a situation happened recently on a Delta flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo. However, instead of being oversold by a only handful of people, this particular flight was somehow overbooked by 42 passengers. In order to get 42 people to leave the friendly confines of the flight that they had paid for and confirmed, Delta had to shell out $63,000 in flight credits and gift cards (which ironically enough is the same price as a trans-Pacific Delta One ticket). Evidently, Delta’s “Keep Climbing” slogan isn’t just about getting to 35,000 feet.

Global Entry and NEXUS are getting more expensive

Trusted Traveler programs like TSA Precheck, Global Entry and NEXUS allow frequent-ish travelers to slide through (sometimes nominally) expedited airport security, passport control and border crossing for the low, low price of an online background check application and an in-person interview. It’s been a bit since the fees for any of these programs have gone up, but that’s changing in a big way. NEXUS, which has long been the best deal on the CBP/TSA shelves, currently gets you Global Entry, TSA Precheck AND expedited entry into Canada for only $50, confusingly half the price of the $100 fee for getting Global Entry alone. Starting October 1st, both of these services will be going up to $120, a 20% increase for Global Entry and an eye-watering 140% increase for NEXUS. Currently, it seems like every credit card out there gives a $100 credit every four years for Global Entry, which has swelled the programs ranks to over 12 million participants. My assumption is that most cards will raise the benefit to $120 in order to account for the increase, but we’ll certainly be holding our collective breath in the meantime. OMAAT breaks down the changes.

Want to learn more about miles and points? Subscribe to email updates or check out our podcast on your favorite podcast platform.
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

lol that first picture/caption is me; so happy to have referrals again


Funny pictures! Thanks for the laugh!