While Chase is Tightening Approvals, Ultimate Rewards is Slowly Dying

chase ultimate rewards

From the desk of the Devil's Advocate… There's been an upheaval in the miles and points community over the last few months because Chase has drastically tightened up on the endless churning of their Ultimate Rewards credit cards. The new rules, according to multiple sources, appears to be some variation on what's being referred to as the 5/24 rule, which means if you've had more than 5 new cards … [Read more...]

Do I Even Have To Ask Whether 5,000 Extra SPG Starpoints Are Worth All This Fuss?

spg amex 30,000

From the desk of the Devil's Advocate… I don't know if you've heard yet, but Amex has the Deal Of The Millennium(™) going on right now! The Amex Starwood Preferred Guest card usually offers only 25,000 bonus points for signing up, which is functionally equivalent to being punched in the face. But right now, for a limited time and on an annual schedule that's completely predictable, they've … [Read more...]

Is the Citi Prestige Already Ripe For a Devaluation?

citi prestige

From the desk of the Devil's Advocate… There's been boatloads of talk over the last year about the improvements to Citibank's ThankYou points program. A great deal of that talk has been regarding the value of the Citi Prestige card, which has recently seen a rather impressive increase in posts around the blogosphere discussing it. While I won't get into the myriad reasons for that increase … [Read more...]

Cartera Shopping Portals Have Fantastic Customer Service. Really. Stop Laughing!

shopping portals

From the desk of the Devil's Advocate… (The following horror story is intended for mature audiences only. It depicts scenes of dealing with Cartera customer service that may be too intense for younger readers.) If you collect miles and cashback through shopping portals, you likely know that most of the major airline portals are run by a third-party company called Cartera Commerce. You likely … [Read more...]

Another Amex Centurion Lounge? Ehhh…

centurion lounge

From the desk of the Devil's Advocate... Let me start today by saying I greatly appreciate Amex's effort to create their own chain of airport lounges. They've sincerely tried to improve on the current dismal state of domestic airport lounges, which are generally only marginally better than sitting in the waiting room of a doctor's office if the doctor offered free house wine and 3-day old … [Read more...]

Booking First Class Awards with Avios Can Still Make Sense


From the desk of the Devil's Advocate... I'm reporting to you LIVE from the devastating scene that is the British Airways Avios devaluation. We're almost two months into the carnage now and it's a ghastly landscape. Avios are sucked away by ba.com without mercy. People scream nonsensically at each other: "Is it peak? Is it off peak?! I don't know!" And the chart itself... so horrific that the only … [Read more...]

The Myth of the 2% Baseline on Rewards for Manufactured Spend

manufactured spend

From the desk of the Devil's Advocate... The process of writing a Devil's Advocate column consists of three painstaking steps. Step One is coming up with an idea. Step Two is writing it. And Step Three is consuming enough gin to make it through Steps One and Two. That's why I love Twitter, because people often tweet suggestions at me for Devil's Advocate topics, which saves me the trouble of … [Read more...]