I’m not typically into navel gazing. But I decided to engage in a bit of it today. Don’t worry, I promise it won’t become a habit.
Just a little over a year ago, Scott Mackenzie, the founder and owner of this site (then known as Hack My Trip) mentioned in one of his newsletters that he’d be soon taking on a full-time job and was looking for some additional writers for the site.
As a fan of Hack My Trip and its writers Tahsir and Amol (and now Eric and Travel Summary as well), I decided to send Scott an e-mail pitching an idea I called “Devil’s Advocate.” It would be, I told Scott, an outlet to explore some of the accumulated “wisdom” (yes, I put wisdom in quotes in my e-mail) from the community and see if it holds up to scrutiny. I did not tell Scott about my often quirky sense of humor or penchant for gin. In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t say anything about the former, though the latter would probably have been well received.
In any case, in an incredible demonstration of generosity and trust, Scott welcomed me and my idea with open arms, literally giving me the keys to the kingdom and a very long leash. For that, I am and will continue to be forever grateful.
And so, exactly one year ago…
…the first Devil’s Advocate entitled “Yes, You DID Get 10 Cents Per Mile For Your Award Redemption” appeared on this site. I used the analogy of buying a Porsche with points to argue against Conventional Wisdom on the best way to value award redemptions.
As you can see from the following actual comments on that first post, it was extremely well received, especially by my contemporaries…
“I have to go with the conventional wisdom here.” – Big Habitat
“I don’t understand your counter-argument at all.” – Scott from MileValue
“I hope a bit more thought is put into the rest of this series.” – Doctor of Credit
But I didn’t let this resounding success go to my head. Instead I plowed onward through another 51 weekly posts, culminating last week in an intriguing debate amongst myself, Gary Leff from View From The Wing, and Drew from Travel is Free about the value of keeping the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
As I said in my comments over at View From The Wing, I am honored to be included in such company, and all 3 of those first post commenters mentioned above have also turned out to be terrific colleagues over the last year. My thanks to all of them, along with Scott and every reader of Travel Codex for this first year of Devil’s Advocate.
A few changes for Year Two.
Rest assured, this is not a goodbye post and I’m not going anywhere. Or for those of you who aren’t fans and hate everything I’ve ever written… rest assured, this is not a goodbye post and I’m not going anywhere.
However, I’m fortunate enough to have had a few new intriguing writing projects come onto my plate in the last few weeks. The biggest one is taking place in my original and still occasional career of movie screenwriting, and hopefully you’ll hear about that one sometime in the future. The other involves the points and miles community and I believe you’ll be hearing about it soon.
While I’m excited about both projects, they will take up extra time and unfortunately I can’t do it all. So I’m going to be making two schedule changes going forward…
First, starting next week, Devil’s Advocate will appear every other Thursday here at Travel Codex and will continue (as the disclaimer at the end of every post reads) to deliberately argue a contrarian view on travel and loyalty programs and to engage in friendly debate with the miles and points community to determine if today’s conventional wisdom is valid.
I’ve also mentioned to Scott that I’d like to branch out a bit from Devil’s Advocate and explore other areas in the loyalty points world that interest me. As always, Scott is surprisingly open to my craziness, though in all fairness now that he knows how much I like gin, it’s an easier lift.
Therefore, on an occasional basis I’ll be doing some additional writing here at Travel Codex that will be outside the focus of Devil’s Advocate. Those posts may appear on a day other than Thursdays and might even show up under my actual name of Julian, but they’ll still cover loyalty programs with the same brand of humor that you’ve come to expect from Devil’s Advocate. So consider yourself warned.
OK, enough blah blah blah. Let’s get to the giveaway!
When my brother Curtis found out that I was active on Twitter, needless to say the first thing he did was to compare our number of followers, which is when he discovered he was way behind me. He immediately set out to increase his Twitter readership and has been slowly inching closer and closer to me. In fact, as of this writing, he is only one follower behind me.
Obviously, this is unacceptable.
So in an effort both to celebrate the one year anniversary of Devil’s Advocate and to leave my brother in the Twitter dust, I’m giving away two United Club day passes to one lucky Twitter follower of Devil’s Advocate. And these particular passes don’t expire until December 31, 2015, so there’s still plenty of time to use them.
All you have to do to enter this contest is follow me on Twitter. I’m right here — @dvlsadvcate.
You don’t have to tweet anything and you don’t have to leave any comments anywhere (though they’re always welcome at the end of my posts). If you’re already following me on Twitter, then congrats, you’re already entered to win. The only followers who are excluded from this contest are any fellow bloggers (they’ve already got plenty of United Club passes) and any of my family members. Oh, and my girlfriend isn’t eligible either, since she already gets lounge access with me. Plus she’s still miffed about the angled flat seats on the way back from Japan.
The contest will remain open for one week. At 5pm Eastern on Wednesday, April 22nd, I’ll copy the list of all my Twitter followers, assign everyone a number, and use a random number generator to determine the winner. Then I’ll Direct Message the winner and they’ll have 72 hours to respond with an address to send the passes. If they don’t respond, I’ll pick another winner and keep going until someone gets the passes.
Thousands (hopefully) will enter. One will win, and it won’t be my brother. So follow me on Twitter and thanks to everyone for a great year!Devil’s Advocate is a weekly series that deliberately argues a contrarian view on travel and loyalty programs. Sometimes the Devil’s Advocate truly believes in the counterargument. Other times he takes the opposing position just to see if the original argument holds water. But his main objective is to engage in friendly debate with the miles and points community to determine if today’s conventional wisdom is valid. You can suggest future topics by following him @dvlsadvcate on Twitter or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recent Posts by the Devil’s Advocate:
- It’s Time to Put the Chase Sapphire Preferred in the Sock Drawer
- Guess What, Wyndham? I’m Having More Fun Now That We’re Done.
- Yawn… Someone Wake Me If Daily Getaways Ever Gets Good
Find the entire collection of Devil’s Advocate posts here.