A few weeks ago I wrote a post on the secretive nature of the points community. It became my most read post within one hour of me posting it thanks to many of my Twitter followers and to a few bloggers that found it interesting enough to mention (thanks again to those people). But while I noted how secretive things were, I also noted that there were still deals that many people could find out about through the points bloggers. That might be changing.
It sounds like there’s a “new normal” when it comes to our regular points bloggers. The rise and fall of Bluebird was so rapid that many bloggers likely realize they were instrumental in it’s quick collapse. It’s not fair to place all of the blame on bloggers, but they have thousands and thousands of followers and it was just a matter of time after each of them mentioned it. Even I wrote about it a couple of times, but didn’t bother with the basics since it was covered so heavily already.
What we’ve seen in the last few weeks is very interesting. Gary Leff, who writes View from the Wing, has become increasingly defensive in his posts. He says he hasn’t got any deals shut down, except one. I respectfully disagree, to a point, since he’s got more Twitter followers than any points blogger and likely has the most page views of any as well. When he posts, people read. It’s not entirely his fault, of course; not even close…but word spreads quickly now. Don’t get me wrong – I’m one of his avid readers and will continue to be. He writes a lot of great information, and he clearly does “protect” a lot of information.
Likewise, The Frequent Miler, who deserves so much credit for his original content on creating points for cheap, had a sudden and noticeable change of tone in a recent post. There were no more step-by-step instructions, but rather a note that it was up to you to figure it out. In short, he said he just won’t give away information anymore. He pointed you in the right direction, but left it up to you to do some of the leg work. I thought this was very interesting, and I personally appreciated that he didn’t just hand it away but still gave enough information so that someone that’s interested enough can easily figure it out.
Contrast that to Million Mile Secrets, who has continued to provide step-by-step advice on a number of points tricks and schemes. His blog is the perfect blog for beginners because he makes it easy for anyone to replicate any deal he writes about. That’s why people love him, and that’s why many of his followers are so loyal to him. But it’s also created a group of people that dislike him very much because of how detailed he is, even mocking his pictures and arrows. To his credit, he sticks to his guns and doesn’t really care what anyone else things. He has a different mission than most other bloggers. I respect that, and I read all his posts and will continue to do so.
Others have been mostly mum on the issue, not even mentioning that the whole 5x deal might be permanently dead. Some blogs, like The Wandering Aramean, Very Good Points, and Points to Point B, have barely said a word about Bluebird or Vanilla. They are throwbacks to the old school blogs. They post about their travels and teach readers how to make their travel better. I love these types of blogs.
WHICH ONE AM I?
Let me clarify my personal beliefs, which I’ve purposely left out of previous posts.
I’m not like View from the Wing or The Points Guy or the other big bloggers, and I never will be. They’re on a different level than I am. I’m also not Million Mile Secrets, because I won’t be writing about most deals with a step-by-step explanation (mostly because others have probably already done so). If I had to model my blog after anyone’s it would be The Frequent Miler, but I’m nowhere near that level yet.
What I intend to write about is supplemental to what everyone else writes about. I’m not trying to compete with the big bloggers. They know about more deals/tricks than me and can write about them way better than I ever can. I do believe, however, that I can add value by looking at things at a different angle. When I first made mention of Bluebird I wrote about the possibilities that it brings, but made it clear to not abuse the perks. I write about lounges and do analysis on why a mileage run or credit card is worth it. It’s similar to what’s out there, but different.
If you want to know how I value my posts, consider this: I care more about the clicks I get to other people’s blogs than the views I get to my own. I like to distribute information and point people in the direction toward useful articles. My blog’s title came from the fact that I used to summarize the most important posts of the day or week, sort of like Mileage Update does now.
I don’t write about getting 5x everywhere, ExpertFlyer, Skymiles, Hyatt, or Fuel Dumps. I don’t write about these things because it’s either already been done or I don’t know enough about them to justify writing about them. I usually don’t write when I’m not adding anything to the conversation, and I hope that makes EVERY post worth reading, as opposed to me auto-posting two articles at 8am every morning like some blogs.
And nothing. This was kind of a rant. I don’t blame any of the bloggers for anything at all. I love all of them and read all of them regardless of what I think, because they write about a lot of great information. Whether or not I give them my business (using their affiliate links) is a different issue, and a topic I’ll cover later.
For a similar but better post on this type of stuff, see Points to Point B’s article, and his even more amazing video at the bottom of it (which will likely only make sense to more advanced points collectors). You can also read about all of this on a nearly daily basis by visiting the new Travel Blogger Buzz website, which already has a large following.