The Good & Bad Of 2018 – Spoiler Alert There Was A Lot Of Bad

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What Went Down in 2018 – The Best And The Worst – A Year In Review

This article is coming out a little later than I wanted it to. We are almost a full month into the New Year but I still thought it was worth writing.  I wanted to do something similar to what I did for 2017 – a 5 biggest wins and 5 biggest losses.  But, with the timing of the post I am just gonna cram them together and do a quick overview.  I will give you the 3 biggest wins of 2018 and a slew of losses, because there were many.  Share your biggest win and loss of 2018 in the comments section!

The Wins of 2018

It was a rough year no doubt but we were able to sneak a few wins while taking all those haymakers. Here are what I thought to be some of the bigger ones.

American Express Launched The Perks Card to End All Perks Card

The Aspire card was launched early in the year and it was a stunner!  I could not believe the value it offered.  I wholeheartedly thought the perks would get nuked going into 2019 but it has been holding strong.  Even if the free night takes a little while to get to you it still essentially pays you to keep the card.  Amex even rolled out some awesome 150K upgrade offers throughout the year too.

The Iberia Avios Deal

The Iberia Avios deal offered a chance at some huge value.  I did not partake in the offer because of the time constraints in terms of booking but many did and saved a ton on their flights.

Other Notable Credit Card Launches

This is how sad of a year it was.  Rounding out my 3 wins were some other credit card launches or rebrandings.  The Chase World of Hyatt card came out and took over the throne of hotel credit cards.  Chase also launched the Chase Ink Unlimited Business card which is the business version of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.  Unfortunately both of these are now under 5/24 law but more on that later.

The Losses – There Were A Many

And now to the dark side.  Here are the worst of 2018…I had a lot to choose from.

Plastic Merchant Goes Belly Up

2018 will always be the year of TPM, there was no story bigger.  The gift card reselling company went belly up early on in the year and wiped out the profits of many in it’s wake.  We recently updated you on the fact that the Missouri AG will not be pursuing legal action.

The Death Of Gift Card Recycling

In quick succession GameStop, Best Buy, and Meijer all stopped allowing the purchase of gift cards with gift cards.  This was a profitable play for people with the know how.  Amazon also stopped selling their gift cards online which made it more difficult to recycle with them as well.

Chase 5/24 Rolls Out To All Cards

Chase 5/24 is nothing new but there were still some co-branded cards offered by Chase that we could grab every few years.  Chase shut those down late in the year and put everything under lock and key.  They also nuked the most valuable perk of any of their cards putting limits on the IHG anniversary night.  They didn’t stop there though they also rolled out the 48 month rule on Sapphire cards just as the Chase Sapphire Reserve was approaching 2 years old.

Amex Offers Get Devalued

I think this was the second biggest story of the year and one that cost some people $10,000 plus.  American Express finally stopped allowing Amex Offers to be used on multiple cards.  They also back charged anyone who used their 10% off Staples offer more than once.

SPG Cards Become Useless

The last topic I wanted to cover was the devaluation of the favorite tool of many.  The SPG personal and business card used to be a mainstay for non bonus spend.  But with the Marriott/SPG merger the earning power of the card was reduced by a third. The change made the cards essentially a Quicksilver competitor.  This cut many deep and I am sure Amex is feeling the loss of their swipe fees right about now.


As you can see it is a good thing 2018 is in the review mirror.  It was a pretty terrible year for the hobby but we continue to march on.  It takes more knowledge and patience than ever to come out on top!  Hopefully 2019 opens up some doors.


Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. Your post is bit heavy on MS items. On the non MS front, there was the SPG disastrous merger. That was the biggest one of the year. On the positive side, WOH card earning status through spending is huge for me, particularly with the demise of SPG. Also, wasn’t last year the end of 3x points at Plastiq with Ink? Certainly a bunch more bad than good overall.

    • I forgot about the Plastiq 3X earning – thanks a lot MMS 🙂

      Yeah 2018 was a rough one all around for sure. I love the World of Hyatt card – one of the best relaunches I have ever seen for a card. Too bad they moved it into 5/24 status along with everything else. At least they gave us several months to get in on it.

      • Chase Ink stopped 3x Plastiq right about when the 3x CFU came around so I still have those earnings thru April. My husband is so bad at using the right bonus card – him using just 1 card for a year has been a huge gift, relief, and relationship stress reducer.

        He may not ever hit 5x but the more frequent & dismal 1x also isn’t happening (as I’d review his activity). I guess that’s another reason I put it at the top for 2018 – cos even though the application period was short at about 2 weeks, it keeps giving well into 2019.

        Agreed on the WOH card, too, by the way. Amazingly well thought out relaunch. I RARELY cancel cards, but I made this exception with the old card to get in on the new benefits. Very happy with it, including a reasonable AF for a change!

  2. The big story, for good or bad, was the final spasm of SPG spending both on travel packages and on the cheap top end properties.

    • A lot of people did jump on those packages at the end hoping to get max value out of them and then were disappointed when the changes came through.

      • Mark – What became of the Category 6 et. al. package refund situation? There was a lot of digital ink spent on it when the conversion chart came out. Then nothing. Is Marriott providing 30k pt refunds for those of us who spent more than we needed to?

          • Yeah I have previously read all the comments from multiple blogs. Seemed like a very hit or miss situation, with no definitive outcome. Ill contact them and see what they have to say.

          • “Thank you for your recent correspondence to our offices. The certificate that was purchased is not eligible for any refund of points.”

          • And you had a category 6 previously? I wonder if they only allowed people so much time to reach out? May wanna call the 1-800 number and see what they say.

          • Yeap. I have a category 6 cert.

            I’ll call but based on everything I’ve read, I suspect there never was a formal Marriott policy for reimbursing points in such circumstances. There certainly wasn’t an official announcement, or any outreach on Marriott’s part.

          • HUCA the new motto of Bonvoy! If you think it is worth the time I think you will find an agent that will do it but I am sure it won’t be easy

  3. My 2 favorites are a tie & not on your own list: 3x CFU (bonused on all spend thru April 2019) & the Ritz Carlton card (pre-August 2018) leaving me Plat status thru Feb 2020; 2 free nights at the St Regis NYC this October; $300 in AA gift cards (travel credit); 10k MRs for a free AU; free 50,000 point anniv

    I will get $10,000+ worth of value from these 2 new apps alone.

    • The CFU was on my overall list but it was so short lived I decided not to add it although it could have slid in there fairly easily for sure.

      I would put the Ritz card as a negative and not a positive since they nerfed it and it had been around forever so I wouldn’t call it a plus really. The timing just made it that people jumped to get it before it went away. I am still mad I missed out on that 140K offer they had a few years back 🙁

      • I didn’t take Chase up on their previous 140k point OR 3 free night offers – aloowing Plat status for 19 months and a new 50k anniversary night WERE both new & exciting and dwarfed those old offers. AND it can still be PC’d to (without Plat, of course!).

      • For me personally, it was SPG’s (almost) final exit. An end to a brand I adored. Marriott Bonvoy is neither Brilliant nor Bountiful.

        Crazy having such an emotional attachment, but there it is & since you asked!

        • I think many are in that boat with you. Especially the SPG branded credit cards. Big time loss for sure.


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