The 4 Things I Miss Most In This Hobby – Share Yours

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4 Things I Miss Most In This Hobby

The 4 Things I Miss Most In This Hobby – Share Yours

I feel like reminiscing today.  I am going to be the old timer that talks about how good we used to have it.  This is two fold, one I think it is important to see what was possible and I am curious to see other people’s list.  One thing from my list could have meant almost nothing to you and vice versa.  Please leave your list of 4 things you miss most in this hobby in the comments section.

The List Of Losses

Without further ado here is the list of things I miss most in our hobby:

4 Things I Miss Most In This Hobby

Target REDBird

The US Mint dollar coins was before my time and I still think Target REDBird was easier.  You didn’t have to lug thousands of dollars of coins to the bank to deposit them.  This was simply as easy as it gets.  Especially early on when you could load the REDBird with a credit card and then pay off that credit card with your REDBird account.  I burned through welcome offers right and left because of this little beauty.  I couldn’t get new cards quick enough!

4 Things I Miss Most In This Hobby

Easy Approvals

This goes somewhat hand in hand with the REDBird.  Because without being able to easily get approvals back then I wouldn’t have been able to rack up as many points.  The days before Chase 5/24, once per lifetime language, and when you could get multiple BOA cards at the same time. The economy was just coming out of the great recession and the banks were bouncing back from almost all going under.  This made them hungry for new patrons and they were giving away their goods like candy.  The economy has been on the longest bull run in history and the banks have put the candy under lock and key.  Until the next recession at least ;).

4 Things I Miss Most In This Hobby

Stacking eBay Bucks & Portals

eBay used to be a gold mine!  They used to pay eBay bucks on gift card purchases. Not only that but portals used to pay cash back on those same gift card purchases.  10% eBay bucks plus 2% back from the portal on discounted gift cards, can you say easy money?  Buying discounted Target gift cards on eBay and using those to buy discounted eBay gift cards which would in turn buy more discounted Target gift cards.  It was an endless circle of profit!  RIP eBay.  I am surprised the discounted gift card offers have gotten worse since they limited all of these things. The demand is way down so you would think the prices would drop and not rise.

4 Things I Miss Most In This Hobby

Many 5X Ink Earning Avenues Dried Up

My favorite way to rack up tons of Ultimate Rewards points has been earning 5X points with my Ink+ card.  With the launch of 5/24 I was no longer able to rack up UR points via welcome offers. Earning 5X points with my Ink+ card was the next best thing.  But slowly more and more avenues have dried up, most notably PayPal Digital Gifts on eBay. You used to be able to pair these purchases with eBay bucks and portals. Earning 5X Ultimate Rewards points, 10X eBay bucks, and 2% cash back was some kind of amazing! Not long after GiftCardMart, CardCash and others followed suit. The options are more limited now but there are still options available.


Those are the 4 things I miss the most in this hobby.  They all revolve around earning points easily. I am sure my selections are very different from yours.  Some of you may have Hilton’s massive devaluation atop their list or American Airlines changing their earning structure etc.  There are many options to choose from. I personally can deal with devaluations as long as points are easy to accrue. That is probably why mine focus more on the earn side of things.

Share your list of 4 in the comments below.  I look forward to reading all of them!


Mark Ostermann
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. On the redemption side:
    – Radisson second night free.
    – Delta Business class RT to Europe for 125k.
    – Finding something on Alaska under Business Partner that isn’t ALWAYS the primary segment in Economy.
    – United stopovers.

    • Radisson was a huge blow for sure but the silver lining was I didn’t have to force myself to stay in some of their hotels any longer. Although I wish it was still a thing for my upcoming Amsterdam trip 🙂

  2. I’m dating myself back to the 90’s- early 2000’s here, but I miss when you earned “segments” not points on Southwest and neither the flight distance nor cost factored into earning. Every 5th flight was free….. Those were the days.

  3. – Buying $2000 of Vanilla Reloads at gas stations and getting x3 MRs on the BRG.
    – $25 reimbursements on Small Business Saturday.
    – Getting approved for credit cards – not biting my nails before hitting “submit.”
    – Of course, the two Birds.

  4. AA status requirements – adding EQD and now raising it makes it difficult to keep EXP status – not sure if it is worth it. Oh how I miss the mile runs!!

    Citi Prestige changes are also a disappointment – losing Admirals club and now limiting the 4th night free plus increasing the annual fee, I think we have reached deal breaker.

    • Remember Prestige for 1.6 cents per point on AA – that was so useful for status/mileage runs back in the days plus lounge access. Used to be my favorite card and now I value it below the Premier

  5. Back in the ’80s when I had 7 states in the Southeast in my territory and I would get 1,000 miles for each flight I took. I made Million Miler in ’87 or so. I stopped flying for work in 1992, but at least I got Lifetime Silver Medallion on Delta out of it!

  6. Hyatt Faster Free Nights. Two $39 Costco-rate stays (with $25 food and beverage credit each), paid for with Hyatt certs bought at Costco for 20% off, got as a bonus a night at any Hyatt. $400+ nights for almost nothing.

    One that I never heard of until after it was gone was buying precious metals at Sears with Sears GCs purchased at deep discount, then immediately reselling at a coin dealer for cash. Unlimited money.

    Triple EQMs on AA on certain flights in I think 2010. Pay with 10% off certs from Costco. You could get to EXP for 2 years for under $1400. Dozens of us were doing it.

    Citibank’s short-lived c2it program. You could send money, no fee, to a friend and charge to a CC. He could then send it back. Unlimited miles.

    Those are the best I recall.

    • Interesting on the Sears precious metals one. I have heard of people doing that on eBay but never Sears. Is there somewhere I could read about it from back in the day?

  7. Changing long distance telephone service every 6 months for mega miles bonuses.

    Buying money orders, usually from Walmart, with an Alaska or US Airways debit card that produced miles.

    Buying US savings bonds with a credit card.

    Buying dollar coins with a credit card.

    Multiple credit cards for mega bonuses before the issuers figured it out and put restrictions on this.

    • The miles earning debit cards are something I missed out on but wish I had a chance to take advantage of 🙁

  8. Think I miss the Redbird the most because it was so easy! I also remember when I could buy I bonds with a credit card. That was fun.

  9. $500 Vanilla reloads bought at office depot for $3.95 with an ink plus card at 5X, and then loading them to bluebird from home.

  10. Great post Mark; good memories…. You all do a great work for us via mms, yet I do miss Drew & Carrie M teaching posts too… (They do grace us once in a while, but less and less.) Still, Drew’s greatest legacy was along the lines of teaching us to fish…. to find deals ourselves, to read & think outside the box….

    And maybe that might give you fodder for a future post — what’s new and worthwhile. (in that category, a few nuggets I’ve not seen much mentioned…. and maybe that’s best…. 1. Buying mo’s at …. FoodLion & elsewhere, for surprising good rates… and yes, you can unload mc debit cards there — far easier than Wmt; 2. $200 vgc’s now on-line @ Kroger/GCM. (and they count for 4x promos)

    • Thanks for the tips escot. I do love when Kroger has those GCM discounted gift card sales like Best Buy a week or so ago since they rack up the fuel points. Especially when there is a 4x promo!

      • yup, the fuel point promos at several grocery outlets have been extraordinary of late…. esp. for those of us in areas where there are no caps on discounts. (We haven’t paid above a dime per gallon (at either Kroger or Martin’s in Va) since early last summer.
        Above, sorry ’bout the typo — was of course referring to you and your posting colleagues at M2M. (“mms,” by contrast, that’s something else I miss… not the same w/o Daraius)

  11. Still 2 weeks off, but all the amazing Fairmont Presidents Club Plat freebies expire 2.28. My final hurrah is a free upgraded Ocean View suite at the Kea Lani along with a super expensive free dinner & buffet breakfasts, no resort fees – then RIP.

    So many years of fun & fabulous touring thru Canada exploring/staying at castles & even a vast log structure. The transition even to Accor was opportunity – they accidentally credited me extra nights along with intentionally doubling all certs on record as of a certain date.

    My favorite loyalty program next to SPG. It prompted me to travel in different directions & at a far more luxurious level I likely wouldn’t have otherwise.

    Will any program ever fill SPG/Fairmont’s shoes again? I am ready & looking…

  12. The United MileagePlus award chart prior to the introduction of the Excursionist Perk. I had so many dreams. Crushed.

    Also, not keeping up this hobby through most of two years of school. Should have gone full bore, at least on accruing and banking points, during that time.

    • You lost me at United 🙂 just kidding. That was a big loss for sure…so many possibilities with the Excursionist Perk.

  13. All these are GREAT things that I missed (and many I totally missed out on as I didn’t start in this hobby until a few years ago) but one that was VERY nice was when you could CHARGE your way to Platinum for Life. American Airlines Citibank credit cards use to count towards lifetime miles and then many years ago they switched to only butt in seat miles but my wife and I earned Platinum for life with charging on cards.

  14. Target REDBird was so awesome! Bluebird with Vanilla Reloads! Amazon Payments, Chase pre-5/24, US Mint. The Wells Fargo Pre-Paid card was amazing — load with a credit card, take money off pre-paid card at Wells Fargo ATM (no fee), deposit cash into your bank account. Rinse, repeat.. The good old days…….

  15. So many to choose from! But my two biggest losses were when I could no longer buy AMEX GCs, 5x2k, even at 2% cashback, buy Vanilla Visas with them and then load REDBird for a tidy profit—especially since I was loading them for family members, too.

    And when REDBird went away, walking into the local PO and buying $14k in MOs at once, all while joking or talking gardening with the mail clerks.


  16. 1. The Chase Fairmont Visa and using the free suite upgrade on your free night.
    2. Easy BofA Alaska Airlines approvals, and getting the miles upon approval or first spend.
    3. The days before 5/24
    4. A true app-o-rama where you had a variety of choices and options

    • Having choices is a big one. There are many banks that are impossible to do anything with these days which stings for sure.

  17. A mile flown equals a mile earned.

    US airways annual grand slam promotion.

    Travel and points blogs that didn’t pimp misc. Amazon products for affiliate hits.

    Earning Virgin miles by renting at Silvercar.

    US Air off peak business awards to Europe for 60k RT and had availability.

  18. Award ticket stopovers.

    3x Chase points on Ink Preferred with Plastiq.

    A mile earned for a mile flown.

    No crazy restrictions on applications.

    While these could all be gamed to some degree or other, for most people the above just offered value. I’d say that that’s what’s being lost.

  19. 1) Four Pts/$ on Barclay Rewards portal for loading American Express Gift Cards

    2) Unloading above Amex GC’s at RiteAid buying Visa Gift Cards with no limits or ID required

    3) Shopping portal points (sometimes huge) for reloading Sears GC’s

    4) Unloading above Sears GC’s to buy eBay GC’s at KMart and earning one Speedway discount coupon per $50 then having my local Speedway allow as many coupons as wanted per fill-up

  20. The ability to get 6 Alaskan airlines Cards in one sitting and then cancelling them in 13 months and doing it all over again ….

  21. Yep. Target REDbird was the first thing that come to mind, although it was short-lived. Bluebird, while not as easy, was also great. I still have feelings of mourning when I pass a Walgreens or a 7-11…


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