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Hittin’ the Streets – All the Points Stuff I Still Do In Person

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Earning Points and Cash

Earning Points and Cash

I’m often surprised at the growing methods of earning points and cash online.  New ways to pick up more consistently appear online, and stacking opportunities seem to grow exponentially, too.  And taking advantage of these virtual opportunities is a relatively efficient task.  A fairly small time investment can lead to big rewards gains.  Meanwhile, on the street methods seem antiquated and less than optimal to many.  But I still enjoy those in person plays just as much as I ever did, maybe even more.  Here’s what I still leave the house for and why.

Gift Cards

I still buy and use a variety of gift cards around town.  I’ve found certain fees, especially at scale, are still lower than what I’m subject to online.  Of course, I incorporate other costs into the equation (time, gas, car depreciation).  Often, I’m working on gift cards in the midst of unrelated errands, anyway, minimizing those other costs a bit.  With some planning and the right timing, one can still do a good amount in a relatively compressed period.  Of course, that varies on one’s location and other commitments.  But consider giving the streets another look.  For instance, I’ve caught up again with this old friend.

a man walking in a mall
Photo Courtesy Saks 5th Avenue Toronto.

Saks Credit

Perhaps part of the first one, I’d like to give special attention to the Saks credit for a few reasons.  In recent years, I’ve increasingly opted to load a Saks gift card balance in-store to use this biannual Amex Platinum benefit.  I can split payment while doing so and add balance to the same gift card over time.  I’ve found this method optimal for saving up for a bigger item while minimizing out of pocket costs.  Saks raising their free shipping threshold to $100 also makes using these individual credits online less appealing, too.


Sometimes, bigger wins on the banking scene, especially locally, are accomplished by walking into a nearby branch.  Of course, there are some obvious angles here.  For instance, it’s easier, or perhaps required, to open certain accounts in person.  Other promising options may appear when we just make an effort to show up.

Earning Point and Cash

Card-Linked Offers

An option which I love for substantial savings are offers banks allow us to add to our preferred cards.  After linking these offers, I can often leverage them for an expanded inventory of merch and gift cards at brick and mortar locations.  How about 25% off a Lowe’s purchase?

Food Delivery Pickup Apps

Whether using card benefits, app discounts, or both, opting for food delivery can largely eliminate any of those savings, thanks to gratuity (justified) and myriad fees.  If I’m ordering locally, I’ll opt to pick up myself to save.  During travel, I’m usually opting for something nearby where I can walk.  In my experience, restaurants have remarkably improved the process for a streamlined pickup transaction.


Interacting with points and travel enthusiasts virtually, especially within the MtM Diamond Lounge, is an appealing option.  But I’ve found meeting with locals an enlightening alternative, too.  We can share plenty in a short timeframe, something that would take much longer online.  Getting together for meetups (MtM does those, also) enhances relationships and creates new ones.  I can connect in ways where virtual options fall short.  Most importantly, those in-person meetings bring more humanity to our common hobby, something I feel is decreasing overall.

Earning Points and Cash

Earning Points and Cash – Conclusion

The productivity of online methods can’t be ignored, but let’s not forget what can be accomplished in person.  Getting out and interacting face to face with others is good for one’s soul.  It’s just another way we can live the golden rule, something which can fulfill us all.  Along the way, we can pick up a nice bucket of points, miles, and cash back.  With all that return, I can handle those other costs, with one exception.  I focus on my hobby activity, whether online or in person, without sacrificing quality time with family.  I bet some of you feel the same, and others have additional red lines.  Big picture, consider where in-person plays do and do not fit into your overall lifestyle and hobby goals.

What hobby tasks do you still accomplish in person?

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Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


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