The 5 Biggest Losses of 2017

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The 5 Biggest Losses of 2017

The 5 Biggest Losses of 2017

With 2017 winding down I thought it would be fun/interesting to do a list of the 5 biggest losses in the hobby and the 5 biggest wins in the hobby for the 2017 calendar year.  They will include sales, new products, new banking rules etc.  I will do the list of the 5 Biggest Losses today and the 5 Biggest Wins tomorrow.  Spoiler alert: 2017 was the year of the loss!

Ranking The Losses

I will rank the losses in descending order of importance.  Please let me know in the comments section what your top 5 would be!

The 5 Biggest Losses of 2017

Amex Offers Becoming Highly Targeted and No Auto Loads

Amex Offers have lost some of their luster this year.  Almost all of the decent offers are targeted and they removed the option to auto load your cards via twitter.  Add in Amex’s website redesign, which is horrible, and loading them manually is a challenge.  And that is if you were lucky enough to get one of substance.  These offers used to be a reason to pay for annual fees on the cards.  With these changes I expect some people will be thinking a little bit harder on their next renewal date.

The 5 Biggest Losses of 2017

Southwest No Longer Counts Hotel Transfers Towards Companion Pass Status

Earlier this year Southwest made a change to their companion pass requirements.  They removed the ability to get the Companion Pass via hotel transfers.  They did this just as the calendar switched over to the new year.  This angered many who had been saving up their Marriott/SPG points for this reason in particular.  Southwest succumbed to the pressure and gave people a few more weeks to get the transfers done. This had been the last realistic way for most to get the companion pass since the institution of 5/24.  RIP Companion Pass – you were great while you lasted!

The 5 Biggest Losses of 2017

Bank of America Institutes Anti Churning Rules

Bank Of America went from the easiest approval to one of the toughest pretty much over night.  People used to get multiples of the same card, on the same day…now you can only get 4 cards per rolling 24 months.  And only 3 per rolling 12 months.  This is a drastic change that makes earning valuable Alaska miles that much harder.  I don’t think that Greg will be able to fund his next Necker Island trip via BOA Virgin Atlantic sign ups this time around!

The 5 Biggest Losses of 2017

USPS Hardcodes Against Debit Cards

This one hit close to home!  USPS was one of the only ways left to drain Vanilla Visas.  These cards happen to be found in the very valuable wharehouse clubs and pharmacy categories.  They usually come with lower fees than Metabank Visa gift cards when buying them at stores with bonus spend, grocery and office stores etc.  And the most important thing…USPS wasn’t Wally World (Walmart)!  I pass 5-6 USPS locations on my way to the Walmart near my house. I shed a tear every time!

The 5 Biggest Losses of 2017

PayPal Digital Gifts (PPDG) and CardCash no Longer Earns 5x UR with Ink Cards

I find this one personally devastating.  Since I am unable to get ANY Ultimate Reward sign up bonuses for myself or my wife this was my main vehicle to earn UR points.  PPDG is probably the best place to source gift cards for resale and getting 5X UR with your Ink Plus/Cash/Bold for all of those purchases was amazing.  For big time merchandise resellers CardCash was a great way to increase profits and earning 5% back on top of that was icing on the cake.  With the death of these two options I think quite a few people will struggle to hit the $50,000 limit on their Ink cards the next cardmember year.  And if they do it will most likely come at an increased out of pocket cost compare to the year before.


This year was a rough year!  That may be an understatement.  We took a lot of hits without adding much of substance in it’s place.  Hopefully 2018 isn’t as bad.  I don’t see things truly improving until the next recession hits unfortunately.  I hope I am wrong but the banks are back to making big profits which means they can cut out the excess to entice new customers.  Come back tomorrow to see our 5 biggest wins of the year.


What do you think of the list?  What are your top 5 biggest losses in 2017?  Let me know in the comments section!

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. I think American Express lost a lot of the big stores with their offers because they didn’t restrict them to 1 per card. It makes absolutely no sense to release an offer that has limited signups and let one person who has 99 authorized users get the offer 100 times and then not have any left for the person who only has 1 card. A perfect example of this was the Staples offer from a year ago. The offer was released at 3AM EST (midnight PST) and was filled up by 8AM EST the next morning. I heard many people complaining in forums that they didn’t get the offer, while you heard others bragging about getting it 50 and 75 times with authorized users. It made absolutely no sense, and even got people upset at Staples when it wasn’t even staples’ fault. (And no, I am not upset because I didn’t get the offer – I actually got it 9 times on my 3 cards and 6 authorized users- I just think from a business perspective it makes no sense.)

    • They definitely have some IT issues in the amex offers department. I doubt they aren’t aware of it by now so they just must not care much.

    • That one was a blow too for some. I never went that route but I know a lot of people racked up flexperks that way. With them switching them to a flat 1.5 cents it isn’t worth as much as it used to be at least.


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