I have a travel hacking thought for you to mull over during the weekend: Inertia kills. Inertia kills deals, accounts, stores, good cashiers, loopholes, and redemptions. It’s easy to fall into a rut and ignore this but you really shouldn’t. What do I mean?
First a little refresher: Inertia is the tendency for something to continue as it has been, to avoid change*. In travel hacking, having big inertia means hitting the same technique over and over again. If your game is just buying a gift card every day and turning it into a money order, you’re in the rut I’m talking about. The same goes for singular focus on sign-up bonuses, or focusing on just gift card reselling, or sticking to cell phone burners. Or it could be using the same bank account for every single money order deposit.
When you’re singularly focused you’ve got massive inertia. The means you’re not:
- Diversifying risk
- Diversifying earning
- Spreading spend
- Exercising new techniques
- Preventing burnout
If your bank decides they’ve had enough of your shenanigans, a shutdown there could cause a grinding halt to everything if you don’t have other bank accounts. If you visit the same grocery store every single day you’re going to stand out and you’ll be remembered. All it takes for the grocery axe to come down is a decision from an assistant-manager having a bad day that they don’t like what you’re up to. They may hold a store meeting to tell everyone to not sell to you, call the police, or you may even find your picture on the wall behind the customer service counter. Believe me, it happens.
When you’re constantly changing your game by switching your activities, stores, and techniques, you’re less likely to be noticed. As an added bonus your credit card company is less likely to be suspicious over buying “$506.95 worth of gas” every day when you call for a retention bonus after the annual fee posts. Frankly you’ll earn more and play more in the long run.
The same principle applies to the whole community; when everyone pounded uncle Tio, he passed away. When Plastiq‘s compliance team figured out why nearly every single account was sending $500 payments, they put a quick end to it. When Kroger awarded fuel points on variable load gift cards and watched their profit and loss statement explode, they stopped it. When the community collectively pounded the British Airways 4,500 mile partner redemption in the US for city pairs less than 650 miles apart, the chart changed.
Moral of the story: Keep your accounts, your methods, and your targets diverse and changing, and they’ll all live longer. You’ll probably end up earning and burning more too.
* Yes, there’s a scientific definition too, you may have heard of it. It’s called “Newton’s First Law”. However my very real physicist hat is off right now and yours should be too.