In what has become an annual MEAB tradition for an unbelievable streak of two years in a row (if you include this year), it’s time for another installment of Travel Hacking as Told by GIFs. The 2020 version was, naturally, a rousing success. Time for another one of those, or something.

Let’s Go!

Virgin Atlantic Devalues its Award Charts and Expects us to Book Anyway

Partner flights on Delta tripled in price in many cases. You know that you’ve gone way too far when Delta SkyMiles award prices to Europe are cheaper than yours.

PayPal Key Blocks AmEx on January 4

Remember how merchant coding didn’t pass properly to AmEx via PayPal and everything was a “global restaurant” when you bought with PPK? I do. sniff

Citi Pay-By-Phone Accepts New Cards

When the new year ticked over, a new year’s worth of expiration dates started to sail through, and we celebrate.

American Express Master Value Injection 2.0

Personal Platinums get $30 at PayPal. Co-brand business cards got $10-$20 off of wireless services. Co-brand personal cards get $10-$25 off of dining. It all resets every month! Also, business Platinums get +4x in four categories. We’re happy at first…

American Express with Master Value Injection Redux

By March, we realize we’re working for American Express to cash out a dozen small monthly credits, and it feels like we’re getting nowhere fast while we try and twirl through our credits.

Bank of America Launches a Spirit Airlines Co-Brand Card

Someone really thinks we’ll go for this? Also, 40,000 miles is stingy, even for Spirit.

Fluz Launches

If you know, you know.

Breeze Airways Takes Flight

We have a new US based air carrier and we got to see its inaugural takeoff roll.

Citi Launches the Custom Cash Card

It’s a no-annual fee card that earns 5x per month on $500 spend in whatever category you spent the most on. Bad? Not at all. Amazing? Not really, but we’ll take it. Unfortunately for me I got a $20,000 credit line on a card that will never see more than $500 in monthly spend.

Visible Sends Us Giant Piles of Mastercard Gift Cards

The Ting to Visible+Rakuten deal landed some over 30 $100 gift cards in their inbox. Now if I just knew where my Creedence was.

The American Express “Three for All” Deal Dies

American Express gave us a bonus three points per dollar, uncapped, for referring someone (like P2) to a new card. Obviously this was abused and became a goldmine.

The American Express “4 for Us” Deal Surfaces

Maybe the “4 for us deal” isn’t quite as lucrative as “3 for all” for heavy hitters, but it’s a great consolation prize to close out 2021. I got one for me and one for P2, but wish I had tried even harder.

American Airline’s SimplyMiles Roller Coaster

We’re all going to get 240 miles per dollar. No wait, we’re not. No, it’s going to post! Then it posts! Then it unposts! Then it posts! Then it unposts!

The Dust Settles and 240 Miles Per Dollar Actually Shows Up

Former US Airways management proves that it can still make a deal that puts other deals to shame, even though they can’t make a sandwich.

Fee-Free MS with Point Dies

You could load cash onto the Point debit card with a credit card using Apple Pay, fee-free, up to $12,500 per month, and then spend the money and earn another 1% on top. It even worked with American Express.

We watch the Marriott Program go from Bad to Worse

After years of devaluation, Marriott gave us something different another devaluation.

Getting Creative with Rental Cars During Carmageddon

Bob at the local mechanics shop will let you rent a fixer-upper for only $150 per day, unlimited miles. What a steal!

Running to Meijer for the Sale of the Year

Meijer announced that they were giving 10% off of third party gift cards for two days, and MSers ran to the Midwest for a feeding frenzy.

Flight Attendants Get Trained on Unruly Passenger Handling

Smh, smh, welcome to flying in 2021.

Debauchery With Reddit Mods and Chase Links

Links were allegedly stolen from source code, reddit /r/churning mods had massive infighting, links were released to the public to hide serious abusers in a crowd, inevitably a bunch of shutdowns occur, and one of the perpetrators walks away unscathed. This could honestly be an HBO mini-series.

Flight Attendants on British Airways Celebrate the Reopening of US Borders

BA1 marked the return of leisure travel to the United States, or at least that was the plan before Virgin Atlantic stole the crown. Fortunately, Miles Earn and Burn has obtained exclusive footage from the safety briefing so we can all take part in the early celebration.

Virgin Atlantic and British Airways Orchestrate Simultaneous Takeoff

After the safety briefings, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic organized a coordinated takeoff at London Heathrow. Later VS decided that it didn’t want a synchronized landing, it wanted to win; so, yay teamwork?

American Express Shuts Down Some Cardholders

It’s always the ball you don’t see coming, right? American Express shut down accounts for cardholders that had opened one or more business cards with the help of a particular employee, and without regard to literally anything else. Imagine opening a single Business Platinum card in 2018 and then having this happen in 2021…

American Express Reinstates Shutdown Cardholders

It turns out that if you’re persistent and if you ask enough times, you’ve got a great shot of AmEx reinstating your accounts. Just make sure you wear your Sunday best.

Screenshotting Offer Terms and Conditions

Sometimes we need to have a picture of what we’re offered to keep a company honest. I prefer using a phone or computer’s built-in tool, but if you’re part of any Slack or WhatsApp groups, you’ll know that not everyone feels the same way.

Your Friend Asks You What It’s Like to Fly Eleven Hours in Coach

Uh, we literally have no idea. If it’s not a lie flat, then we haven’t done it. We might look rugged and experienced, but honestly we haven’t been past row 16 or so on a widebody aircraft since, I don’t know, ever.

GoBank Discontinues Its Card

When notice came in mid-August that GoBank was shutting down in favor of Go2Bank, MSers swiped repeatedly at Walmart to offload gift cards (including Metabank) while they still could.

Brex Gives us Hundreds of Thousands of Points for Very Little Effort

It took me under five minutes on the phone to link PayPal to Brex for 100,000 points. And then there was the 110,000 point sign-up bonus in early February. Oh, and you could do it multiple times with multiple business. In my state, you can register a business for only $70, so there’s that too. (It’s not quite as good, but you can keep the party going in 2022 with the TravelBank 75,000 points after spending $1,000 offer.)

BestBuy Disables Auto-Checkout Bots During Black Friday

BestBuy knows that auto-checkout bots exist, and has countermeasures to disable them. Why does it turn them on for only a week or two a year? I have no idea.

American Express’s Secret 1,900,000 Membership Rewards Offer

Employees that shared your name but with roman numerals were never more exciting! This deal is still scheduled to run well into 2022 on many business cards by the way; you just have to call and ask, because I guess you’re just supposed to know that AmEx has phone only offers and to check periodically?

BravoPay Tries to Fix the 2% Liquidation Loophole

I literally think every day about how badly BravoPay’s programmers built the app and how they tried several times to repair it but kept failing. “It’ll buff out, right?”

Airline Customer Service Teams Try and Keep-up

Apropos of nothing, do you remember how the CARES act was supposed to keep everyone employed at airlines? Anyway, I’m sure that worked out well and nine-hour hold times are how it’s always been, right?.

Pre-check and Clear Make Us Complacent About Timing

Leaving your house 26 minutes before your airline’s schedule departure is prolly fine right?

Getting excited for the Capital One Venture X Card

… and then getting denied.

Staples Runs Another $200 Fee Free Gift Card Sale

It only comes around for two to three weeks a month, so the excitement is hard to summon.

The GivingAssistant Portal Falls Apart

A few probers out there knew that GivingAssistant was really good at awarding cash back even when other portals wouldn’t, like buying Apple Products on Did our experimenting cause it to fall apart?

Miles Earn and Burn Celebrates a One Year Anniversary

You may have figured out by now that I’m not big on ceremony for the sake of ceremony, so you probably won’t be surprised to learn that I spared you all from another “WE JUST TURNED ONE YEARS YOUNG!!” blog post. But, the anniversary technically did occur.

The Worst Credit Card Takes a New Tact

I don’t yet have a formal Unsung Villains series to match the Unsung Heroes series, but if and when I do the Mastercard Black Card card will be at the top of the villains list. The thing is, they know that their card is bad so their marketing department has to stretch. Recently they’ve started advertising that their card is heavier than the competition. Wow, you mean my wallet can get even thicker?!? Sold!

Thank You!

I don’t say it enough, but I appreciate everyone’s support over 2021. Thanks for your emails, your Telegram messages, your Slack and Discord groups, and your Patreon memberships. I’m really here because of you.

Until next year, friends!