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There are a number of things that I occasionally see in the miles & points blogosphere that annoy me (like bloggers cozying up to airlines or hotel chains when they should be bashing them for some of their unfriendly practices) but there’s one thing above all others that seems to get me really, really annoyed and some blogs are a lot more guilty of this than others.
Credit card affiliate links are the lifeblood of most of the larger blogs (TFM is way too small to appeal to the likes of Chase or Amex) and I’d like to go on the record right now to say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with them whatsoever – I have no issue with credit card affiliate links at all.
Some people like to criticise blogs for advertising credit cards but the reality is that most of the blogs that people read wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the income from the credit card companies – believe it or not it takes time and effort to write one of these things and both of those cost money.
Where I do draw the line, however, is when I see blogs pushing credit cards with idiotic statements, half-truths and incomplete information.
Let’s take this tweet as an example:
There’s actually nothing factually incorrect in this tweet….but its premise is idiotic and misleading.
Firstly….yes, 75,000 AAdvantage miles is enough points to get you a one-way Business Class flight from the US to Europe….but who flies one-way?! How are you supposed to get home?
This is an international flight that’s being suggested and, unlike domestic itineraries, one-way cash fares are not half the cost of a roundtrip fare. So what are you supposed to do once you’ve flown your one-way Business Class flight to Europe? Book a cramped low-cost carrier seat home? How’s that a selling point for this credit card? Book a flight on a full service carrier? That’s not going to be cheap so how’s that a selling point?
Seriously…just think about this for a second…who advertises a travel product by saying “it can get you to your destination but you’ll have to come up with something else if you want to get home“?
Secondly – and this is the bigger annoyance – nowhere in the post that this tweet links to are either of the following things mentioned:
- Technically it may cost less than 75,000 miles for a one-way Business Class flight from the US to Europe but booking one of those awards on American Airlines is so incredibly hard that it’s really not a selling point.
- Most of the sub-75,000 mile Business Class awards that you can actually find and book through American Airlines are those that book on to British Airways flights…..and they come hand-in-hand with horrendous additional fees.
75,000 may get you a one-way Business Class flight from the US to Europe….but only if you pay out over $500 in taxes and fees. Why isn’t that being mentioned?
The linked post goes on to offer another option for the miles – 10 one-way reduced mileage awards – which sounds fantastic until you actually look into what those awards are.
American Airlines Reduced Mileage Awards are limited in both their availability and their scope and the 10 awards referenced in the advertorial post are for flights of a very short distance only. Finding a reduced mileage award for dates that work for you and to/from destinations you want to visit can be almost as hard as finding Business Class saver awards to Europe….but there’s no mention of that anywhere. Why not?
These kind of posts are filled with half-truths and tactical omissions which do not give the reader the full story….and it’s being done in the name of selling you a credit card.
As I said at the very beginning, I have absolutely no issue with blogs selling credit cards but it really annoys me when the reader isn’t given all the information needed to make an informed decision…..or when things are spun in a way that makes the card or bonus that’s being discussed appear considerably better than it actually is.
There’s no need for this. Some of the credit cards on offer are genuinely useful so there’s no need to over-promise on what the card will (or can) deliver or to forget to mention some of the limitations that cardholders may come up against. Why can’t we have a bit more honesty in these advertorial?
Sure, you could argue that people should go away and do their own research before applying for the credit card (and I don’t disagree with that) but would it really be so hard to add a few lines to the blog post to let people know some of the limitations of the bonus too?