My Week in Points December 23-29: Venmo $1 referral and Vanilla Western Kentucky

The Venmo $1 referral email I received on Thanksgiving is my year-end marker of how quickly things change in the miles and points hobby. When they were accepting credits at no fee, which could not last, it was a great way in my family to divide expenses.

Some of this stuff seem destined for such a short life and likely to bring such hassle that I try to be choosy. Something like Netspend, tracked by Miles Abound, I am just walking on by.


I finally got around to Vanilla reloads when Bluebird opened up a relatively low-hassle way to earn miles at a reasonable price when paying my rent. Having spent the week in Western Kentucky, occasionally dropping in on CVS stores as I pass them, I can say the miles and points hobby has not penetrated this area yet. It appears I was the first Vanilla purchaser ever at these stores, and what friendly staff, too! Citi is driving me nuts by constantly freezing my accounts after nearly every CVS purchase and their automated fraud prevention calls take forever. At what point can I convince them that I am me and this is my purchase pattern? For Chase I have had no issues, Amex dealt with once and that took care of it.


  • View from the Wing has an excellent summation of Top Eight Best Uses of Delta SkyMiles, I like the battle tales about what is easy and what is a pain, in contrast to The Points Guy’s similar list, which is more about what is theoretically possible than from frequent, live experience, understandable since one is in award booking business and one is not. Take the torture of trying to find Gol awards as something I will not be wasting my time again anytime soon, so ones like that should only appear on lists with big disclaimers.
  • I will add that there is currently good low award winter availability to Europe in economy, just booked one for my wife where I will take her seats and she will claim my company-paid business class seats. Keeping marriage harmony!


Loyalty Lobby has an excellent ‘Pros & Cons,’ series with entries on Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and Priority Club. I assume there is a SPG entry on the way and I hope less-covered programs, too. I can’t bring myself to get excited about hotels, and consequently their loyalty programs, so easy cheat sheets like this are great for me to bypass research.

This week I am at Lighthouse Landing in Grand Rivers, Kentucky, a wonderful and affordable retreat with a genuine personal touch, not the forced chain hotel touch. These are the lodging experiences I enjoy, not the chains.

Credit Cards:

  • I was approved, after a few days’ processing, for the Radisson business card in addition to the auto-approval for the personal. Both cards I will keep indefinitely. That brings my recent churn to 12 for 13, the 13th seems to be in limbo with no news.
  • I don’t play in cards with quarterly bonuses, but for those that do, Credit Card Watcher has a handy 2013 Cash Back Bonus Calendar.
  • Now with Chase Ink Bold and Ink Plus I have my first Ultimate Rewards points, previously I only paid passing attention to coverage on the subject, so nice to see Mommy Points’ timely re-hash of the key features.

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  • Andy

    Shhhh! I live in Western KY! While the curious looks from the cashiers get old after a while, I know they indicate that no one else is playing on my court!

  • Andy

    Make sure you go to Patti’s!

  • @Andy – you are lucky indeed, and I kept things small, just a few at a time. I tried a Dollar General and they acted like I was holding ’em up for trying to pay with a credit card.

  • @Andy – the Christmas lights display at Patti’s is superb, post to come!

  • Ron

    The surprise isn’t they have VR’s, but that western Kentucky has CVS’ in the first place…

  • @Ron – indeed I was quite surprised, there is a cluster of 3 of them off I-24 in Paducah that are quite convenient!

  • @Ron – I spoke too soon, stopped by one on our way back from dinner and it was cleaned out!