Yesterday there were massive shutdowns of Bluebird and Serve accounts. In the coming days and weeks you will see a lot of posts lamenting the loss of Bluebird and proclaiming how huge a hit this is to the hobby. As PF Digest already put it, “the golden era of points and miles is over.”
Well, if the golden era is over put me in the camp that says hallelujah. I have long suspected that we were at or past critical mass in this hobby. I am by no means an old timer as I have only been at it for 5 years now. However, at the rate things have happened 5 years seems like forever ago. Think of all the great deals there were 5 years ago. Gold coins, paltry to non-existent minimum spends, churnable cards, award space, award space at reasonable prices, and the list could go on. They are all gone now.
The last couple of years has been a parade of horribles. I would expect the parade of horribles to continue for some time as well. During this time we have also seen massive media attention to our little hobby, more people entering, and ridiculously easy methods to meet minimum spends and earn miles. Does anyone really believe these two things are unrelated? When has exposure ever been a good thing for us?
Everything is cyclical and we reached critical mass some time ago. This was bound to happen. I frankly am glad it did. While others may think the end is over and the future is bleak, I’m happy. With any luck the easy money days are over. It just got a lot harder for your average hobbyist, let alone a beginner, to apply for 8 cards and not blink an eye at trying to meet $40,000 in minimum spending. Believe it or not, that is good!
As less people enter the fold, blogs will die (yes George this is a good thing). First it will be the small guys. In the coming years maybe a titan will hang it up too (MMS?). With decreased exposure, less people entering the fold, and us hobbyists slowing things down – perhaps we will see the frequency of devaluations slow, banks ease the belts, minimum spends stop going up, and cards becoming a bit more churnable.
I think none of these things are going to happen anytime soon, but I do think they will happen. However, something had to give first. With any luck that something was Bluebird dying. Maybe, just maybe, in the coming years we can return to sanity.