Remember a time several years ago when financial bloggers and bleeding heart people were sharing in forums how to “save” money by calling your credit card companies and asking for waiver of the annual membership fess?

I guess the message was so successful that it was “understooded” no one pays our credit card annual membership fees. Those who do are either so rich they couldn’t be bothered, or they are “bei kambings” who didn’t know better…

Imagine if you were working in one of these credit card companies. How to turn this situation around as each dollar from these annual membership fees will go straight down to the bottomline.

We can’t be throwing good margins away, can we?

Must give props to the marketing person who came up with “rewarding” customers with frequent flyer miles whenever they voluntarily pay up their credit card annual membership fees!

Of course the miles you get would not be enough to qualify for any free trips directly!

Having “paid” for these “free” miles, it would be a “waste” to let them expire worthless. What would any “sane” people do? Of course spend more to save more!


Now the credit card companies’ vendors have vested interests to promote “free” miles too! You scratch my back; I scratch yours. Wink.

Of course for this Jedi trick to work, you first need to pay opinion leaders to write aspirational stories how they can have a jet-setting lifestyle, flying all around the world just with their – yes, repeat after me – “free” frequent flyer miles!

And then the wannebes will parrot on the same message down the line – this time really for free as they were not paid a single cent by the credit card companies.

Why they do it? Herding momentum mah! If other bloggers blog about it and you don’t, you’ll be left out!

And their bei kambing followers will monkey see, monkey do.

I’ll give you an example of these Jedi tricks we used during my snake-oil corporate days.

Recently, I booked a 5 days trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand for this coming January 2018.

Normally I would stay in a hostel as I like the mingling with strangers at the common area.

This time, despite being a dinosaur and all, I registered for the airbnb website to see what’s it all about.

Interesting. I can get an apartment room for $25 a night. So for 4 nights it would cost me $100 plus plus (booking charge and cleaning fee)

Amex and airbnb very fast!

Straight away I received my first junk email offering me a $50 discount for my first booking if I paid with Amex.

The fine print catch is I have to minimum spend $200.

I am sure some people out there will “upgrade” their apartment to $50 a night for 4 nights to qualify for this “$50 savings” from Amex.

Wait. You intend to spend $100. Now you’ve spent $150… Someone got Jedied! LOL!

Nah! I deleted the email.

This $50 off promotion would really be “free” if I had intended to stay 10 nights or I had intended to book a $50 a night apartment.

Next time people try to convince you to spend more to save more, what would we do?

Singapore Man of Leisure (welcome to my blog; just google it!)