Ten years ago today, René published this blog’s very first post, when the site was known as “Delta Points.” (I know the post’s date says “2020.” That reflects when some minor changes, i.e., coding or advertising, were made.)
A few years later, the blog transitioned to Rene’s Points.
And a couple of years after I assumed ownership, we changed the name to Eye of the Flyer. (So we’re due for another name change around 2026 or so. 🙂 )
So much has changed during those ten years. Heck, a lot has changed in the past two years. Travel and blogging are different than they were in 2011.
Travel and Loyalty Programs
There have been thousands of travel and loyalty program changes since the blog launched on November 16, 2011. Here are a few that instantly come to mind.
Many of our blog readers are Delta SkyMiles loyalists — for better or worse. When the blog started, frequent flyer status was earned by how many miles one flew during a year. There weren’t any spending requirements to reach elite status. For example, if you passed 125,000 miles during a year, you earned Diamond Medallion status!
And the redeemable miles you earned were based on how far you actually flew — not how much you spent.
Ah, the good old days.
Then Delta changed to a revenue-based system. That’s when MQD came into play. You not only had to earn MQM but spend prescribed amounts of money — either on airline tickets or your Delta Amex cards. (Heck, you didn’t even need to fly at all! You can earn Medallion status just by spending a lot of money on Delta Amex!)
Several years after that, the Delta Amex $25,000 MQD waiver received a drastic change. Rumors circulated that the Delta Amex waiver would no longer apply for reaching Diamond Medallion status. As in, the only way you could reach Diamond status was accruing 125,000 MQM and $15,000 MQD.
But then Delta and Amex threw us a bone. Kind of.
Not surprisingly, it was around then MQD runs came into vogue.
We’ve seen plenty of other changes: companions getting the same upgrade status when traveling with a Medallion, the introduction of Comfort+ and Premium Select, certificate upgrades and downgrades. And dozens of other “enhancements.”
Hotels and Hotel Programs
Starwood SPG: you are missed. 🙂
Hotels have devalued their points and “free” night certificates. But that’s to be expected. It’s kind of like points-and-miles inflation.
I’m sitting in a nice, corner room at Bellagio Las Vegas as I write this post. The nights were comped from points I earned occasionally playing a video game. (More to come on that.)
Travelers are no longer limited to airline-branded lounges and maybe a few third-party clubs.
There are tons of lounges now: American Express Centurion Lounges, Capital One’s new lounge program, and the clubs Chase is introducing. Priority Pass memberships — a popular benefit on credit cards — make airport lounge access convenient for the masses.
Global Entry, PreCheck, and CLEAR
Airport security lines aren’t quite as onerous as they once were — thanks to programs like TSA PreCheck and CLEAR.
Plus, Global Entry helped speed US residents through customs when arriving in the United States from an international trip.
The blogging world is far different than it was in 2011.
A chunk of the travel blogging niche has morphed into travel-points-lifestyle content.
Plus, not everyone’s travel preferences are the same. I’m not the “Here’s how I backpacked across Europe, worked at local cafes, and stayed in hostels for three months!” kind of traveler or blogger. I’m delighted for those who are and enjoy it. But planes, hotels, and lounges are more of my jam. 🙂
I think — especially since COVID — we’re seeing more lifestyle-oriented content (i.e., saving money with credit cards, loyalty programs, gift cards, etc.). Many people’s mindsets, budgets, and goals have changed during the past couple of years. Some people don’t hold the same jobs they had in March 2020. Maybe they’ve switched careers. Perhaps they once traveled a lot for business — but now work from home. (I’m on my first client-related business trip in two and a half years right now.) So earning money and points, in general, is a bigger deal than it was before.
The blog is starting to see a new cycle of “rookies” or people new to the travel and points game. So we welcome all of them! And more experienced readers: please share your tips and experiences, too! We love it when everyone learns from everyone else!
Credit Card Affiliate Marketing
Yes, credit card affiliate marketing has become more widespread. It’s turned precious few bloggers into very wealthy individuals. (Not everyone makes a zillion dollars through blogging. Trust me.)
We try to balance out trip reviews, travel news, travel tips, and credit card stuff. I know some people don’t like credit card posts. (The same ones who complain always seem to read them, though…)
But we tend to write about the credit cards we actually use (or plan to get) — ones we think our audience will find helpful.
We know that not everyone flies Delta — so we’ll occasionally drop in posts about Southwest or United credit cards. Basically, we want people to build up miles so they can travel for free (or, at least, for a great price).
But you probably won’t find us writing about the Avianca LifeMiles credit card. Or the Starbucks credit card. Or stuff like that. All that could change, of course. But I don’t plan on it.
Also, the only information we receive about our credit card affiliate performance are which cards converted and our commission earnings. We don’t see who applies for cards or gets approved or their addresses or credit scores or Social Security numbers or whatever.
Yup. It’s everywhere. I know. But advertising revenue helps keep from putting the blog behind a paywall. (We appreciate you browsing with your ad-blockers turned off! Thank you!)
Plus, René and I learned a bunch of stuff from free blogs (and still do!).
So making information accessible is essential. As long as we can afford to keep doing that, we will!
This blog would not exist without loyal readers. When someone tells us they enjoy a post or read the blog every day, we genuinely appreciate it. We’re lucky to have such a great audience.
So thank you for your kind words and support! Here’s to ten more years!
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