Starstruck!

Okay, so Gary Leff is a god in the points/miles world, and I read his blog religiously. I even listened to his entire podcast with Roberth Wuhl while waiting in an insane line at a sandwich shop near my office. It was a nice way to pass the time, especially since I’m a fan of Robert Wuhl as well. (Fun fact: my dad works for a corporate advertising company that used to put on big, elaborate investor productions, and Robert Wuhl’s agent sent his reel to the company back when Wuhl was just starting out. My dad thought it was funny and brought it home for me – this was probably 10-15 years before Arliss.)

My point in bringing up Gary Leff is that I’m about to quibble with one of his blog posts, and I want to make clear that it’s less about being agonistic for the sake of it, or trying to point out where he’s wrong, and more about trying to understand people’s fascination with Starwood. Here’s the post. The gist of it is that a reader emailed to ask which is a better limited-time bonus between the Citi Prestige (50,000 points instead of 30,000) and the SPG Amex (30,000 points instead of 25,000). Now, assuming the 50,000 point bonus on the Citi Prestige is actually limited-time (they say it is, but it has been around for months already), I don’t understand how the answer to the question could possibly be the SPG card. I get that Gary wants to flesh out the overall value proposition of each card, but in what world are Starpoints worth FOUR TIMES Citibank Thank You points? In certain situations, like if you only ever fly airlines that SPG transfers to, and you only care about a card that can transfer to them, then sure, SPG is the card for you. However, if you’re that person, you probably aren’t even bothering to ask which is the better limited time offer, since even 500,000 Thank You points wouldn’t be worth it to you. So for the casual enthusiast, I can’t understand why anyone would passing on the Prestige’s offer in order to get 5,000 extra Starpoints.

And, in Gary’s defense, he does tell the guy to just get both cards if he can hit the spending requirements, which is sound advice. Still, it’s just more evidence of the Starwood Lust I wrote about previously, and I still don’t get it. I suppose I should just get the card to see what the fuss is all about. I’m not one to cling to my opinions so strongly that I won’t allow my mind to be changed, so maybe that’s what has to happen.

Requisite question designed to spur a flurry of responses in the comments section: Do YOU ever disagree with Gary Leff, and if so, where the hell do you get off?

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