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Sunday, August 30, 2020

Reward Points

 Catskill Farms spends around $9m a year and probably $1.7m-$2.5m a year is on credit cards with some sort of associated reward point program.  Mind you, I haven't carried a credit card balance in years even though we spend $200k a month on them.  American Airline, Delta, United.  Hotel points from Marriott.  General all-purpose points from Cap One and Chase.  Cash back from Fidelity that goes directly into a brokerage account. It's of significant enough value that it is included in my estate plan.  At any given time it can be 5,000,000 assorted points or more, sitting there waiting to be used, or fought over in the event of my untimely passing.

In some ways, it's like that Johnny Depp movie "Blow" where they have so much cash storing it really becomes a problem.  This isn't cash, but the analogy of ballooning balances is real.  My son lucas and I travel a bit back when that was possible, and the poor kid literally has never seen the economy section of an airplane.  He's flown to the Middle East, Europe on several occasions, California, Florida, - whereever, all in the comfort of warm chocolate chip cookies, great service, fully lounging chairs, and multiple tech options.  He thinks top floor, ocean view is standard, and mentions it in a truly innocent way when it's like 3rd from the top, or heaven forbid, courtyard view.  I haven't ridden in Economy for flights over 2 or 3 hours since 2012.

I say all this because like I don't have enough problems, now I'm worried about airlines going bust and hotels with bargain basement pricing which entails no need for point spendage, all the while we are busier than ever and the spending thus point earning is accelerating.

I mention it because before I started my new book (Midnight's Children, Salmon Rushdie), I was looking around for a place to travel.  I've sort of liked the homebody Chuck of the last 4 months, but there's that too much of a good thing, and I'm getting the bug.  Now, most countries won't have us, most friends won't travel, so I'm left trolling my travel apps knowing in the end, no matter what dates I put in, in the end, I'm not going anywhere.

My son starts 6th grade on Wednesday.  Was supposed to be Monday, but already a hiccup.  Hope it goes well, for the sake of all the kids out there.  I was listening to someone today, don't remember who, and he was just pointing out that what we are going through - it doesn't have historical context yet - but the disruption of what we are going through rivals other national traumatic travails, like a war, or a depression, or a drought.  The stress and anxiety and fear are real, and yet to really be articulated with the lens of history.  

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