The credit card affiliate world is a difficult one to navigate for points and miles bloggers. On one hand, the purpose of travel hacking is to “game” the banks to a certain extent. Both credit card churning and manufactured spending are big parts of travel hacking. It’s basically all there is to it, which makes the affiliate relationship between bloggers and credit card companies uncomfortable at times. Why? Because the banks don’t like it when bloggers talk about credit card churning, gift card churning, and manufactured spending. Yet, these are subjects travel hackers concern themselves with. I get it: The banks want to run a profitable business and they have certain legal obligations in regard to the content that affiliates use to promote their products.
Personally, I don’t have an issue with banks making money and always preached that this hobby should be profitable for everyone. I don’t see how manufactured spending can be a bad thing for the banks, but they certainly see it that way.
The banks have become quite adamant about bloggers following strict rules. So far, Barclay has been easygoing. I have never received an email asking me to take down content or revise a post. That is, until yesterday when I got an email from Barclay asking me to take down content or revise a post.
I’ve been asked to remove the email text I originally pasted into this post and have agreed to abide by that request. The gist of it is that they were “not pleased” with my manufactured spending challenge post or the one outlining the cheapest way to earn Hyatt stays via manufactured spending. They also requested that I purge the site of all manufactured spending content, which is basically all of it.
I wasn’t promoting Barclay cards much, but did manage to earn about $500-$1,000 in affiliate commission each month. Having the ads on the site alone helped. However, I never aimed for this to be a main income source and I certainly didn’t start this thing so it could become a platform for affiliates to dictate content. I don’t have a problem following compliance rules as a freelance writer, but I need to be able to decide what does and doesn’t get published on my own blog – especially, when it’s just a creative outlet and not my main career objective/income source.
My decision was pretty much a no-brainer and I proceeded to remove the Barclay affiliate links and ads on this site. It’s not a travesty and I certainly don’t mean this to be a “stick it to the man” type post, nor am I seeking a pat on the back. With credit card companies (and not just their products) aiming to play a bigger part in this hobby, it may be time to scour other sources for information about manufactured spending since not all bloggers will want to end their affiliate relationships over content issues. I certainly don’t blame bloggers for going along with these restrictions, but for me it just wasn’t practical to delete two years of content and effectively hand over editorial control to an entity that aims to reign in our practices with restrictive (albeit lucrative) affiliate relationships.
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