|by Jason Steele|
I have told you about the US Airways Dividend Miles promotion, and how one could purchase miles for an effective rate of as little as .5 cents each. The end result could be a first class ticket to Europe for about $600 on any Star Alliance partner. I later followed up with information here, here, and here.
Today, I called TrackItBack, to follow up on my order, and I had the opportunity to speak with Jason Wagner, the founder and President of the company.
The Merchant’s Point Of View
Imagine you come up with a good idea, and start a company. You pour your heart and soul into it for years, and you meet with some measure of success. Then one day, orders start arriving in huge quantities, seemingly out of the blue. You are delighted, but also curious as to why all of the sudden interest. Ultimately, your hear that there are these frequent flier nuts who have come up with a hairbrained scheme to accumulate frequent flier miles by purchasing your product during a US Airways promotion.
I had known of Mr. Wagner from his participation in the discussion of this promotion on FlyerTalk. He wisely chose to directly engage his customers, who were speculating on the details of his product and the US Airways promotion. Mr. Wagner was familiar with my writings in this blog as well. Nevertheless, it was a surprise when I called TrackItBack on Christmas Eve and Mr. Wagner himself answered the phone.
As he explained to me, he had generously sent nearly all of his employees home to enjoy the holidays with their family, while he himself manned the telephones. While my large TrackItBack order had a glitch in the shipping details, Mr. Wagner was more than happy to resolve the situation to my satisfaction, while refunding the shipping costs that I had already paid. Mistakes will always happen, but if all companies handled them so well, we wouldn’t consumer affairs reporters.
After we had resolved the details of my personal order, Mr. Wagner was kind enough to answer some of my questions regarding his company and this promotion. Mr. Wagner founded the company six years ago. TrackItBack sells a service that seeks to reunite people with their lost articles such as keys, luggage, and portable electronics. Customers receive an orange label or sticker that they can attach to just about anything. The label directs the finders of lost articles to contact TrackItBack, who then arranges its return at no cost to the parties involved, and even offers a reward He is very proud of the proven 85% recovery rate that his company has demonstrated.
How The Deal Came About
He explained that in his efforts to promote his products, his company had an agreement with Sony to include the TrackItBack service with their laptops. In the past, he also had an agreement with Delta Airlines to offer SkyMiles to his customers, but that agreement did not survive their merger with Northwest Airlines. Later, his company had an agreement with US Airways to offer their Dividend Miles with a purchase of the TrackItBack system. Initially, they offered 20 miles per dollar, but that number has since increased to a generous 40 miles per dollar spent.
It came as a surprise to Mr. Wagner when US Airways began it’s holiday partner promotion to offer up to a 250% bonus of Dividend Miles for purchases made between November 23d and December 30th, 2009. We speculated on how US Airways could justify this vast multiplication of it’s already generous mileage bonus. He felt that they were trying to increase loyalty among it’s frequent travelers. I thought that they were trying to increase their exposure of their Dividend Miles shopping partners, while shoring up their cash reserves. We both agreed that the publicity generated by the TrackItBack offer alone justified the promotion. As he explained, “I could pay a million dollars for television advertising, but this promotion is probably more effective.” I agreed, as I had not heard of his product before this promotion, and now I am telling others about it. I plan to utilize much of my purchases in the future, while donating a large amount of the surplus to charity to realize a tax deduction.
Human creativity is a wonderful thing. Mr. Wagner invented a creative solution to help resolve the problem of lost articles. US Airways developed a creative holiday promotion to showcase TrackItBack and other Dividend Miles Shopping partners. The US Government’s tax code employs a creative tax deduction to encourage charitable donations. Finally, travel bloggers and FlyerTalkers discovered a way to tie the three ideas together in order to generate a fantastic deal for all of the parties involved. In the end, my purchase of the TrackItBack product was only limited by the knowledge that great deals will continue to be created as long as the human mind seeks to generate new ideas.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at AskMrCreditCard!