A few months ago, I wrote about how I received an offer from American Express that if I subscribed to two magazines, I would get a voucher for a plane ticket anywhere in the continental United States.  Suspicious, but intrigued, I signed up for it.  Lure me with plane tickets and my greed takes over.

I kind of suspected that this offer was too good to be true, and of course it was.  The lame “offer” they sent me did have a plane ticket to anywhere in the US, but it was buy-one-get-one-free.  Sounds good, right? 

It does except that all of the airfares are about double what you would normally pay for a flight.  If a hamburger normally costs $5, and you get an offer for a two-for-one but have to pay $10 for that one, then that’s not a free burger, it’s a dishonest marketing scam.  I shook my head at being hoodwinked but I wasn’t really all that surprised (in fact, it’s worse than I described because there’s still fees and taxes on top of the fare).  There is no free lunch.

But here’s the thing, the condition of me getting this travel voucher was that I had to subscribe to two magazines – Food and Wine magazine and Travel Resorts magazine (or something like that, I can’t remember the title but it’s to do with travel).  As it turns out, I like reading the travel magazine.  Quite a bit as a matter of fact.  So, while I had to pay something like $20 for this crappy travel voucher, the $20 for the magazine that I get once per month is worth it.  When I get the newest issue the next month, I’m like “Oh, what’s on the cover?  I can’t wait to read it!”

Travel is my Achilles heel (my girlfriend’s as well).  I never would have subscribed to this magazine otherwise, but now that I was tricked into it I don’t regret spending the $20 on it (there are plenty of other ways I have wasted $20 in the past six months).  So, money well spent even though it was incidental.

You won this round, American Express… but don’t get used to it.  Your travel offer still sucks more than the Vancouver Canucks in the final five games of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.