“Joe knows how to fly an airplane, and ironically, Michael is afraid of flying.”

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Welcome to the next interview in our interview series where renowned mile and point gurus share their insights on having Big Travel with Small Money!

Miles & Points Interview: Free Travel Guys

Joe & Michael show you how to travel this small world of ours for cheap so I was looking forward to our Friday chat!

How and when did you start collecting miles and points?

We have been collecting and redeeming miles and points for a number of years now, but it wasn’t until the end of 2011 when we really started getting into them as a hobby and learning the ins and outs.  The US Air Grand Slam promotion is the promotion that hooked us to the miles and points game.  Those were some really fun weeks!

We had never realized up until that point how many different ways you can accumulate miles and points for free travel.

Free Travel Guys – Interview with FTGs

Hawaii Mauna Kea Volcano

Why did you start your blog?  What’s special about it?

We started our site in October 2012 in an effort to help all our family and friends with this wonderful hobby.  We found ourselves constantly discussing the same basic topics over and over with different people, so we thought, “why not put it on paper”?  After starting the site, we now focus our discussions with friends and family on the best way to help them get to their dream destinations rather than the basics of what points are and how they work.

What we feel differentiates our site is that we are regular travel enthusiasts with day jobs.  We don’t travel much as part of our day jobs and as such struggle to attain status with the airlines or hotels.  We are sharing the methods that we use day to day to earn rewards.

We show our readers that you don’t have to fly every week to be able to earn miles and points and that you can still travel for free.  Anyone can do it with a little guidance and some clever tips.

 What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?

We could sit here and say credit cards, but we feel that the best way is to stay in tune with the industry and as such we recommend dedicating at least 30 minutes to an hour a week catching up on the most recent promotions/findings in the points game.  At the end of the day if you keep up to date with what’s happening, the deals will come to you.

 What’s your most memorable travel experience?

Most definitely would have to be visiting Germany, Austria, and Italy in 2008 and taking part in the BMW European Delivery program.  Flying on points at the time and leveraging Priceline bidding allowed us to save a great amount of money.  Driving through the Alps in a brand spanking new BMW is a thrill!

The scenery is impressive and the car’s handling on the numerous hairpin turns is the icing on the cake.

Free Travel Guys – Interview with FTGs

BMW European Delivery

What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?

Given that we started the site for our family and friends, most of them think it’s great.  Many are still mesmerized by how we can travel to so many places, so repetitively, and most importantly for free (or very close to it).  Our immediate family takes full advantage of the information that we share, and we always put ourselves in their shoes to make sure we are keeping the information simple and not overwhelming.

That being said, a few of them still think we’re crazy, but they’re coming around. All it takes is putting someone on a first class flight to Hawaii, and they start convincing themselves this hobby is worth it!

Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?

Using RSS feeds to keep up to date on the latest deals.  We have used Google Reader but being that it’s going away on July 1st, we have switched to Feedly.  Which RSS reader you use is not as important as just using RSS. With RSS feeds you can quickly see all new content across a multitude of online sources which you pick to follow.

What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?  

Most recently, flying Delta on points en route to Barcelona we were moved to an American Airlines flight due to an airport security threat which caused us to miss our flight.  What was least expected and came in handy was that we ended up earning AAdvantage miles for the flight.  I once also earned 15,000 AAdvantage miles because my first class seat didn’t recline.  I didn’t ask for them.  

They just showed up the next day on my account, along with an apology email.

What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?

One thing that would have been nice to master is all the stopover rules with the different airlines, and how to use them to our advantage.  This is the one way that you can really make your points go much further on the airline front.  Many times I booked reward flights after saving up points for a long time, only to book a simple round trip.

Stopovers have really enabled me to get to more places, with less points.  They are an incredibly powerful tool.

What would your readers be surprised to know about you?

Joe knows how to fly an airplane, and ironically, Michael is afraid of flying.

Any parting words?

Set a goal and stick to it!  Pick a destination, develop a strategy, and work towards it.  We find this to be the easiest way to get into this game and reap the benefits.  Using this strategy you will slowly begin to dig deeper and work towards multiple goals and bonuses simultaneously.

Free Travel Guys – Interview with FTGs

Hawaii Lavaflow

Free Travel Guys  – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on having Big Travel with Small Money!

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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30 responses to ““Joe knows how to fly an airplane, and ironically, Michael is afraid of flying.”

  1. Okay, this is embarasssing. I mean REALLY embarassing. But I do not know what an RSS feed is. Could someone give me a quick explanation?

  2. THEFRUGALMOMPOINTSMILESHACKINGNEWBTRAVELER

    @ANNE, does your computer have Google? Google it and let Dariaus do his job.

  3. THEFRUGALMOMPOINTSMILESHACKINGNEWBTRAVELER

    @ANNE, sorry for previous post, just realized I did not take my Zoloft today. My bad.

  4. Anne, here’s your Friday gift !
    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=what+is+rss

    Quick explaination-> RSS feed would be a simple to read version of a webpage and you could have an application or a free software
    which will download all those specific webpages for you in one place,so you dont have to visit each of those websites(and also avoid ads).

  5. ” We started our site in October 2012 in an effort to help all our family and friends with this wonderful hobby. ” stop the BS right there please.
    Travelbloggerbuzz where are you?

  6. Is this a site for Gay couples, I notice you 2 travel with kids. If not can you recommend one? Thank You … LAnce T.

  7. Is there a site that would show how to get points to get to a specific place? Daraius, maybe that should be another article add to mms. What do you think? People who’s done a trip using points and miles can add to it?

  8. Can you explain with a little more detail how stopovers have helped you get more out of your points? Thanks!

  9. We too will be interested in a web site for gay couples. Larry and I have one child (4) who we would love to share the world with. There has been a need for a site like this.
    THANK YOU,
    Bruce .

  10. Joe / Michael / MMS – can you shed some light on who actually subsidizes all of this free travel? The cost has to be passed on to someone – is it to the airlines/hotels/shareholders/fellow travellers who pay cash/poor people who can’t get approved for these credit cards… etc…

  11. Rod/Bruce,
    Sorry, but FTG is not a site for gay couples. Sorry about the confusion but Joe and I are two friends who started the site. The two kids are Joe’s with his wife. My wife and I don’t have any yet.
    I couldn’t recommend any sites for gay couples as I’m not aware of any, but I’m sure if you google them you can probably find some good ones.
    Thanks for reading our site!

  12. Cogswell,
    The truth is pretty much that banks and airlines subsidize all the travel, along with us. When you fly for free you’re filling up a seat that would have gone empty anyway, plus you’ve pretty much paid your own free travel with all the miles you’ve earned from flying previously, or spending money on your credit cards. There are also many ways you can get to free travel without having to use credit cards. They just take a bit longer but possible as well.

  13. Josh, basically if you were to price out and fly a domestic and an international trip separately, they would cost a lot more miles than if you do this instead. Tomorrow there will be another post showing specifically how to take advantage of this feature, how to book it, and showing how the domestic segment comes out to zero miles, so come back tomorrow and check it out.

  14. CONFUSED ABOUT YOUR SITE

    FTG is……………………….THE FRUGAL TRAVEL GUY/ Is this one of his sites writers? My advice, since on your site it does not appear that you have traveled enough to to a travel site yet, Stick to your day job. Although a site for Gay couples would of at least been original.

  15. @cogswell reply

    @cogswell, it is subsidized by the folks who carry a balance an pay 18-23 percent interest.

  16. On your site there is no mention of credit card commissions from affiliates. No legal disclaimer. I only use credit card links I trust and who are upfront on whether there are getting a commission. And also use the mother in law rule too if you want us to believe that you are honest. That is why I only use MMS links for credit cards. Be like D.

  17. P.S. please no more pictures of hotel toilets. ATTENTION ALL BLOGGERS, no mo pictures of toilets.

  18. Thanks for posting, this site sure looks interesting. To all those haters out there, If you don’t like it don’t read it, but don’t blast someone’s blog. I’ll be checking out this site. Thanks

  19. @Anne, that’s pretty funny. I have my moments all the time.
    @Chico Escuela, we do disclose these wherever it applies, and yes, you should use MMS links if you like his site. He’s one of the best and we love his work. That being said, we do love our careers, so no plans to change that.
    @Rob, great to hear!

  20. This has become a modus operandi. Get exposure doing the interview here and then BANG, you smack your readers with an inferior affiliate link credit card offer. Check their site today with the crappy US Air offer.
    MMS: You lose credibility featuring interviews of bloggers who just don’t have that much experience doing this and then assaulting their readers with inferior credit card offers while keeping silent on superior non affiliate offers.
    And this is why this whole hobby is turning to mega mud!
    To the site authors, nothing personal. I just don’t like what you just pulled here like many other interviewees who came before you.

  21. @FreeTravelGuys April 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    I’ve flown for free plenty of times on a full flight so using miles isn’t just filling an empty seat. The airline has to pass this cost on to someone else – just wondering if anyone has any stats on this. For example, are ticket prices effectively 10% higher in order to subsidize the frequent flier programs? This would essentially be passing the cost on to poorer people who don’t fly as much and who can’t get approved for credit cards with large signup bonuses.

  22. Follow up post, after pushing the crappy US Air card, is “Begginner’s Guide to Free Travel” with a bunch more affiliate credit card links trying to rope in more noobs.

    “We started our site in October 2012 in an effort to help all our family and friends with this wonderful hobby”

    and then we decided “screw family and friends, we can’t believe how much money we can make pimping credit cards, holy cow”

    and on and on it goes…

  23. MMS………………please,please,please do an interview with TravelBloggerBuzz, he’s the best. Sure sometimes the truth hurts, but it is ALWAYS THE BEST PATH CHOSEN. (confucious or prof. erwin corey)

  24. yeah, do an interview with travelbloggerbuzz or milenerd. i want to hear from people who don’t hold back. these intervews have gotten a little boring and all of them sound the same

  25. @Cogswell, no stats that we know of, but I’m sure there are. If there’s anything certain is that each and every company has everything priced into their products. No different than that small rewards card people swipe at CVS, or health or car insurance premiums having built in their prices the losses from people committing insurance fraud or not carrying insurance.

    @TravelBloggerBuzz, the truth is that we did start the site to help family and friends and this is a hobby for us. Nothing we can do about it if you believe otherwise. However, all the links on the article you mention, except one, which is disclosed, are public links and we earn no commissions or financial gain from them. It takes someone with less than 2 weeks in this hobby to know which links are public and which are affiliates. From someone who has his own blog, I would have expected them to know better.

  26. Fashions by Larry

    Hi Fellas.
    My man Mark and I are looking for a great place to swing. Any suggestions, Key West, Frisco, South Beach, Fire Island, Provencetown, we’ve been there already. Any new idea’s from you boys? Chow, Larry Cherry.

  27. Mildred Spinner

    wow i just found a whole bunch you can interview
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  28. According to your site you have only been to 3 countries. Why are you giving travel advice?

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