“For those without noise-cancellation headphones, it must have felt like Chinese water torture.”

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Welcome to the next interview in our interview series where travel bloggers share their insights on having Big Travel with Small Money!

Miles & Points Interview: Points Summary

Jamison has been mileage running for years and writes Points Summary to help maximize your points.

Points Summary - Interview With Jamison

Alice Cooper was my next door neighbor at the Sheraton Tribeca in New York City

How and when did you start collecting miles and points?

I started collecting miles and points in college.  I joined Flyertalk in 2005 and was just beginning to learn the basics of frequent flyer programs.

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

I started my blog because my friends on Twitter kept pestering me. Since many of my friends are travel bloggers, I thought- heck, why not?  I’ve always wanted to write about where I traveled to and provide personal travel tips.

My blog is special because I write about travel-hacking tips and destinations. Most of my content consists of mileage running and making a trip report out of it.

Points Summary - Interview With Jamison

Driving into Bethlehem in Palestine under Palestinian Authority

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

Targeted credit card offers.  These offers are specially marketed and can appear in your e-mail inbox, postal mail, and online portals.  Currently, the 100,000 American Express Platinum is still around and that is the most lucrative and sought after offer.

Lately, there has been success in physically visiting a bank branch to receive higher offers.

What’s your most memorable travel experience?

I went on a trip to Israel earlier this year and challenged myself to get into Bethlehem via a rental car with Israeli license plates.

I successfully drove into Palestine controlled by the Palestinian Authority (West Bank) and stayed at the Intercontinental Jacir Palace in Bethlehem.

Points Summary - Interview With Jamison

InterContinental Jacir Palace in Bethlehem

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

Quite frankly, my friends think I’m a trust fund baby because I fly first class all the time and visit exciting destinations.  I find it laughable since I only pay economy coach fares and mileage run for less than 5 cents per mile.

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

Twitter is currently my favorite tool to communicate with like-minded people. It’s a useful way to ask quick questions and start a conversation.  I am a social media maven and use Twitter on a daily basis.

Follow me on Twitter if you already haven’t.

Points Summary - Interview With Jamison

Having Feijoada in Sao Paulo, Brasil

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

A few years ago when I was flying to Hawaii on United Airlines, the call attendant sound was constantly pinging for 5 hours throughout the entire flight. After the flight, I received an e-mail from United apologizing for the situation and they provided a link for free miles.

Back then, I was a novice frequent flyer and at that time, it was unexpected compensation.  For those without noise-cancellation headphones, it must have felt like Chinese water torture.

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

I wish I had known about a valuation system when I started out.  Currently, I value American and United miles at 2 cents minimum.  As far as hotels, I value Starwood points at 3 cents minimum.

What would your readers be surprised to know about you?

Most people redeem their frequent flyer miles for first or business class, but I mainly use my miles for coach award tickets, car rentals, and hotel bookings.

Any parting words?

Feel free to check out some of my recent trip reports this year (some are still a work in progress):

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

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20 responses to ““For those without noise-cancellation headphones, it must have felt like Chinese water torture.”

  1. Love the Alice Cooper photo! He’s getting a whole new generation of fans in our house as his episode of the Muppet show is on constant repeat: “School’s out for EVER!”

  2. Nice interview! One note: you took it as a challenge to drive a rental car into Bethlehem and stay there? That is really not a big deal and something people do. I have visited there a few times (as well as Ramallah) and have always done so with a rental car (with Budget or Avis stickers :). Glad you enjoyed it there. The hotel looks really nice.

  3. If you returned the same way, was there any hassle? I would like to do this same trip but am concerned with border hassles.

  4. @Dia Thanks!
    @Hank I thought it was a big challenge since there was a lot of online chatter from Tripadvisor and others to avoid driving into Bethlehem with Israeli rental car plates. Glad to see that you have done it several times!
    @JohnnieD there was no problem exiting as we just showed our US Passports and the border guards waived us through right away

  5. What, you aren’t a trust fund baby? LOL 🙂 Great interview, BTW.

  6. Congrats to making it on MMS Jamison. I still think your valuation of 3 cents is high :P. Oh well, keep on blogging!

  7. I liked this interview but was confused about one thing. First you stated people think you’re a “trust fund baby” because you fly first class all the time.
    Then you stated you only use your ff points for coach class, hotels and car rentals. ????

  8. @Jamison, did you go to UC Santa Barbara? It looks like that in your twitter name. I have always wanted to get a really cheap apartment close to LAX and just go on mileage runs. You might want to check this out for cheap flights to/from LAX: http://www.theflightdeal.com/category/flight-deals/lax/

  9. That’s our Jamison living on the edge! Great interview

  10. Jamison,
    I, too, found you on twitter a year or so ago and have enjoyed your mileage runs and tips, plus just plain old questions you have. I like your no nonsense approach versus those that don’t want to give out any information, you are like an open book. Thanks for the good reads.
    Cacinda Maloney

  11. I just about always blow off reading these interviews (no offense) but I had to read this due to the Alice Cooper picture, but I found it fun & will start reading them. Keep up the great work!

  12. Daraius – thanks for featuring Jamison! We’re thrilled to have him on First2Board and loved reading this interview.

    Jamison is certainly full of adventure and excitement!

  13. That’s my boy, Jamison!

  14. “Targeted credit card offers”

    is there a way to get in the queue for these sorts of offers?

  15. Dear interviewees, don’t shoot yourself in the foot please! First you say that you travel 1st class all around, them you say you redeem miles for coach awards. Consistency is your friend.

  16. Miguel — Jamison is an American Airlines Executive Platinum, and he is always upgraded on his paid domestic flights. He also gets Systemwide Upgrade Certificates to upgrade cheap coach fares to Business/First internationally. Mileage runs allow that.

    I’ve known Jamison for a while, I can tell you for a fact that he has never paid for more than coach (either with cash or miles), but some of his blog posts details how he still flies Business/First.

  17. Nice interview Jamison! But how could you go to Peru and not see the best parts – Machu Picchu and the Amazon rainforest?

  18. Nice interview ! Now, where is that 100K AMEX Offer? I wan’t to apply to it, PLEEEEASE!!

  19. That is soo cool that you got to see Alice Cooper in your hotel! The closest I ever got was on the floor at a concert. Keep up the good work on your blogs, very helpful info for me.

  20. Great interview Jamison. I wish you would have said something about your cranberry vodka addiction!