“But there is the entire world out there, outside the airports.”

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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:  Lenticular Travel

Andrew writes lenticular travel to help travelers take better pictures.

Lenticular Travel - Interview with Andrew

Andrew in The Wave, Arizona

How and when did you start collecting miles and points?

Quite a long time ago, I realized I didn’t need to be a flying consultant working in 3 different cities every week to be able to earn miles by simply using a travel reward credit card.  One of my first big awards was two first class tickets to Europe on Air France using Delta miles.

It was an amazing deal, a business class ticket was 90,000 miles, first class – 100,000.  I quickly learned that the high price premium tickets gave me the best value.

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

My passion is photography and my blog is full of photographs which I hope stand out in the crowded world of travel blogs.  I cover great photo locations around the world.  I write about some amazing hotels where you can stay in a great room on points and photograph some stunning vistas from your private terrace.

I appreciate the beauty around us, the most amazing views and the most breathtaking moments are my goal.  I might plan the entire trip to Patagonia around one picture I’ve always wanted to take and that’s exactly what I did.  I always do extensive planning about the best photo locations, the best light to capture, the best angles.

Lenticular Travel - Interview with Andrew

Torres del Paine, Chile, Patagonia. That’s a Crazy Lenticular Cloud in the Mountain!

I want to share this with my readers.  I also share some tips about photo techniques, I want to help you take better pictures, there is a few very simple things or steps which can greatly improve your travel photos.  And of course I share tips about miles and points as the best way to save money on traveling.

I like to think that my blog helps a traveler take better pictures and a photographer travel better.  My website is very new and I would like to promote it by announcing a great giveaway for the readers – your chances of winning are high!  Check out the details on my blog.

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

I think people often don’t realize that the customer service in America is simply great.  They complain, but they don’t know how bad it is everywhere else.  Try to get anything done over the phone in any country in Europe for example and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Bad things happen and the customer service representatives are here to help or at least make you happy(ier).  If you have a reason, call.  You might be surprised. A few years ago we stayed at a very fancy hotel using points and had the concierge ship a package for us back home.

We got a unique local gift and we really didn’t want to break it or have any issues while crossing the borders.  Long story short – they screwed up.  The package got destroyed and they didn’t tell us about it.

We were very disappointed, the gift was really unique.  At the end, the program reimbursed us for the entire stay.  We got something like two weeks worth of points back.

What’s your most memorable travel experience?

That’s probably the hardest question.  But I think organizing our own private open-door helicopter photo shoot in Bora Bora must have been up there at the top of the list.  Bora Bora has a special place in our hearts and this is a very special way to see this most beautiful lagoon in the world.

Lenticular Travel - Interview with Andrew

Bora Bora Lagoon From the Helicopter

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

We are very private and we don’t really share or advertise with the whole world what we do.  Well, that was before I started the blog I guess (LOL).  That’s one of the reasons it took me a while to start it.  But I help anyone with advice whenever I can.

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

I think any way of double or triple dipping is an unexpected bonus.  And I don’t mean literally “buy a gift card or spend it in a store with 5x bonus” approach only.  I mean buying a camera you were planning to get for your trip anyway and earning extra miles for that purchase is always great.

Lenticular Travel - Interview with Andrew

Cannon Beach, Oregon Coast

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

I guess that must be the Bosley consultation for baldness, for 20,000 Delta miles if I remember correctly…  The guy was very convincing, I was checking my hair in a mirror for a long time after that.  The miles posted, believe it or not!

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

Everything!  I guess just simply how many miles and points I can earn by applying more organization to my everyday spending.  Also how much you learn by following the forums and blogs.

It takes time but I would have never been able to book a presidential suite with points in a brand new Intercontinental hotel in Germany if I didn’t follow a dedicated forum and learned about this option or mistake.  The hotel respected my booking and we spent a few amazing days there.

What would your readers be surprised to know about you?

We both live in LA and work in Hollywood entertainment industry.  I could post a lot of anecdotes about many famous people, but I guess I would need to start another blog just for that! Or maybe not…  Follow lenticulartravel and you might find some spicy stuff!

Lenticular Travel - Interview with Andrew

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Any parting words?

I think there is a risk to start an addiction.  I read quite often about people flying around the world in two days.  Sure, if you enjoy flying and that makes you happy – why not.

But there is the entire world out there, outside the airports.  And it’s changing very rapidly.  Many, many places are much harder to enjoy, the crowds are getting bigger and the experience is simply not the same as it used to be.

Slow down!  Take some time to enjoy the unique locations you are able to visit.  Many people don’t have that chance.

Also many of those places will never be the same, maybe it’s your last chance to climb the steep temple of Angkor Wat and take a deep breath admiring the most amazing monument the human race has ever created.  Next year you might find a fence there…  That’s why photography is such a big part of our life.

It pushes you to see the most beautiful locations in the best light.  It pushes you to wake up early morning to catch a great sunrise – in the same time you have a chance to enjoy a place practically by yourself.  Tourists rarely show up early.

Don’t be a tourist, be a traveler, an observer, save your memories forever and trust me, photography is a great way to do it!

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

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23 responses to ““But there is the entire world out there, outside the airports.”

  1. Best yet. Most blogs are about how to do this type of travel. Andrew writes about WHY to do it! Very inspiring. His blog will now be part of my rotation. Thanks!

  2. Excellent blog! I have been visiting his blog on and off for a little while now and really enjoy the shots. Nice job!

  3. Pingback: Great Giveaway | Lenticular Travel

  4. Great interview!! And yes, customer service in Europe is atrocious. I LOVE dealing with American companies, because you eventually reach someone who cares about keeping your business.

  5. Andrew, in this hobby I see a lot of spectacular photos. But yours are truly breathtaking, I am not exaggerating! Love the one of Bora Bora, my dream destination! Have you tried pitching them to “Islands” magazine? My brother-in-law has just started photography business. I will make sure, he checks out your blog. Completely agree with your parting words. All the best to you, you have something special !

  6. Truly great pictures. Do you mind sharing what camera/lens you typically use?

  7. Those are some badass photos just in this blog post. Great stuff!

  8. Andrew,

    Wonderful pictures. Can you please share the camera/lens that you use? Also, I consider myself to be a good photographer but would like to step it up a notch and take pictures as good as the ones you have on your blog. Do you have any suggestions for resources I could use?

    Thanks!

  9. You guys are my inspiration!
    Thank you all for such an amazing welcome, I’m speechless. You are great!
    Have many photo stories coming up too, sucks the day is so short!
    Seriously, I wasn’t expecting that, thank you

    – Andrew

  10. I really enjoyed reading this interview. Unreal pictures!

  11. Grant and JettyBoy,
    My blog is also about the cameras, techniques, how to improve your photography,
    so absolutely check it out. I’m planing a lot of cool things, I started with a post
    “good photograph”, I’m also thinking about some tips about post-processing,
    but need to do it a right way.
    I went through a lot of systems, but now I shoot with Sony NEX mirrorless cameras
    and some great manual lenses. There is a post about it on my blog showing
    great features of such a setup. Great for travels as it’s so compact.

  12. As a photo junkie, I love this. I also appreciate the angle of the blog.

    To those asking about his camera, he has a section on his site dedicated to all of his camera equipment under “My Camera”

  13. Very fun interview & loved the pics, especially of Canon Beach, Oregon. 🙂

    Yet early in the interview, Andrew mentions a “simple” (yet massive) accumulation of miles via travel reward credit card(s). We’re left with the impression he used the Delta Miles/Credit Card — to get two first class Air France tickets. (apparently at 100k each)

    How does one do this? Maybe I’m missing something. Best offer I’ve seen for the Delta/AmEX card is for 30,000 bonus miles. How does one manage to get that 30k of miles up to 200k?

    Or are we really talking about multiple credit card points combined, plus massive amounts of spending thereon — to get the points up to 200k? (all that work, for one trip?)

    (While I’m at it, Daraius, be grateful if you could point us to primer posts on how you got up to a “million” points…. been reading your site for months, perhaps I’ve missed ’em.) thanks!

  14. @Will, if you go through Card Match tool on creditcards.com, you can find a link for the 45,000 Delta Skymiles Credit Card. Like you said, there are many ways to get Delta SkyMiles from various AMEX cards.

  15. WOW, your picture makes me want to book a trip to Bora Bora… I was on the fence about it, but I think I’ll pull the trigger.

  16. Nurse Traveler,

    I think it’s way more important to learn how to see good light, how to create
    a pleasing, balanced composition, how to select a subject of your photograph
    or how to establish your foreground and your background.
    Equipment is important but doesn’t matter until you start observing
    and start “seeing” the world around you.
    I wrote a post about it, highly recommend it:
    http://lenticulartravel.com/good-photograph/
    People are hooked on “what camera” way too often. Today most cameras are great.
    Yeah, I love manual lenses and appreciate the exceptional engineering and optical
    qualities of the best glass. I’m passionate about it.
    But great photographs can be taken with a cellphone, trust me 🙂

    – Andrew

  17. Will,

    The game of miles and points has many angles and there is no simple answer 🙂
    Follow my blog and follow Daraius here at MMS. You’ll learn about ways to multiply
    your earnings. The whole thing changes a lot, now people talk about credit cards a lot,
    but it used to be very beneficial to simply fly (with bonus promos). I just bought
    a new fridge and it got me almost 20,000 miles. It works 🙂

    – Andrew

  18. Thanks Andrew – I will look into the NEX system that you mentioned.

    Any thoughts on helpful resources (books, websites) for reading up on good techniques?

  19. Andrew, your photos are so damn awesome. you are truly talented.

  20. I wonder how long it will be when we are told to buy a camera with an SPG Amex card;-) Waiting, waiting, waiting

  21. @ Travelbloggerbuzz How nice of you to stop by! You are the ever present (if self-appointed) eye, keeping bloggers straight in their paths! 🙂

  22. Thank you all for your comments 🙂
    JettyBoy, this is a tough question. My favorite photo-forum is “alt forum” at fredmiranda.com, there is an amazing number
    of super talented guys there. All very helpful. I think there is no shortcuts. The best way is to practice as much as you can.
    Try different framing. Different approach. Very often people get stuck on one vision, one solution. Like the creative process,
    you ask someone to change something, move it by 20 feet and he’s gonna move it by 2 inches. Don’t be like that guy,
    try a dramatically different framing, everyone will be shooting wide angle, pick a telephoto.
    Also learn Photoshop and start using it daily. You will discover an entirely new world. Adobe made it very affordable lately
    for everyone who didn’t own it. You can just “rent” it for less than two drinks on Friday night.
    And simply look around, the world is quite beautiful 🙂

  23. Guys, there is 3 weeks and $675 to win! Plus a print of my photograph 🙂
    Come to check it out:

    http://lenticulartravel.com/giveaway/

    – Andrew