“I generally look for something positive.”

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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: Aussie Points Expert

Jeremy runs Aussie Points Expert to show Aussies how to use miles and points to travel.

Aussie Points Expert - Interview With Jeremy

My wife & I Living in New York

How and when did you start collecting miles and points?

Because of where I worked, I had access to deeply discounted corporate Continental fares back around 1994.  And I lived far from family.  So I took many cheap trips, and signed up to their points program.

I earned enough over the years for 2 round-trips from Guatemala to Alaska, and then a free domestic ticket.  But I actually had to fly those miles to earn the tickets!  It took a long time. I also signed up to other airline programs when I flew with other carriers.

But I mainly searched for cheap airfares, though I gathered Continental miles when I could.

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

After I’d moved to Australia in 2004 with my wife, I rarely visited the States due to the high cost.  But in 2011 while researching a trip I stumbled on your blog and others like it.  I couldn’t believe I was missing out as an expat living overseas and not even with a credit score back in the USA!

I spent at least 6 months reading and learning about points and searching the comments section of major points blogs.  I was trying to see if other US expats had written in, so I could I learn how to benefit.

I’ve lived in Australia for 9 years, so I now have citizenship.  And we have lots of friends here.  Some of them heard of free or cheap trips we were getting, and wondered how we could afford to travel so much.

So I started my blog AussiePointsExpert.blogspot.com to help Australians learn how to benefit from credit card and points deals here.  I noticed there were hardly any points blogs for Australians, and of the few I found, they were mainly geared at high spenders, or business travelers.  Not us frugal travelers!

I’d like my site to be the go-to site for Aussies who want to better travel and for less.

Aussie Points Expert - Interview With Jeremy

My Wife the day we Arrived to Live in Australia in 2004

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

The single best way to get free or cheap trips is credit card signup bonuses!  I doubt we’ll ever have the same bonuses as the US, but if we take advantage of what we do have, the Aussie banks may have to step up a bit more and offer some better deals to get our business.

What’s your most memorable travel experience?

I’ve had many, but my best travel experience would be my wedding in Australia!  We married in 1998 there before we went back to New York City where I was living.

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

Some of them think I’m nuts or that I’ll ruin my credit.  But a few have listened long enough to learn more, and are now benefiting by getting their own free trips.  Others have wanted to learn more, so that is why I started the blog.

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

I think you have to be “VERY” organized if you want to be really successful at this.  I am tracking about 30+ credit cards in 2 countries, for both my wife and I, and a few relatives!  But the average person who is too busy for that, and doesn’t want to aggressively track lots of card or programs like I do, can easily monitor just a couple cards or programs and find they can get real benefits.

Aussie Points Expert - Interview With Jeremy

Victoria Australia 12 Apostles Rock Formations

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

I once flew from the US to Australia and got no credit for the miles.  I sent in my receipts and after some hassles I finally got my 20,000 mile credit and then another 20,000.  A fluke!  But after all my hassles I was glad to get a “bonus”.

Also, I can’t remember where I read this, but a blogger mentioned that whenever you fly you should look for things for which you can give commendation, such as the stewards, great service, etc.  I generally look for something positive.  Also, I note any deficiency.

Then, with the free on-board WiFi on the flight I log on to the airline website, while en-route, and submit comments good or bad.  In the last year alone we’ve earned about 40,000 miles with different airlines by giving our good or negative comments.

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

First of all, I wish I’d known I could get in on the US deals years ago!  Also, that I should have more thoroughly researched the cards and points programs in Australia.  And additionally, the double perks available to those who are residents or citizens of 2 or more countries.

What would your readers be surprised to know about you?

For quite a number of years we did totally unpaid volunteer work, so our income was $0, and we were still able to travel and see lots of places!

Aussie Points Expert - Interview With Jeremy

Outback Australia

Any parting words?

Someone once wrote, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only the first page.”  While traveling, I’ve noted that we enjoy these unique privileges not because we deserve it, but simply because of the citizenship we inherited.

What a pity if we do not at least travel a little out of our comfort zone, whether domestically, or even overseas, since many folks do not have these opportunities!  I’m amazed what I’ve learned from other cultures.

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

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10 responses to ““I generally look for something positive.”

  1. Hi Jeremy, you and I have a lot in common! I am also a US expat/dual citizen with Australia and playing the game in both countries. The Aussie cards have such small sign up bonuses and such high annual fees it makes it really hard so I concentrate on US cards and the Aussie Amex & NAB Velocity cards. It does make it really hard to explain to Aussies how I can travel so much when they can’t get the cards I can get such as the Chase cards!

  2. Very nice post. We always read about the difficulty of getting credit card deals outside of the U.S. So nice to know it’s quite possible. Although I’m sure we’re all wondering how you lived for years on $0 income.

    And you are quite right about organization. It’s the key, and if you can’t be bothered you’re really missing out!

  3. @Anne – Thanks for the feedback. I received housing and food with the volunteer organisation I was working with. And yes, I agree, it’s nice to know that we can still get cards outside of the US. Jeremy

  4. Nice post but I have a question off the topic. We will travel to Australia around mid-Feb. and stay in Sydney for four nights. We still have two extra nights but haven’t decided where to go yet. What’s your suggestion to visit for two days? We will fly from Japan to Sydney and fly back to LA. We prefer a frequent short and direct round trip flight to and from Sydney to see an island or a distinctive city. We think about a coastal city near the Great Reef Barrier but we don’t snorkel or scuba dive. Pleasant weather will be a plus, too. Thanks

  5. @globetrotter – If I were to recommend 2 days somewhere with the time you have, I’d say Cairns or Airlie Beach (airport Proserpine), both give good access to the Barrier Reef. I’ve seen both and they’re beautiful. There are trained guides who could help you snorkel or you can even take glass-bottomed boats. The Gold Coast is great to visit as well, where I’m from, and is tourist mecca for Aussies. The beaches in all the places I mention are incredible.

  6. @Tara – thanks! Nice to know of another expat in Oz. If you have any other tricks you’ve learned in Australia let me know, otherwise stay up with my blog to learn ways to still get some bargains in Australia. Thanks for the comment!

  7. Aussiepointsexpert, I checked out your blog and found it very informative. Your post on status matching is excellent! Thanks, Daraius, for introducing us to other high quality travel bloggers!

  8. @Liz W – Thanks for your feedback, and for reading!

  9. Was so excited to see your blog! We have been points hackers for years, and I have gleaned alot from Dariaus. Today we saw your mom in “London” and asked if that was you. She and I got better acquainted at the 2 week school last summer …my husband went to high school with her! We liked your suggestions and are so happy for the success of your blog. Thanks!

  10. @Jennie Charlton – Thanks Jennie, appreciate your note and keeping in touch. So nice to what you’ve up to and for sending a note. Hope my blog is of help to you, though since you have access to US cards, those are the real gems among cards around the world. Thx!