“One of Our Most Memorable Experiences Was Being Invited to Our Taxi Driver’s Home…”

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Welcome to the next installment of our interview series where folks share their thoughts about Big Travel with Small Money!

Miles & Points Interview:   The Travel Sisters

Matilda and Patti write The Travel Sisters to help folks focus on the simple ways that anyone can earn miles and points.  In addition to sharing easy ways to earn miles and points, they also share details, advice, and tips about their past and future travels as well as other interesting travel news and items.

You can follow The Travel Sisters on Twitter.   And they are giving away a $25 American Express gift card.

The Travel Sisters Interview With Patti Matilda

Patti and Matilda in Antarctica

How and when did you start collecting miles and points?

Although we earned miles through flying since we started traveling, it has only been 2 years since we started collecting miles and points through methods other than flying.  About 2 years ago, we read an article about travel hacking and were so intrigued with the idea that we immediately began researching the many ways we could earn miles.

Hugging a Giant Panda Named Oreo in Chengdu, China

Hugging a Giant Panda Named Oreo in Chengdu, China

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

For many years, we talked about starting a blog chronicling our travels.  We are obsessive about research and often found useful tips on other travel blogs.  We figured sharing our tips might be useful to someone.

Well, full-time jobs got in the way for a long time but we finally started our blog in January 2014.  We write about how to earn miles and points and also provide some inspiration on places to travel.

Our travel style is budget to luxury and everything in between.  Basically, it just depends on the destination.

We also don’t limit ourselves to only places where we can use miles and points – some adventures are just too good for us to pass up.

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

While the fastest way to earn a large amount of miles is through credit card sign-up bonuses, 1 of the easiest ways is online shopping.  By taking an extra minute to go through a shopping portal before you purchase something online you can earn miles for purchases you were going to make anyway.  You don’t even need to have a mileage earning credit card.

The Travel Sisters Interview With Patti Matilda

Kuang Si Falls Near Luang Prabang, Laos, Great Spot for a Cool and Refreshing Dip

What’s your most memorable travel experience?

One of our most memorable experiences was being invited to our taxi driver’s home in Kumasi, Ghana.  We met his wife, son, cousins, sisters, and neighbors.  All warm, welcoming, and hilarious.

The Travel Sisters Interview With Patti Matilda

Tracking Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda

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

Our family is very supportive of our miles & points hobby and have even joined in on the fun!  Until recently, our parents only had 1 credit card…a cash back card.  At our suggestion, they have signed-up for multiple miles earning credit cards in the past 2 years.

We recently helped our mom book a First Class flight to visit relatives in Europe using miles she earned through credit card sign-up bonuses.  She is super excited to to fly First Class for much less than she would have paid for a coach ticket.

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

There are many useful tools and tricks one can learn from blogs like Million Mile Secrets.  Two simple tools that we find useful are:

1.   If you have multiple frequent flyer accounts, check a website like Cashback Monitor or evrewards to compare payouts before online shopping.

2.   You can earn a few extra miles and points by taking surveys that are delivered to your email inbox.  Our favorite survey site is e-Rewards and we earn ~6,000 miles a year by taking their surveys.

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

As a general rule, the points and miles we earn are entirely expected as they are earned from strategic planning.  The only exception is sometimes earning a surprise bonus from online shopping as there was a special promotion.

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

Collecting miles and points isn’t only for frequent travelers.  There are so many simple ways to earn miles without flying.  We had traveled for over a decade before we started actively collecting miles and points through credit cards and other methods.  We still cringe at the thought of all our missed earning opportunities and having spent more money to fly in less comfort.

What would your readers be surprised to know about you?

People might be surprised to know that we rarely traveled as kids.  We are 1st-generation Americans and our parents had not grown up with the idea of taking time off work for a vacation.  Although we did not travel back then, we always loved reading about other countries and feel very fortunate we now get to see those places in person.

The Travel Sisters Interview With Patti Matilda

Cherry Blossoms (Sakura) in Japan

Any parting words?

There are so many ways to earn miles and points that it can sometimes seem intimidating.  Our advice to readers is to set a goal and start small using the methods you are comfortable with and that work best for you.

Thanks again for the opportunity to be interviewed.

Patti & Matilda – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on having Big Travel with Small Money!

If you’d like to be considered for our interview series, please send me a note!

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3 responses to ““One of Our Most Memorable Experiences Was Being Invited to Our Taxi Driver’s Home…”

  1. Thanks for interviewing us!

  2. I always use evrewards and airline portals before buying anything online. My husband bought some expensive tech stuff by just calling the customer service number instead and I still can’t stand that we missed out on the miles!

  3. Paula, I know how you feel!

    My wife will buy things and not use a shopping portal or flat out buy something with the bank debit card (GASP). I think our biggest arguments stem around that when it happens =)

    This was a great article. I love hearing about people who are new(ish) to the hobby and how they are still able to travel large using miles and points. It is easy to do this when you either travel as part of your work, or have had multiple years to accrue points and position yourself as an affiliate, but to do it from the start and be successful without work travel is a lot more difficult.

    It also has become harder to accrue points as the credit card companies have started cracking down on the different MS techniques out there and a lot of them have been either shut down or monitored. I have spent too much time earning my points for Chase to shut my cards down and take my points. Can you provide any insight into how you are accruing points, other than flying for work or through credit signup bonuses? I know you mentioned online shopping and rewards sites, so no need to go into detail on that. Any other methods?