“I Had to Redeem My Points for a Backpack”

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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 fickle fan

Ruby writes the fickle fan to share experiences and reviews of her travels around the world.

The Fickle Fan - Interview With Ruby

Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro during the 2014 FIFA World Cup

How and when did you start collecting miles and points?

I started when I went on a business trip sponsored by my company.  I flew in Business Class and I signed-up for an Etihad account at the time.

Since I was based in Manila and did not have any other way to collect miles and points at the time, I had to redeem my points for a backpack, which I still use on my travels to this day.

But I began to take it seriously in October 2013.  I banked around 12,000 American Airlines miles from 1 transpacific flight alone.

Then I convinced my boyfriend to sign-up for Chase Sapphire Preferred so I can get United Airlines miles to go home to visit.  (My family lives in Manila, Philippines.)

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

I started my blog to chronicle my adventures.  I have a lot of interests and hence the name, the fickle fan.  Right now, I am concentrating more on blogging about my travels.

I can’t really say there’s anything special about it that makes me stand out above the rest, other than every single person is special.

Every blog out there, regardless if it is a personal blog where only few people (i.e. friends & family) read or a more mainstream blog that acts like an information stream, has their own special points.

The Fickle Fan - Interview With Ruby

Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL

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

Put all your everyday spending on a credit card to earn points and miles!

I’m lucky that the apartment complex I am living in allows credit card payments for our rent.  That is a HUGE chunk of points and miles to add to the bank every single month.  It’s the little things that just add up.

I try to put a lot of spending on credit cards that allow me to transfer to various airlines (i.e Chase Sapphire Preferred and AMEX Starwood cards).

I also signed-up for Chase Freedom and Discover It cards to get 5X points on rotating categories for things that I normally would buy anyway.

What’s your most memorable travel experience?

Traveling alone to South Korea way back in 2012.  That was the 1st time I solo backpacked and I got hooked!

It was such a wonderful place and the fact that I went in the winter made it even better!  I grew up in a place where the only seasons were rainy or hot, so the snow was a big novelty to me.  Oh, and I learned how to snowboard too!

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

My friends are more than supportive.  If anything, they wish they had the patience to research more about points and miles!

But if they have questions, I try my best to help them out.  My family likes that I am a points and miles enthusiast.  Because it means I can go home more often than I would if I had to pay for the flights in cash.

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

Use credit cards everywhere!  Even for a small purchase of $2.  That will still be a few miles or points!  Always think miles and points.

The Fickle Fan - Interview With Ruby

Washington Monument With a View of the WWII Memorial, Reflecting Pool & Lincoln Memorial

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

Rewards websites.  It may take forever to reach the minimum 500 miles for e-miles, but free miles are still free miles.

Also, opting for less housekeeping  at hotels can give you a few points.  This happened to us while at the Marriott Puerto Rico.

We just ticked the green option and ta-da!  A few thousand points appeared as a bonus on the significant other’s account when we checked out.

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

That credit card sign-up bonuses change during certain times of the year.

Granted, we’ve been lucky enough to email the banks and get matched to the increased sign-up bonus, but we’ve also definitely missed out on a lot of other cards.

I wish I knew about Amazon Payments last year.  They’re shutting down now and I’m sad that we weren’t able to utilize it as much.

What would your readers be surprised to know about you?

Well, they might not really be surprised since it’s in the blog, but I hold a 3rd world passport.

It sucks that I need to get Visas to a lot of the destinations that I want to go to.  It helps that I have US Residency (for certain countries) but the Visa process is a pain.  I need to pay more for fees & for getting to the embassy itself!

The Fickle Fan - Interview With Ruby

Central Park, New York, December 2013

Any parting words?

Always think about points!  You can never have too many but earn then burn them.  Oh, and thanks for this opportunity!  🙂

Ruby – 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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6 responses to ““I Had to Redeem My Points for a Backpack”

  1. Pingback: 1-16-15 Another New Blog Feature - Friday Interview - "I used Online Shopping for a Backpack" - Big Habitat

  2. Thank you for having me Daraius! 🙂

  3. Ruby, great to see your interview and discover your blog website. I am a very experienced world traveler, but I recently married a Filipina and everywhere I take her requires visa considerations. You have done well despite those limitations. My wife entered the USA last July to join me at the World Domination Summit in Portland, OR, founded by Chris Guillebeau, so she is only now becoming more aware of the methods in this travel hacking madness. Best wishes for a fabulous 2015!

  4. Lame Big Habitat. Why would you do this? Way to draw attention away from this featured blogger to your blog.

  5. @Bob – oh believe me, it takes a LOT of research to get visas. I’m going to apply for a Schengen visa next month so fingers crossed! I want to go to WDS but it clashes with one of the busiest times I have on my day job so I try to look for other smaller events I can maybe take part of. Thank you for commenting!

  6. Pingback: 1-17-2015 Jet.com Ranking Update; and Some Subtle Changes to the site - Big Habitat