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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: JohnnyFD
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
I started collecting credit card points out of college when I heard about being able to get 50,000 Southwest points by spending a few thousand dollars in 3 months. I thought it would be hard to even spend that much, but the thought of getting 2 free round-trip flights anywhere in the US was super appealing to me.
Why did you start your blog? What’s special about it?
My blog, JohnnyFD.com, started as a way to share my journey of traveling and build an online business while abroad. I think the reason it gets over 100,000 visitors a month is because I’m super open about everything I do and even share my monthly income reports with my readers.
It’s mostly about travel and business. But more importantly my blog documents the ups and downs of the journey so others can follow along and learn from it.
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
Develop a system for real spending and stop being lazy and looking for shortcuts.
The days of generating rewards with creative spending are over, but real spending will always be welcomed and encouraged by credit card companies. Everyone knows how amazing it is to be able to run business spend through your rewards cards, but most people think they aren’t lucky enough to have their own business and give up.
But the truth is, with less time than it takes to figure out ways to spend “creatively,” you can create a simple online business even if you’re broke. By doing so I’ve been able to rack up over one and a half million miles on a single card over the years without any artificial spending.
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
Using my points, I’ve been able to fly Business Class from the US to Thailand, throughout Europe, and even to South Africa.
I’ve enjoyed every single trip. But if I had to choose one, it would have to be scuba diving in Borneo with hundreds of turtles and sharks.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
At first they were worried when I would show them credit card bills that would sometimes be close to $30,000 in spend in a single month, but when they found out that not only would the business bring in more than that but I also started flying for free, they were happy and intrigued.
What started out as a way to make a couple hundred dollars a month and a way to fly for free, turned into a business that I sold for $60,000!
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
Focus on getting your real spending high enough where you can earn points regardless if you open new cards or not to get sign-up bonuses. Once you have consistent spend, you have options.
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
With the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, not only have I gotten points for the sign-up bonus, and 2X Arrival miles on all purchases every month, but also I get points just for redeeming! In September 2016, I redeemed close to $5,000 worth of miles and was awarded a bonus of an additional 25,000 Arrival miles which is incredible.
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
That I knew the power of owning a small business and having the power to run expenses through a card instead of wasting months chasing the next hot way to meet minimum spending.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
Most readers might be surprised to know that just a few years ago I was in Thailand without enough money to buy a plane ticket home. I came out here to become a professional Muay Thai fighter. When I failed I was broke and had no options.
Three years later, I’m flying Business Class around the world and enjoying a great life. I’ve now been featured in places like Business Insider, Entrepreneur and even Forbes.
Any parting words?
I made it a goal a long time ago to never fly coach again for flights over 5.5 hours. The tools are out there, now it’s time to actually do the work. If you want to hear more about the 14 countries I’ve traveled through this year, subscribe to the Travel Like a Boss Podcast or follow me on my blog JohnnyFD.com.
Johnny – 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!