“I Only Became Serious About Miles & Points When I Wanted to Go to Bora Bora for My Honeymoon”

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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:  Miles per Day 

Vinh is a miles & points collector who writes Miles per Day to show his family and friends how they can travel the world on the cheap.  He’s also a comedian on Twitter.  🙂

Miles Per Day

Overwater Bungalow at Hilton Moorea

How and when did you start collecting miles and points?

I started collecting miles and points over 10 years ago.  However, I only got serious 4 years ago because I wanted to go to Bora Bora for my honeymoon.

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

I started my blog in December 2014 because I wanted to keep track of how many miles & points I could collect in a year.

I eventually got so aggressive with my accumulation of points that I subsequently got shut down by Chase, Barclaycard, US Bank, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Sears, Best Buy, etc.  There are also reader shutdown stories too since I seem to be a magnet for shutdowns.  That’s why people refer to the blog as Shutdowns per Day now due to all the shutdown stories.

Miles Per Day

Staying at the Mystique in Santorini

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

Pimp out your friends and family!  At dinners, tell them all how awesome the Chase Sapphire Reserve 3X points is on dining transactions, and that they should get the card immediately!  Then fire off referral emails during dessert and tell them if they apply right then and there, you’ll pay for their cheesecake!

What’s your most memorable travel experience?

When I flew from Seattle to Los Angeles and back in 1 day to do a “gift card run.”  AMEX had a $25 off $50 offer at Smart & Final (California-based store), and I mapped out and drove to 14 different stores buying gift cards.  I know people will think it was crazy, but I made a profit of nearly $2,000 after expenses for the trip.

Miles Per Day

Dining at Ithaa Undersea Restaurant at Conrad Maldives

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

They love me because I just hooked them up with free cheesecake!

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

Yes, forget slow and steady!  The pigs get slaughtered with the hogs these days.  Did that piece of bacon come from a pig or hog?  I don’t know.

They both taste the same to me.

Miles Per Day

Safari in South Africa

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

The most awkward way at least was when I got 20,000 Delta miles for a Bosley hair treatment appointment.  I had a full head of hair, and so the conversation was pretty short.  I did however learn about the process just in case I need it down the road.

Miles Per Day

Riding Camels in Egypt

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

That I should have hit the Mint deal harder!

What would your readers be surprised to know about you?

That I finished a full marathon in 4:24 hours even after only running 11 miles in training.  It was sheer will power and lots of water that helped me finish.

Miles Per Day

Outhouse on Top of Mount Kilimanjaro

Any parting words?

If you didn’t get shut down, you didn’t hit it hard enough.

Vinh – 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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9 responses to ““I Only Became Serious About Miles & Points When I Wanted to Go to Bora Bora for My Honeymoon”

  1. I am curious how if you were shut down, if you got to use those miles and what got you back up and running again!

  2. He got shut done by the credit card companies–not the airlines, hotels, etc. You transfer the points, that’s it. Credit cards are out of the equation.

    • I guess I used the wrong term – miles instead of points. If the credit cards shut you down, do you still have access to your points to transfer them to miles? I wouldn’t want to lose those! Also, how did you gain access back again?

      • Some airlines call miles (United, AA), other airlines call points (Southwest). But miles and points are exactly the same thing. The question is where do the points live? In the credit card or in the airline reward account. Most airlines points live in the airline reward account, out of reach of the bank. So if the bank shuts down your credit card or you close the credit card, you don’t have access to and use the credit card anymore, but the points in the airlines or hotel reward account are yours to keep and use. You access your airline reward account because you set up the userid and password.

  3. Poor advise. Telling someone new to this game your not hitting it hard enough if you don”t get shut down is like telling someone just starting to drive your not driving fast enough if your not getting any tickets. Abuse of the system makes things worse for everyone in the long run. Example – chases 5/24, the extinction of birds ( which I didn’t”t use ). Sorry, won”t be following your blogs.

  4. Why even post this? This isnt funny, isnt informative, and isnt even interesting. Advocating abuse of the system makes it worse for everyone. Come on MMS.

  5. Yeah, I’m kind of wondering about the point of gaming the system that hard, to the point you get shut down. If you get cut off by Chase, you eliminate the best and most versatile points/miles in this hobby. What then? I prefer to fly under the radar, not be too greedy and make enough points to take my family on a once a year vacation, staying in 3 star hotels and flying economy. Never been shut down, still have my Bluebird account and will be under 5/24 in a few months.

    • Just as a friendly counterpoint, what about those people whose goal isn’t 3-star hotels and economy flights? And I ask that as someone whose goals actually usually are those things! I’m just saying: if you want Bora Bora and first class flights and the like, you might have to be willing to take a few more risks, hit the game harder, etc. And should we really judge anyone who does? I mean, who cares about still having Bluebird or being under 5/24 if all along you just wanted to fly F to Tahiti?!

  6. Lulz. This is great stuff. I say kudos to Vinh for figuring out what he wanted and going balls to the wall for it. And I say that as someone who is decidedly more risk averse than him and can’t imagine going as hard as he did/does.