Welcome to the next interview in our interview series where renowned mile and point gurus share their insights on having Big Travel with Small Money!
Miles & Points Interview: Very Good Points
Stacey works for the worlds largest provider of nonprofit software. She also loves to take amazing trips to exotic destinations and most of all – she loves points and miles so I was looking forward to our chat on Friday!
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
I started collecting miles and points around 1997 when I worked for several National Hockey League Teams planning large events. Many hotels have programs for meetings and event planners that allow them to earn points. I became more miles savvy when I joined a consulting firm in 2005 spending 180+ nights on average in hotels and logging 150,000+ miles in the air.
Why did you start your blog? What’s special about it?
I began writing a travel section in my employee newsletter. I literally became known as the ‘point person’ and that naturally led to blogging about my passion for travel. I’ve spent more than 10 years traveling the world and have a lot to share.
I like to focus my blog on travel experiences rather than tips on how to earn miles. I often blog about hotels, airlines and what to do in a city/country. I also want to be a catalyst for change and see my blog as a way to make an impact on the world. Most recently, while visiting a hotel in China, I wrote and tweeted about a hotels practice of serving Shark Fin Soup. The hotel’s management and brands management took notice and soon after Shark Fin Soup was removed from the menu.
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
Think consciously about the decisions you make whenever you buy something. Ask yourself if you’re earning miles, and if not, why not.
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
I’ve been so amazingly fortunate with my travel opportunities that it’s hard to pick my most memorable experience. I have to say it’s a tie between two memories.
I took a trip to Alaska to go whale watching. After three trips out on the freezing waters, I had a once in a lifetime experience. Four killer whales had surrounded a sea lion and were taunting it. Two humpback whales entered the mix and tried to shield the sea lion. At one point the sea lion took shelter on the back of a humpback whale.
The scene played out for almost an hour. In the end, the killer whales won. The boat captain told our group that professionals wait a lifetime to see something like that. The second memory is a celebrity encounter. I was on vacation in Hawaii and The Edge, the drummer from U2 was staying at my hotel. I’m a huge fan and it was awesome to meet him.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
They think it’s a little crazy, but they’re all excited that I get to see amazing places and have one-of-a-kind experiences.
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
I think the best tool are the blogs and social media outlets. You can learn a lot and pick up really useful tips from your peers.
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
I don’t really have a good answer for this one!
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
I wish I had realized how important it was to build loyalty within a few brands to benefit most from earnings and elite benefits.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I think my readers would be surprised to learn how much of a germ-a-phobe I have become after racking up more than 1,600 hotel nights. The more and more I travel, the more germ obsessed I become. The greatest invention on earth is the Lysol On The Go Wipes!
Any parting words?
It drives me nuts when people have the opportunity to earn points/miles and don’t take advantage of it and then later complain that they can’t go on vacation. I typically only pay for food on my vacations because I earn enough hotel and airline miles to take an amazing vacation.
If you have the opportunity to earn miles, make the most of it!
Stacey– Thanks for sharing your thoughts on having Big Travel with Small Money!