Welcome to the next interview in our interview series where travel bloggers share their stories on having Big Travel with Small Money!
Miles & Points Interview: GlobetrotterHQ
Javier runs GlobetrotterHQ to help folks in Europe with the miles and points game!
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
I signed up for my first program in 2001, but only got serious and started collecting in mid-2010 thanks to your blog and a couple of others.
Why did you start your blog? What’s special about it?
Friends and family were constantly asking how I traveled so much and how could I afford going to remote locations and to luxurious hotels. In order to have a central repository I started GlobetrotterHQ.com.
We are highlighting the miles and points game from a European perspective although we also have US readers.
Since Europe is fragmented and offers vary from country to country, the opportunities to accumulate miles quickly is not as lucrative as in the US. But the fun is finding the ones that do exist and helping others take advantage of them.
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
For most readers, signing up for credit cards is still the quickest way to get an injection of miles. However, spending wisely and taking advantage of multiplying miles with every purchase possible is the key to accumulating miles.
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
I’ve been to almost 70 countries and territories so picking one experience is hard. Walking with wild lions in Zambia is probably up there but I count making friends and helping those less fortunate in other countries as the most rewarding experiences.
Although anything with animals, be it shark diving, safaris, conservation programs, educational amazon treks and stays or experiences with indigenous people are also amazing.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
At first, they were sure that I was doing something illegal, but after explaining and helping many of them achieve free travel, I stopped worrying about the FBI showing up at my door. Although I’m sure the NSA is listening…
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
Learning the ins and outs of the airlines’ award programs and hotel point charts. Many focus on accumulating points and miles but then waste them by not maximizing their redemptions.
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
Being personable. It’s amazing how many times you will get some bonus miles, points or even upgrades and perks for being genuinely kind and grateful.
I’ve seen many times where people get caught up on their status or flying in first or business class and forget to be human when dealing with others.
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
How to apply for credit cards and putting all spend on them. I’ve always maintained excellent credit and paid everything in full every month, but liked using cash.
I kept one Continental credit card for almost 10 years and was only able to accumulate enough for 2 economy round-trips to Europe in that time. Now I easily accumulate that in a few months or less.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I speak 5 languages and am learning 3 more.
Any parting words?
Travel is about reciprocity. The more you give when traveling the more you get. By having an open mind and adapting, we can use what we’ve learned for the benefit of others which in turn brings satisfaction and great memories.
Javier – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on having Big Travel with Small Money!