Welcome to the next interview in our interview series where travel bloggers share their thoughts on having Big Travel with Small Money!
Miles & Points Interview: RichmondSavers
Brad & Laura co-founded RichmondSavers to share information on how to become more financially secure & travel the world for free.
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
I first started back in 2011 when the British Airways Visa had a 100,000 Avios bonus. I read J.D. Roth describing the deal on Get Rich Slowly and since he’s someone I have great respect for, I decided it was well worth looking into.
My oldest daughter was only two then, so our travel plans had slowed dramatically, but I figured it was still a great time to learn everything I could and to start amassing points. That led me to sites like Million Miles Secrets, and I’ve been hooked ever since!
Why did you start your blog? What’s special about it?
I started my website, Richmond Savers, earlier in 2013; my wife and I are both CPAs and we have a great love for common-sense personal finance and saving money and we envisioned our site as “financial advice for the rest of us.”
For most people, their financial life is a major point of stress; we try to provide simple and easy to follow advice to make things more efficient and to cut through all the noise. A Lifetime of Financial Advice in your Wallet and How Much Does your Car Payment Really Cost You? are two examples of articles that typify our approach.
Since we’re so interested in travel rewards, it is definitely a focal point of our site; while we’ll never know as much as Daraius, we try to provide a service more for the novice just starting to learn about this entire concept. We offer a free 1-on-1 travel rewards coaching service geared towards this novice starting from planning their trip, to opening cards to eventually booking the free travel.
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
No secret here: Open targeted credit cards with massive bonuses! If you have good credit and pay your bills in full every single month then you really need to jump into this. Figure out how much you can put on your credit card each month and if you can meet the minimum spending requirements and then start opening up cards.
There is simply no reason you can’t constantly be working towards a huge bonus! This can seriously be like getting a 10% to 30% discount on every single dollar you spend on your credit card (which should be every single dollar you spend in life that can go on a credit card).
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
Hard to decide between these two:
- Honeymoon in Maui and Kauai, Hawaii. Laura and I had a wonderful time exploring these two magical islands and it’s a place we dream of living someday. It’s a tropical paradise and yet it is America, with all the comforts of home. We enjoyed that combination greatly.
- Study abroad in Hamamatsu, Japan. I spent a summer in Japan learning the language, living with a host family and exploring the country. The Japanese are the kindest, most generous people I’ve had a chance to meet and this was a life-changing experience.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
At first they were a bit skeptical, but they know I would never involve myself with something sketchy financially, so they came around rather quickly! There’s so much disinformation out there about credit cards and credit ratings that people in general really need to be reassured constantly that this is okay.
Now that they understand, I’m always helping family and friends plan their next free trips.
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
Honestly, I wish I had some secret trick, but for me the most important thing is just reading sites like Million Miles Secrets each and every day to learn new things and to stay up on all the latest news.
I particularly like the use of British Airways Avios on short-haul domestic flights and the free one-way on United when tacked on to a flight to Europe.
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
I can’t really say I’ve earned miles/points in any unexpected ways really; just regular spending and bonuses from opening up new cards.
I have been particularly impressed with American Express lately with Small Business Saturday and promotions like $25 off at Amazon. While these aren’t technically miles-earning situations, just in the past few days we’ve earned $350 of free statement credits on money we would have spent otherwise thanks to having 10 Amex cards from our travel rewards obsession.
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
I was very hesitant at the beginning, so I took a break after opening that first British Airways Visa and went back to my old credit card. I wish I knew to just keep moving on to another card the minute I finished up with the bonus; I’d definitely be sitting on many more points if I had done that.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
People would probably be surprised to learn that since we have two young daughters we haven’t had much opportunity to actually travel significantly over the past handful of years.
We certainly plan to rectify that in the coming years, and we’ve been earning the miles & points to go anywhere we want, but we haven’t done much actual travel other than to Long Island to visit family and to Ogunquit, Maine for a summer trip.
Any parting words?
This entire concept is safe; it isn’t a scam or ‘too good to be true.’ It’s just true. You can earn thousands of dollars of free travel every single year if you follow sites like Million Mile Secrets, so why not start today?
Brad– Thanks for sharing your thoughts on having Big Travel with Small Money!