Million Mile Secrets supports our readers with thousands of hours of research and writing to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us (and you!) by signing-up for credit cards through partner links on our site, which earn us a commission. This keeps our small team employed and working hard for you! Here’s a longer explanation of our Advertising Policy.

“I Love Boarding a Long-Haul Flight and Knowing No One Can Reach Me for 8 to 12 Hours”

“I Love Boarding a Long-Haul Flight and Knowing No One Can Reach Me for 8 to 12 Hours”

Million Mile Secrets“I Love Boarding a Long-Haul Flight and Knowing No One Can Reach Me for 8 to 12 Hours”Million Mile Secrets Team

Welcome to the next installment of our interview series where folks share their thoughts about Big Travel with Small Money!

Miles & Points Interview:  Mrs. O Around the World

Ana Silva O’Reilly is a 30-something globetrotter who finds her peace and quiet on long-haul Business Class flights to somewhere warm.  An avid traveler, Ana is also a good daughter, religiously following her mother’s motto:  “If you leave home, it has to be better,” or “I love camping, in 5-star hotels”.

Mrs O Around The World - Interview With Ana
Sunset, a Beautiful Hotel and a Cocktail. Mrs. O Does Not Ask for Much More

A city girl at heart, she moved to the quiet English countryside for love, and lives her travel dreams through her award-winning alter-ego and travel blog Mrs. O Around the World.  You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

How and when did you start collecting miles and points?

I started in 2000, but living in Portugal and only having TAP Portugal and Star Alliance as real options, there wasn’t much I could do.  I joined oneworld through the British Airways program in 2002, but only when I moved to the UK permanently in 2009 did I really start benefiting from the program – and obviously gain status.

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

I started my blog – Mrs. O Around the World – in 2011, so it is now almost 5 years old.  I have always traveled quite a bit, and in the same style that I do now, and forever kept getting emails from friends of friends who would be going to Lisbon, London, New York, or Istanbul, and wanted to find out what to do.  I decided to share these online and that is how it really started.

Mrs O Around The World - Interview With Ana
Mrs. O Ready to Board the World-Famous Venice Simplon-Orient Express in Venice

I only cover luxury and I put price tags on things.  Sometimes people really think they can’t afford to do something as they have unrealistic price expectations.

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

As we do not get the credit card offers and incentives here in Europe like you do in the US, which is a bit unfair, one needs to be creative.  Of course credit cards matter an awful lot, but my most successful way of collecting miles is to fly Business or First Class on a paid ticket and obviously take advantage of my oneworld Emerald Status (British Airways GoldAmerican Airlines Executive Platinum) and see a substantial increase in your points bank.

What’s your most memorable travel experience?

A difficult question for me, as I do travel a fair bit.  I will never forget our journey from Venice to London on the Venice Simplon-Orient Express, it really was special.  But the Maldives is my favorite place in the world, and we go every year – and there is nothing quite like landing at Male Airport.

Mrs O Around The World - Interview With Ana
Mrs. O in the Maldives – Her Favorite Place in the World

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

It is all about being clever – and understanding how you can benefit from a program.  Or not.

My inner circle of friends are now very good miles collectors and understand why status is important (as part of the travel experience) and why pooling your points cards towards a single program (or maximum 2) really brings the rewards.

They do think of me each time they board their British Airways First Class flight to the US or somewhere more exotic, which they didn’t so often before.

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

It is better to have 100,000 or 500,000 points in 1 airline and have real options to fly – and get status with that airline – than to be a nobody with 34 airlines.  Also, flying Qatar Airways Business Class is a little blessing as you do get double credits for tier points and miles as you are going on 2 flights rather than 1.

Mrs O Around The World - Interview With Ana
Mrs. O Visits NYC at Least Twice a Year for Both Work and Pleasure. It Is One of the Best Cities to Redeem Business Class Award Tickets on British Airways

Also, don’t get the miles bank too low – you need to have enough there for an emergency.

People also forget hotel points – I find them potentially more useful than airline points.  We have been Starwood Preferred Guest members for over 15 years and have never been disappointed.

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

We are not as creative here in Europe, so it is less difficult to be surprised.  I collect at hotels, car rental, flights, and general purchases through credit cards – nothing too sexy, I am afraid.

I have however seen many interesting incentives via American Express, but still light years behind from the US.

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

Don’t spread yourself too thin – it is better to be Mr. or Miss Special with 1 company than being a nobody with 3 or 4.  I only collect points on 1 airline program and 1 hotel group.

Mrs O Around The World - Interview With Ana
Behind a Great Woman, There Is a Great Man. Mr. & Mrs. O in Prague – the City Where They Originally Met

What would your readers be surprised to know about you?

Bearing in mind I have built a whole new career around social media and being online, I do not want Wi-Fi and connectivity onboard.  In Europe we still don’t see it often at all (thank God), but obviously I understand things are changing.  It is the only time in my life where I can have some ‘me’ time.

I love boarding a long-haul flight and knowing that no one can reach me for 8 to 12 hours.  No email, no work, no nothing.  Just time to catch up on movies, nap, and enjoy those delicious chocolates and a couple of glasses of champagne.

Any parting words?

You are going to need to pay for tickets – and a lot of them.  I am a bit shocked with the sense of entitlement that many people seem to have.  It is all ‘take, take, take’ but they generate very little revenue for the actual airlines.  Like anything in life, there needs to be a balance.

Ana – 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!

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.