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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: Expert With Points
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
It started ~4 years ago. I had just got my first AMEX cash back card and was trying to figure out why anyone would pay 100+ pounds for an airline credit card, when a cash back card appeared to offer a better return. I did some digging, priced out the various possibilities with airline rewards, and my tune changed.
I then applied for The Preferred Rewards Gold Card (UK), quickly followed by the British Airways American Express® Premium Plus Card (UK), and was hooked!
The first airline mile redemption I made was Business Class to Rome. It wasn’t the best value for the miles at the time, but it was certainly somewhere we wanted to go! Since then, we decided we would never fly coach again…unfortunately my employer had other ideas!
Why did you start your blog? What’s special about it?
It came about when I was looking at the various reward programs available in the UK. No single site offered all the information I was looking for and I didn’t really like the sites that came close!
As I was constantly reviewing reward programs for my own benefit anyway, I decided it would be helpful to others if I shared my analysis and filled the void I felt was present in this niche.
Since its start in October 2017, I have focused on creating an honest website that gives readers information about everything in the realm of miles and points. Rather than pushing the things that make the website the most money. So I make a point of highlighting all affiliate links and making it clear to the reader exactly how the site makes money.
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
The most memorable travel experience is from a road trip around Europe I took in 2013. We had just experienced a 2-week heatwave in the UK, and seemed to follow it all across the continent. Visiting 5 countries in 2 weeks, I was able to slot in some World War 2 history, hiking, and city sight seeing into the trip while improving my French and German.
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
For me, it has been the sign-up bonuses available for some of the airline credit cards. Opening a couple of these can earn 50,000+ miles.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
At first, they didn’t understand it. I had a number of people thinking I was mad for paying 195 pounds for a British Airways credit card, let alone 450 pounds for my AMEX card!
Since taking reward flights has become the norm, they seem to understand why I do it. Although they don’t realize how easy it is! I get the impression they think I am playing with some sort of dark magic, the likes of which they could never understand.
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
There are a lot of knowledgeable people out there, and everyone on the forums and websites seems to be pretty helpful. My advice to anyone not sure about something is just to ask!
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
It was through UK supermarket reward programs. These convert to airline miles at a rate of 1 supermarket point to 2.4 airline miles. To get the most of out my supermarket rewards I slightly adjusted my spending habits. It has earned me an additional 50,000+ points each year.
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
Just how easy it is! With so many ways to collect points, it is rare for a transaction to earn less than 1 point per pound. Used correctly, the earning potential far outweighs cash back options!
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I have recently completed a PhD in Microbiology. This has been a huge part of my life over the past 4 years, with many late nights and weekend excursions to the lab. It did afford me the time to thoroughly research the reward travel. Something I am excited to pursue further through Expert with Points.
Any parting words?
I am hopeful Expert with Points provides a good user experience. I am always happy to receive feedback about the site. It is my hope people will find the site informative and useful. And that it helps people to get the most travel for the smallest cost.
Finally, remember, while your family or friends may not understand this amazingly addictive hobby we share, the rewards it reaps help boost every adventure, even if only a little!
Ross – 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!