“I’ve found myself more interested in trying to hack the travel system than a computer.”

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  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: Frequent Miler from The Frequent Miler

Frequent Miler is a relatively new blogger, but I enjoy reading his posts because he is not afraid to push the envelope when it comes to collecting miles and points.

Frequent Miler is in search of the perpetual point machine, so I caught up with him to see how the search for the perpetual point machine was going.

Frequent Miler Interview
Frequent Miler in Thingvellir, Iceland.
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?

Just a few months ago I discovered the Frugal Travel Guy blog and I was hooked.  I quickly expanded my daily reading list to many other blogs (Million Mile Secrets included).

And, of course, I started signing up for credit cards!  I became so obsessed with this whole thing that I began blogging my thoughts under the name Frequent Miler.

Why did you start The Frequent Miler?  What’s special about it?

The idea behind the blog has totally changed since I started just a month and a half ago.  The original idea was to simplify free travel.  I spent so much time reading about the ins and outs of credit cards, award redemptions, and so on that I thought it would be great to have a blog where all of that stuff was condensed down to really simple and easy to follow rules.  That way I could point my friends and family to a few specific posts and say “do that and you can travel for free too.”

The focus changed when I started discovering tricks for earning miles and points that I hadn’t read about anywhere else.  Not all of these tricks worked out, though.  I wrote a story about one of these failures in a post titled “Perpetual Point Machine… Not!” (my son hated that title, by the way).  Since writing that post, I decided that the focus of my blog should be the search for the perfect perpetual point machine.  We might never find such a thing, but we’ll have lots of fun and earn lots of points along the way!

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

Sign up for the best credit card offers.  You can earn tens of thousands of miles each year in other ways, but you can easily earn hundreds of thousands of miles with credit card signups.  Some day I hope that a better answer will be to start up your own Frequent Miler Perpetual Point Machine.  Until then, keep signing up for credit cards!

What’s your most memorable travel experience?

That’s a tough question to answer!  Trips to India, Iceland, South Africa, France, Hawaii, and many other places have all  been memorable.  If I had to pick just one, though, I’d say it was when I was on stage in front of a live audience at the Sydney Opera House.  How many people can say that?!  Don’t get the idea that I have any talents though — I was just lucky enough to be picked as a volunteer at a magic show.

Frequent Miler Interview
Frequent Miler in Australia
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?

They’re very supportive.  My 12 year old son, in particular, has been great.  He’s been very excited for me, and has helped me think through some of my ideas.

He even designed the cool logo on my site using a web app called Wordle.  My wife has been supportive too and has even suggested some useful tips for the blog.  I jokingly refer to my wife and son as Mrs. Miler and Tyler Miler 🙂

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

The site evreward.com is awesome.  Before buying anything online (including airfare), I check this site to see if I can earn more miles or cash back by going through a shopping portal.  The only downside is that it doesn’t list the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal, yet many of the best deals seem to be there.

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

A few years ago, my wife stumbled upon an article saying that great deals were available for flights from the US to Australia.  So at the spur of the moment we booked a vacation package: Detroit to Sydney airfare plus 5 nights hotel.

The trip was fantastic and cost only $1050 per person.  When we returned, we found we had earned enough miles on Delta to make my wife and son (9 years old at the time) Silver Elite, and I made it to Gold Elite for the first time.

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

I wish I knew about credit cards and other schemes for collecting miles when it was still possible to earn Million Mile status on American Airlines without flying!  I also wish I knew how valuable SPG points were.  I recently booked a $300 per night room at a Sheraton for only 4000 SPG points.  That’s awesome.

What would your readers be surprised to know about you?

I have been a computer geek most of my life.  I wrote computer games as a teenager, and today my day job involves technology strategy for a global organization.  Lately, though, I’ve found myself more interested in trying to “hack” the travel system than a computer.

Any parting words?

I just want to say congratulations on your engagement!  I loved reading the story of the proposal.  I’m looking forward to meeting Mrs. Secrets someday.

Frequent Miler – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on having Big Travel with Small Money!

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