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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: Frugal Travel Lawyer
Bonnie is a family law attorney who’s always traveling. She also writes the Frugal Travel Lawyer blog, so I was looking forward to our Friday chat!
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
In 1999 I was sitting with my friend at her law office. She asked me if I had heard of the Pudding Guy. I did not know what she was talking about, but I knew coming from her it would be interesting. She explained that the Pudding Guy had earned more than 1,000,000 American Airline miles buying Healthy Choice pudding, cutting off the labels and sending them into American Airlines. This intrigued me. So I started reading about hotel frequent guest and airline frequent mileage programs and I was hooked.
Why did you start your blog? What’s special about it?
Many friends and relatives kept asking me similar questions about saving money on travel. I thought it would be best to have a place for them to read all about my travels and money saving tips.
As a lawyer I am drawn to the fine print. Many programs and promotions require all the rules be followed to get the bonus, free flight or free night. I help my readers by summarizing fine print so they too will qualify for the “prize”.
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
Promotions from credit card sign ups, hotels, airlines and car rental companies have been the best way for my family and my readers to get more miles and points.
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
We have been very fortunate to have so many memorable travel experiences. Last year my husband and I went bike riding through the tulip fields in Amsterdam and after our ride we went to the Keukenhof gardens. The flowers were such vivid colors and sculptured so beautifully, it took my breath away.
After being married for almost 30 years ,as long as my husband is traveling with me, we make memories everywhere we go. It is a bonus to have my sons, my parents, friends and readers meet us while we are traveling.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
My friends and family think I am obsessed about earning and using points and miles and they enjoy the benefits they receive from my knowledge.
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
I love promotions and special offers especially when I am able to combine several of them together.
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
I earned 9,400 American miles cutting out 100 miles certificates from 94 boxes of Product 19 cereal that I paid 9 cent per box for after coupons. We donated most of the cereal to charity.
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
How partners work with many of the different hotels, airlines and rental car companies to help earn and redeem miles and points.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I do consider myself lucky at life, but not at contests. When I woke up on a January morning in 2011 and found out our Southwest Companion Pass had been extended for an extra year because of the changes to the Southwest program, I felt like I won the frequent flyer lottery.
Any parting words?
The people that share the love of travel and enjoy this hobby are very special and I am grateful to be part of this wonderful group.
Bonnie – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on having Big Travel with Small Money!