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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: Giddy For Points
Elena writes Giddy For Points where she blogs about points & miles opportunities, so I was excited to chat with her on Friday.
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
I started two years ago when one of my coworkers told me how he was traveling for little to no cost to places around the world. He first directed me to the Frugal Travel Guy website where I read about his tactics of applying for credit cards with good credit.
This then led me to other bloggers where I found so many other ways to earn miles and points. From then on, I was addicted and now I try not to do any type of spending unless it earns miles or points.
Why did you start your blog? What’s special about it?
I started my blog Giddy for Points only a few months ago because I wanted to share my travels that I have done with this fun hobby and to share with others the many different ways to earn miles and points. One thing I have on my blog is a database where I have listed by category and airline or hotel partner the different ways to earn miles & points.
These are for purchases or services that you use frequently such as utilities, phone & TV, flowers & gifts, and charity. This list is growing and constantly changing based on the current offers out there. I think that the database helps to compare the many offers out there and to show ways to earn that you never even considered or knew about.
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
If you have good credit, then the easiest way to get more miles is by signing up for credit cards strategically by doing applications every quarter. I have had 15+ hotel and airline cards which has given me either miles/points or hotel certificates.
My favorite ones are the credit cards where you earn the bonus after your first purchase and those that give annual hotel certificates for holding the card. Even though most of these have annual fees, the rewards you get is totally worth it.
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
My most memorable travel experience has to be my most recent one to Hawaii with my Mom. We spent a week in paradise! We got to go on adventures such as kayaking, water fall hiking and a luau, and we got to have plenty of mother/daughter bonding.
She says it was the best trip that she has ever taken and I definitely agree.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
My Mom of course has seen the benefits that my hobby has given me but I am trying to convince my siblings that earning miles & points is a perfectly safe and an easy thing to do. They haven’t quite jumped into the game but I’m not giving up!
My friends think that its crazy that I have had so many credit cards but they do ask me information about hotels and airline programs since many of them don’t know where to begin.
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
The tool I use and glad to have is Award Wallet. This program lets you keep track of your hotel and airline miles, will tell you the status you have with them, and will tell you when your points expire. The program also keeps track of your travel reservations that you have made from your linked rewards account.
Even though Delta, American Airlines, and Southwest are not supported, I still manually enter them in so that I will have a big picture of all my balances. It makes me giddy to get the weekly email telling me the miles and points I have earned for the week.
Another tool that I have just started recently using is twitter. For the longest time I thought that twitter was a waste of time and thought why would I want to get updates every minute. But when I eventually did sign up and added all the travel bloggers, airlines, and hotels, I realized this is where a lot of the action happens.
With twitter, I can see when a blogger posts something new or when a hotel or airline is having a new promotion or contest. You can also use twitter to get help or get a question answered quicker from and airline, hotel, or fellow blogger. I am now a daily tweeter and I even won a prize for the #ResortLove contest!
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
The least expected way I have earned miles is by switching my utilities provider. Quite a few airlines have utility partners where you can get a bonus for switching to their service and continue to earn miles monthly by using and paying for your electricity. These offers are state specific but since I have a place in Texas, and many are for Texas residents, then this works out perfect for me.
Some providers require a contract but many don’t and allow you to change providers at any time. I just recently signed up for Reliant Energy where I would earn 15,000 AAdvantage miles for signing up and 500 miles per month for a 2 year contract which totals 27,000 miles. Not bad for staying cool in the Texas heat!
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
I wish I had opened a twitter account before as mentioned above and I wish I had know about all the different travel and miles & points bloggers out there. There are so many to follow but I feel that each one offers something unique and I try to read as many as I can to get the most out of my experience.
On my website I have a blogger database of active travel bloggers that I have read and try to keep up with. Many I have found through your interview series which I think is great to help promote and get to know them 🙂
Also I wish I knew about the MegaDos before so I would have had a chance to go! I would definitely like to meet the frequent fliers and points & miles gurus out there, I guess there is always next year.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I have been road tripping with my family ever since I was a year old. I love the sense of adventure it gives me and I love trying new things. Although I will jump out of a plane, I’m less of a risk taker with money.
I’m an accountant by day and I keep spreadsheets for everything from my bills, to my credit card signups, to plans for my next vacation. If I am doing all these miles and points collecting tricks knowing I am risk adverse, then you know it has to be safe.
Any parting words?
Everyone has travel dreams, but not everyone realizes that they can fulfill these dreams with little cost. With the right planning, a great sense of adventure, and taking advantage of all the great resources out there, everyone can start checking things off their travel bucket list!
Elena– Thanks for sharing your thoughts on having Big Travel with Small Money!