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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: Travelling the World
Dominik writes Travelling the World to share his travel experiences and help readers use their miles and points in the best possible way.
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
I’ve always loved traveling. Ever since I was a few months old, my parents would take me on countless trips around Europe. My love for travel only grew as I became older.
I’m from Poland. However, I currently live and study at university in Seattle, which means I travel a lot throughout the year to visit my family in my native country.
I was actually going to spend them on merchandise (something you should never do!), until I discovered that I was just 2,000 miles away from a free upgrade to Business Class. My life changed completely after flying in a premium cabin for the 1st time.
I began to intensively collect miles, read articles, and learn about how frequent flyer programs work for the next few years. And I was absolutely hooked.
Why did you start your blog? What’s special about it?
I began writing my blog, Travelling the World, to share my unique perspective on travel and miles & points a few years ago.
Mainly to share my travels and tips with family and friends. Well, it quickly grew into something more and I began to write articles with trip reports, tricks, tips, for everyone. The more articles I published, the higher the demand was for more content.
My blog is unique because you don’t have many young people traveling like I do. Therefore, my perspective on writing trip reports and sharing insights is a bit different.
I just turned 20 last year, and it still seems to me like I’m living inside of a dream every time I fly an international premium cabin. This is why miles and points are awesome, literally anyone can learn to use them and then travel in ways you would never even imagine.
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
Never use cash! Perhaps this is the simplest tip I can give to anyone. Usually my friends or family use cash for smaller purchases, but it can add up! Use a credit card that earns miles and points for everything and don’t use cash. Ever.
For example, in Poland (where I’m from), not every merchant accepts credit cards. In this case, I will gladly walk a few more meters to another shop if that means I will earn a few extra miles with my credit card instead of using cash.
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
The 1st time I went to the Middle East. I just love their culture, way of life, etc.
I would always say as a kid that I’d visit the United Arab Emirates eventually and that dream came true thanks to miles and points. I remember being amazed at the Burj Al Arab since I was 10 years old. Finally visiting it along with other gems in Dubai was an incredible experience.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
They love it. I’ve been able to get them into the miles & points hobby. And thanks to me, they have been able to travel around the world for little in very luxurious ways.
At 1st they thought I was crazy, flying around the country doing mileage runs and signing-up for dozens of credit cards. But once they realized the potential, they changed their perspective completely.
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
Definitely ExpertFlyer. I just love the website and being able to get alerts when award space opens up is very useful to me. I will gladly pay the yearly subscription fee if that means I can be alerted when Lufthansa First Class award space becomes available.
They recently brought back alerts for most Star Alliance airline award seats, so this made the tool 100% more valuable to me.
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
By writing reviews on TripAdvisor. A while back they were giving 100 miles for a hotel review and I remember I got everyone in the family involved writing reviews of hotels, just so I could collect more miles.
It was an awesome deal since it took less than 4 minutes to write a good review. What was extremely nice was there was no limit to the amount of miles you could earn. So I had many people writing multiple reviews for a few days!
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
That you can literally collect miles for anything. Anything. When I 1st started becoming involved in this hobby, I thought that you could only earn miles for flying and through credit cards.
The reality is that you can earn miles for virtually anything: hotel stays, car rentals, catalog subscriptions, hotel reviews, and more. I constantly asked myself how it was possible that people have so many miles. Then I discovered all of the ways to collect them!
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I would love to be a pilot. I think my ultimate goal as a kid was to become a pilot, however that changed a bit after discovering the miles and points world. Being a pilot would mean traveling with an entirely different perspective and I wouldn’t earn any miles for it!
Any parting words?
To travel is to live, and while I haven’t been everywhere, it’s on my list.
Dominik – 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!