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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: GodSaveThePoints.com
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
I was young! I think I got my first Delta account when I was around age 12. I don’t quite remember why I was so hell-bent on it, but I was.
Perhaps I read an in-flight magazine talking about the places it would take me. I got everyone in my family an account too. They were NOT miles people…
Why did you start your blog? What’s special about it?
I think, similar to Million Mile Secrets, I really wanted to help people enjoy travel. It’s complicated, it’s confusing, and sometimes it’s downright frustrating. But with a bit of knowledge, there are so many things you can do with points, miles, and savvy tips.
I wanted to deliver the seemingly complicated stuff in the most digestible way possible. Kind of like the movie “The Big Short.” I’m living proof that these things we read about can happen.
I’m not a “Business Class” guy, but I just about always am somewhere up front.
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
We all know about credit cards and their potential. I think people fail to realize how many miles they can earn from home just from referring friends to frequent flyer programs or hotel booking sites, and buying things through airline shopping portals. The stuff literally anyone can do without traveling.
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
One that always comes to mind is a flight home from London to New York on New Year’s Eve. It was the latest flight of the evening, and my wife and I were in Upper Class. As some of you know, Virgin Atlantic has a bar on the plane.
Anyway, every hour, on the hour, as we passed midnight at a new time zone, the pilot would page the bar with that ding sound, and begin a “10,9,8…” countdown. The crew would top off our champagne glasses and have a glass of apple juice for themselves. It felt so festive.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
They love the benefits, perhaps just not all the details it takes to take advantage. All jokes aside, it’s been a thrill to help some family members experience better travel experiences.
They all think I’m crazy to a certain extent, but we’ll see who the crazy one is on the family trip to Australia when I can upgrade and they can’t… (kidding). I find people just feel the topic is too confusing on the surface. Or they are put off by terms like frequent flyer, since many are only occasional flyers.
I think it’s a silly term for something anyone can sign-up for…
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
I think the convenience of sites like AwardNexus and ExpertFlyer is so big. People are great at getting miles, but I constantly hear how hard of a time people have actually finding available seats to use their miles.
Other than that, as far as tricks, I love changing my online location when buying foreign tickets. And I love booking one-way or open-jaw tickets. It allows me to combine different miles, or use cash one-way, and miles the other.
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
It’s gotta be one of the Twitter or Instagram things where an airline or hotel gives you miles for doing what people seemingly can’t stop doing anyway.
Other than that, I couldn’t help but chuckle booking an Emirates First Class ticket using just a checking account bonus from Citi. It was just for a short flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong, but still very amusing.
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
I wish I knew how many ways I could earn points every day without traveling. I wish I knew how to assess value with my points, when to hold ’em, fold ’em, all that. I blew through tons of points and probably didn’t get a great value at first.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I was one of the kids from the movie the Mighty Ducks. Totally kidding, that’s just a lie. I am however a wine snob, though that’s hardly surprising to many, it’s a fun fact to get out there…
Any parting words?
If you’re reading this, you’re on the right page. I think the most important thing for people reading amazing sites like yours is to click on posts they’re not entirely sure are “for” them.
Maybe it’s not related to their current preferred airline, hotel, or credit card, but who knows where you’ll be in a year, and if you have the all around knowledge, you’ll maximize your earning and rewards. Happy travels.
Gilbert – 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!