“I’m Like the Coupon Fairy”

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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:   The Cheap One Percent

Jonathan writes The Cheap One Percent to show readers they can save money in every area of life.

The Cheap One Percent - Interview With Jonathan
Jonathan on the Slopes at Park City, Utah

How to do everything you want for less

How and when did you start collecting miles and points?

I didn’t get serious about collecting miles until ~3 years ago.

Before that I was mainly interested in credit cards that gave you cash sign-up bonuses and I would use those to defray my credit card bills.  Whatever frequent flyer miles I accumulated I would use for magazine subscriptions.

At the time I thought that was a great use for miles. It probably still is for Delta Miles.  😉  But as I read more and more I realized that it was possible to leverage the mileage and hotel points to have some incredible experiences.

Why did you start your blog?  What’s special about it?

I started my blog, 1st of all because I had never had a blog and wanted to learn the mechanics behind creating and maintaining one.

In addition, it serves as an online reference for me (especially when I want to look up hotel points) and some various thoughts I’ve had on finance and saving money over the years.

When you write for an audience, small as it is, you have to really think and be concise about what you want to put on the screen.  I find that very beneficial.

The Cheap One Percent - Interview With Jonathan
Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China

As far as what is special, I have no inclination to duplicate what other points and miles blogs do, so basically if I come across an idea or opportunity that I have not seen elsewhere, I post it on my blog.

So, if blogs like Million Mile Secrets are the main course, my blog is more like the side dish.

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

The single thing to get more miles is to assume that if you get creative enough everything you do has the possibility of generating some miles.  It’s just a question of how much time and effort you want to invest in making that happen

What’s your most memorable travel experience?

Getting strip-searched in Australia, just kidding, the search didn’t go quite that far.  I would say when I was in Budapest in the late 1980s before the USSR disintegrated and the Iron Curtain fell.  That was a very memorable time to be in Eastern Europe.
The Cheap One Percent - Interview With Jonathan
Sitting on My Paddleboard Looking at the Royal Hawaiian off the Coast of Honolulu, Hawaii

What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?

Well, they know I go on these trips using miles and points, but they don’t seem particularly interested in how I do it.  And while they don’t say it out loud, I think their eyes tend to glaze over whenever I talk about the finer points of open jaws and stopovers.

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

You have to believe there’s always a way.

The Cheap One Percent - Interview With Jonathan
Jonathan Outside the Park Plaza Westminster in London With Big Ben in the Background

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

This is a small way to earn points and I find it humorous.  But on MyPoints if you redeem their grocery coupons you will receive points, which can be redeemed for miles, gift cards, etc.

However, most of the coupons aren’t for things I buy so I print out a lot of the coupons and when I go shopping I just stick them by the items and hope that other people will find them and use them.  Which they actually do.

I’m like the coupon fairy.
The Cheap One Percent - Interview With Jonathan
Looking Out of the Clock Inside the Musee d’Orsay in Paris

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

I wasted a lot of time and energy trying to get miles and points for airlines and hotels that I will never fly on or stay in.  So, I would say create a plan then figure out how to make that plan happen rather than take the shotgun approach to miles and points.

What would your readers be surprised to know about you?

I can play the bassoon and juggle, although not at the same time.

Any parting words?

A big thank you to blogs like Million Mile Secrets and the rest for doing all the research on miles and points so I don’t have to. 🙂

The Cheap One Percent - Interview With Jonathan
Someone Who Stayed on the Chairlift Too Long at Park City, Utah
Jonathan – 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!


Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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