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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: Johnny Jet
Johnny writes Johnny Jet to share the tips and tricks that will make readers “the expert.” He also shares the inside scoop on how to travel economically, comfortably, efficiently, and with plenty of style.
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
I started collecting miles and points in 1990 when I would fly often between my parents’ house in Connecticut and college in Los Angeles. But I really started learning the tricks of the trade when I graduated college in 1995 and began to travel a ton for work.
Why did you start Johnny Jet? What’s special about it?
I started JohnnyJet.com for fun. It all began when I emailed a few friends who traveled a lot and wanted to earn as many miles as I did. We competed to see who could accrue more miles. And after kicking their butts, I decided to be nice and help my friends out.
My first emails told them what numbers to call so they could earn double miles or points. Each week I got more creative, adding new features like tips, webcams, and helpful travel websites. My goal wasn’t to make money, it was to get people to travel in style for cheap.
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
The best thing you can do to collect miles is sign up for certain credit cards.
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
Cashing in all my miles and taking my mom to Europe in First Class (twice) while she was sick with cancer. Here’s the story.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
Some think I’m nuts that I want to fly so often. But most are fascinated by my job.
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
Expert Flyer does a great job showing which airlines and flights have availability for award tickets and upgrades.
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
There are tons, but one that stands out is once I was asked to give up my Business Class seat and move to First Class on a transcontinental flight. The flight attendants wanted to upgrade a blind person from coach. I was on an award ticket and said why don’t you just upgrade them to first class. But they said the airline’s policy wouldn’t allow them to double upgrade someone.
After I moved to First Class, the flight attendant thanked me profusely and gave me 7,500 miles for moving. It left me scratching my head.
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
That it was going to get a lot more difficult to earn them by flying. I would’ve flown a lot more on cheap tickets just to build up my accounts.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
My life is an open book, so not sure what my readers would be surprised by. They even know that I not only used to be afraid to fly, but to even leave the house!
Any parting words?
Always be genuinely nice to everyone, including reservation agents, gate agents, and flight attendants!
Johnny – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Big Travel with Small Money!
If you’d like to be considered for our interview series, please send me a note!