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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: LeeFamilyTravel
Jung writes LeeFamilyTravel to share travel tips and hints with readers who love to travel with their families.
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
My 1st foray into miles and points was in September 2002. Before then, I did not have any accounts with any airlines nor hotels. It took some arm-twisting from some co-workers for me to open my 1st loyalty account, American Airlines.
Until then, I was content to travel and not accrue any loyalty points and miles. What kick-started my points and miles collection was the 100,000 mile Chase British Airways Visa Signature Card offer in 2007 (this offer is not currently available).
Once I was approved for that card, I started reading some of the miles and points bloggers, such as the Frugal Travel Guy. Today, my wife and I collectively have over 3 million miles and points across various airline and hotel programs.
Why did you start your blog? What’s special about it?
For the past 3 years, I have been the guru on miles and points amongst my family and friends. Any time I had discussions about miles and points, the typical ending of the conversation was, “You should write a blog on this stuff.” After attending Chicago Seminars 2014, I finally bit the bullet and wrote my 1st post.
My blog is not just about miles and points, but the experiences that I am able to enjoy and provide to my family. Once you have collected your miles and points, what’s next? Once you book your flights and lodging, what then? I hope to share travel tips and hints across the whole spectrum of family travel.
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
The most typical answer is credit cards, but every blogger will tell you that. So my answer to this question is to use your credit card for everything possible. I pay my utility bill by credit card, even though it has a $2 fee for using a credit card.
But the points that I gain are worth more than the fee. I use my credit card for $2 purchases. Every point is valuable. Besides, it’s usually faster to use a credit card than paying with cash.
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
I hope that my answer for this question will change from 1 year to the next, but you never forget your 1st time. My 1st time in Europe was a 1 week vacation in Paris. Such a wonderful city, from the museums to the statues, to the architecture. What a great introduction to Europe.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
My family recognizes my involvement in the hobby. That’s it. There is no further interest from them. Most of my friends think that my involvement in this hobby is awesome.
They know that I am open to questions and am willing to help them get involved. I have several friends who have started collecting miles and traveled using their miles. I am very happy to hear about their successes and continue to share my knowledge with them.
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
The biggest “trick” that has drawn the most attention is the Southwest Companion Pass status. This trick really puts into perspective that miles can be used for family travel and allows friends to save their travel budget for actually enjoying their destinations.
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
Dining. Who knew that you could earn miles when you dine out? I have signed-up for 3 different airline dining programs, each with a nice sized bonus for joining the program and dining out. The 2nd least expected method was by “test-driving” a Cadillac (this deal is no longer available).
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
Routing rules and fuel surcharges. The 1st time that I used miles to fly in Business Class, it was British Airways, and I was not aware of the routing rules available nor the fuel surcharges that were added to the miles used.
I have become much better informed about routing rules and took advantage of the rules on my family’s latest European vacation to Italy and Greece.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I used to spend a lot of my recreational time playing Hold ‘em poker before I discovered this hobby. I have basically traded my hours playing poker for hours collecting and using my miles and points. There is no doubt that my current time investment has provided a better return on investment.
Any parting words?
This hobby has provided an opportunity for me and my family to travel around the world as a family. As I look forward to each of my trips, I am reminded that many of our trips would qualify as most peoples’ trip of a lifetime. In that sense, I am happy to be living multiple lifetimes.
Jung – 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!