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Welcome to the next interview in our interview series where travel bloggers share their insights on having Big Travel with Small Money!
Miles & Points Interview: Lenticular Travel
Andrew writes lenticular travel to help travelers take better pictures.
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
Quite a long time ago, I realized I didn’t need to be a flying consultant working in 3 different cities every week to be able to earn miles by simply using a travel reward credit card. One of my first big awards was two first class tickets to Europe on Air France using Delta miles.
It was an amazing deal, a business class ticket was 90,000 miles, first class – 100,000. I quickly learned that the high price premium tickets gave me the best value.
Why did you start your blog? What’s special about it?
My passion is photography and my blog is full of photographs which I hope stand out in the crowded world of travel blogs. I cover great photo locations around the world. I write about some amazing hotels where you can stay in a great room on points and photograph some stunning vistas from your private terrace.
I appreciate the beauty around us, the most amazing views and the most breathtaking moments are my goal. I might plan the entire trip to Patagonia around one picture I’ve always wanted to take and that’s exactly what I did. I always do extensive planning about the best photo locations, the best light to capture, the best angles.
I want to share this with my readers. I also share some tips about photo techniques, I want to help you take better pictures, there is a few very simple things or steps which can greatly improve your travel photos. And of course I share tips about miles and points as the best way to save money on traveling.
I like to think that my blog helps a traveler take better pictures and a photographer travel better. My website is very new and I would like to promote it by announcing a great giveaway for the readers – your chances of winning are high! Check out the details on my blog.
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
I think people often don’t realize that the customer service in America is simply great. They complain, but they don’t know how bad it is everywhere else. Try to get anything done over the phone in any country in Europe for example and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Bad things happen and the customer service representatives are here to help or at least make you happy(ier). If you have a reason, call. You might be surprised. A few years ago we stayed at a very fancy hotel using points and had the concierge ship a package for us back home.
We got a unique local gift and we really didn’t want to break it or have any issues while crossing the borders. Long story short – they screwed up. The package got destroyed and they didn’t tell us about it.
We were very disappointed, the gift was really unique. At the end, the program reimbursed us for the entire stay. We got something like two weeks worth of points back.
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
That’s probably the hardest question. But I think organizing our own private open-door helicopter photo shoot in Bora Bora must have been up there at the top of the list. Bora Bora has a special place in our hearts and this is a very special way to see this most beautiful lagoon in the world.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
We are very private and we don’t really share or advertise with the whole world what we do. Well, that was before I started the blog I guess (LOL). That’s one of the reasons it took me a while to start it. But I help anyone with advice whenever I can.
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
I think any way of double or triple dipping is an unexpected bonus. And I don’t mean literally “buy a gift card or spend it in a store with 5x bonus” approach only. I mean buying a camera you were planning to get for your trip anyway and earning extra miles for that purchase is always great.
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
I guess that must be the Bosley consultation for baldness, for 20,000 Delta miles if I remember correctly… The guy was very convincing, I was checking my hair in a mirror for a long time after that. The miles posted, believe it or not!
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
Everything! I guess just simply how many miles and points I can earn by applying more organization to my everyday spending. Also how much you learn by following the forums and blogs.
It takes time but I would have never been able to book a presidential suite with points in a brand new Intercontinental hotel in Germany if I didn’t follow a dedicated forum and learned about this option or mistake. The hotel respected my booking and we spent a few amazing days there.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
We both live in LA and work in Hollywood entertainment industry. I could post a lot of anecdotes about many famous people, but I guess I would need to start another blog just for that! Or maybe not… Follow lenticulartravel and you might find some spicy stuff!
Any parting words?
I think there is a risk to start an addiction. I read quite often about people flying around the world in two days. Sure, if you enjoy flying and that makes you happy – why not.
But there is the entire world out there, outside the airports. And it’s changing very rapidly. Many, many places are much harder to enjoy, the crowds are getting bigger and the experience is simply not the same as it used to be.
Slow down! Take some time to enjoy the unique locations you are able to visit. Many people don’t have that chance.
Also many of those places will never be the same, maybe it’s your last chance to climb the steep temple of Angkor Wat and take a deep breath admiring the most amazing monument the human race has ever created. Next year you might find a fence there… That’s why photography is such a big part of our life.
It pushes you to see the most beautiful locations in the best light. It pushes you to wake up early morning to catch a great sunrise – in the same time you have a chance to enjoy a place practically by yourself. Tourists rarely show up early.
Don’t be a tourist, be a traveler, an observer, save your memories forever and trust me, photography is a great way to do it!
Andrew – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on having Big Travel with Small Money!