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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: Point2Steve
Steve writes Point2Steve to convince folks to start collecting miles and points.
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
I’ve loved to travel and collect & redeem points since I was approved for my 1st credit card in college. I still remember it being a Sony credit card, and I couldn’t wait until I had enough points to redeem for a free Playstation (giving away my age here!) since I couldn’t afford to buy 1 off my internship salary.
I was hooked once it actually came in, but only over the past few years have I found out how much more value I could get from my points.
Why did you start your blog? What’s special about it?
In early 2013, I finally decided to publish my own blog. People were already asking me, “Which is the best card to sign-up for right now and what’s the biggest bonus?” I figured someone else might be wondering the same thing, so why not share all the research I’ve done with friends & family, and perhaps some new friends.
Now that it’s been about year since I’ve started blogging, I’ve seen how many people I’ve touched by sharing what I’ve learned. It’s helped me bond with so many more people since we all have the same passion for travel. What’s special about my blog? My mascot Jet!
OK seriously, that’s a tough question, but I find the most rewarding thing is the interaction I get with my readers. I love it, and I always try to tell them thank you as much as possible. I truly enjoy helping people achieve their travel goals, and walking them through collecting and redeeming points.
If any of my readers are ever in New York, I’d love to take a minute to say hi, have a bagel, and give them a warm welcome. I actually daydream about being a travel or tour guide sometimes.
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
There are 2 ways to amass a ton of miles really quickly:
1. Traveling for work
Especially if you fly in upper cabins and stay in high end hotels. Combine this with elite status challenges, and you could be amassing points at a really fast rate. A few friends of mine have over a million points and top tier elite status without even realizing it.
2. Sign-up for credit cards
Plan your applications accordingly and sign-up for what you can handle. Three to 4 cards at a time a couple of times a year is a really healthy rate. If you’re new to the game, this will keep you busy for a few years at least before running low on options. This is how I’ve been able to build most of my points.
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
In 2013, I decided to spend a ton of my points and travel with a large group to Asia, stopping in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand, primarily on points. I had amassed so many Hilton points that I booked several rooms at the Conrad Koh Samui for myself and those traveling with me. We also flew in Business Class on Cathay Pacific round-trip to Hong Kong.
The experiences there were truly memorable. I think I had convinced a few people that points and miles were the way to go after this trip.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
Most think I’m crazy. They tell me not to do it. They say I’m going to ruin my credit. Guess what? I didn’t listen and I don’t plan to listen.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that there are some people who will never believe in miles and points. Some are on the fence, and some will truly embrace it, just like I have, and others even more so. My goal is to convince and help those that are on the fence. It seems like with every trip, I’m able to convince a couple more people. 🙂
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
I’m not really sure if it’s really a trick, but staying on top of the most recent news via Twitter and Flyertalk is really important to getting into some great deals. Mistake fares and spending techniques come and go really fast sometimes, so it’s important to be 1 of the 1st to know if you want in on these deals.
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
This is absolutely great when this happens. You log-in to check your account, then all of a sudden, a ton of miles you weren’t expecting show up. SCORE! This has happened to me when benefits not stated kicked in, or spending thresholds they automatically load into the system kick in. Doesn’t happen as often as I would like though. 😉
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
This is a tough one, D. I really wish I came out going as hard as I do now collecting miles. I started out slowly, being cautious, reading a ton, but in that time, I missed out on some great deals (yes US Mint, I’m talking about you).
I’m generally pretty reserved, but after doing all my research, there’s really very little risk involved. If I had to list something else, it is that I wish I started earlier too. I paid so much for so many trips prior to knowing about miles and points. My wallet hates me for this.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I have a crazy fascination with sneakers! One of the decisions I hate making is deciding which pairs to bring with me on vacation with such limited space. I’m not going to disclose how many I have, but probably more than the amount of shoes most women have.
I’ll leave it at that. If anyone wants to chat sneakers and travel, I’m sure we can sit down for hours. Oh yeah, I love photography, Vegas, & technology too.
Any parting words?
I want to give double D (Daraius Dubash) a big thank you for extending his interview series to me. I love the interaction between my readers and other bloggers alike. Hopefully some of my readers will be exposed to the easy to understand content on his blog and vice versa.
Other than that, I hope everyone keeps traveling like a rock star, stays classy, and stays humble. If anyone’s ever in town, don’t be shy and reach out to me. I’d love to say hi.
Steve – 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!