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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: Fly Family Fly
Chris writes Fly Family Fly to share family travel experiences to readers.
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
I started really collecting miles in 2010, when my wife and I moved from Boston to Rio de Janeiro.
We realized we were in a sweet spot for American Airlines award flights. Basically for every 2 paid flights home, we would earn a free round-trip award flight (which at the time were only 40,000 American Airlines miles, round-trip)!
We have been hooked since…although that sweet spot is now gone. 🙁
Why did you start your blog? What’s special about it?
I first started our blog, Fly Family Fly (formerly known as CingTheWorld) as a place to share our vacations and talk to other travelers.
Now that Caline and I are parents, we have shifted our focus towards family travel tips. Emily, our daughter, was on over 30 flights before she turned 18 months old! We thought it would be fun to share our experiences (good and bad) with people!
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
Everyone shops online, but by simply using an airline’s shopping portal you can earn up to an additional 2X to 30X points per dollar spent on something you were already going to buy!
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
Our most memorable travel experience has to be our honeymoon to Mauritius and South Africa. We spent 2 weeks enjoying beaches, safaris, and visiting vineyards.
We even stayed in a (luxury) tent in the middle of an African reserve!
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
The majority love it, mostly because I have gotten them involved too. Nowadays, my family routinely travels using hotel and airline points.
I even just helped one of them book a round-the-world trip which includes a flight on Etihad’s First Class Apartment!
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
Up until the recent devaluation, we loved taking advantage of American Airline’s generous earning and redeeming system.
A flight from Rio de Janeiro to Boston, to see family, would earn us 20,000 redeemable American Airlines miles (10,000 flown plus 100% bonus for being Platinum elite status members), that was the cost of a one-way award flight.
So we were getting a Fly 2 Get One Free deal!
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
The least expected way I have earned miles was by sending a compliment to American Airlines about one of their flight attendants.
I wrote an email saying how helpful she was when we were traveling with our 3 month old. At the end of the message, I noted that the headrest on my seat was broken.
They responded by thanking me for recognizing a good employee and deposited 10,000 American Airlines miles into my account for the inconvenience during my 30 minute flight from New York to Boston!
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
When I first started flying I wish I knew more about earning on partner airlines. Before I got “savvy” with my miles, I would just sign-up for the frequent flyer program of whatever airline I happened to be flying and those miles sat there until they expired.
Living in Brazil we flew TAM Airlines a few times. Instead of crediting those miles to American Airlines, they just sat unused because their redemption rates are so high.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
Our readers might be surprised to learn that Caline and I are both hotel veterans. We both studied hotel management in Switzerland and have been managers at luxury hotels in the US.
We think our experience gives us a unique perspective when it comes to travel, especially family travel.
Any parting words?
I don’t know who said it first, but I love the quote, “Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer.” So…if you can travel on points, that must make you really rich! Right?!
Chris – 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!