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Welcome to the next interview in our interview series where renowned mile and point gurus share their insights on having Big Travel with Small Money!
Miles & Points Interview: Paddy in the Big Apple
Paddy has been featured in National Geographic & USA Today and writes some very interesting blog posts. He’s been to over 60 countries so I was looking forward to our Friday chat!
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
I’ve passively collected miles for about ten years. I signed up for the occasional credit card over the years but it wasn’t until 2011 that I went into overdrive and realized I could earn so many miles by reading tips from blogs like Million Mile Secrets and others.
I am fortunate to have collected over one million miles in the last year.
Why did you start your blog? What’s special about it?
The blog (Paddy in BA) started as a way to track an Irishman’s (me) career break adventure in my wife’s homeland, BA (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and morphed into Paddy in BA (Buenos Asia) when we moved to Hong Kong and finally has evolved to Paddy in BA (Big Apple) now that we are based in the New York area.
What’s special about it? I offer a special combo of travel advice and tips, humorous travel tales and travel hacks which is more diverse content than your average blog.
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
Good credit history makes a big difference for being approved for a lot of mileage credit cards. Pay off your balance on time and in full each month. I have 20+ credit cards which have earned me most of my miles thru sign-up bonuses but I pay zero interest by making sure all payments are made in full and on time.
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
I have visited more than 60 countries so it’s hard to narrow it down but I would say some of the toughest travel trips end up being the most memorable. I had a nightmare bus trip in Bolivia which took an eternity to begin but in the end I thought would never arrive. I spent a few days in Myanmar which was beautiful and non commercial with no tourists which was a little bizarre yet super rewarding.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
My family and friends tease me about being a nomad/gypsy but when I explain that I often travel for free (sometimes in first class) with miles they change their tune and ask advice as to how they can do the same. The joke is now on them.
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
Read the blogs and the forums as recommended here (there is gold status in them there hills!)
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
I have called up and asked numerous credit card companies to ‘match the bonus’ when I heard they offered a better offer after I applied for the card. This has netted me 250,000+ miles over the last year. I recommend everyone at least try this – nothing ventured – nothing gained
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
I wish I knew about the wealth of information available by just adding a few blogs to your rss reader. I can skim a few blogs in minutes and get most of the best deals available.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
Nothing – I have shared many personal experiences with my readers over the years. Maybe more than they would like! e.g. Bono owes me a tent
Any parting words?
Travel Hacking is here to stay. Don’t pay the asking price for travel. With a little effort you can travel at a BIG discount or even free with miles. Join the revolution.
Paddy – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on having Big Travel with Small Money!