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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: Points, Miles, & Martinis
Points, Miles & Martinis has taken some wonderful trips to Bora Bora, Seychelles, Paris, and Mauritius using miles & points. So I chatted with Points, Miles & Martinis, who goes by the monicker The Weekly Flyer, to learn how it is done!
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
I remember taking my first flight from Orlando to Hawaii on Delta when I was just a little kid. I’m sure I was accumulating miles back then because when I started traveling weekly in the early 2000s, my Delta lifetime balance was already around 100,000.
That was a good start to what is now a way of thinking how can I earn miles with everything I do.
Why did you start Points, Miles, & Martinis? What’s special about it?
I started Points, Miles & Martinis in 2009. I was a Delta Elite travelling every week and accumulating tons of miles and points while traveling to Fortune 500 clients advising on strategically important issues.
I had to do something with all of these points and miles so I started finding creative ways to maximize value with trips to Seychelles, Mauritius French Polynesia, Spain, and others.
The blog ended up being a way to share earning and burning stories with my friends and family.
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
Sign up for every program, but focus on making top tier to realize the full benefits (and read Boarding Area blogs). For example, in busy travel years I focus on programs I like with the best bonuses, then once I reach top tier status, I move on to the next.
You never know when you’ll be in a small city where there are no hotels in your elite status program. The average business traveller may get a call to be in a major metropolitan city on a monday followed by a visit to a smaller city (Birmingham, AL, or Pleasanton, CA) later in the week.
By diversifying your status, you’ll be able to stay in available hotel chains with top tier status. Spg and Hyatt aren’t in every city, yet…
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
A trip to the Seychelles, Mauritius and Paris with my wife to celebrate our 3rd anniversary. We took the longest time away from work, 3 weeks, unplugged and had the time of our lives just the two of us. Here are a few highlights from our trip (Hilton Mahe, La Digue, Anse Major)
This trip was most memorable because I got to spend 3 uninterrupted weeks with my wife. We both work really hard, have individual work travel schedules, and sometimes just pass each other in airports for dinner. So getting each other all to ourselves with our iPhones turned off and off the grid, was most memorable.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
They are frequent readers of Points, Miles & Martinis. My brother is a licensed professional and he views me in the same light when it comes to maximizing travel.
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
matrix.itasoftware.com – Best site to learn about available flights and routing options. If you learn how to use it well, it can be your best friend.
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
The 2011 Spa Finder deal where you earned 40 Delta miles per dollar. I bought only $500 dollars worth right before a big trip, netting me 20,000 Delta SkyMiles. Aftwards, I had wished I spent a bunch more on the SpaFinder certificates. They are easy to use, earned tons of miles, and would have made great gifts.
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
Car rental bonuses are a great way to “rake them in” when earning miles. I only started in that area in about 2008. In 2009, by just applying to readily available promotion codes to existing rentals I earned over 151,000 Delta SkyMiles.
I found these codes digging around the web or direct from the car companies. Also new codes pop up at MilePoint and Flyertalk From time to time.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I am a soon to be father with an MBA concentrating in finance.
Any parting words?
Do or do not, there is no try.
Points, Miles & Martinis – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on having Big Travel with Small Money!