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Welcome to ink e next installment of our interview series where folks share their thoughts about Big Travel with Small Money!
Miles & Points Interview: Pointshogger
Matthew writes Pointshogger to provide the latest miles and points news to folks in Canada.
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
The 1st memory I have of collecting points was when I went to Disney World at 6 years old. My dad booked the trip for our entire family and we all had a Canadian Airlines account (now defunct and acquired by Air Canada) to earn points on the flight.
Those points were later used, in combination with a trip to Australia, for a reward flight to Las Vegas. At the time Canadian Airlines was part of the oneworld alliance.
Why did you start your blog? What’s special about it?
As I started signing-up for more loyalty programs and credit cards to earn points, it became increasingly difficult for me to keep track of all the programs and research that I’ve done to get the most value out of my spending.
I was documenting everything in Microsoft Word, which in hindsight wasn’t the best strategy because my friends and family would constantly ask me questions.
Responding to everyone individually is not as efficient as providing the information from a publicly accessible location. That way, people can learn from the research that I’ve already done.
With the help of my close friend Viola, who knew how to start a website and launch marketing campaigns, we founded Pointshogger as a means of curating research on maximizing rewards for Canadians.
Anyone who wants to learn more about “pointshogging” or simply get updated news on miles and points, can think of us as their 1-stop shop.
We hope our blog will 1 day serve as a database for every major loyalty program offered in Canada. So any Canadian can get the best value possible for every dollar they spend.
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
Sign-up for credit cards.
It’s no secret that credit card sign-up bonuses are 1 of the best ways to boost your account balances.
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
I have so many memorable experiences, but I will go with seeing the Grand Canyon. It was a very impressive sight. I had such a jittery feeling while I was there.
The sheer size of the Canyon makes you put the world in perspective. It makes you think about how small we are and how much more there is to explore out there.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
My family and friends feel the time I invest in Pointshogger is worthwhile because they see how I get to travel with this hobby on rewards earned at low cost, and they try to learn from me.
At least this way, I get a decent return on the time and energy that I invest in the hobby. Other hobbies may not yield the same return.
Though in reality, this is more than a hobby, it is a passion!
In my experience, most people that I talk to aren’t interested in earning points. The most common reasons I get are:
- I don’t travel enough
- Too much hassle
- I don’t spend enough on my credit card
- Points aren’t useful because I can’t redeem them for anything
If they only knew how easy it really is to earn and use miles for free travel!
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
Hands down, AwardWallet is my favorite tool. It helps me keep track of all my accounts in a single location.
When you sign-up for as many loyalty accounts as I have (over 30), there’s no way to remember all the passwords and it’s not like I will use the same password for every single account.
It’s just easier to have a program that tracks all my accounts in 1 place.
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
It caught me by surprise when I started learning about transfer bonuses.
For example, American Express Membership Rewards transfer at a 1:1 ratio to British Airways Avios points. But there have been 50% transfer bonuses in the past.
The 50% transfer bonus can be very lucrative if you have a lot of points to transfer! You just need to jump on the promotion when it comes up.
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
I wish I signed-up for my 1st credit card when I turned 18 and learned to take advantage of all these opportunities sooner.
Instead, this didn’t happen until I was 21 year old. So I was 3 years behind in joining the points game.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I used to want to see as many different sights as possible, like a typical tourist. I would rather cram in as much as possible into 1 trip. Nowadays, I want to travel to destinations where I can just lie on the beach and do absolutely NOTHING.
People around me usually think I’m extremely cautious and always have a back-up plan. But I’m really quite daring when I put my mind to something and don’t hold back. I believe if you put your heart into it, have courage, and jump in with both feet, you can accomplish anything.
Any parting words?
Never stop making friends! Have the courage to reach out to people and you’ll be surprised how many reach back.
Matthew – 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!