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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: Unroad Warrior
Unroad Warrior writes for folks who don’t travel frequently, but want to accumulate miles and points. So off I went to chat with the warrior!
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
On the first flight I ever took, the flight attendant handed me a sign-up card for the British Airways Frequent Flier program. I was 22 years old and it was my first flight ever, as I flew from India to the US. I have been earning miles ever since.
Why did you start Unroad Warrior? What’s special about it?
As the name suggests, my blog is for the UN-roadwarrior, as opposed to for the road warrior. Hard core road warriors – people who are on the road almost every week of the year – don’t need a blog like mine. They already know it all.
This blog is for the in-betweener. People like myself. We have to fight to hit even mid-tier elite levels. We do not know all the tricks of the trade. And more importantly, we get lost in the mega-forums like FlyerTalk and MilePoint. In fact, a great way to describe my blog would be an lay travelers version of the information on FlyerTalk/MilePoint. No lingo, no getting dinged for asking noob (newbie) questions…
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
Never miss an opportunity to earn the maximum miles you can. People miss to register for promotions, miss out on using the right credit card or miss out on shopping online via the right portal. All these actions, if done right can help people earn extra miles.
If I may take the liberty to give one more tip (it is my pet peeve) – track every action you take that may earn you miles and reconcile it against your mileage statement. Airlines miss miles all the time, especially miles from partners (airline and non-airline). Track them like a hawk and ask for every mile you have earned.
Tooting my own horn – keep a look out on unroadwarrior.com. We are going to come out soon with some interesting stuff to help our readers in these two very areas.
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
Ah. Easy. Mauii, Hawaii. With my wife… and it is a lot of miles earned, flying from the East Coast.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
My family – they hate it when I travel. They love it when I get them free tickets and upgrades. My friends think I am nuts, but still come to me for advice.
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
I have a spreadsheet that I use to track every mile I have earned and then reconcile with actual miles on my statements. Awardwallet.com is a great site I learnt of recently that is great for seeing all your miles from various accounts at one place. It does not, however, do any reconciliation.
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
Miles for a broken in-flight entertainment system that I had no plans of even using on a very short flight. I did not even complain. The flight attendant saw it was broken and handed me a customer service card.
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
The whole deal about alliances and partnerships was something I figured out a bit late. My initial instinct was to start earning miles on the airline I was flying, not realizing that I could earn miles on one airline per alliance and maximize my earning power.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I have never redeemed miles on a free ticket for myself. I want to earn miles on every flight I take! I redeem them only for my family and for upgrades.
Any parting words?
Safe travels. And NEVER, I mean NEVER miss an opportunity to earn miles.
Unroad Warrior – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on having Big Travel with Small Money!