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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: Waller’s Wallet
Dustin blogs Waller’s Wallet to help readers earn cash back and travel for less.
How and when did you start collecting miles and points?
I started collecting points and miles back in July 2013. I had just graduated from grad school and my wife was still in grad school. Together we had a lot of student loans and we were trying to plan our honeymoon.
So we started looking for a way to save money on our honeymoon airfare. From there it evolved into much more!
Why did you start your blog? What’s special about it?
I was initially reluctant to start a blog. I am the travel agent though for my friends, family, co-workers, or basically anyone who wants to travel for less. It was just an easier way for them to follow along and hopefully I can show more people that traveling can be affordable.
I’m still new to blogging, but I try to write so new readers could understand. It was helpful for me when I was new to this game to have information I could understand. I want to be able to do that for other people.
Currently, many of my topics have come from friends or family looking for advice for a credit card or help booking a trip. I really enjoy helping people find the best way to travel for less on their wallet. It’s like a puzzle and I love it!
I always love answering questions from people. If people have questions or interested in certain topics, I will try writing more on those ideas because if they are curious, odds are so are others. So if you have questions, just ask. 🙂
What’s the one single thing people can do to get more miles?
I think the most common answer would be credit card sign-up bonuses are the easiest way to increase your mileage bank quickly. Where else can you earn 50,000+ points for spending $3,000 to $5,000?
But aside from bonuses, I would say making sure you’re using the right card to earn the most points on every transaction. It can be difficult to remember every single bonus category, so I use Wallaby to help me.
You can really increase your points and miles using shopping portals when shopping online. Using Cashback Monitor or evrewards helps make sure I’m using the right portal. Using shopping portals is probably 1 of the easiest ways to add extra points on items you are going to purchase anyway.
It’s not uncommon for me to go in a store with my iPhone, purchasing the item that’s right in front of me online through a shopping portal. I have no problem selecting “pick up at store” and waiting 15 minutes to earn extra points back. I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this.
What’s your most memorable travel experience?
I would have to say our honeymoon to Jamaica. It was absolutely amazing. We wanted a place to sit on the beach and have a cold drink in our hands. We looked at many places, but decided to stay at the Sandals Resort in Ocho Rios.
It was exactly what the doctor ordered. The food was great, water was crystal clear, and snorkeling was fantastic. If you haven’t been, you must go to Dunn’s River Falls. It was a great experience and it was gorgeous.
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
I’m pretty sure they think I’m crazy. Some of my family have the misconception that I am ruining my credit but my credit has actually increased and is currently above 790!
Others have decided to join in this game after they realized with a little bit of work you can travel more for less money.
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
I think having an American Express Serve card to pay bills. It takes me a minute to load money with my credit card. It’s a very easy way to earn extra points every month.
I work full-time and blog for fun, so following different bloggers on Twitter and reading Flyertalk helps keep me in the loop about changes to credit cards, award seating, award stays, and promotions.
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
I really like smaller diners and we went to breakfast at a local diner that (apparently) was part of the Southwest Dining Reward Program.
I had no idea until I received an email saying I earned extra points! I like breakfast and I really like earning extra points on breakfast!
They recently started their own reward program. So now I’ll triple dip every time I eat there, by earning restaurant rewards points, Rewards Network points, and credit card points!
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
Transfer partners. When I 1st started, I didn’t really know about transferring points directly to airlines or hotels to make them more valuable.
A little time learning about transfer partners can save you miles to use for your next trip! I have learned more about those and have been able to get more mileage out of my points.
What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I am a big college football fan, a BIG Oklahoma University Sooners fan. I was at the National Title game back in 2009 and most recently the Red River Shootout in Dallas this year and those are experiences I’ll never forget.
Any parting words?
This is a fun and addicting game we play. Putting in a little time to learn the basics and being responsible with your credit, can really help you travel anywhere in the world for pennies on the dollar.
I am happy that I stumbled across Daraius and Million Mile Secrets back in 2013. Learning from him and others has really helped me travel for less.
Dustin – 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!