It was November 2011 and I was watching one of my favorite news programs (besides 60 Minutes), Nightline, when I first learned about my original mentor in the points game- The Frugal Travel Guy. He talked about traveling for free just by applying for a couple of credit cards. After watching that segment my life changed forever.
My first credit card churn (a process for racking up points described here) was reserved to one credit card, the SPG card from American Express. The spend requirement was $5000 in 3 months for 30,000 points so naturally I had to book an inaugural trip to start meeting that requirement. My first trip as a points churner was to New Orleans to see Michigan play Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. I used a companion ticket, a perk from my only major points earning credit card, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card from American Express.
My how times have changed. I no longer fly Delta and I cancelled that card years ago.
Fast forward to spring break and I quickly spent part of my SPG points staying at the Sheraton in Nassau, Bahamas utilizing the cash and points option, whereby I provided the points and my friend Brent provided the cash. Add in a Delta voucher with a free flight back to Vegas, and that was a grand redemption.
My how times have changed.
Bahamas in coach?
After getting my feet wet, I started to read more blogs for points redemption and studied their every post from top to bottom. Each blogger has a unique style and unique insight that made the whole process fun and understandable.
1. ThePointsGuy: “Alex, there’s some other guy doing the same thing you are doing.” I hear this from friends who only read the headline of my blog posts and only read the word points in my handle and his. That is where the similarities between me and ThePointsGuy end. ThePointsGuy is the guru of crunching the numbers of points programs, showing the most efficient ways to redeem points, and is the ultimate authority on credit card offerings.
ThePointsOfLife (see full description of “What Is The Points Of Life”) is an ideology that comes from not settling from the status quo and deferring to your own ingenuity. It is Step 1 of my rehabilitation program from cubicle to the Caymans in Part II of my book Everyone’s Advice Is Wrong that encourages readers to question if this is how they envisioned spending their everyday.
An easy way to break the cycle of monotony is to use the points you earned from following ThePointsGuy by taking a trip!
2. Millionmilesecrets: This is the primer for anyone that anyone that wants to start earning points but finds the process a bit intimidating.
A special thanks to Daraius for featuring me on his interview series and for explaining the points process so that anyone can understand.
3. One Mile At a Time: Lucky, and the whole family at Boarding Area cover every topic you want to know about ranging from travel reviews, best safety videos, and all the groundbreaking points devaluations that occur in the middle of the night.
4. Milevalue: Can I go Antartica, route through Dubai, while getting an on board massage with a stopover on the moon? If you’re looking for how to pull off a points heist, then look no further than this site.
By putting it all together and you too can plan a masterpiece like I did last December: 50,000 miles in business class, 16 stops, 5 continents all for $275.
All of that wouldn’t be possible had I tried to do it on my own. So, to the points bloggers listed here, I say thank you, and to you, the reader, I also say thank you for helping me grow my blog and support the publication of my book.
Did I mention that it should be out by early July?