I remember when I started writing this blog a few years ago. I had a big pile of miles and points and I enjoyed helping other people plan their travel. So, I figured I would write about it once in a while. I figured I would write about a bunch of other things as well. After all, who would mind? I only had a few followers, mostly family and friends. So, while there was travel, there were lots of other topics as well.
Earlier this year, I decided to focus more exclusively on travel. The motivation at that point wasn’t any one thing. I certainly wasn’t planning to quit my day job and blog full-time, though I applaud those that are able to make a living doing so. I still felt I wanted to write about the “stuff” that was important to me, and wasn’t 100% certain how many people that would interest.
Part of my motivation was to help promote Milepoint, an online frequent travel community that I helped launch along with 3 other close friends. I spend a reasonable amount of my free time on Milepoint, both learning about miles and points and helping others with the knowledge I already have. I’m biased, but I believe it’s a very good resource for frequent travelers and an even better community of people who care enough to help others.
It’s on Milepoint that I came across this thread yesterday. The opening question was by a member that wanted to know how many points or miles a blogger was redeeming for all the aspirational travel they report on. I definitely don’t consider all of my travel aspirational, but the point was well taken from this thread along with a few other suggestions on things people might want to hear about.
And that lead me to wonder if there were other things my readers might want to know when I’m discussing travel. But, before I ask that question, I figured now was a good time to summarize my travel patterns for the record so you know what to expect.
My job takes me on the road a fair amount each year. Virtually all of my business travel is via airplane, and generally over 100,000 miles a year. To date all my work travel has been domestically in the United States, with a few common refrains (Denver, Las Vegas, Miami) and a host of other cities on a less frequent basis (New York, Boston, Seattle, San Antonio, Chicago to name a few).
Frequent readers of my blog will know I favor American Airlines (at least until Doug Parker is in charge, and maybe longer). I took a change of path to United Airlines a couple of years ago which hasn’t yielded much in the way of happiness. I suspect that I will still have flights on United this year and in the future. However, based on their higher prices and lower quality of service, that number will most likely remain smaller than American.
I’m a creature of habit when it comes to hotels. When I was younger I used to change hotels every night during a business trip so I could earn more points for various promos. I was also exclusively a Starwood Preferred Guest guy. I have over 350 nights in their hotels over the past 5 years. My stays for business lately tend to be for more than one night, though I like to get home as soon as possible to be with the family which means a lot more late-night flights than I used to take.
I discovered Hyatt Gold Passport about two years ago and fell deeply in love with their program almost instantly. Their consistent delivery of benefits was a welcome change to what I experienced at SPG. I also realized they had some pretty awe-inspiring properties of their own (the original reason I chose SPG was for their top-tier properties). I’ve been lucky to stay at such gems as the Park Hyatt Tokyo and the Park Hyatt Zurich, both of which I enjoyed immensely. I now find myself making most of my paid stays with Hyatt and my award stays with Starwood though there are exceptions in each category.
I acquire my points and miles a couple different ways. First, I obviously accrue quite a bit from my business travel. I book all my own travel (though with the help of concierges with both Hyatt and Starwood which makes a huge difference) and thus can take advantage of promotions that pop up throughout the year.
I also generate a decent amount of spending both for my business life and personal life (personal spending helped out immensely by my lovely wife). For credit card spend, I prefer the Chase Sapphire, Ink Bold and Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards. I don’t earn referral credits for any of those links, these just happen to be my favorite cards. Certain spending stays on certain cards (for example, the 5X on Ink Bold for cell phone bills and office supplies is pretty darn awesome). For the most part, the rest of my everyday spending is divided up between these cards so I always have a decent pile of both Ultimate Rewards and SPG points.
When I travel for leisure it’s almost always with my wife and two kids. Our kids are 6 and 2 and we love showing them the world. So, my leisure trip reports will most likely have a family friendly slant to them, since that’s mostly what I’m looking for. That doesn’t mean I look for a comfortable room at the Holiday Inn. For an upcoming stay in San Francisco we’ll be staying in a suite at the St. Regis. I tend to like to fly First Class (who doesn’t?) which is definitely harder when trying to find 4 tickets on mileage.
So, back to that question. I’ll be sure to take a few suggestions from that thread on Milepoint,including how many points I’m earning and burning for my travel.
But, I’m curious. Is there anything else you, my faithful reader (hat-tip to Stephen King) want me to explore?