Blog Updates: Site Redesign, Advanced MS Section, and 2 Maps of Readers’ Zipcodes

Good afternoon everyone, I have a few blog updates to share.  I am working with the Boarding Area team on a site redesign to better optimize my site for desktop/laptop users (making the page wider so you can see more content without scrolling) and making the mobile theme a little better (what that entails, I am not sure).

TWG Widescreen

Last week, I asked my readers if they were willing to pay for an advanced MS tricks/strategies section on my blog and here are the results.  Even though most of you selected $3/month (since it was the cheapest option, I guess), I had an overwhelming amount of support from readers who said that $5/month was more than a fair price.  With that said, I have decided to go with $5/month.  What will $5/month get you?  Read here to learn more.  I will be working with the Boarding Area team to implement this private section and figure out how to accept payments (PayPal along with various other forms of payment will be allowed).

Pay Advanced MS Results

Last but not least, thank you to everyone for entering your zipcode (the form is now closed, I can’t keep updating this map every few days).  Since the service can only support up to 250 zipcodes per map, I had to split the results into 2 maps.  I will use these maps to plan future meetups and help people meet other miles and points collectors in their area.  Hello to the one blog reader in Anchorage, Alaska!

Zipcodes 00000 – 77058 (View Miles and Points Map 1 in full screen):

Zipcodes 77074 – 99999 (View Miles and Points Map 2 in full screen):

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  Have a great day everyone!

P.S. I’ll be in San Francisco today at 1pm near Civic Center if anyone wants to grab lunch.

37 thoughts on “Blog Updates: Site Redesign, Advanced MS Section, and 2 Maps of Readers’ Zipcodes

      1. Yeshu

        Yes, I meant amazon e-gift cards which I can send to you easily (since amazon allows us to buy gift cards in varying amounts).

        Also, just curious, in the advanced MS section, how many articles do you intend to post per week or per month? Thanks in advance

        Reply
      2. star

        I’ll pay you in Amazon GC! :) I have a ridiculous balance in my Amazon account right now… >_< Thank you for letting us have this option!

        Reply
        1. Grant

          I will gladly accept Amazon GCs, but if you have already redeemed/credited the Amazon gift cards to your Amazon account, you won’t be able to transfer those credits to another account.

          Reply
  1. Jorge Lastovice

    Hey Everyone, if you guys are looking to get the same information that Grant is going to post to his little $5 club, keep an eye out for a thread I’ll start on Flyertalk when he gets his $5 site up and running. I’ll subscribe and spread the details around (and won’t charge the $5!). This way information can continue to spread freely.

    I fear that with Grant doing this, his regular blog quality will begin to suffer as he focuses on making a buck instead. Hence, his decision to go with $5 for the amount, despite over 80% of the respondents to his survey responding less than $5 was a more appropriate amount.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I’m sorry you feel that way Jorge. I will do my best to keep my regular (free) blog content at its current quality level. If you see the quality drop, please call me out on it and I will try to raise it back up.

      As for the Advanced MS Tricks (paid) blog content, I would rather share that information with a handful of readers than not share it at all. There are many readers of this site who would be happy to support my blog by paying a small monthly price.

      If you decide to become a paying member, there is nothing I can do to stop you from sharing the information with friends/family/flyertalkers. Have a good night.

      Reply
      1. star

        Party pooper! I think there are some “sneakier” and super short-term tricks that shouldn’t be broadcast too publicly throughout the interwebs (like that loophole this morning for flights to London? United patched that loophole within 30 min of TPG’s blog post going up), and I imagine those are the types of things Grant would put in his advanced tricks section, not easy/long-term stuff like how to get/use a Redbird. I’d love to stay one step ahead of those who are trying to shut down the hobbyists, like United, and I was hoping that being part of a group that’s not too easily accessible will help prolong these tricks a little.

        Another example of something that would be nice to have hidden from public view is when the trick at TRU was described in a slightly veiled blog post, but everyone figured it out anyways and the next morning when I went to Target, which is right next to a TRU, there was a small crowd of young men standing outside the TRU waiting for it to open, definitely not there to buy kids toys…

        We need the bloggers or we’d never know about such things, but some tricks can’t handle mass popularity and/or will get shut down too quickly, so I’m okay with those being tested by a small batch of elites who are getting bored with gift cards and Redbird.

        Even with all these blog posts about how to use the miles/points collected in the most frugal way possible, sometimes I’d still rather pay $75 for an award booking service that will figure it all out for me and help me squeeze all the mileage out of free one-ways and open-jaws and whatever. Grant, maybe you should look into providing that kind of service too!

        Carry on Grant, and thank you for sharing with us. :)

        Reply
        1. Grant

          I used to have an award booking service but it didn’t work out. Lots of work and time spent trying to find the right route. I’ll leave the award booking service to the bigger sites.

          As for the United deal, word spreads very fast for mistake fares and I didn’t know about it until I woke up the morning.

          Reply
    2. Raul

      Oh goodness. Please don’t let this guy sign up for ur MS section. I’m a fan of getting stuff for free and all but if a man has a good product and people are willing to pay for it why would you hate on him. Hating on Grant for you using his “awesomeness” to make a profit is unamerican. They just started relaxing travel to Cuba that might be a beter place for you and your communist views Jorge. Here is an idea Jorge, come up with some MS ideas on ur own and post those where ever you like that way Grant won’t make any money since u will have a free alternative. Oh wait u don’t have any ms ideas of ur own and that is why you visit his page in the first place u ingrate.

      Reply
  2. Anne

    interesting – approx. 75% indicated $3/month or “NO pay”
    Therefore, I have to wonder why the $5/mo was chosen as it really was a small percentage. (19%). Admit that this sounds like a bit of greed, and I am not interested.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      You have a valid point Anne, if I would have put $1, that would have been the most popular choice. I chose $5/month based on all the comments from the initial post, not from the results of the poll. I’m sorry if it looks/sounds greedy, the advanced MS service was not indented for everyone. I hope you will still visit and read TWG on a regular basis. Have a great evening.

      Reply
  3. calwatch

    I think the MS thing may be better handled through a mailing list rather than a blog. It’s easier to control and less work to manage. You can require logins to view archives.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I wanted to make it a blog format since I anticipate getting questions and inputs from readers. I would rather answer a question once on the blog rather than multiple times via email. There really is no easy way to do this. As for an archive section, deals come and go so quickly that posts older than a month are probably dead anyways.

      Reply
  4. Lindy

    Was looking forward to it but now I’m out.
    I don’t like participating in a poll only to have it invalidated because of a vocal minority chirping in the comments section.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Thank you for the feedback Lindy, the vocal minority comprises some of the best readers in the world. $5/month was the overwhelming winner by commenters, there were no mentions of $3/month at all. I’m sorry you won’t be a subscriber but I hope you have a great day.

      Reply
  5. Brant

    Hey Grant,

    One morning I was about 8 years old (dating myself now) I went to the dime store and bought a huge bag of gum drops for 25 cents. There were probably 200 in the bag. I didn’t particularly like gum drops, but they were sweet and cheap. I took them to school to snack on and all the other kids wanted some. One boy offered me a penny for two of them. Since I had been giving them away, it sounded great. He quickly came up with a dime and bought 20 of them. Before lunch, I had sold out. Needless to say, I came back the next morning with two bags and plans for even more. Three days in to my very first business venture I got called to the principals office. Mr. White told me I had to stop, because selling things in school wasn’t allowed. He was a nice man and I asked him about the pencil machine in the hallway and the milk cooler where we could purchase an extra cartoon during lunch. His answer was not satisfying to my young mind. He said the school controlled all sales in the school. It was my first and most important lesson in the business world. “Find another way” was the simple and elegant message Mr. White unknowingly bestowed upon me that morning and I have never forgotten it.

    Haters will hate. Jealousy and envy are everywhere, but if you can find a way to make a buck by selling MS subscriptions here, you can count me in! Help us all find another way while getting paid for it. If only there had been internet when I was young………

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Good morning Brant, thank you for sharing your story. Like most things in life (including MS), you don’t get to make the rules, you just have to figure out a way to play by the rules. Thank you for your support and have a great day.

      Reply
  6. Zippy Pam

    The difference between blogging and writing for a news outlet, as I see it, is the personal touch. As such, we learn a great deal about a blogger’s personality and interests. That’s really what makes it much more interesting than a regular news article. I appreciate that about bloggers. Bloggers put themselves out there and we benefit.

    Somehow readers seem to take a proprietary interest in the blogger’s business. I think it’s because of the personal touch. However, hands off on any business decision that Grant makes. It’s unfair to him and to his business.

    I think it is unscrupulous and downright nasty to tell Grant that you’re going to copy his information and post it on an open forum.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Thank you for the support Zippy, I personally feel that even if the information were published on public forums (out of my control), people would continue to support me and subscribe to the advanced MS section. Of course there will always be people that want everything for free, there is nothing I can do to change that.

      Reply
  7. Brant

    One last thought on this thread. Information is the most valuable commodity in any business. I consider my points and miles hobby as a small business, since I acquire hugely rewarding benefits worth many thousands of dollars with very little investment of time and money. I wasn’t aware of travel hacking during the “Dollar Coin” bonanza, but had I been and someone mentioned that they could sell me some information for $5 that made it possible for me to do unlimited MS at no cost, I would have broken my thumb jamming it in my pocket to grab my wallet. Yes, that information was available on the internet, but how would I have known that?

    I don’t read Flyertalk because I can’t stand the sniping and downright rudeness dished out to folks like us who just want to have fun and get some great travel deals.

    I may be a little old fashioned, but Grant has a nice, homespun sort of style that I really appreciate. Frankly, I am very excited to see what shows up on the new MS forum and I am confident I will gain knowledge that will make a $5 subscription seem laughably cheap.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Thank you Brant, I really appreciate your support. I personally feel like the public information I share is easily worth $5/month, but that is free for the world. I’m not saying you couldn’t find the information somewhere else for free, but it would involve a lot of time reading and experimenting.

      I can guarantee that the information in the private MS section would be easily worth 5x the membership price, if it is not up to that level, it will be posted on the public side. It is that simple and straightforward.

      Reply

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