I thought it would be fun to kick off the new year by interviewing Grant about his past year of travel, miles, and points. Read along as Grant answers the questions I put to him and see how you’d answer these questions about your own year.
1. What was the deal or miles/points opportunity that you wish you had gotten in on (if there was one)?
I was really excited about the British Airways promotion to earn 82,286 British Airways Avios for signing up for Match.com and spending $548.57 (0.67 CPM). I signed up just for the miles and thought since I’m paying for the service, I would try it out and see if I met anyone. Long story short, British Airways never gave me the Avios and Match.com refunded my whole payment, but it was totally worth it because I met my girlfriend on Match.com and we’ve been together for the last 9 months. If you want to read more about the details, check out this post.
Shelli: Did anyone get in on this?
Grant: I don’t think any bloggers or readers got their British Airways Avios ☹
2. Any new habits as far as acquiring miles/points you started in 2017?
I still go after credit card sign up bonuses, but I’ve expanded my view to include international programs like Korean Airlines, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, and Avianca. Now I need to research the best way to redeem those miles, but I will probably just use Juicy Miles to piece together an awesome award ticket.
Shelli: Good idea. You know I’m a huge fan of Juicy Miles, so I’m sure they’ll be able to put together a great routing and experience for you.
3. What was your favorite hotel stay of 2017?
In January 2017, my friend Jim and I stayed at the Sheraton Iguazú Resort & Spa (now called the Meliá Iguazú) for 12,000 SPG points per night. The hotel is so close to Iguazú Falls that you can see the mist from the falls and hear the crashing water from our room. You are a short 2 minute walk from the hotel to the National Park and you can walk around and see the beautiful falls, plants and animals that live there. You can also ride in a jet boat and get close to the falls. Truly an amazing experience that I will never forget.
Shelli: Great choice. What category is that SPG property?
Grant: Category 5 = 12,000 – 16,000 SPG points, depending on the season.
4. Which was your favorite flight of the year?
I actually have 2 favorites! Surprisingly, my favorite flight was not in business class or first class, but on WOW Air from Reykjavik (KEF) to San Francisco (SFO). After spending a week driving around the beautiful country of Iceland, I loved being able to fly nonstop back to San Francisco. The flight was about 9 hours, I had to pay for my carry on bag, my seat upgrade, and my inflight snacks, but if it weren’t for the cheap WOW Air flight, I might not have visited Iceland, and that is a sad thought to think about.
My second favorite flight of the year was actually on a short Southwest Airlines flight from Orange County (SNA) to San Francisco (SFO) on December 31. It was the first flight where we were able to use our Companion Pass (she earned the Companion Pass and I am her companion).
Shelli: Fun choices!
Grant: Thank you, I am sure you had a much more exciting flight than I did 😊
Shelli: You’ll have to interview me and find out :)
5. Any changes in your travel philosophy in 2017?
Speaking of the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass, my girlfriend got the Chase Southwest Airlines Plus Credit Card recently that came with 40,000 Southwest Airlines points and the Companion Pass. We have 7-8 Southwest Airlines flights booked together and will try to get as much value as possible out of the Companion Pass this year. We will try to fly Southwest Airlines as much as possible in 2018.
Shelli: Is this a change in travel philosophy? How?
Grant: Kinda, I have always loved flying Southwest Airlines because of the flexibility of booking flights (both paid and award flights) and the customer service online and onboard. I used to always book the cheapest flight from point A to point B, but now with the SWA Companion Pass, we are leaning even more toward SWA because we are getting 50% off our flights.
6. Which credit card benefit that stopped in 2017 will you miss the most?
This is technically not a credit card benefit, but the thing I will miss the most is using my Chase Ink Plus Business Credit Card to earn 5x on PayPal Digital Gifts (PPDG) gift card purchases on eBay. I was racking up Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for the last few months, so I surely miss that benefit. My credit card philosophy is that if a card benefit goes away that makes the value of the credit card no longer worth keeping, I will close or product change it into a better credit card.
7. Any new services/websites/apps you started using in 2017 related to travel/miles/points?
When I travel, I love to use my SkyRoam Solis global hotspot. I used it extensively around Iceland, but it comes in handy in the US when you don’t have unlimited data service on your phone and want to share the WiFi connection with multiple people or devices. I plan to take that device with me on all my travels.
Shelli: Good choice.
Shelli: As you start traveling more, I predict you’ll be paying for more hotels rather than using points. So I agree, using Pruvo is a no brainer!
Thanks to Grant for sharing his travel/miles/points year with us. If you have any follow-up questions for him, let me know in the comments below!