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Has any P&M blogger laid it all on the table?

Has any P&M blogger laid it all on the table?

Old Jul 9, 14, 9:57 am
  #1  
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Has any P&M blogger laid it all on the table?

Sometimes I read P&M blogs and it makes sense that these folks have lots of miles. That's relatively easy with cc churns and manufactured spending (although I am always still surprised that OMAAT, for example, has enough points to regularly fly LH FC).

What really amazes me though is that some of them have elite status at hotels and airlines, especially when it seems like they are doing most of their travel on points and miles.

I feel like we only get a piece of the story of the points and miles bloggers' points and miles lives and that there must be a whole other side we don't hear about.

So I was wondering if any blogger has laid their entire points and miles spreadsheet on the table, ie:

How many points and miles they earned in a year broken down by paid stays/flights, churned with cc sign ups and earned/manufactured on cc's.

How they spent those points and miles over the course of a year.

If they have elite status at a hotel(s), how they earned that (stays, nights, etc and how many of those).

If they have elite status on an airline(s), how they earned that (miles, segments, etc. and how many of those).


Have any bloggers done this?

Have any non-bloggers?
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Old Jul 9, 14, 11:09 am
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I don't know of any blogger who has, but perhaps others will. There are some bloggers whose story doesn't seem to add up based upon what they are sharing and advising, as you noted above.

I suspect that some of them have the benefit of using a personal CC for reimbursable work expenses or perhaps for their own small business (like the award booking services that some have). Come to think of it, IIRC, VFTW has mentioned in the past being able to use his own CC for work/travel expenses with his "day job" - that's the only one I can think of sharing that kind of an angle.

Even with that, some of the numbers and statuses don't seem to add up. OMAAT's constant LH F trips - always on miles it seems. I think someone estimated the number of miles he'd have to earn on another thread on here awhile back, and it didn't seem possible outside of some really hard-core MS - which OMAAT doesn't strike me as having the time or inclination to engage in. Or if he does, it isn't much discussed on the blog.
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Old Jul 9, 14, 11:21 am
  #3  
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I didn't track my total mileage earn last year, but I do track segments and miles as well as hotel stays/nights. I'm absolutely happy to share but they aren't anything spectacular - I know folks who do 300-400k a year or 275 hotel nights and mine pale in comparison.

I can easily report on manufactured spend though - $0/0 miles. And in fact, I'm almost embarrassed that of my almost 4 million earned miles with AAdvantage, not a single one has come from a credit card.
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Old Jul 9, 14, 11:36 am
  #4  
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Miles are available for purchase:

- AV LM every 3-4 months
- UA MP with every booking
- US DM every quarter and during flight purchases

All for less than 2cpm. Costs a bit more than manufactured spend but can be done easily and with multiple accounts to circumvent any caps.

Chain hotel stays are easily discounted with corporate codes.
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Old Jul 9, 14, 11:56 am
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i'm pretty sure every time lucky flies LH F he indicates he uses LifeMiles (plus united miles aren't an option for him, and besides that are expensive for LH F).

Since he doesn't fly revenue *A, I think its fair to assume that he buys all his lifemiles. At the discounted rates, with taxes, i believe a one way ticket costs about $1k.

While he mentions he uses lifemiles, i don't think he's ever spelled out the actual cost to him for his LH flights
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Old Jul 9, 14, 11:58 am
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Originally Posted by oliver2002 View Post
Miles are available for purchase:

- AV LM every 3-4 months
- UA MP with every booking
- US DM every quarter and during flight purchases

All for less than 2cpm. Costs a bit more than manufactured spend but can be done easily and with multiple accounts to circumvent any caps.

Chain hotel stays are easily discounted with corporate codes.
And chain hotel stays on awards generally count towards status while airlines don't operate this way. Status could be purchased through US, and Aegean has been known for some time as the cheap way to Star Alliance status. Two paid TATLs got me Silver status with BA, which gets you Sapphire with oneworld. I'm sure there's a cheap status avenue with SkyTeam as well.

Keep in mind that the award and flight booking services could easily result in tens of thousands of dollars run through Amex MR and SPG as well as Chase cards for guys like Lucky and Gary.

As someone who has held onto those types of cards but without a major method of running cash through other than MS, I've noticed that the constant effort to meet current spending requirements for other types of cards has kept me from running much through to get SPG, MR, and UR points--for the bloggers to benefit from everyday spend on these cards, there must be a tremendous amount of spending that the average person just can't do.

If I were a blogger doing all of this, however, I'd probably be reluctant just to dump my personal financial info out there for all to see--just as I am without being a blogger.
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Old Jul 9, 14, 12:18 pm
  #7  
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It was just card churning and burning my own stash and the wife's. We did have the advantage of being able to write off other expenses if we blogged about a trip but nothing really outlandish there either.

In the end bloggers are just like other travel hackers at heart trying to get free miles and points or earn them as cheaply as possible. I was never granted any special favors as a blogger except everybody on a OneWorld MegaDO got some extra EQM's for a flight delay regardless if they blogged on not. My remaining status is lifetime Plat from AA based on earnings primarily before the change to flight miles only and Plat with SPG that will end this year.

My current stash combined with wife's is about 2M with a pile of them earned recently on the Citi Exec card and some UR earned from reselling stuff. I have purchased and shared miles when on bonus promos like the US Airways ones.

Those still active in the blogging game are much younger and still want elite status for future years so are probably buying more tickets with blog income to maintain status and can write some of the expenses off.

I was never offered a big pile of free miles or points by an airline or hotel program, nor bank reward points for pushing credit cards. Since selling the blog IB has reimbursed my coach tickets to LAX and hotels about 4 or 5 times and I got to keep the miles and points. On a recent trip to NYC to have lunch with Chase I stayed at the Waldorf as I wanted Katy to see it and I had to pay the extra cost over a standard NYC hotel room myself. No big deal either way.

From my standpoint I was just in the right place at the right time to catch the affiliate link game and get out before it got nasty and over saturated.

Directly to you point, some blog owners are high income earners that can justify in their own minds, based on current income levels, buying premium class seats. I never could justify the prices charged for premium seats.

Last edited by ingy; Jul 9, 14 at 12:27 pm Reason: additions
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Old Jul 9, 14, 3:25 pm
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Most "normal" readers/FTers would be surprised at how easy it is sometimes to get cheap/free flights/hotels without msing, or churning cc's, even.
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Old Jul 9, 14, 7:10 pm
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isnt there a lot of discussion of this on FT?

from what i hear this kind of thing (specifically re mentioned bloggers, and including CC referral revenues) are discussed amongst certain people
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Old Jul 9, 14, 8:28 pm
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Originally Posted by ingy View Post
It was just card churning and burning my own stash and the wife's. We did have the advantage of being able to write off other expenses if we blogged about a trip but nothing really outlandish there either.

In the end bloggers are just like other travel hackers at heart trying to get free miles and points or earn them as cheaply as possible. I was never granted any special favors as a blogger except everybody on a OneWorld MegaDO got some extra EQM's for a flight delay regardless if they blogged on not. My remaining status is lifetime Plat from AA based on earnings primarily before the change to flight miles only and Plat with SPG that will end this year.

My current stash combined with wife's is about 2M with a pile of them earned recently on the Citi Exec card and some UR earned from reselling stuff. I have purchased and shared miles when on bonus promos like the US Airways ones.

Those still active in the blogging game are much younger and still want elite status for future years so are probably buying more tickets with blog income to maintain status and can write some of the expenses off.

I was never offered a big pile of free miles or points by an airline or hotel program, nor bank reward points for pushing credit cards. Since selling the blog IB has reimbursed my coach tickets to LAX and hotels about 4 or 5 times and I got to keep the miles and points. On a recent trip to NYC to have lunch with Chase I stayed at the Waldorf as I wanted Katy to see it and I had to pay the extra cost over a standard NYC hotel room myself. No big deal either way.

From my standpoint I was just in the right place at the right time to catch the affiliate link game and get out before it got nasty and over saturated.

Directly to you point, some blog owners are high income earners that can justify in their own minds, based on current income levels, buying premium class seats. I never could justify the prices charged for premium seats.
You were always pretty detailed in describing how you did what you did, back in the day when FTG was mainly just you. That was helpful for people trying to learn and understand the bigger picture.
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Old Jul 10, 14, 1:31 pm
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If koko is implying that comps are rained down, then I will disabuse him of that notion!

I have probably have one of the top 10 English language blogs globally by page views, certainly the biggest English language site outside the US. I have no comped status from anyone. I do not even have a contact point at British Airways.

I DO have top tier with various airlines and hotel chains though. That is because I know other FTers and the like who can help via referring status and I am in a position to see status enhancing promos when they come up. I also via my years of experience know how to status match my way around.

But, honestly, no-one is going around officially throwing free status cards at bloggers, at least not outside the US.
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Old Jul 10, 14, 2:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Raffles View Post
If koko is implying that comps are rained down, then I will disabuse him of that notion!

I have probably have one of the top 10 English language blogs globally by page views, certainly the biggest English language site outside the US. I have no comped status from anyone. I do not even have a contact point at British Airways.

I DO have top tier with various airlines and hotel chains though. That is because I know other FTers and the like who can help via referring status and I am in a position to see status enhancing promos when they come up. I also via my years of experience know how to status match my way around.

But, honestly, no-one is going around officially throwing free status cards at bloggers, at least not outside the US.
I didn't mean to imply anything. Just an honest question: how do folks who seem to travel mostly on points and miles achieve status, especially on airlines where award tickets do not count toward status?

Your response, although still somewhat vague, certainly helps some: friends and readers give you matching status, you play the status match game.

I just think it would be fascinating to see exactly who has what in terms of points, miles and statuses and how they got it. And, more to the point, did they get it all in a way that can be emulated by someone who is not blogging or otherwise engaging in building personal relationships with readers and/or hotel/airline execs?

For example, one benefit of the MEGADOs is always some sort of free status. I think it may have been Hyatt last time...? Are the bloggers also doing a lot of revenue travel in addition to their award travel and just not blogging about it? Etc.
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Old Jul 10, 14, 2:11 pm
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To Answer Your Question

Originally Posted by kokonutz View Post
I didn't mean to imply anything. Just an honest question: how do folks who seems to travel mostly on points and miles achieve status, especially on airlines where award tickets do not count toward status?

Your response, although still somewhat vague, certainly helps some.

I just think it would be fascinating to see exactly who has what in terms of points, miles and statuses and how they got it. And, more to the point, did they get it all in a way that can be emulated by someone who is not blogging or otherwise engaging in building personal relationships with readers and/or hotel/airline execs?
Bloggers are just another Bozo on the Bus. I assume the only extra we could get are large numbers of points from referral links. Example, When SPG had a 5K referral bonus in the past without restrictions and I offered to refer people to that program, we generated about 200K SPG points. That was our largest referral score. That promo has been changed now and restricted in numbers. Same with Marriott refer a friend. Uber is the only active one that comes to mind without restrictions and still exists, but it is pumped by so many bloggers I'm not sure anybody has acquired a boatload of credit? I may have gotten $300-$500 total.

When I first posted a referral link for BigCrumbs years ago, Mr "Fancy Pants" used my referral link to join then reposted his link with mine one level above him. I got 318 Tier 2 referrals from him My total earnings since inception with BC is about $6K including my own purchases and all other referrals. The big dog on BC is at $73K lifetime earnings. On FT Astrophx was the big winner having the original referral link.

Confirming what Raffles suggested, no one is throwing status, EQMs or free flights my way. We just play the game like all of you, with a few little referral opportunities based on the size of readership
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Old Jul 10, 14, 3:29 pm
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black and white

I don't do a yearly total but every single trip I do I break down the cost.

I show things on the blog even as tiny as tolls and gas to airports.

I do not always break down where I get all my points but at 2.5 million across all programs and earning as fast as I can by churning cards, mfg spend etc. I have no interest in keeping track.

I do MR a bunch and love it. I enjoy it and I often bump and then re-spend those on more MRs.

Lastly I post my Delta MQD spend each year but much of that is from ETVs so you have to look at individual reports to get the final numbers.

I will look at a guestimate post at year end but it will not be a firm number as I happy spending ETVs and points from cards and mfg spend for all my needs!
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Old Jul 10, 14, 3:35 pm
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I wrote a post on this a while back, but my old posts have since been taken down from F2B. Here's the relevant pie chart though:

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