Our biggest goal here at Military Frequent Flyer is to give our fellow servicemembers advice on how to travel better and more frequently. I received an email from a young Air Force SSgt Francisco, who himself is a frequent blogger and quite a prolific traveler, moreso than I am. I offered a guest post, so here it is, modeled after Million Mile Secret’s questions. Check out his blog at gotlovewilltravel.com.
How did you start collecting miles and points?
I started back in 2007 when I signed up for my first frequent flyer account and applied for my first mileage-earning credit card. It wasn’t until 2011 though that I got serious about it.
I was deployed to the Middle East and was planning a vacation with my future wife for when I got back. I then stumbled upon Flyertalk.com and after countless hours of reading and learning about miles & points, I was hooked.
Elephant rides in Phuket, Thailand after my deployment.
What’s the story behind your blog?
We started GotLoveWillTravel.com because we wanted to share our adventures with family and friends. As our travel increased with the help of miles and points, more and more people started asking us how we were doing it and blog was our answer. We use the blog to inspire people on the endless travel possibilities with the help of miles and points!
Currently, we have our goal of visiting 100 countries and the blog has been an online journal of places we’ve checked off!
Camel ride to get to the Pyramids of Giza
Any tips for miles and points rookies?
Funnel all your purchases through credit cards! I still carry cash with me but 99% of my purchases are paid with a credit card. The trick is to pay them off each month so that you don’t accrue interest and enjoy the benefits of your miles and points! The key to the game is discipline!
Cheesing it up at the Taj Mahal.
What are some of your most memorable travel experiences?
- A week in the Maldives using Hilton Honor Points for a room that would have cost over $1,000 a night was pretty magical.
- Stayed at a $10 a night bed and breakfast in Kathmandu, Nepal. It was a family business which was ran by 4 brothers and they provided us with an authentic Nepali experience we will never forget.
Never in our wildest dreams did we think we can afford these trips but they were made possible with miles and points!
What do your family and friends think of your miles & points hobby?
They are fascinated by all our travels and I’ve been lucky enough to bring a lot of them to some of our trips. It’s the best feeling to share once in a lifetime experiences with family and friends!
With the Massai Warriors of Kenya.
Is there any tool or trick which you’ve found especially useful in this hobby?
Awardwallet has become indispensable to manage all miles and points accounts. I also love using Flightmemory to track all my flights!
What was the least expected way you’ve earned miles or points?
In general, I just sign up for random promotions from airlines and hotels even if I don’t think I’ll be doing them. It always surprises me to find extra miles or points in my account because of something I signed up for months ago.
Wailing Wall, Jerusalem, Israel.
What do you now know about collecting miles and points which you wish you knew when you started out?
Credit card churning! It took me awhile to find out that you can get the bonuses for the same card multiple times!
Pantheon, Rome, Italy.
Any travel tips for our fellow service members?
A huge part of our travels would not be possible without the military. I have been lucky enough to see the world by taking advantage of the opportunities the military has afforded me. I have used leave en route, circuitous travel and my COT or Consecutive Overseas Tour entitlements to visit different places around the world.
Also, get familiar with Space-A travel! It’s an amazing benefit that a small percentage of us take advantage of. Visit Hawaii, Japan or Italy from where you are stationed for a fraction of the price!
Lastly, have an open mind! I have been deployed to places that I knew little about but eventually realized that there was always something to see and something new to do wherever I was.
View from our room in Seychelles
Any parting words?
Keep on dreaming! Life is too short so see the world any chance you get! It doesn’t always have to be an exotic destination; it can be the small town you’ve never visited that’s close to home. Just keep on exploring!
Parc Guell, Barcelona, Spain