What Is It Like To Travel With Lucky?

I’m in the midst of publishing a detailed trip report about an insane trip I recently took on China Eastern, Qatar, Royal Air Maroc, Saudia, and Pakistan, with my friend Matthew from Live and Let’s Fly. He’s one of my best friends that I’ve met through the miles & points hobby, and I’ve known him for a very long time. However, the past few years life has gotten in the way of us hanging out much.

Traveling with Matthew was a big part of what made this trip so fun, especially when we ended up on as many amusing flights as we did. During the trip we discussed in passing that Matthew would write a guest post with his impressions of the flights.

So I was a bit surprised (and beyond humbled) when he emailed me the below draft for his guest post yesterday. On one hand I feel very awkward posting something like this (especially when Matthew is giving me way more credit than I deserve). But then again, I also realize that a lot of people don’t understand how or why I travel, so the post is pretty insightful in that regard.

Anyway, thanks to Matthew for writing the below. He’s certainly being way too kind and I feel uncomfortable even reading it. So here you have it, unedited.


Ben (I don’t like to call him Lucky) and I have been friends for a decade and so I have had the pleasure of seeing a kid who was awestruck about travel grow into a man who remains awestruck about travel and has corralled that passion into a highly successful business.

I could tell you all about our trip from my perspective…the smoking on China Eastern, the sexism on Saudia, the hilarity of traveling 72 hours straight (well, I did tell you the belly dancer story from my perspective), but most of it would simply replicate what Ben has already written.

I will eventually publish a trip report on my blog covering our trip, but it will not digress much from Ben’s own views – we tend to see eye to eye on things. But I bet you are curious what it is like to travel with him, so I am happy to fill you in.

Remember that recent post about trip report pictures? It’s true – we lined up early each flight in order to get onboard pictures as unobstructed as possible. We always positioned ourselves to board first and I dutifully tried to slow down the people behind us while Ben sprinted forward to take pictures. It wasn’t until we flew Pakistan Airlines that we were ever told to stop (and then another FA said we could go right ahead) and so imagine the two Americans (on the majority of our flights, we were the only visible westerners onboard) boarding a plane while discreetly trying to take as many pictures as possible. I think most FAs just thought we were weird.

Traveling

Ben has what I would diagnose as a taxi phobia, and for good reason. Wouldn’t you after incidents in Brussels, London, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Frankfurt, Las Vegas, Warsaw, and Moscow? We used a taxi in Shanghai from the Maglev station to the Grand Hyatt and the driver promptly opted to use the emergency lane to weave through busy rush hour traffic at high speeds, a kindred spirit that seems to run through taxi drivers worldwide as we experienced the same thing (plus an accident) in Casablanca.

But here’s what surprised me—on every taxi trip, every Uber ride, Ben had his laptop out using an offline WordPress page to format pictures and write captions, creating a skeleton for the trip report that he has just finished. One of the reasons I am about 20 trips behind in own my trip reports is the immense time it takes to format pictures and create posts. No really, it does – you should try it if you do not believe me.

I asked Ben why he just doesn’t hire an intern to do this tedious work and he pointed out the obvious – the re-sizing of pictures takes just a few seconds with iPhoto. The real time comes in choosing what pictures to use, cropping them from the eyes of the photographer, and placing them in a logical order (not always necessarily chronological order) for the trip report to flow. Only the writer can do that. He’s lighting fast at what he does, but it still takes time. Meanwhile, if I try to do the same I just get carsick.

In case you were wondering, Ben writes everything himself. If it says “Lucky” on the article byline, he wrote it: there are no OMAAT ghostwriters. Just think, then, how much effort is required to churn out 50+ posts per week. It still amazes me.

Ben gets up between 4-5a PT every day, no matter where he is in the world (because breaking news tends to occur in the U.S. morning and publishing articles at that time optimizes page views). This was true, every day. We got into the Grand Hyatt Shanghai around 7pm, which was 4am PT. We had just gotten off a 14hr smoke-filled flight with limited rest, waited 30 minutes for a train (during which Ben feverishly formatted pictures on his laptop) and then fought rush hour traffic in a cab. We were both very tried and our bodies were still on west coast time.

It did not matter. It was time to work.

We had dinner in the Hyatt Grand Club and then I excused myself to go to bed…I could not keep my eyes open. Ben, on the other hand, stayed up for hours and cranked out not just a post or two, but a day’s worth of quality posts.

Same story in Colombo. And Doha. And Casablanca. And Jeddah. The point is that Ben is incredibly disciplined and that helps to explain his great success in blogging. If you want to blog, as I have humbly found out over the last six years, you need to blog consistently and you need to blog often. This trip was no vacation for either of us and especially not for Ben.

In Casablanca we did spend an afternoon walking through the bazar and over to Hassan II Mosque. It was a very warm day and we returned to the Hyatt for a cappuccino and water in the lounge and discussed what to do next – I was going to head back to the market to restock on fake Ray-Bans (having just lost my 8th or 9th pair in the Uber in Colombo) and get a haircut and shave. Ben opted to work.

You may now be tempted to feel sorry for Ben, concluding perhaps that the poor guy is either money-obsessed or has OCD in order to be such a workaholic. Nope. Imagine doing something you loved, truly loved, and being able to do it from wherever you were in the world. Ben would not be so successful if his blog was anything but a labor of love. Just like you and I might find fine dinners and good movies fun (Ben does too), so Ben finds writing for his blog. That’s an amazing gift.

What did we talk about? Travel of course. And also our futures, our relationships, our common friends, our work, some politics, some religion – essentially our lives, just like any two friends would talk about when together for an extended period.

Don’t ever think that just because Ben has chosen to focus his blog on premium cabin commercial air travel and luxury hotels that he somehow is removed from the wider world around him. He’s up on current events and can argue just as persuasively a political position as he can why you should fly Lufthansa First Class.

I know some of you like to pan Ben for rarely stepping outside the friendly confines of western hotels or airline lounges, but it is not because he does not want to – it is because he has a job to do. There will be time for more “cultured” things later, but frankly the type of discipline now employed will allow him to take in all the culture he wants in the years to come. He has struck while the iron is hot.

And you know something? Even the so-called “cultured” among us need comfort food and after two flights on China Eastern, you really cannot appreciate how much pizza hit the spot in Colombo, in an Italian restaurant that was full of locals.

Anyway…

We had a blast on this trip and I cannot wait to travel with Ben again, maybe on Biman Bangladesh Airlines? Ben is the real deal and he did not ask me to write this post: I actually surprised him with it. I do count it a privilege to call Ben my friend and I wish all of you had a chance to see that the wunderkind who established a thriving business with unyielding diligence is an amazing person in so many other ways.

Comments

  1. @ Mark — While I agree he’s being far too nice, we don’t work together in any way/have any sort of a financial relationship.

  2. Fantastic tribute to a great blogger. Every word of this rang true from my own experience reading this blog; these aren’t just hollow words. Thanks for posting.

  3. Very kind and heartfelt review of an incredible and insightful writer. You are so lucky to do what you love.

  4. People can love or hate what they read from Lucky, but nobody can question his work ethic. Kudos to you, Ben.

  5. Great article and thanks for posting this. Ben, you are very lucky to have the opportunity to pursue such a unique and interesting career, doing something you are extremely passionate about. Your hard work does not go unnoticed.

  6. Great tribute from your friend and fellow blogger, Lucky! Keep on showing the world these #firstworldproblems 🙂

  7. It is great and rare to find a profession which one loves as much as life itself. Congrats on finding something that you enjoy doing daily! You and I share the same wake-up times (well..4 am EST in my case) regardless of where in the world I am.

  8. Great post!!! I love to read Matthew’s blog but as he said he does not post that often. Ben: keep doing what you like and it is a great idea to keep growing this blog by adding other writers that have a different view/taste than you. I would love to see reviews of places you visited (not hotels), restaurants, etc… This could become a “one stop shop” for someone planning a trip and looking for good taste and fair reviewed.

  9. Very thoughtful and well-written. Thanks Ben (and the rest at OMAAT) for all the entertainment and tips. You’ve improved my travel (and helped me create amazing memories for myself and loved ones) and kept me from being bored on sooooo many flights. Keep up the great work and congrats on doing what you love.

  10. Very insightful, Matthew. Thank you!
    @Ben, if you don’t use the photos in their original size at all, then you could adjust the settings of your camera and take pictures directly in the size you need. One other thing, if you often work in tight environments you could probably benefit from a 2-in-1-Laptop with a touchscreen. On the plus side if someone pours orange juice over it it is easier to recover your data 😉

  11. Where can I sign up to travel with Ben?!

    I’m so glad I came across your blog a couple years ago. Keep up the great work!!

  12. How does working hard require you to eat at the Hyatt versus a local restaurant?
    Neither Ben nor Matthew are well-equipped to say that passing up opportunities to see local culture while you’re traveling is justified because you can do that later in life. And there are plenty of us who travel, work very hard at our jobs, and make enough money to travel later in life who manage to also leave the four walls of the hotel.

    This is a much sadder portrait of Ben than the image presented, that he is “lucky” to be traveling the world. Someone sitting on the beach with friends and family, eating a $6 burger and a beer seems to have a much better life.

  13. Hmm, what to do today? I know, I’m going to be the first to comment on a blog entry. And I’ll be negative. And I’ll be wrong! What a good day I just had.

    Nice job @Mark. You’re a premium commenter for sure.

  14. And may I say, THIS is why I prevented my Chase Money Manager from applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card on my behalf. I looked at him and said, “No! I need to log into OMAAT and apply for the card on Lucky’s blog!” My response took him completely off guard followed by his RCA dog look :o)

    It’s because of YOU, Lucky, that my entire travel world has changed for the better. I would have never known the advantages of that credit card without your expert travel insight. Your efforts truly valued and greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  15. I’ve often thought he as the “hardest working guy in the Blogosphere”.
    This confims it. Thanks.

    And, Ben, a lot of people seem to think this is a “hobby”. They are wrong– you
    approach this vocational avocation with as much zeal as I’ve ever seen in any field.
    You are truly amazing. Thanks!

  16. I had the oppertuity to meet Ben in the BA F lounge in LHR. He took the time to stop and chat for a while. He was very curtious and sincere.

    I wish you plenty of success and happiness.

  17. I often wondered how you get so many posts out while you are on the road so much. I try and get work done while I am away, but often I just fall asleep at my laptop and that is it. Your posts are easy to read, very informative ,well written extremely useful and a must read the numerous posts on a daily basis. Thanks for the insight to know its really you, man, writing…..

  18. Lucky, The amount of quality content your produce is truly amazing and I have often wondered “is he working day and night to get this done?” Obviously you are. The work as paid off as OMAAT is de facto standard for premium miles point travel news and reviews. It was a nice letter Matthew wrote and I’m glad you shared it with us.

  19. You guys are far too kind, thanks for the nice words. Means a lot, and makes me a bit uncomfortable, even. But thank you.

  20. @ Adam — I eat at plenty of local restaurants. On my trip to Russia with Ford there wasn’t a single night where we ate at the hotel, but rather we ate at the restaurants that came the most highly recommended from locals we knew.

    As far as the Hyatt goes, in this case we were arriving at the hotel shortly before 9PM, and had to leave shortly after 7AM the following morning. There was wifi at the Hyatt, so we could eat there while working on our laptops. It was a win-win.

    While I appreciate the spirit behind you feeling sorry for me, there’s no need to, because I don’t feel sorry for myself. I love what I do.

    You’ve been commenting on the blog for almost five years, and haven’t left a single positive comment, but rather only critical ones. Sort of makes me wonder why you’re spending so much of your time reading something you clearly don’t enjoy/reading content from someone you feel sorry for.

  21. I think this kind of a post is a Rorshach test.
    If you thought Ben was amazing before, this will make you feel even more so. If you didn’t, you still won’t.

  22. @ El Plauzo — I like having the bigger versions of the pictures, since I crop virtually every picture I post. The actual process of resizing pictures takes only a few seconds. It’s selecting the pictures, editing/cropping them, and inserting them into the post and adding captions that takes time.

  23. @Ben, the response was to a specific point made by Matthew, “I know some of you like to pan Ben for rarely stepping outside the friendly confines of western hotels or airline lounges, but it is not because he does not want to – it is because he has a job to do.”

    What you’re suggesting is that Matthew is wrong on that, which is fine. But Matthew said it, not me.

  24. Great post! I don’t know Lucky like Matt does but OMAAT has been the primary reason why I’ve been able to travel internationally in business class essentially for free this past year. My only regret is that I didn’t find this blog and get into the world of miles/points earlier in my life. Because of this blog, I’ve accrued enough miles to fly my wife, son, and I in business class to visit my home country of South Korea in Business, fly in First class on CX to Singapore for a good friend’s wedding, and fly my extended family from all over the US/Canada to Hawaii next year for a family reunion. I still have about 1.2MM miles/points across all 4 major US airlines/UR/TY/MR and earn about 25,000 points/miles per month with no revenue flying. Thanks Lucky!

  25. As a subscriber to the Upgrd frequent flyer podcast (which featured a younger Lucky and Matthew on many episodes), I enjoyed this fresh perspective on Lucky (as well as the Rolling Stone article and ABC News video) as well as their respective reports on their recent trip.

    Many of you may also know Matthew from Frequent Traveler University or his blog on Upgrd.

    He airline stories are hilarious and he is extremely knowledgeable with regards to award travel bookings.

  26. @ Adam — Correct, and that’s accurate for trips like this, where I fly 33,000+ miles in a week. It’s often not practical to go to a restaurant. That’s very different than the (many) fun trips I take with Ford, my parents, etc., where the primary purpose of my trip is to visit a new destination. I still work a ton of hours, but also plan the travel more slowly so I have time to sightsee, go to restaurants, etc. That’s far from every trip, though.

  27. Thanks for posting! You’re our favorite blogger and we basically will check to see if you have reviewed a specific property prior to making reservations for our family. Loved getting an inside view on your process!

  28. @Ben and to clarify, I don’t really feel sorry for you for the reason you’ve said – you’re doing what you want to do and are fulfilled by it. And I presume you could stop living like this at a moment’s notice if you wanted. You have a lot of fans who live vicariously through you, and project their ideas of luxury travel onto your experiences. I would think that many of them, wouldn’t actually consider your travel experience fulfilling. Matthew’s post seems to be thumbing his nose at anyone who doesn’t — saying “Haha but Ben will be a multimillionaire when he’s 45 and can experience local culture then. So anyone who rather be experiencing local culture at 25 is a fool” Now, that may not be your thought process, but that’s what Matthew said, and you posted it, and by posting it on your blog, you’ve endorsed it.

  29. I know you don’t think very much of your fashion style but I really like what you’re wearing in that picture. I’m very fortunate to have found a blogger who is interested in the same things that I am. I’ve been accused by my friends about not caring about the destination but more about how I get there.

  30. @ Adam — First of all, as a general matter, just because something is on the blog doesn’t mean I endorse it. That applies to blog posts and comments, many of which present alternative ideas. Similar arguments to yours are made by people who say that because I let a blog comment through, I’m endorsing it. I doubt you’d want me to take that approach, right? 😉

    That being said, I’ll stand 100% behind what Matthew said, aside from how nice he is (which is unnecessary and undeserved).

    But perhaps part of why you don’t enjoy my blog is because you don’t understand the point of it. My goal with the blog is primarily twofold:
    — To educate people on how they can redeem their miles, and show them the amazing products they can experience for very little by maximizing miles, credit cards, etc.
    — To entertain people with my ridiculous travels, most of which are done with the purposes of showing people how they can redeem miles and what’s out there

    A food critic who goes to a different restaurant every day isn’t doing so to say “hey look, you should eat at a fancy restaurant every day.” Instead they’re doing so in hopes of sampling everything out there so you can experience the best when you decide to go to a restaurant. I operate under the same principle, except for premium cabin products.

    In order to be a true subject matter expert in one area, I have to dedicate a lot of time to it. That cuts into my ability to dedicate time to other things.

    I have *never* suggested anyone should fly 33,000 miles on six airlines over seven days with 72 hours of nonstop flying. That’s insane. Instead I’ve suggested “hey, if you’re going on vacation, these are the airlines you should consider flying to have the best experience, and here’s how you can get the best deal on it.”

    It’s that simple. A vast majority of people who like my site understand that.

    Meanwhile you’ve been reading my site for over five years, but have yet to ever leave a positive comment. So can I ask you a question now? If you’re a such a fulfilled, self sufficient, happy traveler, why do you read this site? Most happy people don’t feel the need to be critical of others day in and day out, but rather would remove negative forces from their life. There are tons of sites I don’t like… and I don’t read them, because I don’t need negativity in my life.

  31. Work ethic is a game changer for those who are successful. Very interesting to read about your work ethic. It helps that you get to do something you love to do. Me personally, I would have a hard time not venturing out at each destination but I understand its about the journey itself and not the destination.

  32. Rings very true. And Matthew is probably the one person I wish could emulate Ben more in terms of productivity, since i think he has a great blog but just doesn’t post enough, but he’s also right that it has to be a passion in the same way — what you think about in the shower, the work you do in a cab.

  33. Based on traffic stats (I haven’t checked the latest), but I believe Lucky is already a millionaire. And a probably legend in blogsphere.

    But no, Lucky’s success is not all down to luck; just reading his posts I can see a lot of hard work and sacrifice has gone into his work.

    Quality, quantity and consistency. He chose a niche area to focus on, and is extremely good at it, and he is passionate at it.

    And of course, I also like Tiffany’s posts, which certainly does not come in the same amount in frequency, but equal in quality.

    Lucky’s output is simply phenomenal.

    Kudos and yes, thanks Matthew. I enjoyed your post very much too. I think this article is one to keep. If anyone writes a biography on Lucky one day, this article will be cited. Or maybe, Matthew will be the writer.

  34. We’re all SO LUCKY to share in and enjoy your passion for travel and excellent blogging skills! Our travel experiences are certainly better for it!

  35. Basically then a very successful young person who works hard. Nothing wrong with that at all – and he shouldn’t be criticised for his choice of how to earn a crust, he’s not hurting anyone that I can see. That kind of life not for everyone however. I wouldn’t have chosen it at 25 and I wouldn’t choose it now. But I’m not Ben.

    End of story.

  36. @Lucky – I started reading your blogs after I applied for the Chase Sapphire credit card in May 2015, I basically just googled to see if that was a good choice and how best to use UR points and I came across your website and you blew me out of this world. Since then I applied for nearly 15+ credit cards and amassed over a MILLION points/miles. I have both experienced and have several upcoming premium travel including Etihad First apartments, JAL First, Cathay First, Qatar Business….etc.

    While I have to give credit to thepointsguy and other members in the Boarding Area as well for their contributions, it all started with your blog and I still follow your blogs every 2 hours everyday if I’m awake. I have gained so much knowledge that my friends and family urge me to start blogging on my own since I have helped them sign up and redeem for amazing hotels and first/business class tickets.

    While I do disagree with some of your posts and opinions on certain topics I nevertheless like to say THANK YOU for the work you do. Keep it up, maybe hope to meet you one day in person. Cheers !!!

  37. This Adam guy spends about half his day talking bad about Ben on Flyertalk then spends the other half over here talking negatively. Pathetic

  38. It’s awesome (and yes a bit awkward) when a friend has such great things to say about yourself. It speaks volumes of your character and work ethic. Your blog has been one of my main go to travel pages (visiting several times a day) for over a year now. Keep up the great work.. and thank you for all the information and laughs along the way.

  39. I m really thankful to you Ben and Matthew…for considering to fly together on Biman Bangladesh Airlines. I really wanted to read a review based on Biman for a long time. I hope you both would enjoy flying Biman’s Brand new B777-300ER. Once again thanks alot…❤❤❤

  40. I love the work Ben “Lucky” does. It really has inspired me to be a bit more thoughtful and aware when I travel. I’ve traveled just over 2.3 million miles spread out over 58 airlines, and there has been a story or beautiful picture out an airplane window from each. I wish I had taken the time to write them all down and share.

  41. Fantastic review or post,
    I do believe every word that Matthew is posting.
    We do see your level of professionalism on a daily basis.
    Your blog is one of my desired ones,
    Keep it coming

  42. @Lucky

    My life hasn’t been the same since I stumbled upon your Rolling Stones article last September. I began reading OMAAT everyday and haven’t turned back. I’ve taken my girlfriend to Paris and I’m going to be taking my mom to London in VS Upper Class in September. Thank you for all you do! Your work isn’t under-appreciated by most.

  43. It’s a beautifully written article and tribute tribute to you Ben by Matthew. It makes me appreciate even more on the articles you have written Ben now I know the amount of effort you have put into. All of us readers are very blessed to be able to have a blogger as hard working and insightful you are :).

  44. Hobby and profession are completely different thing! I respect Ben’work before and try to understand him as a person through post like this now! Good on you Ben!

    I am wondering how long do you plan to do this job?

  45. Great post! Having followed Lucky’s blog for a while, I am not surprised by what you wrote about him.

  46. Good to know what I suspected was true is in fact so. Congratulations and keep up the good work! And thank you for all the tips and information you’ve shared over the years.

  47. People who have the courage to start their own business, doing what they love, and work very hard at it, are often the ones who are also very successful. Lucky deserves every ounce of success he gets – and luck has little to do with it. The naysayers are just a bunch of jealous whiners.

  48. Great post, Matt. I really enjoyed this “look behind the scenes”. If only more people had his incredible work ethic. That has always impressed me as much as anything else. I plead guilty to the occasional comment chastising Ben, but I think that’s only because he sets the bar so high – so in essence they were backhanded compliments. 🙂 Seriously, I have a ton of admiration for you, Ben, and wish you much continued success.

  49. Lucky, yours is the only blog I read, travel or otherwise.

    I have 7 credit cards in my wallet thanks to you, and have traveled dozens of times in F and stayed in dozens od the most luxurious hotels. My whole family thanks you!

  50. @lucky

    I am also one of those people who reads your blog every day but I also share the same fascination for curveball long haul products a la Azerbaijan Airlines and Meridiana after working in the airline industry in my late teens. Great to read a behind the scenes blog on your travels. Keep up the good work, you’re doing something I could only dream of with my one long haul flight every year or so!

  51. Ben,

    Thank you for your passion. It shows in your work, and now we get a glimpse of the effort that goes into it.

    I find some of your articles a bit wankish (calling a spade a spade) but I admire your passion and hope you keep it up!

    Thank you!

  52. @mango man – Very well said!

    Another testimonial:

    A few years ago I fractured some leg bone while skiing in Chile, which is NOT a ski destination for oafish novices lIke myself. During my downtime I decided to read every translation of Anna Karenina. Well, I took a break one day and just arbitrarily did a Google search for reviews of Lufthansa first class as I am a true commercial aviation geek. And that’s how I first stumbled upon Ben and OMAAT. Anna fell by the wayside as I spent days devouring Ben’s reviews.

    I hit-up OMAAT every day even though I don’t have any interest in “the hobby” and have pretty well abandoned the use of credit cards. I just don’t know of any blogger that does a more phenomenal job of reviewing airlines & hotels than Ben.

    I am glad for his success.

  53. Ben,

    Have never posted before, but going through a tough time now and I have to say I love your blog, I love your write ups, I love your attention to detail. I’ve spent countless hours pouring over them. As someone who has previously travelled extensively, I can’t think of a better source for future travel.

    You’re one of a kind. Don’t let the mean people get you down. You are very appreciated.

    Christine

  54. Good to see a post that reminds you there’s a huge (but less vocal) readership that really appreciates what you do and thanks you for it. Keep up the good work!

    The vast majority of us appreciate it, have enjoyed or benefited from it, and are happy you have been successful doing something you like.

  55. @Ben, Are you legally prevented from sharing with your blog readers the information on your having been banned by United that you shared with the readers of Rolling Stone and expand on it in terms of explaining the current status and how you got there? In the past you have written that, only except for some totally personal matters, you choose to be totally open with your blog readers, and the United issue rather than being personal is directly related to the subject of the blog. No doubt, legal or not, there must be good reason to, in this case, undermine that marketing strategy.

  56. @Stuart Falk Is it really any of your business the specifics? Ben can blog about whatever he wants. You can choose to read it or not. He’s not running for president here, nor does he have to answer to you.

  57. Ben, when it comes to points and miles blogs, you are the very best, and whenever friends ask how to get into the game, OMAAT is always the first site I recommend. Like others have already said, you are the reason many of us have been able to see more of the world than we could have dreamed of otherwise. Keep up the strong work!

  58. @ Stuart — I’ve restored my relations with United, though that’s all I’m going to say there (and it’s not because I’m in any way legally restricted as to what I can say). As far as the process or anything else, I don’t think it’s something that needs to be expanded further on publicly. I have my reasons, and I hope you can respect that.

  59. That was a cool read and I’m sure it reinforced what many already suspected.

    You can’t do this for as long as Ben has done it, at the level he’s done it, without devotion, dedication and a kick-ass work ethic.

    You’re life doesn’t suck, bro.

  60. @Cheese. Well, if winning a contest would mean to do those grueling back to back long flights with Lucky, that would be more like a punishment for most of us, regular folks. After one long flight even in business class I need a few days to recover!

  61. Matthew: Great article and POV! Ben – I’m sure you deserve all the praise and recognition in it! Congrats on your success in creating a top notch blog!

  62. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading the blog and can’t imagine how Ben manages to pull it off, and I know Matthew and Ben don’t have any kind of financial relationship. (In other words, I’m not trying to be like one of the zillion other negative commenters.)

    Matthew mentioned that Ben doesn’t have any “ghostwriters.” By that, I assume he means that Ben is the sole writer of content on this blog. However, isn’t that false, given that people like Tiffany have contributed content? (Again, not trying to be like the other negative commenters; just trying to understand.)

  63. @ b — When we write, we do so under our names. That’s not necessarily the case on other sites, which have several staff writers posting under a single byline.

  64. I think this is a great post written about you (Ben) by someone who actually knows you personally. I just want to say keep up the great work and thank you so much for doing what you love that benefits so many of us! I became a big fan of yours when I first saw a segment about you on ABC’s Nightline in 2015. Since then, I became such an avid reader of your blog. I fly in premium cabins (just a handful of times a year) and visit airport lounges thanks to your tips.I know you have grown a thick skin through the years as a blogger (as you needed to) because there are just so many haters out there. So please keep doing what you do!! And thanks again! 🙂

  65. Many thanks to Matthew for the wonderful insights and especially to you Lucky for the fantastic blog. I have tremendous respect for your business model and appreciate the hard work you and your contributors provide to your readers for what is an absolutely free product for us.

    P.S. Welcome back to UA!

  66. There are a ton of travel and miles & points blogs out there and there’s a reason this is one of the few I visit on a daily basis. Keep up the great work and all my respect for the work ethic of yours! Love this blog and hope to see many more reviews and posts to come!

    You should get Snapchat though, not a lot of editing work needed for this one 😀

  67. Thanks @Ben and @Matthew for the article. I had my suspicions about how hard you work on the blog – just from your output and my writing/blogging experience.

    You know we appreciate it. One day I hope to meet you, and congratulate you personally on your work.

    As to the negative commenters and the ones who think they have a ‘better’ or more ‘authentic’ way of travelling – go do your own blog.

    This one is for us.

  68. This corroborates everything I imagined about Ben from many years of reading this blog. I particularly enjoyed the comment about how Ben doesn’t employ ghost writers – something which I’ve seen many other travel bloggers succumb to over the years. Keep doing what you’re doing Ben! Authenticity is everything.

  69. Did Matt lose a game of Fifa and had to right a Fifa apology? This post must be worth 15-0 or something

  70. @Adam – Ben (sorry but I don’t like using Lucky as a name either) never claimed to be a world traveler or destination specialist. I have criticised him before for this already which someone told me actually led to an article somewhere in his large archive. If I could, I would love to do an article for NatGeo on his travel routine (and others who travel solely to experience the journey), but unfortunately the publication does not endorse those types of articles.

  71. For those criticising, I think it’s important to understand that Ben, when on OMAAT/being “Lucky”, is doing a job/being his corporate self (as I think this article highlights about Ben behaviours when doing OMAAT travels). OMAAT is not someone’s private diary, but a commercial entity just like the “Lucky” brand is.

    So just like any other commercial blogger, Ben-under the OMAAT/”Lucky” brands-is making commercial decisions (in terms of what market niche he concentrates on, how he markets and promotes his brand/product, how he leverages things to maximise his revenue, etc). So yes, that means you won’t get the same feel as you would with someone just doing this as a non-commercial activity, who does it for no gain or development of their own brand.

    But that’s ok – “Lucky” never hides he is running a business, and developing his brand, and that he targets the luxury travel market because of the commercial leverage that brings (most people travel economy, but are far more interested in premium travel) and plays to that. It’s be pretty harsh to begrudge him earning a crust, and honestly it’s no different from working in PR/Marketing (just that Ben is marketing his own OMAAT/”Lucky” brands).

    So just take a breath, and remember you can take as much or as little from OMAAT as you want. No-ones forces you to read it all or even at all. And sure, discuss points, but if you cannot do it civilly and rationally, maybe take a break.

    At least he is doing more than promoting his “brand” by just taking pictures of his food and posting them on Instagram lol.

    As an aside, I was a bit surprised by Ben’s comments that his relationship with United had improved – obviously still banned from their FFP, but the way that was said made me wonder if he had indeed been banned from flying United in the past, and that his recent United review was more of a landmark than I realised. Not sure Ben will comment, but if it was more than just a MileagePlus ban, and he was previously on a United NoFly list, then they took that exploit hack of his really to heart. Ouch.

  72. @Mark – The Pulitzer Prize in most cases are awarded for excellence and rigor in news (online or print) journalism. Let’s not get too excited – Ben’s articles are fun to read; they are no where near the quality nor the rigor that is associated with journalism (i.e. blogging is not journalism although some blogging can be journalism). So..No. He should not be awarded nor considered for the Pulitzer.

  73. @Kent Miller – ok then.
    Well at least he should get the Nobel Prize in Literature. Seriously, there is some good writing in these posts and he deserves it!

  74. Matthew, thanks for the post. I enjoyed reading it. Ben is one of a kind in this industry. While others take the easier road by delegating to ghost writers and contributors, he keeps on churning out the best content there is. Great to read both your blogs!

  75. What a beautiful post. Kudos to Matthew.
    Thank you Ben for all the travel you do just to show us new products. You really changed my life with your blog. Reading your blog now became one of my favorite things to do and I do it every single day. It sort of makes me feel better.
    When at the beginning of the year I was googling reviews of business and first class of many premium airlines the first thing I clicked was your blog. And once I discovered it, I couldn’t stop reading it anymore. You’ve opened my eyes to a whole new world of miles&points, which I new nothing about before. Thank you! ❤️❤️❤️

  76. Before I found this blog I was unable to walk, had severe digestive problems, and was blind in one eye.
    Now all of those things have resolved.
    This blog is better than televangelism!

  77. Thank you for sharing Matthew’s post. Over the years I have learned a lot about travelling by reading your blog. But learning about your hard work and discipline makes me respect you even more. Hope to travel with you sometime in the future.

  78. I admire you and wish I could do what you do (or work for you!)

    p/s: Just ignore that Adam guy. Save your energy for your articles!

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