The Story Of How I (Accidentally?) Became A Full Time Travel Blogger

One question I get asked all the time is how I became a full time blogger. It just occurred to me that I’ve never really fully shared the story here on the blog. If it doesn’t interest you, by all means skip this post. I won’t be offended. However, if you are interested, here’s the story.

The short answer is that while I couldn’t be happier with how things turned out, I never intended to make this a career. It really happened by mistake. I started this blog my freshman year of college as a hobby, and here I am, almost 10 years later…

But let’s step back for a second:

My childhood/what I wanted to be growing up

Without getting into too much detail, growing up I was always independent. I had two older brothers, though my oldest brother passed away when he was in his teens, and at the time I was just a few years old. He was a great guy and was always academic and working towards the future.

My oldest brother’s death greatly impacted my whole family, and especially my mom, and caused her to have more of a “do what you enjoy” attitude with me. The same is true of my dad, and they both always reminded me that you never know how long you’ll live, and to just do what makes you happy. For me that was airplanes. Boy did I love everything about airplanes… I still do. Growing up my goal was always to be a pilot, and all I’d ever do was talk about planes (that’s still just about all I talk about).

Eventually I decided I didn’t want to be a pilot anymore. It was after 9/11, and I thought I’d be frustrated having a career where my sole form of “success” was my seniority number. I thought it would be really frustrating to work for a company my whole life, only to be laid off and to have to literally start all over again at another airline. Furthermore, getting pilot training is super expensive, and my family wasn’t rich, so I wasn’t quite sure how I’d pay for it.

While my passion for planes never decreased, eventually I decided becoming a pilot wasn’t for me.

I wasn’t academic

I did reasonably well in school, though was never really “academic.” School just bored the hell out of me, and I had a hard time putting effort into subjects I wasn’t interested in. So when it came time to apply for college, I applied for one school. In retrospect this was probably dumb, because if I hadn’t gotten in I would have been in a lot of trouble.

Fortunately I got accepted to the University of Florida, which was the only place I applied for since it was free (at the time they had a great scholarship for Florida residents). That’s roughly what I value a formal education at, so that amount sounded about right to me. 😉 I don’t think my parents could have paid for me to attend a private out of state school, and the last thing I wanted to do was graduate college with debt (not that I’m saying other should feel that way, but rather it’s just that I don’t value a formal education much).

Again, I did fine in school, though didn’t really care about it much. I just wanted to do my own thing. I traveled almost every weekend, and chose my class schedule in such a way that would minimize the amount of time I’d have to be in Gainesville. So even if my Tuesdays and Thursdays were miserable, I’d rather have eight hours of class twice a week and then have four days to go travel.

But in college I still kept doing my own thing. As part of that, I started the blog in February 2008, which was my second semester of college. I started it as a hobby more than anything.

OMAAT
Shoutout to anyone who remembers when the blog looked like this

Randy Petersen (who has been in the miles & points industry since before I was born) is my biggest role model, and I wouldn’t be anywhere without him. Around that time he started Boarding Area, and he invited me to write there. Randy is a huge inspiration, so I couldn’t say no to that opportunity.

Blogging was a hobby for me, and I never thought I’d make a dime from it. I remember around two years after starting to write I got a paycheck of $750 for three months of writing, which I thought was big bucks at the time. That probably translated to a few dollars an hour given how much time I was spending on the blog, though I would have done it for free, so….

The main way I was making money in college was by helping people redeem points, as this was around the time that I started PointsPros. It was pretty good money, especially as a college student, and I probably spent 6-8 hours per day working on it.

The point at which I turned it into a “career”

I didn’t do any internships after college, because I kept busy helping people redeem their points and writing, even though I wasn’t making much at all from blogging. In retrospect I was taking a huge risk (and probably being a total idiot) by graduating college without any internships, formal job experience, etc. On top of that, I had no clue what I wanted to do.

So I started looking around, and I saw a job opening at a certain online travel company, which shall remain nameless. The internet and travel is sort of what I do, so it seemed like a good fit. So I applied there — much like in college, that’s the only place I applied. I had a phone interview, and then flew to their office for an in-person interview. Well, I didn’t get the job.

I was disappointed. Not because I thought I deserved the job, but rather because I thought I had screwed myself over by not taking a more traditional path, and was scared. I think it’s a feeling that many people with more “traditional” qualifications have when they graduate college.

At the time I thought about the general expectations that society seems to have on people, or at least what I perceived those expectations to be — you need to go to college, you need to get a 9-5 job doing something you’re not passionate about, etc. Due to my lack of other options at that point, I thought to myself “hmmm, maybe I should just do my own thing.” I knew what the starting pay would have been at the job I applied for, and I was already making more than that helping people redeem miles. But somehow up until this point I never seriously considered trying to do my own thing long term.

I gave it a try, and haven’t looked back since. That’s how this became a full time thing. Six years later, the OMAAT readership is about 40x what it was in 2011.

THANK YOU!

I don’t say it often enough, though it’s not due to a lack of feeling this way. Thanks to you guys for all your support over the years. I couldn’t be more grateful for being able to wake up every day and do what I love. Airlines, hotels, miles & points, travel, etc., are my passion, so being able to talk about this stuff all day and getting paid for it is truly a dream come true.

I don’t for a second take this for granted, and I wake up every morning excited to “work” (I struggle to even call it that, since it’s the same stuff I’d be doing if I weren’t working). From a business standpoint I might be better off hiring people to write and instead “managing” things more, but that’s not my passion.

My passion is writing about this stuff. Tiffany does an amazing job handling things on the back-end, and that really allows me to wake up every morning excited to write. 13,000+ posts later, I enjoy this every bit as much as I did the day I started the blog (actually, I enjoy it much more, since more people than just my mom are reading).

But seriously, I can’t stress enough how grateful I am to you guys. On a day-to-day basis I’m so busy that I often don’t have time stop and think about the big picture, but as I sat down to write this post, I couldn’t help but have a big smile on my face as I reflect on this journey.

Would I recommend others take the path I did? Probably not, because it could have also ended very poorly for me. Passion alone isn’t always enough to make something work — there’s also often some luck required, at least in my case. However, I’ve shared my tips for becoming a travel blogger in the past, and absolutely recommend following your passion. Just maybe don’t do it quite as recklessly as I did. 😉

Comments

  1. Kudos Ben. Success is about finding the intersection of passion, strengths and opportunity, not climbing the steps of “achievement” down a predetermined path. Thanks for exemplifying this.

  2. Thank YOU, Lucky! First time commenting – just wanna let you know that your passion for airplanes can be felt from really far (I’m from Singapore). This is the one blog I read every day without fail. Please keep them stories coming!

  3. I dont comment much here, but I have always read your posts. And have always enjoyed them, and yours is my #1 go-to-site when it comes to picking the right airline/plane/seats for redemption. So happy for you that you can find something passionate to pursue as a career, not everybody can say the same! 🙂

    Rooting for more success and happiness in your future, Ben!

  4. Ben
    Great to have followed your commentary and (often) witty observations for several years and to witness the evolution of your personality over that time. Your ability to both inform and entertain is a gift I’m thankful you share with us.

  5. Thanks Lucky for sharing the story! I started reading ~2 years back, and only wish that I got into this hobby earlier, you know, when AA miles actually meant something.

    All the best! Keep the tips and reviews coming!

  6. Ben,

    Thank you so much for your consistent blog updates and impeccable reviews on various travel classes from different airlines.

    I admire your passion and the perks and benefits you have made out of doing what you love. I have been reading your blog ever since you made it to Rolling Stones magazine and I was simply stunned on your expertise in your field.

    Pity they do not have comparable credit card sign up bonuses this side of Europe, I guess some things were made only in the States.

    Thank you once again for all your spectacular posts and keep them coming.

  7. First time commenter here. I have really enjoyed reading the blog over the years and just wanted to say keep up the great work and positive attitude. Your advice and commentary about all things travel has helped me travel more and better than ever. For that, you have my thanks and gratitude (insert hand clap emoji).

  8. Out of the big guys (you, tpg, mms, vftw) you are the only blog I even click through. Haven’t been to tpg or mms in years.
    So even though you still sell credit cards like they’re goin out of style, I really appreciate your reviews as you definitely have the most broad range and close to exhaustive archive out there. And there is not a close second.

    Good work.

  9. This was great. You’re living your dream, and that’s something that damn few people get to say.

  10. Thank you, Lucky! Yours is the only blog I read regularly. You helped me visit more places and stay at better hotels than I ever thought possible before.

  11. Wish I had found all the travel blogs a long time ago, but highly grateful for all the information available on here. In the last 3+ years I’ve traveled to every continent (except Antarctica) and done some bucket list trips that are not possible without points and miles.

  12. I follow your blog without fail and enjoy all your posts greatly. I use them as reference when traveling myself or making recommendations for others. You even answered some of my questions I had when I made an award booking for my parents. I recently got back from a trip to Tokyo with my wife and flew back ANA First. The whole trip I was excited for the flight home and ANA certainly delivered. I would not have even know a redemption like that existed or was possible to attain without your blog. Keep up the good work and congratulations on the success and being able to do what you love and making a living at it.

  13. Lucky, you left out you started on Flyertalk posting advice and writing excellent trip reports before you started the blog…

  14. I am not sure why you would include “(accidentally?)” in the title ? Hopefully it is not false modesty

    Seems you worked your butt off and put your butt in a lot of seats to make this blog happen , so there is no accident about it .

    Determination , hard work , tenacity and care goes into a successful career , take credit for it , you earned it

  15. Blogging is a new age career so you couldn’t have planned it. It is obvious to me that you work really hard though.

  16. @Lucky – Great post! Just as a thought, I think we would all like to read your first every trip report just to see how far you’ve come. Thanks

  17. We really appreciate that you take an active role in this website, instead of hiring a bunch of people and then taking a more managerial position! It really lets your editorial vision and your own perspective come through, instead of “watering down” the experience. Your active presence—and your often funny points of view—set this apart from so many other blogs.

    *Cough cough* the reason people who actually appreciate this hobby don’t visit TPG anymore.

  18. You are really now the only points website I visit. I like your personality.

    I used to visit you and the points guy. But the points guy has lost his way and has lots of guest articles and adverts and all the articles they put out just seem bad these days. So I no longer go there and visit here more often.

    Congrats on all your success Ben.

  19. Thank You….in the old days ,about 10 years before I retired from biz travel, SFO/JFK monthly on AA..you taught me all I needed to know about maximizing miles and created a online community that I joined and traveled the world on Mileage Runs, leaving me today with 3 million AA miles, that have allowed us to travel the world in retirement in First Class style AND in addition with the help of your Ticket Service, they have brokered all of credit and travel partners points/miles to save us thousands of dollars and create memorable trips we never would had experienced if you had not been a travel nerd ! all my friends marvel at our travel life and we owe the credit to you.

  20. But out of curiosity, if you don’t value a formal education at all, why even go? Sure it may be free, but the opportunity costs can be huge! And I say this as someone who REALLY values formal education and is a current PhD candidate.

  21. @ QR — It’s a great question, and in a way I kind of regret going to college, at least in hindsight. Perhaps more accurately, I don’t really think I got anything out of it, and that it had a big opportunity cost. But at the same time, I had just turned 17 when I graduated high school, and at that point I thought I was still best off going with a traditional path, since I was still figuring my life out. So hindsight is 20/20, I guess…

  22. THANK YOU , DANKE you have changed our way of travel and the ways we spend our money. everyday I visit your blog and feel your passion please continue and enjoy

  23. Ha, I still remember reading Luck9876Coins (or whatever the handle was) posts on FlyerTalk, way before you started the blog. I think you were in high school, something I didn’t realize until years later because your posts were so mature and informative.

    Thanks for all these years of informative entertainment! And for all the help your posts have provided me with, which has resulted in some very memorable trips.

    Don’t change!

  24. Congrats Ben. It takes talent and persistence, in addition to passion, to succeed in an odd path. Keep up the good work. Your blog is one of the very few that I read on a regular basis, because it does a great job at covering a wide variety of aspects of the airline and hospitality industry.

  25. Thanks for sharing and congrats on the success of your blog. Go Gators! (although to be fair, I also spent as many weekends away from Gainesville as I could)

  26. So happy for you Ben that you found your path. I wanna be like you when I grow up.
    Keep ’em wings flying high.

  27. Great post Ben. You are certainly the best in the business IMO and it really makes a massive difference with just the small team you have. You have some great additional writers. It’s the only blog with I get excited to read. Kudos to Tiffany also who I think is a great writer.

    I still think one of your best stories is the one on flyertalm about you shuttling back and forth between somewhere in Asia on a ridiculous miles deal. Would love to hear that one again….?

    Keep inspiring and doing what you are doing!

  28. Always impressed with the sheer volume of posts you deliver and especially the trip reports. I write about wine and I know how much work goes into a trip report. It’s always enjoyable reading all your content, even when I occasional disagree with your opinions. And I’ve learned a lot. Thanks and keep up the great work!

    PS. The blog has become better since you blocked the trolls.

  29. Very glad that I stumbled onto your blog a few years ago. You’re the best in the business!

  30. Piling on here. I love this blog and I read more or less every post that you write. I even use your referrals at times; I work in one of the banks that you advertise on this site so I more or less know how much you earn per referral 😉

  31. Hey! I don’t comment here so much but just want to say I read your blog religiously everyday – it’s by far the best points/miles/aviation blog out there – and I read most of them! Writing this at 5am from Singapore on one of my Qatar deals I found though your blog so you can see it’s always one of the first things I check in the morning. Congratulations on making what you love into your career! James

  32. OMG I forgot all about that insane 737 photo from the “old” days! Really, the entire look and feel of OMAAT has really matured over the years.

    I remember first interacting with you on the United forum at FlyerTalk, which is how I came to follow you over here. Great job with the blog, and HEY, EVERYONE, POINTS PROS IS AWESOME IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE TIME TO FIND AN AWARD! (and no, I am not Ben)

  33. Oh, and I second what @Donna said about the trolls. Much better in a troll-less environment.

  34. I don’t have much to add to the above except that it’s been awesome to see your career progression and especially to see OMAAT rise head and shoulders above its peers. It was a pleasure to meet you at an FT DO… gosh, 7 years ago? Now look at you! Keep up the great work!

  35. Great post Ben, glad to be able to read about your story.
    There’s something I’ve always kind of wondered: you mention that you started making 100% of your income thanks to PointsPros, while making 0% from your blog. Would it be too personal to share how much of that percentage has shifted over the years, without giving dollar amounts obviously but a percentage? Since we’re all kind of participating in that :).

    Either way big congrats on your success, and thank YOU for the countless advice I got from your blog. I recently went on my honeymoon to New Zealand and Australia, and was able to fly all the way in Singapore Suites, stay at the Hyatt in Sydney and many other nice places almost entirely on points, thanks to what I learned here (and also from PointsPros who helped me book some of it!).

    Unlike other famous bloggers out there, I hope you’ll keep writing your own content, keeping it personal and opinionated. That’s why I keep coming back here, your blog has personality and character, so I approve that you didn’t hire tons of editors – although I wish Tiffany put out more posts, she’s such a great writer!

  36. Looks like your choices worked out, and we are all luckier for them. Congrats on almost 10 years!

  37. You have a true gift for storytelling. Some of your trip reports are for airlines that I am pretty certain I will never fly, but I often find myself reading the whole report because it really does tell an entertaining and interesting story.

  38. Lucky, there’s clearly a symbiotic relationship between you and your readers. We help each other with the means to pursue our passion for travel! It’s a win-win!

  39. While I’m not sure I’d call how you became a travel blogger accidental, kudos to you for finding something in life you enjoy, and having the strength and courage to pursue it – even if that wasnt your original intent. I’ve certainly enjoyed your blog since I found it, and by the looks of the comments, so do lots of other folks. Please keep doing what you do. I wish you all the best.

  40. Your blog is really great. Lese diesen Blog jeden Tag und freue mich immer, über die neuen Artikel jeden Tag. Danke für diesen tollen Blog, mach weiter so. Greetings from Germany

  41. This really was an insightful post. Thank you Lucky for taking the time to write it as well as all your other posts.

  42. I cannot adequately express the gratitude I feel for what you do. Your insight, dedication is beyond comparison. I do what I love every much by accident, and I could not be happier, and I hope you will continue doing what you do because of the joy you bring into our lives. Thank you.

  43. Your profile in Rolling Stones got me into this hobby. I love your blog and follow everyday. I write this from the Le Meridian Frankfurt. This trip – flights were business class and all hotels paid for with points (4 of us) – was inspired by your good work.

    Thanks again and success to you going forward.

  44. Loved to read this post Lucky! I do not ever dare to admit how many times a day I click on your blog to see what’s new! Even my family and co-workers joke with me by asking: “what did Lucky write about today?” :-))). Keep up the good work!

  45. Thanks for this post Ben. Really great to read about your start and progression in the years since. Congrats on all your success! Its hard earned and well deserved. I learned of your blog after seeing you speak at an FTU event, which was my introduction to the points/mile community. After your presentation I approached the stage to ask you a few questions and you were incredibly approachable and helpful. Your blog has been daily reading ever since! I’ve also had the opportunity to cross paths with you again in the years since and you’re still as approachable, helpful, and friendly as ever. I’ve learned so much from you and your blog. And your trip reports are just awesome, it feels like I’m on the flight myself. Keep up all the great work you do!

  46. Great story Lucky. Thanks for all the hard work you do! I have learned more from this blog than anything else I read combined.

  47. Thanks to you I have traveled first class and Biz class, and I have been able to help friends and family with flights and hotels.
    I appreciate your approach, which is professional without being seeming like a business, if that makes sense. Your passion comes through, and it is clear that you and your blog contributors would be doing the same things regardless. It’s how you live, and you are letting us in on the fun.
    A special thanks to Tiffany; her travel style and insights resonate with me. I shared her Jordan posts with a friend who said it was like taking an armchair trip.
    Y’all all do a great job with your different personalities and focuses. Keep up the passion and the quirkiness!

  48. I appreciate the blog and share info all the time that I find from you. Your insights have actually impacted my travel decisions. On several occasions I have searched for past blogs on destinations or airlines to insure I was making the right decision!
    You write in a manner that makes me “click” on the “read more” tab.
    Congrats on your success and keep on going OMAAT

  49. @Ben –

    You have four things going for you, the combination of which has resulted in your success with this blog: your passion for the industry shines through, you are a *great* writer, you’re *extremely* level headed in your writing, commentary and responses (without sacrificing your passion in the subject matter), and you are prolific, seemingly writing around the clock!

    I’m super happy in your success – you deserve it!

    Eric

  50. Lucky, congratulations on a fantastic blog. It has been my go to site for several years now and I have recommended it to many others. My husband and I live across the world from my parents but when we all get together we sit around and talk about planes, flights, points and hotels for hours! It’s nice to know there are so many like-minded fellow travellers out there. Thanks for being an inspiration to us all!

  51. Lucky keep it up, we absolutely love the blog!!!

    P.S. I can’t wait till you review Elal 🙂

  52. I’m really glad your alternative career path worked out, because your blog inspired me to get into the hobby! I still haven’t flown first class on Swiss which was the initial goal, but my wife and I have taken some fantastic international trips we otherwise wouldn’t have. I even thought I would try my hand at a OMAAT-style trip report, but didn’t get past the boarding process because they are hard! Especially at the quality and consistency you bring to the table. I’m more than happy to do my part to keep such a valuable site online by clicking through credit card sign up links. So ignore the trolls and keep up the good work.

  53. Been with you since 2K10 Ben! Keep up the great work and keep up the travel. It’s been amazing seeing first and business class products evolve over the decade right from a click of a button on my phone (I saved OMAAT as a shortcut on my home screen). Can’t wait to see what more you have in store, but I’m always excited to start my day with seeing yours and your team’s new posts and new reviews. It makes me very happy to take your blog one day at a time, as you at the same time proceed forward, of course, one mile at a time.

  54. Been a reader since 2013- and you helped me figure out how to travel to new places on a tight budget, and to redeem for Emirates and Cathay Pacific First…and you help me travel vicariously from my office. Best of luck Ben!

  55. Ben,
    So happy for you….but do miss our little e-mail conversations while working on redeeming points!! Always wish you the very best!!

  56. Lucky,

    Great to hear the story.
    Keep up the good work.
    Wish you many, many more years of success and being happy with everything you do!

    Let me know you if you ever get back to Gainesville 🙂
    I’d love to meet in person.

    Go gators!

  57. Great article Ben. Thanks for sharing your life story and how you got into the blogging business. I’ve always find your stories entertaining.

  58. I very much enjoy your writing style and don’t even read the others on this site, it’s my personal preference. If I may, I’m going to post a peeve that I’d not post elsewhere in other trip reports and also ask a question. The peeve is the ongoing use of stating ‘in my opinion’. A blog is literally your opinion, there is no need to say that you are likely saying that to keep the trolls away but it’s just a peeve to get off my chest! The question is whether you thought about making a youtube channel for the trip reports? That would be a lot of work but it could be a win/win, we get the full visual beyond static pictures and a voice over, and you could get more monetizing opportunities based on subscribers.Thanks for not just what you do, but how you do it. Your enthusiasm is contagious!

  59. Hi Ben, thanks from me too 🙂 without this blog I wouldn’t have gathered so much knowledge about miles and how they work. When I was a young teenager I always had the dream of flying business/first, it was always a mystery for me what happened “in front of the plane”. Almost 3 years ago (when I was 18), I started with my hobby of flying business class and I already redeemed 10 long-haul business class award flights which I definitely could not do without your tips & tricks. So thanks for that 😉

  60. Ben I’ve followed you since the early days and love your perspective. Most of all I am impressed at how kind you are to personally answer what must be hundreds of emails a day and patiently walk us novices through how to travel well on a budget. I wish you continued success!

  61. I read your blog every day and if it wasn’t for that I would never have known how to fly AUS – LON first class with Qantas using AA points!! Highlight of my nearly 60 years. It’s also nice to read a stream of comments that are all positive – a testament to you. Well done and keep it coming.

  62. I dove into the points/miles world by reading OMAAT, TPG, and MMS in 2013. Four years and countless aspirational redemptions later, yours is the only blog I still read, as the content that you all produce is high quality. I’ve been able to see so much of the world thanks to you, so here’s to you Ben!

  63. Ben you sound just like me when I was in college…I am a pass rider for Delta (my dad works there), so I would try hard to schedule my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I could enjoy four uninterupted days of travel during the week. It was/still is your first class trip reports that keep me returning to your site, which I’ve followed since 2010. Thanks for keeping your readership well informed and for always imparting the knowledge down. Happy flying and cheers to many more years!

  64. I really enjoy reading OMAAT and you have done an outstanding job with it! You deserve all the praise you get because this blog is the best in the business! This is one of only two websites I visit every day without exception, the other being A.net, and is great to see the site grow so much as your content is something that I look forward to every day.

  65. I am a regular reader since 2012. Came to the US in 2011 and started a restaurant business. Until I read your blog, I had no idea what a ‘travel gold mine’ our business purchases could be. Thanks to the AMEX SPG business card (acquired through your link) we now only travel in great comfort.
    For a business trip to Qatar in 2015, I flew Emirates First Class DFW – DXB roundtrip redeeming JAL miles I got from Starpoints, searching for availablity on Quantas. I would not have known to do this in a million years if it wasn’t for your blog. Thank you, Ben!
    Just one thing: your advice to “follow one’s passion”…I disagree. Being able to successfully do that is the very rare exception and requires, above all else, a lot of talent. You have a ton of talent as you are both smart and a gifted writer. Almost everyone else trying to do what you do for a living would have failed. The fact that you get to talk about it (and the ones who failed, don’t) is called “survivorship bias”.

  66. Been a reader for over 5 years, and I must say “Thank You” for the amazing tips and usefull review you (and Team) have written at OMAAT.

  67. It’s nice to know you are human just like the rest of us.

    I for one, really want to hear the story of how you met Ford.

  68. Really enjoyed reading this. I think your last paragraph is dead on. I myself have a very similar story running a large site and I would have said the same thing.

    I visit OMAAT almost daily, keep doing what you are doing, it’s great work!

  69. Lucky – I first found you on the UPGRD podcast 5 years ago. I hope you (and Matthew) try podcasting again – you would probably have thousands of subscribers and it could open the door for more radio and tv opportunities (if you enjoy those).

    And you could invite Hunter back to defend Delta (or not).

  70. Ben,

    Ive been meaning to say this: honestly, THANK YOU for taking the time of writing this blog everyday. I can only imagine the amount of work and effort you put into this. I wish I had discovered your blog much earlier (Ive only been with OMAAT for a few months) but you must know Ive never seen such a format that works so perfectly-straight to my email, just the right amount of posts, and easy clicks load them all on my tabs.

    So, thank you Ben. I read your posts EVERY DAY and have learned SO much from you. God bless you and your family bro, and keep doing what you do!

    *On a side note, I know how most of your readers are “older” folks, but for us millennials, could you consider maybe using Snapchat or InstaStories on your travels so we can keep up in real time? Would love that!

  71. Thank you Ben for your lovely post. Congradz on your 13,000+ posts and 9 years of writing. It has helped me tremendously in redeeming numerous First and Business Class flights with purchased miles that would not have otherwise been attainable. And what makes your blog so real is that you are transparent about your opinion and you also give the prices of the flights and hotels you have booked. So many reviews on other traditional magazines such as “Tried and Tested” feature on other magazines would have glowing reviews of whatever trip that were written with lack of depth and the specifics, and also would not show the price that they have paid for and would quote “Rate on the internet”.. but you keep it real and personal and honest and we all appreciate it.

  72. As one of your points customers, you have taught me well how to take advantage of the opportunities available. Thank you for the education and stories most importantly thank you for the direct responses when I am undecided which I usually am about the best available option.

    Best Regards

    Leonard

  73. Like others, long time lurker, first time commenter. Thanks for sharing your story. Keep up the good work!

  74. Hi Ben. I’ve been following you since your college days and consider you my miles and points mentor. I’ve been all over the world in First or Business on miles and points thanks to what I’ve learned from you. Highlights include taking my Mom to Bali (replicating your trip to Bali with your Mom) and going to the Winter Olympics in Sochi with my brother. What makes your blog the best and stand out is your prolific quality content and constant engagement with your readers. I’ve had the privilege of meeting you at several FTU events over the years and you have always been patient and approachable, even after you have become famous, Congrats on a great run so far and all the best for continued success and happiness.

  75. You definitely have the best blog out there, but I do think you are using the wrong term or being too dismissive of your ‘formal education’. Reading and writing learned from formal education surely has added some value to your blog 😉

  76. Lucky, I met you at the Chicago seminars in 2010. I recall you were surrounded by admiring attendees, as we passed your inch-thick stack of United bump vouchers around the group.

    (When you were a tyke, from 1988-1995, United issued paper 5,000 mile “awardcheques” when a Mileage Plus member crossed a 5,000 mile earning threshold. You had to bring 4 Awardcheques in person to a United ticketing facility to redeem for a domestic 20,000 mile round trip award. When domestic round trips increased to 25,000 miles in 1995, the queues at ticket offices were so long United had to postpone the increase by a few weeks. I recall having a stack of Awardcheques that was almost as thick as your bump voucher collection.)

    I see you now have 9 award consultants listed on your PointsPros Web site. Congratulations on your success – well earned!!

  77. Well done Ben.

    Great to see you have achieved so much of your dream.

    I follow you regularly but am unfortunately living in Canada so can use so little of your wisdom as it does not apply to us.

    Wish someone would be able to convince airlines and banks that there are millions of Canadians trying to find a loyalty program that would address them as well as their American cousins.

    At bet it is nice to discover when airlines like Alaska have bonus programs that we can partake in – but unfortunately not the latest partner free offer.

    Good luck.

  78. Echoing others, thank You, Lucky. And like WL, “This is the one blog I read every day without fail.”

  79. Im based in Pakistan and even though these cards and points etc don’t really apply on me, I still read this blog daily and love hearing about all the cheap business class fares!

  80. You’re the best man. Been reading you for 9 years. My wife gets annoyed how often I make references to your blog posts. I met you once at FTU Advanced too when you spontaneously bought pizza for the entire crowd. Keep it up buddy!

  81. Ben,

    Have been following you ever since the Rolling Stones article. I fly 200,000 miles a year out of Singapore. And I appreciate the global perspective you bring.

    Please keep in mind your global (non-US) audience. (especially for great deals!)

    Please continue to write with a global perspective.

  82. Thank you Ben for showing me the way to hundreds of thousands of points I would have otherwise never obtained,

  83. Ben, I will never forget that OpenSkies inaugural flight… and I’ve been following you ever since! (and even prior!) JFK-ORY Yikes, I believe that was 2008. When do I get to ransom the FB album of pics from that trip? LOL (Yikes, it’s been a long time since I actually created and maintained FB albums!) Always have loved following your work, it has been a part of my life…… it seems forever! Bravo Ben!

  84. Thanks LUCKY for a great post daily . Although I am from South Africa . I have learned a lot about Travel Hacking from you . Most of them unfortunately dont apply to me but its great knowing about those that applies to me such as status matches and international promotions that I can hook up with. If you come down to Durban South Africa again let me know maybe we can meet over Coffee and I can drink from some of your WISDOM ( HAHAHA) . You have my email address.

  85. Great story and very inspiring. I’m trying to get through your 13,000 posts – we’ll see how long it takes .. safe travels and keep it up!

  86. Thank you, Ben. I’ve been here since the beginning. Other than eating, sleeping and using the bathroom, I think reading OMAAT is literally the only thing I can say I do every single day!

  87. Ben,

    Your willingness to share insights into your personal life is part of what makes your blog so great. Don’t ever lose that part of your blog as it is probably ever more entertaining to read than the “normal” stuff.

    I’ll never forget the story about the guy with the hooker; has to be probably your best post ever….. 🙂

  88. Ben, your work has changed my life for the better in a very tangible way. I’m not only talking about miles and points, which have helped me a lot. But more than you have helped me in two ways. 1. I don’t feel like a weirdo flying the amount that I do. I don’t mind strange hours and flying indirect routes, all because of you. 2. I have opened myself up to buying ticket deals first and figuring out what I’m going to do at destinations later, which has taken me to amazing places.

  89. Said it once but I’ll say it again. Only because of your tips + inspiration that I had the chance to fly in etihad’s first apartment. Never in my life would I have imagined to be in first class, let alone have a shower in the sky 🙂
    Kudos Ben.

  90. Keep up the great work and thank you….. and to be a complete troll booooooooooo gators! I’ve known you’re a gator, but know you couldn’t care less about their pathetic football team so you’ve always gotten a pass.

  91. @Lucky. Thank you. You wake up every morning to write such beautiful articles and I wake up every morning reading your inspiring and helpful articles. As an added bonus, I treat your blog as a bedtime story or two or three or to the point of actually going to bed at three or four am. You truly have chosen the right career as it is truly appreciated from your immense readership.

  92. Well, phooey. All those years you were in GNV, my husband and I were living in Ocala, right down the road from you! Had I known you were so close, we’d have had you down for dinner or something. Hubby’s job was in GNV so maybe we could’ve met for a lunch or something in GNV. Rats! Another missed opportunity in life for us! Just think, it might have worked out to be one of those stories where my hubs and I could say, “We knew him when!” So interesting about UF and your one and only college app. Tons of students apply to UF and don’t get in, so your acceptance can’t be taken lightly. Seems like you were a winner from the beginning. I’ve been reading your blog for 5-6 years, daily. Used to read FTG, TPG, MMS, MP, but now visit those blogs less frequently. Without fail, though, I read your entries and VFTW and Frequent Miler. So glad you wrote this article – it’s a gem!

  93. Awesome and thank your for sharing your journey Ben! With so many blogs out there it’s great to be able to read a genuine blog that someone still mainly manages on their own!

  94. Lucky, I am from India, where the arbitrage opportunity in airline miles is really less. However, I wake up daily reading your articles since the past 3 years.
    It is really good to know how much you love traveling. Your dedication towards this blog is admirable. You are unknowingly an inspiration to a lot of people.
    Keep it up!!!

    Thanks,
    Aravind Kuttikrishnan

  95. Thank you Lucky for being so passionate about the joys of travelling. I know for a fact that you’ve helped me out on a few booking situations that have really turned into some of my most memorable travel experiences and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  96. I loved the article, Ben. And I’m happy to say that not only does your mom read your blog, but Tiffany’s mom reads it as well!

  97. Your blog is the most important one for me. It has become a habit to check a couple of times a day. Thanks a lot for all your articles. Hope you’ll continue to keep it up.

  98. I found your blog reading other news. It was through the CNN article about a homeless man who flys around the world in First Class, almost a year and a half ago.

    Thanks to you, I now know how to travel and will be taking an ANA First Class round trip to Tokyo in a couple months, because you pointed it out as a good Virgin Atlantic redemption last week.

    I read your blog religiously everyday and it’s the only blog I read. I have tried reading others but found them all boring.

    Thanks.

  99. You’ve been a champ and the best guide into the miles world that all of us who got into this because of you could have hoped for. Thanks for all the help over the years, and to Tiffany and the gang at Points Pros as well!!

  100. Lucky,

    As a loyal follower since 2012, I can still remember the day I found your blog and nearly stayed up all night reading it! It has been a pleasure to follow your journey as a blogger and traveler and I have learned countless tips along the way. As a matter of fact, just returned from a trip on SQ suites and EK F just the other day. I have become the go to friend for all my friends now when they are planning trips, lol. I also had the chance to meet you once in San Francisco when you and flight attendant Janesis were in town, hope you will get to do more of these when you have the chance. All in all, keep up the great work and don’t mind the naysayers, yours is an opinion I hold in strong regard as it has guided me correctly for all these years. Thank you!

  101. I remember when you flew 5 or 6 back to back Trans Pacific flights and asked the general audience of FT if you were nuts. I can’t even remember why you did it but I always figured you would go far in travel blogging. Congratulations!

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