Online since last November, PointsPinnacle is a great miles and points blog by author Troy C.
Troy was born and raised in Milwaukee, where he still lives today.
Happily married with a teenage son, he’s used his miles and points to see places around the world that would have been out of reach otherwise. I’m excited to be able to share some time with him today:
How did you first begin to discover the power of miles and points programs?
I started collecting miles and points in late 2011. Earlier that year I had stayed at a W hotel and when I checked out I realized they auto enrolled me in the Starwood hotel program and I had 2,000+ points for a 2-night stay. I later had a friend that moved to Atlanta and I was wondering if I could maybe use those points to get a hotel and go visit.
I remember very vividly the Google search for “SPG50″ returned a result from FlyerTalk.com and from that moment on my travel imagination exploded! I remember looking at the trip report thread of the forums and could not believe the first class flights and how amazing those peoples’ trips were and I wanted that experience!
What led you to start PointsPinnacle?
For over 2 years now I have become sort of obsessed with miles and points and the end result: amazing travel experiences. I started the blog simply to share travel stories and information on how normal people can travel and showing them whats possible. I want to be as transparent as possible and like to show the details of how I redeemed my miles when I complete my trip reports.
However I think the main focus or the real motivating factor is, I want other people to experience the beauty of our planet. Not everyone wants to travel but if you do, I don’t want money to be the limiting factor in being able to see the world.
What was the first trip you were able to book using miles?
My first redemption was a flight from MKE to PHX in March 2012 for one of my cousins’ wedding. I had just received the Southwest Companion Pass the month prior and was antsy to put it to use!
My first trip totally using miles and points was later in 2012 when we redeemed 80,000 United miles for two roundtrip Economy seats to Kauai and redeemed another 80,000 Starwood points for a week at the St. Regis Princeville and 44,000 points for the Grand Hyatt Kauai. My trip reports page has the full details!
What’s the most outrageous value you’ve received by redeeming miles and points?
The best values are typically always going to be
First Class redemptions on international carriers. I suppose my best redemption was Cathay Pacific First Class I think we received maybe 15-20¢ per point.
How do friend and family look at your miles and points hobby?
Most of my family and friends don’t travel a lot and if they do they generally pay cash. I don’t really push them into it as perhaps some people don’t have the credit to get approved for award credit cards. I have gotten a few people to apply for some cards and most people seem interested in the Southwest cards the most.
I sometimes find it funny that I will explain step by step on how to earn miles and how to use them and the person usually doesn’t follow up on it. Maybe they think its too good to be true?
What is the most important piece of advice you’d offer to someone taking their first steps into the world of points and miles?
I would say to start slow and just apply for maybe one or two travel cards to start. Figure out a goal of where you want to go on vacation. Keep it very simple and If you’re able to easily hit your minimum spends without paying interest or overspending, you will be in good shape. I would add that reading blogs and FlyerTalk forums and putting a little time in to learning about the hobby will go a long way.
Thanks to Troy for taking the time to share his story with us!