Brian Kelly and Nicky Kelvin: "The Points Guy" | Talks at Google

Brian Kelly and Nicky Kelvin:

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I've. Always been a nerd, when it came to miles and points like in the 90s my dad was a consultant, and I basically helped manage his travel and his points and I, was 12 when he when I first realized I we have all these frequent flyer miles and he's like well if you can figure out how to use them we'll go on vacation, and he's like let's go to Orlando or somewhere. Basic, and that's. The old 12 year old me was like I just read the book the firm by John Grisham and they went to the Cayman Islands and I would just remember this, sounds amazing so I called up US Airways and talked to Peggy and became her best friend and somehow our, family. Of six went. On a free trip to the Cayman Islands and so, that's when I really that was in the 90s, and. Then fast-forward 207. I get a job at Morgan Stanley my job was actually to, recruit. Computer scientists, and engineers and, my main job was to convince MIT, grads and Cornell grads to not work at Google and it said work and finance which as you, guys can imagine how, many technologists. Here like real real. Nerds. Okay. Good in any case my job was to convince computer. Scientists to not work at Google and so, they gave me a corporate Amex and I was spending like crazy putting, on the career fairs and then taking, people out to dinners and, so. You know I was 27 years old but spending over a million dollars year on a corporate Amex at Morgan. Stanley paid directly and as. Long as you paid I think it was $49. You could get all the points most of my co-workers didn't even know that and then. Everyone, hated the expense system at that time you actually add the facts in receipts, it was a whole process, so. They didn't understand that I was like banking. Tons of points and I made it out to be like guys I'll take one for the team. I'll. Do the expenses, and everyone was like thank you so much. So. I got really got into points and I was traveling, first class on weekends, and and all my friends would always like my co-workers thought I was a trust fund baby and it. Was all the points and so. Finally you know I shared my tips and I would have, a cue, around, my cubicle, and people, would just even my managing directors at Morgan Stanley were like they, would come up to me like I just spend a million points I'm buying a grill and I would like smack them and then so, I really enjoyed like whipping people in this shape I.

And. I, and I also, be almost became a teacher after college for Teach for America if anyone's familiar with that so I like teaching people I love travel, and I just love beating the system so that's was my background so as I, look now so I started the blog just like. Never in a million years it was never about monetizing, I didn't even do Google Adsense. People, were like just put Google Adsense on your blog you'll make a you know ten dollars a month is better than nothing and I, remember being like no this is my passion, and, joy and, I'm not here to you, know make money off of content, and everyone's like you, moron, like that's the point of the Internet and I remember someone saying you really, think Google wants to serve you search results just out of niceness like no they're making Bank - it's ok you you, can do help. People and make like, it's not like they're at odds, absolutely. In, any case so I started blogging and, I had no idea what SEO was I but my friend gave me really good advice and he was like just do. Good content, every, day if you can and, if people like it so. I, annoyed. Every friend I had I posted, my stuff to Facebook, I was on forums, linking, to my blog and slowly but surely people started. To like it and and, every, time I do see a Google employee I try to give them hugs because I mean even to this day you know last year we hit four. And a half million monthly uniques we in March we just a 10 million and like, almost 50% of that comes from Google and. So. Thank you thank you google for, making. Me rich. So. Anyway I don't know that's a long I so I started as a blog in it it really just took off and I, made, the decision about nine months into quit my job but. I really got lucky because the credit card companies had approached me and we're like you know our products better than we do and it. Was at the same time coming. Out of the recession and, they wanted the Millennial audience that I naturally had, an ability to speak to and also I could market their products in a way they couldn't like chase can't take out a full-page New York Times ad and tell, you that the best way to use the British Airways card, is to, fly American Airlines or lon. You know there's a lot of so. As a blog or an independent blogger, who could break it down right away like it was very effective so once. They started making money doing that it was like. It just, took off and now we just launched in the UK on Thursday. So. Niki you joined the point sky team much more recently but, I understand, that you have been a long time points, guru tell me a little bit about your journey so. Like.

Brian My beginnings with something completely or professional, beginnings are something completely different so I started, out on a path being a lawyer trained. As a solicitor, in the, city, within. This big, corporate scary American. Law. Firm, then. Made a jump from there into a record label so for five years I was a lawyer for a record label virgin, EMI, which. Was very, different but I was still a lawyer, and, alongside all of this stuff I was also a photographer and, got very lucky to, shoot loads of big artists. And that. Really what I love taking pictures of was aeroplanes, and me. On aeroplanes, and aviation. Was, my biggest passion, always since I was a little kid and and. So I was, very lucky to have a sister. Who was cabin crew she worked for British Airways and so I spent, my, my. Teenage, years and going to student years like the time. When it was perfect for me to do it flying, around the world on the cheap 90%, discount staying, in the best hotels, flying, with my sister where I'd get on the plane and she would just say you, know I'd having a economy, standby, ticket and she'd be like just, sit there and you know be in business class every time and despotism it was yeah. Yeah and. Then and then she ruined. My life by, getting. Married and having children and. Then she. She. She. I. Was telling this story at the weekend, and she said that ruined her life - she was in she was it she was a nothing against having kids she was a kid she was in the room a whole family second, so. I had to find another way because, I husband. And kids were then on her concessions, and I found miles and points as the way, to be able to still. Travel, nicely, and, get deals and I guess I always just wanted, to learn loopholes. Or like just learn these programs, it was kind of the geeky side of me really appreciated. That and so. That was maybe ten years ago that I got into this game and realized there was a real benefit. To be had even out of the UK and started, earning miles however, way I could and then start to tell people about it so I was, doing all this stuff how, are you doing it and I'm not, truly like an a sharer, and want to tell people about stuff I follow him on Instagram.

And Oversharer sometimes. Okay. Yeah maybe, like. When the stories are like dot yeah that's all about. Nikki, so. I. I. Start to tell people about it started sort, of writing a blog and just, sharing, information and. Helping, people that I knew my friends my family to just, to get in he literally is copying my story. Yeah. And and. Then I and, then. Brian. And I had known each other for a number of years from social media when. The UK thing for, TPG was happening, Brian, and I talked about it maybe three or four years three years ago in New York and he said I'd love to come to London the. UK is the second biggest readership, of the point sky so of the 10 million monthly uniques about 300,000. Per month were based in the UK so we knew there was people here but we weren't serving them any UK, content said so my my, journey then suddenly. Was faced with my professional journey was faced with this whole new opportunity and. Being a sort of photographer, and lawyer. Was. Then. Very. Quickly transformed. Into joining. The points guy last November, to really, follow my passion and bring all my different skills together in one new. Job amazing. Very cool and so when was it that you realized that this was more than just a hobby and that you really wanted to focus full-time on that yeah well the first time I realized this was the weirdest, moment it was so I started June of 2010 and I was at a cocktail party in New York in November, and I had just shared this deal that went somewhat viral, it's, like this crazy deal where you could go to Las Vegas for like $12. In it and I basically it was from like the. Bowels. Of the internet like it there all these like kind of before, reddit all these weird subgroups and face I would able to translate these complex deals and it went viral and, I remember being on a cocktail party and someone's eyes lit up and they were like you're the points guy which. I never, happened I mean I was just I was still, at HR. Associate. At Morgan Stanley and I was blogging and then I was like this is a freaking Brant like this is a broad it realize it was a brand and my, mom soon thereafter texted, TPG when are you coming home for the weekend I'm like what. It's. So weird like my mom is calling me of an acronym, of a blog I started and. So. I, mean I really I wish I could say I was super brave and just knew it was gonna be successful but, I got, really lucky with with. April. Of 2011 the, power of press so I New York Times had actually emailed me and went into my spam the points guy at gmail spam. Box for two months and for some reason I was like bored and going through my spam and I realized oh my god in the New York Times set, Google had to email me and he's like I hear you're the points guy but for the the frugal traveler which, was his column in the New York Times at the time he goes frugal budget travelers don't need points just get the cheapest ticket ever that's what I'm gonna advise, all of my and I was like are you kidding. Me like I was like that's the dumbest thing budget travelers of course need points and and oh by the way you can buy cheap flights and dew points you can walk and chew gum I was like but, I was so annoyed cuz in the press it was always like points, are useless you can never use, them and that's, what all the kind of old-school travel, so, anyway I was, in the New York Times on, a day that there was this British Airways hundred-thousand, point offer was April of 2011 at, the time I was making a couple like a couple thousand a month and. The. Potent the New York Times I mean it's all about luck and timing but the New York Times piece came out on the day this British Airways and, I was getting paid $150. Per approval from Chase so. On a normal day I'd have like maybe a couple people getting you know so it was like but. Like a. Thousand. People signed up for the card that day so I made 150, grand in one day. Through. The power of viral content, it was I was, doing Facebook, at the time but people started sharing and I remember people were emailing me thank you my family of 10 just, got this card and we're and you could use it at the time for it was twenty round-trip flights to Miami or, you go to Easter Island be a Szold program was unreal, you could stop unlimited, amount of time so and, I just remember this is a business because people are thanking, me for making me $1,000 that's pretty cool you know so so.

I Was on, paper making, a good amount of money when I quit the job although you. Know it was it sort of was a gold rush there were all these bloggers, it became the wild wild west of blogging where, that everyone could become a credit card affiliate, and coming. From finance I knew that that was not going to last and that's you have to invest in compliance. And making sure you're buttoned up and you know you can you, can tell people to cancel an open cards because, that makes you money right then and there but then of course lawyers, at banks so, I think that's why I've been able to the points guy there's plenty of 100 other points blogs in the US but like we've always had a very like we work with our partners we see long-term like, you, know the real gray. Area stuff, we don't talk about and that's good anyway because everyone, in the industry reads our sites so there are weird, ways to earn miles and points that are borderline. Unethical that, you can do but that's not what the points guy is and that's why we've been able to grow it so but. Yeah so I got lucky I was making money when I quit but my mom still, was. Like what how are you gonna pay for health benefits, I'm. Rich I'll be able to pay for. Allegedly. They still had to loan me ten thousand dollars from when I quit cuz I started been paid but. Luckily. The check came in the mail. So. Do you actually engage. With credit card companies and and. Advise, them on loyalty, programs, and point. Schemes or other propositions, that they're launching, yeah, I mean in the u.s. we do we're even doing it here in the UK the UK needs a little bit of help our, goal here is to build up and get, people engaged in points and in the u.s. we've been at we launched every major credit card you know the Chase Sapphire Reserve, was a turning point our business I mean we knew about that product for four. Months before we pitched them the business and chase made a a bet to launch it with the points guys so there were no ads no commercials, we, were the exclusive, launch. Partner and Chase announced a sapphire reserve I get, show singing about I was it's, true it's coming, and the points guy has the details and it was our post because we respected, the embargo as it started the leak so, as a partner in saying thinking long term like so they actually gave us think. About it the best credit card to ever hit the market they announced, on social, media with the link to the points guy this. Multi-billion. Dollar you, know public company, but they partnered, with us in that way and then it went viral and, it, wants you know can. You talk a little bit about what the Chase Sapphire Reserve, card is oh yeah I don't want to make you guys throw. For. The, buff. Is impressive, so, the Sapphire reserves is probably like the top all-around, travel credit card in the US you earn trip, points, on all travel, and all. Dining. So travels, every Cruise Hotel uber, public transit, parking, tolls like its ultra, 3x, and the, points are worth one and a half cents each towards, any travel, you want, and. Then when you transfer, them to their partners like United, it's it just gets it's, so unbelievably. Lucrative, and for, the first four, months it was a hundred thousand points when, you got the card plus, you get three hundred a year it's, poured a $50 a year card but it was the biggest no-brainer I think, like, million. People got it in. The first year we, we, were there launched part of me it now is like sixty thousand or fifty thousand points but when, you think about earning 3x, I mean in the u.s. it's not just huge signup bonuses it's also because the interchange rate here there's legislation that. You know it's allegedly there to help consumers, that it's you know 0.3, percent is what any credit card company can charge a. To. Issue a charge a merchant in the US it's like 3 percent so. The, wide rewards are so rich in the US is that the merchants, are paying 3% on everything so the credit card company they make the 3%, plus annual, fees plus interests, so, them they kickback for people spend a lot of money they'll give you rewards usually, 1 or 2 percent back so, here, Amex, is the only one that it's not point three they they. Have a little bit higher interchange but it's still not that great I mean 20,000, points Nikki will give and go get into the exact cards but, so. It's a bonanza in the US so if you ever get a chance to get a social, security number or work work, in the US for like two months just to get the social security number because the credit cards are that good. It's. Like that's where I reveal that only reason that join the points guy and like I just want social security numbers not saying that US credit card yeah and also at the points got one of our unique perks is we pay for all the credit card annual fees of our employees I'm just very lucky that none of my employees I'm able to get this in torreón card yet.

So. You've established yourself as an expert in the u.s. already and now you're obviously expanding, into the UK what, have been some of the biggest differences between the, US market and the UK market in terms of points, in trouble oh but Nick you want to speak to it because you've spent time in the US as well yeah I mean the biggest thing is credit cards so. I think the, you. Can have strategy in the u.s. that is that is heavily credit card based and it's, pretty much all you need to do very well out of the Muslim, points get game I think you can earn such. Huge amounts and be able to have the really great experiences, off the back of it in the UK you for sure have to work hard but. That hard work is is sort of led. To a feeling amongst the people. In the UK that there isn't even anything to be gained at all and that's the perception that we want to change so, the. Main difference is credit, cards and that if you want to earn miles and points you need to also look elsewhere so credit cards is a start and I'm putting Spencer, on credit cards is is important. And the solid way to to. Accumulate. Points but, you also need to dip in some loads, of other places in the, u.s. if you get deep into the game you can earn crazy crazy crazy amounts, but even one credit card sign of bonus in the u.s. is enough to like really show, you something great, okay so I. Will admit and when I the. First few years of my career I, was traveling, a ton for work but I definitely, did not take advantage of points at all I didn't have a credit card I wasn't signed up for any loyalty, programs, I know, so. What would you advise to other points, newbies out there about kind of getting started with with travel and earth point. UK. How many people here are UK. Residents. Or citizens, yeah so it's a mostly you does. Anyone in here have are, is able, to take out US credit cards Oh. Mary. Mary I actually met a reader at one of our events who, said, the happiest day of my life was when I got married because I could start taking credit cards out put my wife's name through. Story in front of his wife I. Fly, first-class I have no complaints, so. In, the UK the the strategy, so. We have a beginner's guide actually on the site that is that. Gives you these headlines, hips that you can start, start. All these are the things that you need to do to get going in the game but the main things are take, out credit cards there are various different products in the UK granted. Not as good as the US and they've got slightly worse in the last couple of weeks but there is still, plenty to be got, some tears already rolling in the audience but, for example the Amex preferred rewards Gold Card still offers 10,000 points as a sign up with no annual fee for a year so that's kind of thousand, membership reward points which are very flexible you can transfer them to different airlines to, get you going the British Airways Premium. Plus card still offers 25,000, of yours and. The companion, voucher which is a really. Valuable. Benefit. Which allows you to buy one of your stickit and get another one for free so, credit cards getting. A credit card is sort of step one and then, conditioning, yourself to use the credit card all the time that just stopped using cash stop using your debit card like we also say, if. You can't pay off your bill in full on time every month like credit, cards maybe not the thing for you but if you can do that just, put everything on your card and earn a reward for every single pound that you spend the. Other one which is really great Tesco a lot of people don't realize that Tesco, Clubcard points convert into, a vinyasa or virgin Flying Club miles so I worked out that if you spend 200 quid a week at Tesco which your average family probably, does if you shop there of course shopping, petrol. Online. After. A year you've earned enough for twenty five thousand of us which is another.

Big Chunk shopping. Portals that's the next one the British Airways shopping portal at the moment they're working really hard actually to try and reach the public because people really don't know about the shopping portals, and. They offer multiples. Of Alphaeus on all your purchasing, so ASOS. Have an offer on at the moment a, alveus. Per pound when you spend at a sauce which is a lot that's you know loads, of people and their loads of people spending hundred quid turns you quid almost every week so that's, thousands. And thousands more have yours-- and almost every online retailer, has that as an option so that's yes it does. Weigh more but even those three things will. Have you here shops online and earns airline, miles for the purchases. That's. Pretty. Good but of the rest of you who didn't have your hand up I imagine all of you are buying stuff online almost every day by clicking, the portal you literally just throwing miles in the trash so always it's so simple you just put your frequent. Flyer number in on the portal puts a cookie on your computer and then you earn miles in addition to the miles from the credit card. Okay. So, what credit cards would you say are the absolute, top three, UK credit, cards that you could get okay so I'd say the terms, of point schemes so, the AMEX preferred rewards, gold is a. Great starter, card because no annual fee easy. Into everything 10,000. Points is not to be sniffed that's pretty good and that really as, I said before Membership. Rewards really, flexible because you can transfer them out to different places they, also that card also allows you to earn double on travel, and international. Spend or they're actually the fees on international, spend maybe mean it doesn't make sense to use it but on travel, it's pretty good the, next main, one is the British. Airways Premium, Plus rmx 195. Pound-feet but, in return you get twenty five thousand, of your sign up bonus one. And a half hours per pound on spending which is a really good ongoing, earning rate and the companion voucher once you've spent ten grand in a year you get this voucher to be able to buy a whole second ticket for you buy one take it you get one free so, if you've got a big bank above your so you double. The value of that bank above your so it's really great and then the third one I'd say Virgin. Money. Have two Virgin, Atlantic credit cards now they're quite new to the market and the really nice thing about those is they are a master card so you can use Amex, in most places but another. Thing people say to me all the time is like I can never use can. Never use an Amex like you're so annoying but actually like you, can use it everywhere online but for the times when you really can't use it having. A MasterCard, and the paid version. The premium version of the cardones one and a half Virgin miles per pound okay so that's also pretty good pretty. Good sign, up a pretty good earning, rate you run fifteen thousand points to sign up and, if. Any of you passing through a virgin, lounge this is my top secret tip they, have these little cards and, virgin lounges at the moment and. If you sign up via the link they give you on the card you earn thirty thousand points instead, of fifteen thousand, so, if you find yourself in a virgin lounge make sure you ask they normally have a flying club representative. But that's like kind of crazy I couldn't believe that I was a thing when I was that, alright. So another great way to earn points is through Airlines what, are your favorite European, airlines I mean.

Oh Sorry I love you, tons uh, Lufthansa. First-class is my. Favorite way to get across the pond and it's a great value, Amex. Seventy, thousand Amex points to Aeroplan. And you can fly, Lufthansa. First-class which is like amazing. Seats caviar. It's the number of times as a number one, purchaser. Of caviar, in the world they serve it on every single first-class flight and they give you like, tennis, ball-sized. Just. Thinking about it now I love. Yeah so I like Lufthansa long haul, okay the VA care I just saw the new Virgin Atlantic, a 350, C's. Which is a huge, improvement over virgin, need virgin. MBA about very, outdated, products, for years so they're finally over, the next couple years investing, but yeah. My votes Lufthansa. I think. This is maybe a controversial, answer may be obvious but, Ryanair. It's. Jet jet, to because I'm from Leeds and so, is jet so those, and I. It's. Hard to knock British, Airways in, the UK, the, options. The. Network is huge yeah you. Can get pretty much anywhere in terms. Of the air mile scheme of your scheme that want that is the easiest program to earn with and to spend, with and just you know the service they provide in, terms of where you can get to is unrivaled. Out of the UK. Especially. In Europe where you can pretty much fly, anywhere, in slight. More style, and comfort especially if you manage to earn status, and. The airport's a nicer like I would always rather fly off Heathrow than I would out of Luton. And just. So to be clear we're not sponsored, by any airline, we pay for all of our own flights we always have so all of our reviews we don't take freebies. Just. Felt like saying that. Look. Like a fanboy that's it well when they win their I get on planes and I'm. That straight away I'm like taking. Pictures of everything and the crew often likes like we, doing, am I like I just love planes. And. I think they get a lot of people like that so kind of they take you into the cockpit give you the little pin. So. You kind of made a joke about Ryan era but honestly Ryan Air easyJet, a lot of the I love by the way I flew. Ryanair Stansted. To Edinburgh. Like a couple weeks ago we went to Gleneagles which was awesome if you ever want like a fun Scottish, getaway. I loved it I didn't, golf once I played with their shooting. Dogs they have these like ten adorable. Labradors I'm a huge dog guy and we literally just in a cuddle puddle out in the field playing with his labs and, went skeet shooting anyway, so. I did a video review of Ryanair and I did a taste. Testing of all cuisine in-flight. Cuisine. Stay. Tuned I loved it like I felt, like a king because I paid for the exit row and like most airlines won't, like, police, boarding, cuz everyone's a lead or this or that like Ryanair is like you. Know with, like crazy, enforcement. And like I was the one sucker, who paid for like the exit row but anyway, so. I liked it and but, back to the point of Ryanair if you can save cold hard cash like it doesn't make sense to, pay triple the price to. Fly ba on a short flight who cares ba economy. Is essentially the same thing so when, you can it would never make sense to pick 200 or more to earn a thousand, obvious the whole points game is its currency and you got to figure out when you can win and when you don't and certainly flying short hauls saving your miles for the really expensive ones. It's. All in the arbitrage game another advanced like tactic, especially, fly to see family in the US or Asia is buying miles so Alaska. Airlines sells, miles for less than two cents apiece I fly, first-class back and forth from here in, New York I but. We buy Alaska miles so, it's 70,000, for be a first so I'm buying one way for 1400, US we, granted their taxes and fees bring it's like 1800, but I'm buying be a first for a 3,600, round-trip pretty. Much any day of the year. When. It sells for 12,000, like or you. Know even buying business classes six and upgrading, so. That's. An option I know a lot of premium. Travelers in the UK will buy currencies. Like life miles Alaska, miles and then use them to book flights because, you can't earn them as quickly so just another, thing to. Think about okay, what about you Ryanair, easyJet. What's your so. I really. Actually really do love jet to like that wasn't that was like only sort of a joke because I have, fond memories of being like going to Leeds Bradford and watching a place but I prefer. EasyJet. I actually think it's great Ryanair, for some reason that I just find that the, yellow, in front of you face so, offensive if anybody else struggles. With that and like doesn't have any a seat pocket I just but. I actually really, jet is great on the site actually we've just launched, a an, ultimate guide low-cost.

Airline. So easy jet versus Whizzer versus, two verses right in there and all the fees and the costs, and the pitfalls and how to maximize and all those airlines so we on the site we look after that stuff as well and like brian says sometimes, it just makes sense in cold hard cash to be flying one way in another on a 90-minute. Flight okay, but, I will add I love Norwegian, era when, it's good it's good its 787s. Free Wi-Fi and, their premium, which is a premium, economy but it's like first-class what you find in the US with a recliner seat it reclines pretty far I, get, knocked I mean I flew it three weeks ago from New York to Amsterdam and it was like totally. Fine for. What you know if you don't have the miles you know for what airlines charge last minute walk up you, know American Airlines will charge $2,500. Coach it because one way is priced so weirdly you, know Norwegian, sells you know I bought that ticket my flight had been cancelled I've ran to JFK and it was 700 us last, minute for this premium but, it's better than premium economy I mean it's a pretty stretched. Out seat so I highly, recommend Norwegian. Air okay. Not sponsored. What, about hotels any, particular. Hotel chains that you are loyalty. To, oil to or do you prefer aggregators. Like hotels :, I love hotels calm so I've in the in the u.s. that there's this venture, card that gives 10 points per dollar on, hotels comm and each point is worth one cent minimum so that's 10%, back for every dollar spent plus, hotels, are calm has a program where you earn one, free night for every ten that. You don't need the credit card for so anyone here can be getting that that, that one night for every ten so instead of booking hotels on or, use hotels calm because they give you 10% back so in the u.s. I get 20% back, for every hotel by using hotels, calm you, know Marriott, I was a lifetime SPG, Platinum the Marriott program a lot of people aren't happy with it it's been a really bad integration, tech wise it's. Still a pretty good program especially, for super premium properties. So. When. I can I do marry it but I I like, saying it really unique hotels I don't like being boxed in with one brand especially so. Hotels, are con supposed to get every Hotel in the world, so. I I think that's a great program especially. In the you know unless you're doing a ton of business travel, there's not that many Marriott properties in the UK like I feel, like the hotel game isn't as strong here but I think Marriott too decent you know hi it's okay I get, a little less excited about the hotel programs what about you yeah and I mean Hotel programs Hotel points are actually much harder to earn here, because they, don't there's no lucrative credit cards where, you can be earning masses of points and I think is something that's just a bit less sexy, spoken, about less. But. Actually so one thing I'll add onto because I've used it a couple of times with, Amex platinum, you get access to Amex. Fine hotels, and resource and actually. They have some incredible properties there with some amazing, benefits and, just a couple of days ago I'm going to Indonesia and I was looking at Jakarta. And they have two hotels, on offer in Jakarta, a Mandarin, Oriental and, I, forget the other one, but.

The Price is it wasn't, expensive they were from. What they were maybe two hundred and sixty, dollars and nights these. Two hotels, which were super, luxury. The. Price on hotels calm was about the same it was maybe ten dollars less but actually, you've, got a hundred dollars bar or food and beverage credit, for the stay so for a two night stay that was a crazy benefit plus upgrade, plus 12, p.m. check-in plus 4 p.m. check out all. These different things when he goes is a fine hotels and they give two, free rounds of golf and free it was like 400, pounds for. A booking through Amex. What's. The perk which of. Course I didn't use but yeah, so that's that so there's so, using off the all, sort of like ways you can extract a little bit more value I tend to use hotels, calm yeah I often look for, actually. On the 8 on the BI shopping portal they have a V us through, those hotel programs, and, actually one other thing that I really like which people don't talk about is BA holidays, okay where you can book a flight and the whole and a hotel together and they give you a discount. Across the whole product, also, allows you to just pay a deposit and you put 150. Pounds you pay close to the time you get bonus obvious, and. You see prices sometimes really. Really. Crazy prices, especially for European, breaks I often look at you take just five-star, ma, on a weekend, and it filters, it all down European, destinations and you see things like you. Know Budapest. With, flights on ba, with. Two, nights than five star hotel for. Annoying pounds of personal something like that say there's some really amazing, things which of course we, will write about and publish at the points got out co dot uk'. By. The way whoever is you know we were originally were gonna do the point Scott calm slash UK so we have all of our good SEO. For. You know these darn privacy, laws we had to start from scratch on Thursday, so whoever, here works in the Google authority Department and like the dark room with the algorithm if you could just pop us up a couple notches thank you, I hate, to ask for favors but. Never. Know we're, gonna take some audience questions so if anybody wants to line up at the microphone, and before, we do that we'll.

Talk A little bit about travel, life so you seem, like you are always on, the road you're hopping, from one plane rides the next how. Do you maintain balance, in your life well. That's. A great question I think the biggest thing like with jet lag is choosing, the right flights and you can choose horrible, flights so when coming from the u.s. to London I never, never never take the 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. your, body who can sleep from 4:00 in the afternoon till midnight and then be on a normal schedule so I like traveling, the, 10:00 p.m. flight. It. Really makes a difference in terms of just getting used to it also choosing the right plane if, you have a choice of a clunky, 30. Year old triple 7 or the new ba or, virgin, 787. The 787, even an economy, it's better on your skin it's better it's a quieter. Plane it's just a nicer experience and those small things but. Getting you know I actually, been using dream water which is a melatonin. Little, bottle it's. Awesome I try not to use too many like I don't you use like ambiens, on planes that's when people like you hear the the, news article people peeing in the aisle shouting obscenities usually. That's people taking, like, hardcore sleeping, pills if they're not used to if you're going to always try them on the ground first don't. Mix them with alcohol, but. Then getting to a gym and really just you know it's pushing, yourself like in London I actually stay near berries because I know the closer I enter the gym the higher the odds are so. It's. Tough but dummy jetlag can truly like ruin your life so, especially, the New York London's really I would, much prefer to be on a 12-hour flight than a 6-hour, flight, it's not quite long enough to get a good night's sleep what. About for you actually. The working, out thing is is really. Big, part of my strategy I've kind of stopped drinking, load not and not that I ever really drank much but just drinking, plenty no let's be honest it's really easy especially when you're reading for business and first when it's like the drinks are flowing I, mean there's something about having a wine buzz in the sky but like there's a very fine line of like it's, dehydrated I mean there's nothing worse than waking up with that like, there's no anse of like hydration. In your body so. Yeah trying to limit it but so. Yeah lots of water and then working out when I land that. Always towards me our big. Sweat blasts, have the cobwebs, and sticking. To. Local. Time when I get home just forcing, yourself to stay awake yeah and going to bed at a normal time is it's just like the most important, thing because that dangerous, 2 p.m. sleep when you wake up at midnight and, then can never sleep ever again is that it that's. Horrible. Feeling and actually did cryotherapy, my. First time in London so I have a new youtube series that's launching a, week, from tomorrow being, the points guy it's like all my travels around the world and cool destinations, and jumping out of helicopters but, also like the tactical, stuff like how I pack how, did it combat jet lag and cryotherapy, was, amazing, and I also the other day did an IV, drip, it's. Really expensive in London it was like 200 pounds but an anesthesiologist. Came to my hotel room and they, put in all this. Amazing stuff and it it hydrates. You, like. They can they can do a lot of witchcraft. And it. Was expensive but if you ever really, need you, know Risa and I wasn't even hung over everyone's like yeah right like Brian came in like skipping, a night at the pop-up shop like, more so than I am today I. Think. We have an audience question. Hello. I'm. Sarah and my question to you would, be which. Area do you think will, be prone, to getting points in the future I'm not sure if you've seen black mirror where there's this episode, where people can get points through human interactions, and can get either negative, or positive points. I wondering. What do you think would be the, future points, of rewarding. Systems, any. Crazy ideas the future, of loyalty. I. Mean. In the US royalty. Points or you can get for almost anything. But. In terms of like higher like, points. I. Just I hope that in the if I'm talking about the UK I'm hoping, that the UK, public, become, more aware of miles and points and retailers, and other merchants start, to grow, and expand, programs, that would be great here in a way that they are already in the u.s..

Mm-more. Just put more on offer actually and there's things that I find out about that. I didn't know that I hope roll out more so for example Waitrose, you. Can put. In your, MX. Cut or any of your credit cards into the Flying Club shopping. Portal, and when, you spend in store, at Waitrose, they, just pay you Virgin, miles I don't really understand how that inspires loyalty I guess it would make me spend at Waitrose more. In store and pick that over anywhere else but if they rolled out more of that kind of stuff so hopefully that stuff works UK, retailers, and merchants become aware of this stuff and realize it can drive loyalty, then. So. More more of the same than bigger of the same would be I'm not saying that's where I think, it will go I hope using, miles it's, just like coupons essentially, repeating retailers, merchants, to get people into stores so like people. In the UK don't really care that much about points, but we are already talking to people like once we get the audience. Built up like we think we'll be able to encourage. More people to take a little slice of your profit, to give to people to get them engaged and get new consumers, I mean amazing. And if just. On that point the be a shopping, portal, I was I was having a conversation with the guy who's the product manager for that whole system. And he. Said with we're in the in the middle of launching, new, stuff to try really hard to get into the minds of British people to shop through the portal more so, the. People on the loyalty side and the companies are aware and they are now, starting to work harder, to try and do, more and be. Attractive. I. Have a very much more specific question, than that you sort of touched, upon it very briefly earlier, the. When. Traveling. With credit cards there's typically, so for the Amex gold, card there's a 3% transaction. Rogering. What you guys recommended, in terms of like should you take out an second, credit card for, using. Abroad that has like no foreign transaction, fee and if so would, you recommend I'll, tell you what I do because. I, think this is working really well for me at the moment so I have a curved card and. Curved, I don't know how many of you aware of it but you can have all of your credit cards and debit cards sitting behind it and you can sort of select, which one it's actually quite cool you can you pick the card when you pay with your curve it charges it to one of your credit cards and you, have 14 days to change, which one so it's called the go, back in time function, and seven, days later you've got actually I'm not going to charge it to that, card I'm gonna charge this card now they just launched Amex, functionality. Again on that and it's such a shame because they give you a MasterCard, and it means you can spend your Amex anywhere. And. Spend it abroad with no fees because it charges you, it. Charges as a purchase, you can even take out the cash machine and you don't pay interest on it there are some limits on the amount of cash you can take out abroad from an ATM and some limits on foreign transaction, but they have different paid levels but what I have is the curved card with the Virgin Atlantic, MasterCard. Sitting behind it so, at the moment when I'm shopping abroad I'm paying, zero FX and I'm, earning one and a half Virgin miles on everything because ultimately curve is charging, it to my, virgin card hopefully. They bring back that Amex functionality, so I'll be able to do the same thing but charge it to my Amex constitutes, still one and a half Virgin no fees is pretty good it's really good. It. Said I bet it's but you know would, I go and use my BA. MX, card or an arm it's card earning one obvious per pound abroad it doesn't really make sense like, three percent doesn't. Cancel out the illness it's 2 X on travel or two note I max abroad the Amex gold is 2 X aboard so like if you get like we value Amex points in the US at like two cents apiece like if you're close to getting and you want to top up your Amex and you think about it so you're getting four if you value them a two cents each you be getting four percent in value back and you pay three it sucks but like if you need it's you could still win but you have to value Amex, at that level some people though I mean I can spend, Amex points to get five cents per point value I really, wanted you to give the tip on I love, there's this little-known feature the BA obvious, program that can get insane, value he got twenty per point and value I'm the secret redemption, not secret it's just unknown about so I just want you to share it quickly what it is so.

I Love it it's called a it's, called a multi-carrier, award, and it, allows you to book. A ticket. With, a V us on two or more one world airlines so my ticket included, British Airways, Qantas. And Cathay, Pacific, but it can be any two, or more of any other one world airlines and it prices on a completely different chart so instead of paying per segment, you, pay an overall, cost of whatever the mileages, and it's in mileage bands so there's a cost for zero, to five thousand miles and then five thousand to ten thousand miles another cost it's. Amazing, because they work on a different multiple, across classes, so now if any of you are interest, you'll know you pay double, for Premium, Economy trip, or for business quadruple. For first but. Multi carrier would still work on the old method, of one and a half the premium times. Two for business times three for first so, business redemptions, can be really valuable. So. You should check it out I'm gonna have a post, going live on it pretty soon. So, you need to you need to block out about a week of your life yeah. Get a friendly agent on the phone and, no say actually, it takes granted. Those kind of tickets take a bit of planning both just and so use. Be a calm to find the availability, so segment so. I knew this was here and I'd write down okay, this is it's on this flight number this date this class I actually used, the Qantas, system to find the Qantas domestic flights because the a doesn't find those very well and then. I, handled. This big list called up I said I'm booking a multi carrier would the, agent knew what it was often if they didn't I would have just put the phone down starting, again and and. We went through the whole thing price everything up I had to do it twice because, I booked for me and my friend on our separate accounts and. It took it took a whole hour on the phone so. You have to be willing to put that time in twenty thousand dollars in value from one hour, say. Yeah and, just to tease it later this year we're coming out with their new TPG app that's gonna track your points track your credit cards and we just bought a company called expert flyer that actually pings the airlines for. Availability upgrades. Etc so, the, grand future of the points guide today we're content shop our. App is gonna change the game, we're working with Airlines directly, to, add value because right now the booking process is horrible, many, different websites you have to and I kind of figure. Out what's, good hotel or which house should I buy this airfare so the, points guy in the next couple years it's gonna really elevate to, a whole logged in experience, that will give you your net worth and points, and tips, and curated, content and, all of that so.

I'm. Very excited for that and I think it's. Gonna, dramatically. Help our readers get, that value so you don't have to just sit there a million old blog post and kind of cobble it together. Yeah. So I was curious if you, are able to get this, Chase Sapphire Reserve, card but it's gonna involve your making money in pounds, yeah you have to transfer, it back over to dollars, and spend. In dollars and then I says. No foreign transaction, fees but actually, is there a little bit of a cut. That the bank is they surprised, I mean different banks we just did a, we're. Doing tests on that on foreign transaction, fees we bought the same item. In multiple. Countries at the same time and like the the. Actual conversion rate would thanks now when you're actually. Transferring. Funds I know that there can be so, I think. You have to look into it by your bank and yes there's like a three percent spread then yeah that's actually, I mean it could still be worth it if you're really earning tons more. But. I know most of my x-pipe friends still use your u.s. cards here you know that have no foreign transaction, fees and they're roughly quit they're not going to charge you three percent. To. Pay that although I don't know when you transfer, funds from pounds, to u.s. that's the I don't has anyone here at any experience, with that I, have that exact situation actually, I mean I transfer, with transfer wise and, it's an amazing service, but. You still use your u.s. cards earn the triple and. Work. Here in. Okay. One more audience question, and then. Hi. Thanks, for coming um mine's. Kind of specifically about spending points I know you mentioned you hear it a lot people are like I don't know how to spend them so I've got the be a premium. Premium, black you know the black one, and. I've got so many points from work travel, I've had the companion voucher, for like a year but, I keep, looking for ways to spend it and it keeps saying like there's, never availability, and same. With obvious like even using them to get money off so I wonder if you had any tips on like finding, the right ways to spend points, specifically, a line points what, where do you want to go like. What's your current I want to spend on long haul like the, I guess, Asia, okay. Hope the Campania voucher okay, so. The. Way to the, way to rid if you've got a year left on your. Voucher. Before it expires and you've probably got a chance to get this right but, be a release, flights. They've released two business, class seats and four economy, seats on all long-haul. Flights, with, for you to that Vyasa for redemption so. They release them 355. Days out so if you pick the flights that you want to take there. Will always be two business at least two business car seats on every flight you. Have to be there on the phone at midnight, to book those tickets. But they are available to any. That's. Most applicable if you're trying to go busy. Time of year to, a popular, destination and. Too, often destinations, where they don't have high frequency, of flights the, classic one, classic. Ones a k-town, or Australia, especially, in our winter people. Trying to go away around Christmas holidays if you, if you really just want to use them and you want to go somewhere you're not that bothered or you really just want to fly first-class was places. Like New York are very easy to redeem too because there's so many flights a day and. You.

Can Offer I often see on any, day of the year you can pretty much get business and first-class availability, to somewhere like New York other. Places just way hard way harder because there's ten flights a day to that versus you know two to Capetown or I also. Think, Asia. Is a little bit more difficult, but I would also open yourself, up to fly in two different places in Asia and use your obvious so don't, just look if you want to go to Bangkok don't just look at Bangkok look at Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, look at Hong Kong and then. From there you can even use your office for example from Hong Kong fly cafe to literally anywhere in Asia so. We actually also have a website, I mentioned we bought called expert flyer expert, flyer scrapes. And has direct connections to a ton of airlines including ba where, you and you it's, $10 a month and you get up to 100, query or 100 alerts for award tickets and what that means is you can set. Two. Tickets available for companion, on all, these different routes and then, every, day multiple times a day we, scrape to see if anything's available, and then when they are you get an expert, flyer notification. That emails you because things are opening, up and closing all the time the airlines are very dynamic pricing models, they may drop six. Business, class seats you know because air pricing model tells them Singapore is open next week it's a dead week or whatever you. Would never know unless you were checking every day so expert fire does that work for you and that's what we'll have in the TPG up later this year but we. Have blog, post on export cut for 10 bucks a month to help you get the two business class seats that are worth thousands. It, could that's, more of an expert too it's a little it's not that hard to use you work at Google I'm sure you're pretty smart but it is like sort of for experts, but it's those are my favorite emails in the world to get so I'll set tons of alerts. And it's like you know that. Qantas, first-class only there's only gonna be one or two seats ever but, I snatched them before anyone else can book them online. Thank. You thank, you all, right we only have a few minutes left so I'm going to end with one final question can. You tell us what is the best deal, that you've ever gotten booking. With points, or. Your favorite experience. With points well. I'll go so. My. Favorite, way of using points, these days the most. Meaningful. To me is through, our partnership. With rainbow. Railroad so, there. It's an amazing organization basically. LGBT, people are persecuted around the world we know it's still illegal and over, 50 countries some, countries worse than others if, you've heard of reports I remember three two and a half years ago listening, of Chechnya, LGBT.

People Are being rounded up there are actually concentration, camps and I remember reading the New York Times article being like this isn't like, you know you deny like this can't be happening, it's, true, Jamaica, trans people are killed every week it's horrible, for them they're so through rainbow railroad well, you can donate your airline miles and. They actually fly people out and. Get them asylum so. I've been working with them for the last three years we're. Actually about to do a million dollar donation, campaign, around pride this year if. Any of you are gonna be in New York its world Pride it's gonna be the biggest pride ever on. Multiple. Levels but you, know 20, you know 50,000, miles can help save someone's life and you may think oh you, know a lot of huge charities will take your miles and they just liquidate them but what happens with rainbow railroad is actually they're, in a huge pool and we book people so I had the ability go, into Toronto where a lot of our refugees. Live or asylees. And. I was out to dinner with like 20, of these Chechnya. And guys who, slashes, across their face everything and they told me the, minute the plane took off from Moscow. Cuz we have safe houses we get them places and to. Know that my frequent flyer miles they actually connect to me with the guy and he you know the. Minute the plane took off I just started bawling and to think like. My frequent flyer miles like yes I love going to Tahiti and, help. Save someone's life and it's it was there's. No better feeling in the world so, there's. A ton of charities you can donate your points to finding. One that really really connect, with and getting, involved so. Yeah points can save. People's lives. I mean. I should have gone first. His. Selfish, nikki with a. Holiday, that he enjoyed himself. I'll. Give you one one what I really loved which was such a neat Redemption, was they they had an American Airlines card in the UK unfortunately, not available anymore and the, signup bonus for the card plus. The amount you had to spend to get the signup bonus you were left with 40,000, advantage points which, then was the right, amount to book London, to Abu Dhabi on the, Etihad apartments. And that. Was just the most insane experience, especially because I paid these 40,000, miles that I just received it was 186. Pounds tax and I got picked, up by a luxury. Car at my house driven to the airport, was. In an apartment on the plane and showered on the plane and then was taken. To. Wherever I wanted to go in the Emirates Ryan landed another W so that was a that, was a special, and neat redemption, didn't, save any lives actually, I actually on, that trip I. Were. Wrong with this is, on. That trip I ended up driving up to a man and I did. Try. To, resuscitate, a, man who had a heart attack on the way on the boat but he unfortunately died but I did, we, tried to save a lot I try I did I was part of a forever. Thank. You guys so much for attending. You.

2019-06-03 12:58

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A big thank you to everyone who came to the talk!

I have not traveled in nearly a decade, but I did buy some VISA "V" Stock about a year after its IPO in 2008. It's up over 1000% in the past decade, so even without all the blogging and travelling, you probably could have done just as well simply by buying some of the credit card company stock. And I believe that MasterCard "MA" has done even better! - j q t -

Repeat after me *My Current situation is not my final destination and I will never stop working for what I want*

What a bunch of shit what is wrong with you people

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