Interview

Travel Blogger Interview – Frequent Flyer Bonuses

frequent-flyer-bonusesFounded by Patrick Sojka of Calgary Canada, FrequentFlyerBonuses.com came as an offshoot of RewardsCanada.ca, the much renowned travel rewards resource for Canadians. As Rewards Canada only listed bonus offers available to Canadians, it was only natural and easy to expand and create a site where people from around the World could find and access bonus offers for their favorite airline, hotel and credit card programs. You can also follow FrequentFlyerBonuses.com on twitter, facebook or Google plus

What motivated you to start FrequentFlyerBonuses.com?

FrequentFlyerBonuses.com actually stemmed from my first site: RewardsCanada.ca. I have bonus offer section and that was seeing lots of traffic from outside of Canada but I only covered offers that Canadians could use so it made sense to launch a site that covers all loyalty promotions from around the globe, hence the launch of FrequentFlyerBonuses.com in 2005.

Are you an avid traveler yourself?

Absolutely! Some of my travel slowed down when we had kids but that is totally ramping up again.

What advice do you have for someone looking to apply for an airline miles credit card?

Look at both sides of the equation, that is the earning and the redeeming side. Don’t be swayed by a large sign up offer when those points may not be worth much. A good example was here in Canada where a card offered by ATB offered a 100,000 point sign up bonus, which seems huge but in reality that 100k points was only worth a $100 travel credit

As a Canadian do you get jealous of the wide variety of airline credit card offers available to Americans?

Sometimes but the Canadian market seems to offer other benefits on their cards that many U.S. cards don’t. I guess it is a trade off. The U.S. market is tightening its grip on the sign up bonuses and the actual churning of cards and as the U.S. economy improves this will only become more prevalent so I think the days of 75,000+ miles/points offers in the U.S. are numbered (which made us Canucks jealous)

What are your views on the churn and burn tactic where people are mass-applying for credit cards to get the bonuses?

This is starting to be curtailed as I mentioned in the response above, Amex U.S. is the first major to nix the churn and burn and I believe more card issuers will follow suit, especially on the co-brand cards as the churn and burn tactic does not build loyalty for the card’s co-brand partners. For cards that have proprietary programs Chase Ultimate Rewards etc. this may not happen for a while.

With many airlines struggling financially, do you think that they will eventually scale back their rewards card offerings?

Not for U.S. airlines as they miles sold via credit card sign up bonuses help their bottom lines but like I said above the really large offerings of 75,000+ miles will soon be few and far between.

Do you feel that airline credit cards offer superior rewards compared to cash back or other rewards credit cards?

If you want to travel in business or first class they absolutely do. If you are an economy class traveller most cards are pretty equal in terms of your rate of return

Do you have any tips regarding earning more airline miles?

Use bonus mile offers to your advantage, they are an easy way to work your way up to that reward you want to redeem for. Many of the bonus offers require registration and while you may not think you can take advantage of the bonus offer, register anyway. Who knows when your employer may send you to Phoenix for a meeting and you don’t remember or realize that the airline you’re flying on was offering double miles on all flights to or from Phoenix. By registering for an offer when you first see it, you’re making sure you don’t miss out on any bonus opportunities.

Or what about general ways to save on travel beyond credit cards?

I’ll leave this one to the travel deal specialists!

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Travel Blogger Interview – A Couple Travelers

A Couple TravelersDave and Vicky are the authors of Travel and Food blogs A Couple Travelers andAvocado Pesto. Having spent 2 years in the working world, they exchanged their briefcases for backpacks, dress shoes for sandals, and beds for sleeping bags. In September 2012 they embarked on a 2 year journey across Asia and Europe. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook

First of all give us a quick background of both of you.

We’re Dave and Vicky from acoupletravelers.com, a travel blog that chronicles our backpacking journey through Europe and Asia. Both of us were living and working in DC and felt somewhat unfufilled with our jobs and decided that we need to push the reset button on life before it got too late. We quit our jobs in September 2012 and set off to Japan (we had been planning the trip for months before this). Since then we’ve been to almost 20 countries and are blogging and running businesses on the side! In addition to acoupletravelers.com I write about business at selfmadebusinessman.com and Vicky writes about food at avocadopesto.com.

What gave you the inspiration to start a travel blog?

It was really just two things.

    1. We thought it would be nice to have a record of journey.
    2. We thought we could make some money or at least get discounted activities.

Luckily we were successful in both!

Do you find there are any challenges to blogging as a couple, such as who’s turn it is to write?

At first we just took turns depending on who felt like writing about what. Later on we were a bit more systematic about it. I think it’s important to fill roles. Luckily both Vicky and I have different strengths that compliment each other. I handle more of the technical side of the blog. Vicky handles more of the writing.

Same deal with travel – how do you decide where to travel to next?

We had a route planned though we didn’t stick to it 100%. Mostly because it just takes forever to get anywhere in Asia lol. It’s fairly logical though as we just travel to neighboring countries, so when we were in Korea then we did China, Vietnam, etc. Nowadays we’re more inclined to wing it. We just set off for Spain to visit family and then are going to Italy and the Balkans, again for family.

What is it about travel that has you so obsessed about it?

Experiencing new cultures, meeting new people, and finding out things about yourself you didn’t know before.

What have been your favorite places that you’ve visited so far?

Japan and France are probably our top two. Japan is so interesting and unlike a lot of Asia. At the same time it’s very safe to travel there and modern as well. France is just delightful. I highly recommend doing a driving tour.

Do you have any major travel regrets?

It’s probably too early right now for us to realize what our regrets are. I guess I wish we spent more time in Japan. Really though it’s been a fantastic trip and for the most part I wouldn’t change a thing!

Any funny or embarrassing stories that you’re willing to share from your travels?

At this point so much of this just seems incorporated into our daily life that we don’t even take notice. On one of my first nights in Japan I accidentally walked in on my couch surfing host naked – that was a shock for us both and made for quite an awkward breakfast!

For the budget travelers out there, what would be your top tip for saving money when traveling?

Don’t buy things you don’t need.

Do you take advantage of airline credit cards to save on flights? If so, which card do you use?

Sure we got a lot of credit cards before we started traveling. We use the Chase Premier Rewards and the Capital One Venture Card. Each of us have saved thousands on these cards alone. It’s not that hard really.

Aside from budgeting, what’s the best general travel advice you’ve ever received?

I think just always be aware of what is going on around you and be vigilant.

Do you plan to keep traveling indefinitely or do you see yourself settling down somewhere before long?

Not sure when we’ll settle down completely but we are already slowing things up by renting apartments for a month or two at a time. Soon that will probably turn into 2-3 months, then 3-6, and then you’re a permanent resident!

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Travel Blogger Interview – OurOyster

They believe that the biggest obstacles to travel are fear and the “I’ll do it later” attitude. Today’s interview is from Jade of OurOyster.com who travel with her family; Daniel, husband, and Jacob, son. You can also follow them on twitter, facebook and Google plus.

First of all tell everyone a basic background of who you are…

The OurOyster team consists of couple Daniel and Jade and of course their young son Jacob. The site was originally started by Jade after five years of travel when she moved to New Zealand. After a year in New Zealand she moved to Australia where she met Daniel and they got married. Now they travel and blog together.

How did you get into traveling?

My first international trip was when I was 17 to the Dominican Republic. But I didn’t catch the travel bug until I moved to Europe when I was 20. I ended up spending over three years in Europe before briefly going back home to Canada before setting off to New Zealand.

Of all the places you traveled to, what was your favorite?

Daniel and I recently spent five months traveling around the world with our baby. Our favourite place, and my all time highlight was Iceland. It is just one of the most beautiful countries in the world. We were there in winter, so it was quite cold and many of the roads were closed, but despite that we still got to experience some truly breathtaking scenery.

What is one place that you regret going to?

I don’t really have any particular travel regrets, although I did have some pretty bad timing when I visited Fiji. I ended up being there right in time for a major tropical cyclone and ended up getting trapped with no water or power and dwindling food supplies while roads were rebuilt and airplanes started returning.

What places are still on your bucket list?

Russia and Mongolia are huge on my bucket list, as well as most of South America. In the near future we are hoping to cross some more Pacific Islands off our list, and Vanuatu will be one of those highlights.

I noticed you mention budget travel on your about page. What are the most effective ways you limit costs when traveling?

We try to limit our costs by staying in budget accommodation. We are usually out and about exploring all day so we don’t need a fancy hotel or anything like that to enjoy ourselves. My only requirement is wifi though!

Are there any budget travel strategies that you tried but decided weren’t for you?

I know a lot of people will self cater for almost the entire period of their trip to save money and that just isn’t for me. Experiencing the local food is one of the biggest pleasures of travel for me, and I like to eat out at least once a day while travelling.

Does Australia have decent airline miles credit cards to take advantage of?

To be honest… not really. I am Canadian so I know that there are tons of options out there for Canadians and Americans, but there really isn’t that much in the way of choice for Australians. All of the airline points credit cards that I have seen here have a fairly hefty annual fee attached to them which just makes them not worth while.

What’s the best travel advice you’ve ever received?

“Say yes more”

What led you to start your blog?

Like most people, I started my blog for family and friends and as a way to record my own experiences, but it quickly grew into what it is now – a great source of information and inspiration for others.

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