Miles and Points Collecting Featured on ABC’s Nightline

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When I attended the Chicago Seminars last month, we were told that a crew from ABC’s Nightline would be there filming in order to run a segment on miles and points collecting.  They were not allowed to film portions of sessions that included “secret” information, but they were allowed to film some general information.  Additionally, they did a feature of Rick, The Frugal Travel Guy.  I know that there are some who are upset at any additional exposure miles and points collecting gets.  There certainly is some risk of it getting “too big for its own good”, and going past that “tipping point” where it no longer works for anyone.  On the other hand, we all first found out about this game somehow, and I welcome new miles and points collectors with open arms.  Since I am someone who blogs, it should be no surprise that I am a believe that most* information should be shared with anyone who is interested.

Regardless of your opinion on how much of this info should be shared, this is a nice five minute piece on what we do.  In fact, I bet that many of you that attended the Seminars can spot yourselves in the clip!  My favorite outcome of this segment is that my mom now wants to come to the Chicago Seminars with me next year!  I’m tentatively scheduled to do a session on the Grand Slam at the Chicago Seminars next year, so if you are interested in hearing about that or many of the other awesome topics that will be covered there, pencil in the weekend of Sept. 14-16 (though not sure if those dates are set in stone) in Chicago next year.  You can even meet the now famous Frugal Travel Guy.  😉

In case you missed it last night, here is a link to watch the Nightline segment online.

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  1. Mommy I totally agree with you on sharing the info. Somebody taught us, and it is now our turn to pass some information on to newbies. As with the situation you were in last week, with others questioning how you used your miles, the same is true this week with “to share or not to share? That is the question” comments flowing from both sides.

    Looking forward to your participation next year in Chicago and the dates are Not set in stone.

  2. Nightline conveniently ignored that Ingy doesn’t fly in First Class. 🙂

    And a business class ticket gets you into the first class lounge? Only on TV. 😀


  3. There is a difference in sharing info with those that research and announcing it on primetime television broadcasting it to millions. Expect it to be much harder to find award tickets in the future. Expect fewer deals from credit card companies. His broadcast was self-serving in my view. Thanks Rick.

  4. @Rick I, thanks. As with most issues, there will always be (at least) two different opinions. I’m looking forward to Chicago as well and thanks for verifying that the dates aren’t set in stone.

    @Maury, the mint gig wasn’t my cup of tea, but I know that it was utilized effectively by many and it is missed by those who used it. I agree that most things have a tipping point and there is a trade-off for exposure.

    @LIH Prem, well with Co/United “BusinessFirst” will get you in, so close enough I guess.

    @Jackie, maybe so. Though the credit card companies must be making a profit out of this to some degree or we wouldn’t still see the huge bonuses. Even though this may draw new people to our world, they still will still have to do research once they get here. Some will and some will decide it is too much work. In my opinion Rick (and most of the rest of the bloggers) are out to help as many people as possible, and this segment was a great way to help him reach even more people. In fact, many of the “top” bloggers have done many media gigs. I do appreciate you sharing your thoughts – there are certainly two sides to this issue.

  5. Has anyone noticed that mommypoints always has a smile on her face as proven in the nightline video!
    Love your positive spin on this subject 🙂

  6. There is teaching the method, and then there’s holding hands. I think we all should try to avoid the latter, or do it sparingly, because really you are only handing out free miles that dilute the rewards. If people learn how to do it and put in some effort to join our ranks, then I don’t mind that.

  7. Worried about too much exposure? Don’t be. Too many people are up to their eyeballs in debt to even play this game. And if they’re not drowning in the negatives, then they’re probably too lazy to get into the whole mileage game to begin with. From an outsider-perspective, if I wasn’t too informed about the whole frequent-flyer world, I would probably think that most people in that segment were crazy and suffered from some sort of OCD.

  8. the end of the piece said “all this takes a lot of work and a lot of study” which was true when Flyertalk and a few (4 or 5) blogs talked about it. You had to invest the time to learn the lingo, read the threads, and learn the angles. I gave up on FT for a couple of years, before I came back and took the time to figure it out.
    Now for better or worse there are dozens of blogs spoonfeeding step by step instructions. I think it will undoubtably make things worse for us. When slickdeals, fatwallet and multiple how-to blog sites draw attention to travel “hacks” and make their slack-jawed greedy readers point collectors it hurts us all.
    soon credit card offers will be less generous and points will devalue. Loopholes will close after the masses abuse them, from big ones like the dollar coins, to small things like being able to bump a sign up bonus with amex.
    Here is a golden goose, let me explain in details so simple an idiot can get it, the steps to get it to lay a golden egg before it dies of exposure, and when everyone does it golden eggs will be worthless.

    Good intentions and bad results…these bloggers aren’t doing it for the good of the community, they are doing it to brag…look how easy it is, look what I can do, look at how many people find my blog interesting, look at the money my ads make. They should just enjoy the fruits of their knowledge. Let the people that are willing to work and study the programs and put effort into figuring it out be welcomed into FT and other community sites. Let the rest think it’s too hard to figure out and not worth the time or effort. You can call me selfish, but advertising how easy this is to do, to someone who doesnt pick up on that fact themselves, is stupid.

  9. First, let me thank you, Mommypoints, for the link to the Nightline segment. I enjoyed watching it; and it increased my respect for Rick I.
    I suspect the argument over whether there is too much exposure will always be with us.
    I used grocery coupons before the “extreme”craze; and I still find groceries and coupons around today.
    After the Great Recession, demand and prices are going up. That might explain why it is harder to find an award, or why that award might be costing you more.
    But a part of this game is also the mentioned “work”; which can be boring. This year I started riding the rails to nowhere with Amtrak for status; and it got old real fast. And I would be happy if I never had to drive another Aveo. Folks did notice when I started showing up in the Charger or the Traverse; but nobody seemed interested in doing the “work” to get there.
    But this year is soon ending, and it’s time to get ready to do it all over again. Whether it’s first-class on international flight, or business-class; or just flying the baby to grampy’s; folks need to keep their eye on the prize. Because one way or another; all too soon the game is over. Happy travels.

  10. MP, thanks for your well thought out post. Agree, the Nightline piece was generally helpful
    bringing exposure that our hobby exists and makes a difference for those of us that play. No specifics
    were divulged by Rick. Have known Rick for more than two years and have met few people who are as
    generous in thought & deed. Moreover, as a Veteran no travel hobby/hacker blogger does more for
    our Veterans than Rick–(my wife and I served over 56 years in the US Army) I sincerely appreciate that he makes a difference for our military men and women. (at
    last years Do, we teamed up and collected over $1500 from participants during the DO that went to
    a very deserving Veterans charity. Rick’s nightline piece as general information is similar, to Gary’s (Gleff) regular Condenast Traveler magazine articles–good general travel hobby/hacker information.

  11. @carwag, well if you can’t smile when learning about miles and points collecting, then when can you smile? 😉

    @Scottrick, thanks for sharing. You are right that there is a difference between teaching and hand-holding.

    @Brian, thanks for sharing your thoughts. One thing I noticed in the segment was how he kept saying things like “the extreme lengths” that miles collectors go through. That may be enough to have some people lose interest. Of course, there weren’t really any “extreme lengths” that were mentioned in the piece.

    @Wise2U, there certainly are many more points related blogs than there were even 6-12 months ago, so I would agree that information is more readily available now then when you had to dig deep into FT. The one point where I have to disagree is where you say that (presumably all) bloggers are in this to brag about what they can do, how many people read them, how much money they make, etc… I can only speak for myself here, but the last thing in the world I would have interest in bragging about is miles and points or blog related information. I started a blog to help other families do what we had learned to do. It was and is that simple. As a trade-off for the hours per day that this site now requires, there is a monetization component that now exists, but that would hardly be something to brag about. The only thing you might ever hear me bragging about is how fantastic my kiddo is….in a proud mama sort of way. 😉 Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    @John, I agree that there are a few get points rich quick things you can do (ie credit card sign-ups), but alot of what we do just won’t be appealing on massive scale. Heck, even my parents only buy into a fraction of what I do!

    @Benny, absolutely never to let to join in the fun. Glad you liked the segment!

    @ColonelretWes, I agree that Rick is a great guy and is very devoted to Veternan’s causes. You are also correct that he is far from the only blogger who has contributed to mainstream media about what we do. This just happens to be the “controversial” one of the moment.

  12. Rick didn’t do us any favor. In his case it was totally self-serving. I noticed no one has taken credit for inviting ABC’s Nightline. Considering who was the star, I can only assume it was Rick in order to further his business(es). Boy this “game” has certainly changed from one of fun and enjoyment for a small community to one of business enterprizes at the expense of the aforementioned community. Hoping the game doesn’t end before I can burn most of my miles and points.

  13. @wise2u: “Good intentions and bad results…these bloggers aren’t doing it for the good of the community, they are doing it to brag…look how easy it is, look what I can do, look at how many people find my blog interesting, look at the money my ads make.”

    I think some are doing it for the money. Notice, for example, that the Southwest Airlines 50,000 point credit card offer is no longer in the right column of listings of credit card offers in Ingy’s blog, though it is still available. Draw your own conclusions.

  14. I have had the pleasure of spending time with many of the miles and points bloggers, including Rick, and many of us respect and support each other with our respective blogs. We do all go about our blogs and the business side of our blogs (for those that have a business side) in our own ways, but I will always do my best to support other sites that strive to help people learn to travel the world on points.

  15. Fair enough. I support many myself, including (especially) yours. But I think that in order to protect our readers, if we that list offers, but not always the best offers – only those that make the blogger money. I fear that our readers might trust a blogger’s list as being the best offers available, when for some bloggers they are not. I think we have a responsibility to warn our readers of this.

    • @Gary, I do appreciate your support. The mile and points bloggers community is certainly just that, a community. I have the perfect solution to always make sure my readers are getting the best deal on a credit card signups – just use my links. Problem solved! Ha ha. 😉 Seriously though, I hear what you are saying, and different bloggers do go about that differently. I’m not sure that it is really my place to give too many warnings about how different sites list offers, but I do try very hard to make sure I am listing the best offers out there for families whether they are my links or not.

  16. Rick Posted the days this year for the seminar 2012 are in Oct of this year same place and same rate. Do you know what the room rates and seminar cost were last year? I’m new and trying to get an idea of cost.

    • @kitty B, the registration (that included lunch) was $75 and I believe the rooms were around $80 at the host hotel. Extremely affordable. Hope to see you there!

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