Travel Brainstorm

Welcome Readers of Million Mile Secrets!


By Jon Mohatt (Aka Travel Brainstorm)

I want to welcome all the readers of Million Mile Secrets and thank you for taking the time to check out my site.  I truly hope you find it useful.  Please be sure to sign up on our email list so you are notified when new posts go live.  I am always striving to make the site better and really appreciate your input and feedback.  My goal is to provide what I have learned over the years and also what I have found useful in traveling with my family and creating priceless memories.  The site is still evolving so be sure to let me know if something is missing that you would find helpful.  I have many great ideas for 2015 and hope you come along for the ride!

To get you started with my site I thought I would provide a couple quick links to some of the most popular posts and pages on my site.

Why Dave Ramsey is Wrong and Costing you Money – Using Reward Credit Cards

Budget Travel Guide for Beginners

Steps to Create a Budget and Pay Off Credit Cards

How I Got Hooked on the “Points Game”

I hope you enjoy those posts and enjoy your stay while perusing the site.  To show my appreciation for your feedback I will reward the most constructive and helpful comment below with a $25 Starbucks eGift!  One thing I need on every trip is my trusty Starbucks boost.  In one week from this Friday (1/23/15) I will pick the winner so give  me your best advice.

As always, happy brainstorming and safe travels! Be sure to sign up to be notified of future blogs posts (top of right sidebar), let your friends know about this blog and check out all my travel reviews on TripAdvisor, just search for “TravelBrainstorm” (one word)!

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27 thoughts on “Welcome Readers of Million Mile Secrets!

  1. Jon Post author

    I would like to thank everyone for their wonderful comments and great advice. It was hard to pick a single winner, but have decided on Darrell’s advice. I will definitely be adding advice for kids/young adults that are just getting started as I have three kids of my own that are just now starting to enroll in their own loyalty programs. It will fun seeking advice from all my fellow value-oriented travelers on what they would do if they could get in their time machine and start all over again. Just think of what we would have done differently? That will be great advice to give our children and other new youngsters now so they can start off better than we did as I know I sure missed a lot getting started. Thanks for the great advice Darrell. Be looking for your Starbucks eGift.

    1. Darrell

      Thanks Jon. I got my Starbucks eGift. I am looking forward to keeping up with your advice and adventures. My 19 year old son also received his first Rewards Credit Card in the mail today. He has been using a Discover card he received last year when he got a Discover student loan to help with college expenses. He can keep the Discover card forever since it has no annual fee and will help with age of credit on his credit score. Last week I had him sign up for 3 cards on the same day, and he was approved for all three. 1st one received was a 50,000 point HHonors card. The 3 we chose all have spend requirements of $1,000 so I know he can easily reach those targets. Starting out slow so he can get a feel for the process.

  2. Michelle

    I’m so happy to find a miles/points blog that talks about travel with a family of five! I’ve only been collecting points for the past three years but it has been such a gift for our family. Thanks to Southwest and US Air, we’ve taken a few trips to Disney/Florida, Grand Cayman and Aruba! Looking forward to reading many posts!

  3. Andrea

    Hi Jon! I am very excited to see more about how you juggle collecting points with a full time job and a family as well as how to maximize use of points to fit into the ” paid vacation days” box that does not seem to affect some other mile collecting bloggers. I would also love some feedback on how you find it easiest to keep track of points , min spend, timelines, etc. thanks!

  4. philly

    You said in the MMS article:
    So I stick to applying for credit cards (3 or sometimes 4) times a year. By picking the best available credit card bonuses at the time of my applications I am able to obtain at least 500,000 miles & points a year just with these new credit cards.

    With cards only offering 40K>50K bonus miles/pts how are you getting 500K with only 3 or 4 cards. This is misleading. You are obviously doing a lot of MS. Come clean.

    1. Jon Post author

      Philly, it’s 3-4 cards, 3-4 times a year. That makes for 9-19 cards in a year, normally closer to the lower side of that range. My normal CC spend adds another 100K+ miles/pts. per year by taking advantage of 5X bonuses and paying for all we can on CC’s (that we pay off every month). I hope it’s clearer now.

  5. Darrell

    Nice Site
    I just found you this morning and appreciate your travel with family perspective. I have dabbled in miles and points for years and our family has many memorable trips. I now have 2 boys in college and am trying to help them get started collecting miles & points. A great addition to your site would be a getting started guide for young people just starting their career and maximizing any “work paid travel” to accumulate miles & points.

  6. Ian

    Hi there. Found you on MMS and love your site! Easy to read and understand. Would love to see your trip cost details and how you make it work to get the trip almost free with miles and points. We are a family of 4 with young kids and we also work full time so i can relate. Thanks for all the research. I know it is time consuming to write a blog! Keep up the good work!

  7. Jonathan

    Hi Jon,

    I’m glad I came across your site from MMS. I am just starting my adventures with frequent flyer miles and points. My wife and I also have two kids under 3 years old, so I would love to see more info on travel hacking with kids. It doesn’t seem like we can get 4 first-class tickets on our international flights, but I would be open to learning more on utilizing miles for a family on international travel.

    My wife and I just got hired as international school teachers in SE Asia, and will become US expats in July ’15. We will be gone for a minimum of 2 years, and possibly quite longer. Our school is paying for all 4 tickets (economy) to and from the US each year. Since the school is paying for the tickets, I doubt we will be eligible for the miles. With that, I think our miles and points will focus on hotels stays and flights with in the SE Asia region while on fall, winter, spring, and summer break.

    With all our international travel, I a card that grants us lunge access, and Global Entry are important. I was leaning toward the American Express Platinum for those benefits. Any thoughts? With in the last week we have been approved for the Chase Sapphire, Starwood Preferred American Express, US Airways Premier World Master Card. We also plan to apply for the Chase Ink card, and the Hyatt CC. We will maintain our US address, so getting new cards shouldn’t be a problem.

    I think we are off to a good start, but I just started learning the process!

    Thanks so much! I look forward to following your site.

    1. Jon Post author

      Jonathan – Even though someone else is buying your tickets you should be able to get your frequent flyer (FF) account on the ticket and collect the miles. As soon as you are notified by your school’s travel department that tickets have been reserved ask for the airline’s ticket locator number. Go to that airline’s website and log into your FF account then look up that reservation. You are normally asked your last name and the airline’s ticket locator number so as long as the ticket is in your name, which it has to be now, you can modify the ticket to add your FF number and you will accumulate the points. Hope this helps. If all else fails just call the airline and have your FF # applied to the ticket.

  8. r hirsch

    it’s all about airport lounges. you can get a skyguide exec club membership for $19.95 per year. they give you $50 reimbursement per month for lounge stays. obviously a super deal. and even super’er when your flight is delayed!

  9. Raj


    I came here to learn more about how your finance background impacts your thoughts on travel and getting rewards, but couldn’t find much info. The link you provided in this post helped, but it would be easier to have an area to find your posts and to search for them. Thanks.

  10. Christopher

    my advice is of a personal nature and it’s the best bit of travel advice i have ever read or heard… assume you will return. rick steves says it in his books, probably on his TV show too. but thinking that way and being able to enjoy whatever it is you have come to see (or are seeing) without worrying about what you may not get to see has served me well for many years. i am in florence, italy at the moment and will not get to see all the sights i hoped to, but i am assuming i will return so it’s cool.

  11. Stacy Shine

    Hi Jon! You ask for comments on… “I will reward the most constructive and helpful comment”… I’m confused about what kind of advice you want. On redeeming points? On your website?

    1. Jon Post author

      I was looking for ways to best shape the site to what’s desired most, but wouldn’t ever not consider a great “Points” idea.

  12. Chris

    I just came over from MMS and have enjoyed your blog. I like the fact that your job isn’t to fly around the world and that you take trips with your kids. Points can go a long ways if you are single, but a family of 4 or 5 is very different. I’d love to hear more about how you use it for family travel. Thanks!

  13. Shannon

    Hi Jon, I enjoy your blog and perspective. Your series on tips for beginners was great. I would add a new series about the trips you have taken (or are planning), and break down how they were paid for with points/miles. I think it is helpful for people to see how they are used in real life, and also where you can get the most bang for your buck, so to speak. Additionally, I just find people’s trips interesting:) It’s a fun way to show how to use all of the points and miles you’ve accumulated! It would keep me coming back to see how your planning is going and where you are off to next.

  14. Meghna

    Hi Jon I’m a big fan of the million miles secrets site and it was nice to find your blog today! Your travel tips were very informative and I will remember to change my cell phone lock screen next time I travel. My suggestion would be to have hotel rewards and airline rewards in separate sections. For me figuring out hotel rewards and which cards/programs to use has always been confusing! Goodluck 🙂

  15. Anthony

    I’m seeing your blog on my phone and am unable to see a link to subscribe in the upper corner…I just found it at the bottom. Please sign me up. Your thoughts and suggestions are enlightening and useful. Not sure if you ever mentioned IHG PointSavers….I have been able to find convenient hotels for the 5000 point rate. I once enjoyed seven nights in a LA area Crowne Plaza SUITE for 35K points. I also had earned 25K miles for signing up for their credit card. I always tell everyone to look at all the promotions notices from frequency peograms and register for ALL of them.

  16. christinaheinleChristina

    I just signed up for AwardWallet and maybe that’ll help me not think all of this is so overwhelming. I like what you said to have a goal in mind and work towards that goal. I signed up for a Southwest credit card to get the extra points and want the companion pass.

    One suggestion I have for blog post ideas is Time Shares. What are your thought on them and for those who have them (I have one but got it thru a divorce and don’t want it). How are ways to use it.

  17. Kris

    Loving your site and the fresh perspective. I like that its geared towards a beginner as some of the other blogs can seem a bit overwhelming for a newbie. Your “cancel for free” tip is awesome! Good luck to you!!

  18. Greg

    Good morning Jon, I like reading your blog, but wish you would write more often. It seems like you do one post per month, can you possibly do 2 or 3 posts per month? Keep up the great work!

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  20. Barbara Viema

    I just signed on to your blog and am impressed with your commentaries. Only suggestion: add even a few more specifics and examples and pictures to your advice. Readers love to be able to have it “spelled out” for them, and specific examples are almost like visuals for the reader. Of course, pictures ARE visuals, and we all love seeing pictures!

  21. Lyn

    Hi Jon, I really enjoyed reading your site. Your CFO status definitely offers a nice perspective to traveling at discounted rates. My only feedback, if possible, is to have one or two more navigation button at the top to organize your trip reports or financial tips together — or both. Good luck with the site!!!

Your thoughts are always appreciated