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Help Make this Site More Useful, Plus Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

At last, a  promised giveaway! But don’t get too excited because I’ll make you work for it. Plus, the amount is rather small: only $30. But I really hope you guys take a few minutes to answer several questions and provide feedback.

Here is the deal. When you have a personal blog, you can just write whatever you darn please. This, in fact, has been my approach even though I’m trying to turn this site into a viable business. In a way, it helped me connect with readers. I constantly hear from you in the emails that you feel like I’m not hiding anything (which I don’t). I believe honesty is the best policy, as cliche’ as it sounds.

Something I’ve realized, however, is that not every crazy thought of mine needs to be published. A little “crazy” might be OK, but in the end, what readers are looking for is a way to benefit their own lives. They (you?) are not here for  narcissistic rants or fights with other bloggers. I’m determined to be a “no drama lama” (hat tip to  Instagram account with the same name). I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve made a lot of mistakes in this area, but there is no point in dwelling on the past.

To quote the lyrics from a song by artist Pink: 

Made a wrong turn
 Once or twice
 Dug my way out
 Blood and fire
 Bad decisions
 That’s alright
 Welcome to my silly life…

Mistaken
Always second guessing
Underestimated
Look I’m still around”

Ok, it wasn’t quite so dramatic, but still!

It’s hard to think of my content as some sort of commodity, but that’s exactly what it is.  It either meets the needs of my target readership or it doesn’t. Very simple. But, but, but… I put my heart and soul into it (weeps). Yes, I really do. But sometimes it’s good to take emotion out of it and pay attention to what readers think of this blog. Because, really, that’s all that matters.

In many ways, this site is still very much a start-up despite being around for over three years. Monetization has been a huge challenge and credit card affiliate program is like a house of cards. Meaning it could fall apart tomorrow.

We don’t have any ads, so traffic itself is not the goal. It’s what happens to that traffic. Nancy and I hope to provide useful resource you can depend on, something you can apply to your life right away. So when the  time comes to choose whose affiliate link you want to use, we hope Miles For Family will be at the top of the list. It’s an ambitious goal, no doubt, because there are many useful blogs out there already. But if one doesn’t have goals, they are not going to make any progress in blogging or elsewhere.

As readers, you have many choices, and we are fully aware that we have to earn each credit card click, comment and email. Above all, we hope you view us as friends and not just businesswomen, and this blog as a fun place to hang out rather than salesy/sleazy credit card link factory. I know I speak for Nancy when I say that this site is primarily a labor of love because we are both more than a little obsessed with miles and points. 

 It’s a great joy when someone shares their vacation photos or tells me how this hobby has enriched their life. Not a week goes by that I don’t get an email thanking me for the site. Say what?! It makes me think we are doing something right. That said, there is always room for improvement.

With that, here are a few questions I want to ask:

1) What type of posts of ours’ do you find most/least useful? (credit card reviews, trip reports, personal stories, news items  etc.)

2) Do you feel the amount of content we publish is overwhelming, scarce or just right?

3) Would you like us to focus more on news items and deals, like maybe adding another round-up each week?

You can also suggest a topic you would like us to cover plus any additional thoughts, but it’s not required.  It’s impossible to be all things to all people, but I hope we can detect some sort of a pattern. Warning! If you hate my site right now, it’s unlikely that you will love it in a near future. I can’t change my writing style, sense of humor and all the quirky things that make Miles For Family site what it is today. I can pivot it somewhat, but at its core it will still reflect my personality. Sorry but not sorry.

I do want to apologize for all the misspelled words you have to witness on a regular basis. Believe it or not, I read my posts a few times before publishing them, but a few  errors still slip through somehow. Writing can be quite draining, and by the end of it  my mind turns to mush. Actually, it became that way after I had kids…

So, the last chance to comment and be eligible for the prize is Tuesday, September 27th at 9 AM Eastern. Please, take the time to give your two cents but remember, no profanity is allowed. Oh, and  I assure you, I’m not looking for anyone to “massage” my ego. Whether comment is positive or not will have absolutely no bearing on the outcome. I will, as always, use random number generator. 

Thanks in advance!

 

Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

34 thoughts on “Help Make this Site More Useful, Plus Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

    • @Nancy It’s coming eventually, I promise! I just need to get my older trip reports published. Feel free to reach out with questions in the meantime.

  1. I like the “get this credit card and here’s why/here’s what you can do with it” type reports, trip reports, “challenges” where you tell someone how to take a 4 night trip to the Poconos (just an example) by getting these particular credit cards.
    When you get to into the math my eyes start to glaze over and jump down to the other stuff though.
    I’d like to see a few more posts a week but not really so interested in round up stuff.
    Special deals would be good – or what you call low hanging fruit – sweepstakes, checking account bonuses, buy something get something free etc.
    Thanks for all you do!

    • @Hilary I totally get what you are saying about “math” type posts. Those receive less than usual traffic. Ironic, because they also require the most mental energy. I’ll try not to burden my readers with those too often. I’ll also try to get a post out on getaways for those who live in New Jersey, Poconos included. I enjoyed the area!

  2. I love the trip reports and interviews. Definitely a unique aspect that sets you two a part, and the way you bring in the how/which cards is very helpful.

    I like anything that informs me of deals. But I don’t expect you two to be the fastest on those. I am ambivalent to adding another news roundup.

    I like the amount of content. You were a bit light on content before Nancy. Sunday content is very nice, as there’s not many others who do Sundays.

    I do think you should add in some ads.

    • @Cheapbalckdad Appreciate your support, as always. I don’t plan to make interviews a weekly thing Mostly, because I’ll quickly run out of material! 🙂 But I do want to continue the series because the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. As far as posting on Sunday goes, I don’t do it too often because I like to disconnect from this blog. But I’m sure we’ll do it occasionally.
      As far as covering deals on a regular basis, this is a tricky area. I had a discussion with Nancy on this one, and we both feel there are several blogs that already do a good job. We would just end up reposting the same stuff. It’s tough to find the right balance, but this feedback has been very helpful.

  3. I love reading REAL family trip reports i.e. posts that give details about people’s family vacation itineraries. For example: what activities they did, where they ate, places visited, planning strategies, etc. because it gives me ideas for my own vacations. I find the standard BoardingArea blog trip report covering “A trip to Destination X” that primarily focuses on the airline and hotel “product” with little mention of actual experiences at Destination X to be a little boring. After one guy has reviewed the “product”, and reviewed it well, there’s not much point in reading other BA bloggers’ reviews on that topic because they tend to parrot one another (and I’m sorry, but the parrots are wrong about AA’s reverse-herringbone lie-flat business class seat being so great. I found it very hard/uncomfortable and have flown better on DL and others.)

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I can relate better to a trip report when I say to myself, “That’s a good experience/idea that I can do with my kids” or “I didn’t know about X attraction at Y location – we’ll have to check that out next time” or “That’s an interesting destination that I haven’t considered.” I can’t claim to know if such content attracts eyeballs – maybe your readers will tell you. I hope that you don’t do something like start writing a series of posts on controversial positions with accompanying clickbait headlines. It might generate more traffic, but is that really the type of traffic that you want?

    I think the strength of your site vs. others is consistent content that is relevant and tailored to families. For example, you will tell your readers about the latest credit card offer and take the time to explain why it might be a good fit for an average family’s strategy, rather than simply extolling the generic benefits and “click my link – NOW NOW” like some other sites. You share some personal stories about your life, which are unique. Your trip reports contain relatable nuggets of information. And I enjoy the quirk and occasional mini-rant – it shows your personality.

    • Uh, yes to these points. basically this is my post if I weren’t in and out of meetings today.

      The what to do aspect is a key component and differentiator for your site. And the rents are right on equity for you.

    • @Erik A trip report coming up tomorrow! Hope you like it. It’s about our visit to Amalfi Coast last year (finally publishing it)
      I’m definitely not the person who should review business/first class. For one, we hardly ever fly upfront. I have to say, American Airlines domestic first class sucks big time. I’ll have a review on it at some point. What a joke. They had a wire holding toilet paper roll and the bathroom door wouldn’t close. It’s the opposite of fancy! But I digress…
      I don’t have anything against Boarding Area, but my audience is a bit different. So, my content will be different too. I just wish more people would find my blog, and not being a part of a large network definitely works against me. But this is the road I chose, so have to make the best of it.
      Oh, and I’m not planning on taking controversial positions, no more than I have been doing so far! Occasional clickbait title is more of a joke than anything else. But perhaps I should go easy on those.

      • Domestic first class outside of the special transcontinental configurations (i.e. JFK to SFO or LAX – think JetBlue Mint) is no big deal. It’s just a larger seat and you often get a meal whose quality is frequently questionable. Consistency is not strong – sometimes the cabin and service are great, other times it is substandard. It is certainly better than coach, but not usually worth the extra miles IMHO (although if I was offered to upgrade for $50 or less at check-in and the flight was 3 hrs. or more, I might take it!).

        The Boarding Area blogs are fine and have their place. I read several of them regularly. I was just saying that they tend to sound alike on certain topics, especially when there is a new credit card deal available (I almost wonder if the bank provides talking points!). Your site provides added value by going thru the details of the deal and taking the additional steps to explain why it might be relevant to your audience’s strategy. That’s your strength.

  4. I like your trip reports and and how to use points sensibly – including how you help your family members with their trips too. Not crazy about the rants or news round ups. Overall, you do a great job. Thanks.

    • @Denise L Thanks for your feedback! Based on the comments, we won’t be adding another news round-up. I do want to keep doing it at least once a week or every couple of weeks, just as a reminder. And I’m definitely cutting back on rants these days! 🙂

  5. I really love reading your interviews where there’s an actual breakdown of cards applied for and how the points were used for a family. It’s easy to find a comfortable room for 2, but when you have 4, some hotels won’t even offer you a room (at least the higher end ones). I’m also in need of Points and Miles Guides to major cities: New York, Boston, Atlanta, Orlando, San Antonio, etc. The write ups on other sites do my family no good as I can’t stick my family of 4 in a Ritz Carlton or Park Hyatt hotel, and I can’t find 4 award flights on American Airlines for the most part. These are the family friendly type of write ups that would definitely interest me — real life family experiences. Keep up the good work!

    • @Stephanie Thanks for your comment! I’ll try to put together some guides during the upcoming months.
      It looks like we might be visiting New York area next year, so this topic is of interest to me too. Definitely feel free to reach out if you ever have questions.

  6. I find the trip reviews the most helpful since it puts it all together. I think the content is just about right. I always love deals but I don’t know about adding a roundup. I’d love to cover smaller more affordable destinations for when you have little kids and don’t want to take a longer trip

    • @Shannon Thanks for your input! We don’t travel too often, so unfortunately, I don’t have a huge number of trip reports in the works. But we plan to visit Florida Keys in November, so hopefully, I’ll have some interesting stories to tell. This is a place every American family should visit, at least in my opinion.

  7. I really enjoy the current mix of content. I like both your and Nancy’s “voice” in this hobby:focusing on economy redemptions, getting the most bang for your buck, little to no M/S shenanigans. I especially enjoy the trip reports and even your quirky rants and more personal type posts. They really distinguish your blog from a lot of the cookie cutter type content out there, and always entertain me as well. 🙂 Personally I usually skip over roundup type posts, they strike me as filler for a lot of blogs, unless they are helpfully reminding of deals that are ending soon.

    I didn’t mean to stroke your ego so much, haha! But frankly, I hope you don’t change things much!

    I also have a question for you. I would really like the Arrival Plus. I got it three years ago, downgraded it two years ago, and closed the downgraded card about six months ago. I churned heavily in 2013/2014, only got two cards in 2015, and got seven cards so far this year. I hear Barclays usually pulls Transunion. I currently have only three inquiries on there, and one will drop off in November.

    I could of course apply now. We don’t know how long the deal will last. But In November I will be over three months from my last hard inquiry on any report (CSR denial in August) and over six months from my last card openings. And in January, I will be down to just one inquiry on my Transunion and that much farther from all that churning. What would you do if you were me? Apply, wait till November, or wait till January??

    Anyone else who cares to weigh in, please do.

    • @Debra Thank you so much for your kind words! I love it when someone strokes my ego. 🙂
      I’m glad you find both mine and Nancy’s voices to be an asset to this hobby. I’m very fortunate to have her as a contributor. We won’t be changing things too much, I promise. I’m just trying to determine what areas we can improve, and the feedback has been very helpful so far. I’m keeping one weekly round-up for now, but that may change down the road. It’s really not about “filler” content, at least not for me. There are usually few things and deals I want to mention, but don’t want to devote an entire post to them. I do understand what you are saying, though. We may end up adding a second post on Friday, but I’m not sure.
      As far as applying for Arrival Plus, this one is up to you. Personally, I don’t follow a particular schedule, but many swear by it. So, do what you are comfortable with.
      I don’t have any direct links for Arrival Plus (it does pay me commission when one uses generic link). But those who have direct links are usually notified when the offer is about to change. So, in all likelihood, you will have a few days to apply for 50K points. My advice is: follow big blogs like “View from the wing”, and you will likely hear about any changes.
      I think you should be OK if you wait till November, but I don’t know it with 100% certainty.
      And yes, Barclays usually pulls Transunion. If it were me, I would go to Chase branch and see if I was pre-approved for CSR. If not, I would apply for Arrival Plus or another offer I found worthwhile. As I said, this isn’t a recommendation to you, but just my way of doing things.

  8. Thanks so much for your input. I would go into a Chase branch in a hot second, except I am an American living in Germany and use my brother’s address for “the hobby.” I was in the US for four weeks this summer (on honeymoon with my sweet German husband), and of course the CSR came out the week we got back to Germany! But I did use our time in the states to chase a couple bank bonuses. 😉 And we had an AMAZING time in NYC, Ohio (where my brother lives), South Dakota, Arizona, Washington DC, and Chicago, all made amazingly affordable through miles, points and bank bonuses. 😀

    I will definitely apply for the Arrival using your link–I can just click on any of your credit card links and then find it there on creditcards.com (I just found it under Top Offers: Limited Time offers), and you will get commission, right? I will probably wait till November though, to give me that much better of a chance of getting approved, while following the big blogs as you mentioned to hear of any changes.

    By the way, if I were you, I would make it a bit clearer as to how to support you–I know you don’t have many direct links, so I would just add a sentence or two under your credit card links explaining that people can search for any card they are interested in at your links and their approval there will support you. I would also remind people of that whenever you mention certain cards in posts, especially when creditcards.com has the current best offer (as it usually does). It doesn’t seem to me that you always do this, but I think you should. Maybe you could even mention where exactly to click through to to find certain cards. There’s no reason to be shy about it or worry about it taking a couple steps, because I and other people definitely want to support you. This would just make it that much easier. 🙂

    • @Debra OK, that makes sense! It would be difficult to do this in Germany, unfortunately. But congrats on loading up on various deals while you were in US. Oh, and on snagging a sweet German husband!
      As far as mentioning my credit card links more often, that’s a slippery slope. I don’t want to turn readers off because most people are sick and tired of credit card pitches. And I totally get it. I have a link to Support The Site page at the end of each post, so hopefully, readers can find them if they want to.
      It’s definitely not due to me being shy, this is my business and it’s how we make money, aka stay in business. But I do appreciate your suggestion, I’ll have to think about how to word it in the best way possible. I want to make it easy to support the site, for sure. And yes, as long as you click through my link in Support the Site or Credit Card Links pages at the top, I will get paid.
      But I didn’t mention my link for that reason when I told you about Arrival Plus. What I meant was that banks don’t communicate with me directly, but they do with major bloggers. If I hear something, I will definitely mention it in one of my round-ups. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

  9. You know how after every Skype call (Or is it FB messenger?) it asks you to rate the quality of the call with stars? 5 being the best quality. I feel like it would be easier to click on the stars at the end of each post to let you know how useful and/or entertaining it was. Cause it’s hard to break down in summary..

    I agree that some of the mathy posts get to be too much work for me to understand when I don’t have time to stop and read slowly. But sometimes when I have time to follow and analyse I learn something.

    I love your sense of humour. I love the personal bits. I love the stock photos!

    Since I read each post I don’t think I need more roundups. And yes there are other sites posting about every new deal. I like you highlighting the REALLY great ones. I loved your CSR post and your recent hotel points analysis post.

    And rant away! It livens things up!

  10. I love your rants and personal stories! It makes me feel like I know you and can relate to you and think that we could be friends IRL:) I love the trip reports because they are so family oriented and give me solid suggestions that I can use. Also, they give me ideas that I hadn’t thought of or known about in the first place (like your Amalfi coast one and Nancy’s Hyatt Regency Lost Pines). I like the once a week round up, and I like that you cover the really good deals. I know I’ll see them on other blogs, but your emails are usually the first to hit my inbox in the morning. I’m not on Twitter and FB all the time, so hearing the good deals helps. Also, your take on the good deals isn’t always the same as other bloggers, and I appreciate your perspective. I like that you have more posts now since Nancy’s joined up. All in all, I think you guys are doing a great job! Also–since my life has been non-stop craziness for the last few months–I realized I never thanked you for the awesome Florida beaches post! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it, and it’s given me a HUGE head start on planning!!!

    • @Cynthia Thanks so much! I’m glad you liked the “Florida Beaches” post. Believe me, you reading and benefitting from it is all the thanks that I need! I know how busy everyone is.
      I’m glad you like the news round-up. I was beginning to wonder if I’m just spinning my wheels, but I feel some news coverage is helpful. Please, feel free to reach out anytime.

  11. I love your writing style and information from a real person’s perspective, and I’m single without kids. 🙂 I like your weekly recaps. As for changes, I think that one post every 1-2 days is good, not more. The trip reports are GREAT! Not trying to stroke your ego, but I’ve read quite a few of these miles and points blogs in the past year of getting into this hobby, and I like your style, so thanks!

    • @Lisa M Yay for weekly recaps! Thank you so much, my single childless friend. 🙂 We’ll try to stick to 5-7 posts per week. Today was an exception due to this Marriott/SPG merger news. Though I probably could have waited till Monday to publish the post. Thanks for your feedback!

  12. 1. Analysis posts are my favorite – analysis of how to make the most of current deals and credit card sign up bonuses. Also those that save me time by declaring a deal “weak sauce”
    I do enjoy the trip reports too, especially when you cover family destinations in Europe, but there are weeks I am too busy to read them, whereas the analysis I always find the time to read.
    2. I think the amount is about right. Again I am too busy and have unsubscribed from most blogs, so for me one post every 2 days is often enough, but: A. all experts advocate a post per day if you can manage it. B Sometimes there are events that require a fast-response: a quickly evaporating mistake fare or truly awesome deal that may go away soon.
    3. Frequent news roundups are essential for those that only follow that blog, for whom this is their sole source of info. My guess if that most readers follow other blogs as well, and subscribe to yours primarily because of its original content and your unique voice (and now Nancy’s). As long as you briefly mention the best deals each week in case somebody missed them, this should be enough.

    • @Uri Thanks for your feedback, as always. I know what you mean about being busy and not having the time to read all of my posts. I think most of my readers are in the same boat.
      We are trying to figure out the right balance, but it’s not always easy. We definitely don’t want to post just for the sake of posting. I feel this hobby is already saturated with content, so unless you can do it faster/better or be more relevant, there is no point in adding to the noise. By the same token, if we post too little, people will not take this blog seriously, and it will not be viewed as an authority. It’s a tricky balance. But it looks like adding more news posts is not the way to go.

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