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An Interview with My Cousin-in-Law Jen

If you’ve been following my blog for few years, you probably have already “met” my cousin-in-law Jen. In the past, she has been kind enough to contribute two trip reports (read them here and here).

Jen has a wonderful family, the least dysfunctional one that I know of. She is a hands-on mom who recently put together a fancy princess party for $20. I’m not worthy. Our kids  love to spend time with her kids, and just few months ago we were thrilled to go on a short getaway with her family. And we still talk to each other!

What you may not know is that it was Jen who encouraged me to start this blog. She had a lot of questions about miles and points, and I was happy to share my half-baked “wisdom” with her. Finally she said: “Why don’t you start a website so many families can benefit from this information?” Me, someone with an IT knowledge of a caveman? And yet, here we are!

So, to all of my wonderful haters (and you know who you are), you can blame Jen for this blog’s existence. But no, you can’t have her email address.

Without further ado:

1) What motivated you to research miles and points hobby?

Actually, you!  I love to travel.  When it was just my husband and I, we were able to travel frequently.  As we started a family, finances became tighter and we now had two little people to pay for, and travel became more difficult.  There are so many places I want to go, and it would be impossible without miles and points.  I would probably have never known this hobby existed if you hadn’t got me into it.  

2) What are the biggest challenges you face trying to navigate miles and points hobby?

I am still so new, I feel like I’m way behind in the game.  I have a hard time deciding which cards to go after and sometimes pick a card that I regret later.  I recently got a Spirit card.  A month later, I learned about the Chase Sapphire Reserve coming out.

Unfortunately, that dang Spirit card put me at 5/24, so no-go for now on the Chase Reserve.  I did get flights for my  family to St. Thomas with the Spirit card so I can’t complain too much.  

3) What’s your favorite trip that was made possible solely due to miles and points?

My husband and I took an anniversary trip to Kauai.  My first card in the hobby was an American Airlines credit card.  It cost 35,000 miles round trip to get to Kauai back then.  

We stayed four nights at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai using free certificates from Chase Hyatt cards in each of our names.   We also paid cash for two nights at another hotel.  This was when I really got interested in the hobby.  I just couldn’t believe how we did such an amazing trip by applying for a total of four cards.  


4) How often do you think about miles and points?

I think about it often.  It’s fun to explore what’s possible with points.  I always like to have some fun trip planned, something to look forward to.   

5) What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done to earn miles or points?

Nothing crazy…yet.  I’m still too new.

6) How does your family feel about this hobby?

My husband likes it.  His eyes glaze over a bit when I start running scenarios with him or explaining some redemption.  He says he likes that I do the work and he reaps the benefits.  I just wish I could convince a few other family members and friends to get in the game too so we can travel together.  

7) Do you ever wish you never found out about miles and points? Why/why not?

No.  I just wish I had gotten into it sooner.  I feel really late to the game.  But I’m getting there.  

8)  If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is just starting out, what would it be?

Pay off the balances each month.  This is what scared me most about getting into the hobby and why I resisted so long.  I didn’t want to get into debt by not being disciplined with the minimum spending.

It may sound silly, but I now pay off my credit card balance every two or three days.  It just gives me peace of mind to pay it as I charge it.  

9) Do you read all of my posts from start to finish? Be honest. 

Of course!  

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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.

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