We continue our interview series with our good friend, Anshul Singh from Points Miles and Bling, which is part of BoardingArea’s Travel Update. I hope that others will find value in what you have to offer as I have! Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed with us!
What inspired you to start your Points Miles and Bling?
I was a voracious BoardingArea reader and a points and miles enthusiast, a de facto travel advisor to my friends and family. I also loved following posts on Flyer talk and decoding the jargons in that space. The only way to keep pace was to document the tricks I learn, something beyond word/pdf documents. Thus, Points Miles and Bling.
What makes your blog different from others out there?
I do not travel for a living anymore, and yet try to maintain my points&miles balances such that my family and I can travel in relative luxury, without breaking the bank. I try to imbibe the same ethos in my blog, simple tips and tricks that does not require you to be a ‘travel hacker’ or a ‘road warier’. In addition, my blog does not push content simply to sell products – its genuine.
What were some of the challenges you faced when starting your blog? What has kept you going?
Content. The ‘need to create content’ was my biggest challenge. It took me a while to understand that I did not need to force content and write multiple blogs a day or week. I had to remind myself that I started with the sheer enthusiasm of sharing my experiences, and that’s what I should stick to. The blog is not my income source; it’s an outlet for my passion.
What can we look forward to with Points Miles and Bling?
Genuine content. No credit card links. Lots of reviews and easy ways to earn points and miles without having to apply for every credit card in the market. I want to make my blog appealing to those that are not road warriors and like to learn at their own pace, start small and scale as need arises.
What is the favourite place that you have travelled to so far?
My answer always surprises people – East Coast of Canada holds a special place in my heart (Newfoundland, Cape Breton, Digby). The people of the land are unpretentious and genuine. Its home, its Canada!
If you can go anywhere in the world (that you have not been to yet), where would it be and what will you be doing?
I am a huge wildlife enthusiast – Have traveled long and far to multiple Safari trips, shark cage diving, whale watching. Would love to see Polar Bears in the wild – Churchill, Manitoba is a great base of Polar Bear expeditions ($$$$), would love to go.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
Not sure, it qualifies as fun but it always makes for a good conversation – I travel on an Indian Passport, constantly running between embassies for visas. There are times I feel like I need a visa even to go into a bathroom. It’s the kind of ‘overhead’ cost not many North Americans or European friends have to worry about.
Also, I sleep well even in Economy class, have been known to sleep through 10-12 hours straight without reclining! Its freakish.
Can you share a tip or trick that you’ve use for travel?
Buying points on the cheap can bring incredible value to high end redemptions. I like to scale my reach by buying on multiple accounts and pooling it together. For example: Buy SPG points when on sale (35% – 40% cheaper), transfer to Marriott, buy Marriott Travel Package and convert to Aeroplan with 30% bonus. Just one example of many easy ‘hacks’ out there.
What advice would you give travellers and “Pointshoggers” out there?
This hobby is not as daunting as it seems. Start small and do what suits your lifestyle. It’s important to learn from other’ experience but only implement what works best for you. If the only thing between you and that vacation is a bad redemption, it’s worth it!
Any final thoughts?
Traveling local is just as fun as traveling international. It’s about enjoying the experience, with your loved ones.