Every week we track down a great award traveler. This time, it’s Points Pointers' turn. Starting his award travel career in 2014, Ramy has successfully accumulated over 5 million points and miles! Wanna know how he did it? Read the interview to find it out!
1. City you call home:
2. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Ramy Wahby, I’m certainly not as well traveled or nearly as experienced as many of the other travel, points, and miles bloggers out there but I aspire to be. One of my favorite quotes is “ I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list” – Susan Sontag. Everywhere is definitely on my list and I will work hard to achieve that one day.
Since 2015, I have accumulated close to 5 million points and miles with different airlines and banks. I already redeemed 1.9 million points for trips that would’ve normally cost over $120,000. A lot of those experiences wherein international business and first class flights with top airlines and stays at five-star hotels around the world.
My passion is to help you earn and redeem as many miles and points as possible to upgrade your travel experiences for little to no money.
3. Why did you start your blog? What’s special about it?
After a year of daily reading and learning about the miles and points world, I was overloaded with information. In that same year, I acquired 12 credit cards and amassed a TON of miles and points from credit card sign-up bonuses. I found myself constantly talking about credit card benefits and perks with family and friends and I was always met with a ton of questions. That inspired me to start my blog and use it as a tool to organize and document the information I acquired. Additionally, I wanted it to be used as a go-to place to answer all the questions I get from my family and friends. Especially, “What’s the effect of card applications on your credit score?”
What’s special about my blog is that it is simple, easy to follow, and most importantly, personal. I want people, whether they are beginners or experts, to be able to reach out to me with their questions about their miles and points. I want them to sense the excitement in my writing. And I want to simplify what may seem like a very complicated process.
4. Tell us your 3 most favorite travel youtuber/travel blogger/Instagram accounts and why!
I really like Lost LeBlanc style, he creates some awesome videos on YouTube and he focused a lot on South East Asia which is one of my favorite places in the world.
on Instagram I really like @doyoutravel, I mean the guy travels the whole world and his editing style is very original and impressive.
Another Instagram personality I follow is @veeceecheng. He has great pictures and editing style. I started following him because he is based out of my favorite city in the world which is Hong Kong. I really enjoy seeing amazing photos of all the different cool locations in Hong Kong.
5. What made you start the point-collecting life?
It all began the summer of 2014 when my wife and I were talking about going to Asia at some point in our lives. We both had never been before and we love exploring new places. I knew getting to Asia from New York required ultra long-haul flights. Given my 6’ 1” frame and lack of ability to sleep on airplanes, I had to figure out a way to get there in Business Class. I knew it could be done using miles or points, but my knowledge about the topic was very limited at the time.
I started researching my options on Google and I quickly found myself on many points and miles blogs. I was instantly hooked!
6. The best advice you have for becoming an award traveler?
Don’t get overwhelmed by the number of miles required for your trip. It’s actually very easy to accrue hundreds of thousands of miles.
Start applying for one card at a time and you’ll reach your goal quickly.
Also, if you want to apply for more than one card at a time, Plastiq is a useful tool to help you reach the minimum spending on several cards because you can pay rent, mortgage, utilities, student loans and more using your credit cards.
7. Tell us your favorite reward program with the most lucrative elite status on your mind.
I don't really focus on elite status since I mostly book my flights in business or first class with points and I don't aim to clear upgrades. As far as the most lucrative program, I think it's Alaska Mileage Plan. Book first class on Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong to the US for 70,000 miles and about $64 in taxes and fees is an absolute steal. This flight would normally cost anywhere between $15,000 - $18,000.
8. Throughout your award travel life, What're the best points deal you’ve gotten in your award travel career?
The best deal has to be redeeming 70,000 Alaska Miles for Cathay Pacific First Class from Hong Kong to New York. This flight normally would cost about $18,000 which gives me a redemption value of ~26 cents per point; that's the highest redemption value I've ever gotten.
9. What mistake would you definitely fix if you could start your blog all over again?
I think my ongoing mistake with my blog since the beginning is consistency. I wish I can post a lot more. All the other big blogs post several posts per day. However, I also feel they post a lot of general aviation related news that is not related to points or miles, so I feel that I can take pride in not deviating from the purpose of my blog and post only about points and miles so if it's a bit slow in the points and miles world you won't find me posting much.
10. Any packing strategies?
Pack light :) that's really it. I need to always pack light because each trip I take can include 6 or 7 flights and 4 or more hotels. Sometimes I even change hotels in the same city. Also, if you have to check in a bag. I recommend splitting essentials between your checked bag and carry on. So in case, you lose the checked bag, you'll have some essentials for a few days.
11. Are you using any useful hacks/tools to assist you in planning trips?
I love using expertflyer.com for their seat alerts. It's a very helpful tool, especially when planning a trip close to the departure date when many airlines release award seats last minute. That way I will get an alert to my email letting me know an award seat opened up on the specific flight I selected for the alert.
12. Tell me 3 travel essentials you can't live without
Phone, Camera and comfy shoes.
13. What's your pet peeves when staying at a hotel(or taking a flight)?
Two pet peeves of mine are when they call for first class and business class passengers and the entire gate gets up and lines up!! Also, people who get up once the plane lands and we're still on the runway and didn't even get on a taxiway yet
14. What's next?
The next big thing for me right now is my Points Pointers YouTube channel. I'm currently posting weekly episodes where I talk about the best credit cards, credit score, how to book award travel, first class and business class flight reviews, hotel reviews and more. So make sure to SUBSCRIBE!! :)
Interested in more? Check out Points Pointers' profile to find out more!
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