Want to know more about the Faces of FlyerTalk?
NOTE: Starting next week we’re going to be moving Faces of FlyerTalk to Sunday, Travel Challenges to Wednesday, and Success Stories to Thursday. Hope you enjoy. -Rick
Mike Goff, gomike, has been a mileage running, fare mistake catching, credit card applicant for years. You might be able to tell by his picture that he’s a bit of a family man and his mileage running hat is hung up for a bit. He loves traveling with his family and finding great deals on timeshares by maximizing trades and week swapping. Mike, thank you for sharing your perspectives and experiences with us all. We’re thrilled to you be a part of “Faces of FlyerTalk”.
When did you find FlyerTalk and how did you find it?
I have been a member of FlyerTalk since May of 2004, a good friend of mine who at the time was an IT Consultant showed me FlyerTalk.
Do you consider yourself an infrequent, fairly regular, or miles and points addicted reader?
Ok, I will say it, Addicted! I love collecting points. I am always ready for that next big deal.
How often are you on FlyerTalk, and what forums do you typically visit?
Years ago I was on Flyertalk 24/7, refreshing the Mileage Run and Milebuzz page just waiting for the next $200 fare to London. Today I visit a few times a week, I keep a close eye on Milesbuzz!, I also frequent Communitybuzz!
Do you travel for business, leisure, or both?
100% leisure, years ago when I was single and before the Continental takeover of United I would Mileage run to get 1k. Today I have retired from Mileage runs, I strictly acquire points through credit card spend and various promotions.
What credit cards are you carrying in your wallet right now, and which ones do you recommend to friends?
Like most others my go to card is the SPG American Express card. I use this because it always offers a good value. I also like the extra year warranty I get on my purchases. I also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card, US Airways MasterCard, I just closed my Capital One card for my wife and I after getting the 100,000 point match, I have a newly minted US Bank FlexPerks card for my wife and I which I am meeting the $2500 spend on now. US Airways also just sent my wife and I a letter saying if we spend $750 a month for the next three months they will give us 15,000 bonus miles. I have the Discover Card, some of their www.shopdiscover.com offers can not be beat. My go to card for gas is the Costco American Express Business Card which gives me 4% cash-back on gas. I also have the Upromise MasterCard which is about to give 10% cashback on many purchases through their online shopping portal. I do a slow credit card application cycle of the Citibank AAdvantage cards.
What’s the single most successful thing you’ve done to acquire points and miles?
Well, the craziest thing I did was the Denver You Mean the World to us promotion. One day I flew MDW-DEN-PHX-DEN-PHX-DEN-MDW, somehow I fit that all in one day. After 32 flight segments I earned a bonus of 90,000 miles, each of those flights I took counted as double.
How many miles / points have you accumulated in the past year? In your lifetime?
This year I have earned about 500,000 miles/points strictly from applying for credit cards and other promotions. In my lifetime I would estimate about 5 million miles/points. I like to get the best bang for my buck when redeeming miles so I hold on to them longer than most. Awardwallet shows me with a balance of just over 2 million miles/points right now, oh wait make that 2.5 million because Awardwallet no longer shows my AA miles.
Do you use a tracking program to keep track of your miles / points? Which one?
I use the free version of Awardwallet. It helps me make sure I keep all my accounts active. I hate seeing miles expire.
How does your spouse / partner / family / friends feel about this hobby?
My wife tolerates it because it allows her to fly First Class often, we skip the long airport lines and travel for just pennies. I do get the occasional eye roll from her as she may have to call to authorize a new credit card or call to close an account but I just give her the line, that was our trip to Hawaii and ask her if it was worth it. My family is in awe of how I can accrue so many points with such little effort.
What’s your most memorable trip?
Well there isn’t really a specific trip that jumps out at me. At this stage of my life every vacation I take with my family will bring memories that will last a lifetime.
What suggestions can you give to rookies and newbies on FlyerTalk?
READ, READ, READ, do many searches, use the Google search and not the FlyerTalk search, you will get much more relevant information. Also do not be afraid to ask questions. If you get flamed don’t take it personally, there are a lot of nuts out there that just like to troll and post mean comments.
Are there any particular fellow FlyerTalk members whose advice you follow?
Wanaflyforless is an encyclopedia when redeeming award travel. Raffles Longhaul first introduced me to fuel dumping. FugalTravelGuy makes it easy to know what credit card to apply for next. I also read mommypoints. (I should start a blog called daddypoints)
What’s the one thing you’d like to see change on FlyerTalk?
I would like to see term limits on the FlyerTalk moderators.
Have you attended or are you planning on attending any FlyerTalk related events?
Yes, I have attended a Starmega DO launch party along with a Captain Denny group flight which included a tour of United Airlines operations at SFO. These are a blast. Also thanks to Sweet Willie we have many Chicago dinner DO’s. I have also been a speaker at Chicago Seminars.
Any other comments / questions / suggestions / advice?
Everyone needs to evaluate what is best for them personally. Five years ago I loved Mileage Running. Today I would much rather spend a weekend with my wife and kids then fly across the country and back. I save up my miles and points to give my family memorable vacations. My oldest Katie is 5 and she has been to Hawaii 7 times. Each time we have flown using points. Do what you love! Enjoy the trill of accumulating points. Enjoy spending those points!
Mike, thank you again for sharing with us. We’ve got a couple of thank you gifts to get to you, and your avatar will now show you, as one of the Faces of FlyerTalk for years to come.
Here are a few pictures Mike has shared with us: