Hi, my name is Lucky, and this is my blog.
Oy, that was awkward. I’m pretty bad at introductions, and not great at talking about myself in general. Let me try again.
My name is Ben Schlappig, and I am obsessed with aviation, travel, and more specifically, using airline miles and credit card points to elevate the travel experience.
I also go by Lucky, and occasionally Coins (that’s a long story for another day though).
I love airports.
Seriously, one of the main things I enjoy about traveling is the sense of possibility an international departures board inspires. I could spend all day watching people come and go, wondering where they are coming from, what their story is, and what their final destination might be.
And it’s a good thing that I like airports, because I fly an average of 400,000 miles a year nowadays. That’s more than 16 times around the globe, and the bulk of that is in international first and business class.
I’ve been traveling from a very young age – my family is from Germany, so I’ve been flying back and forth between the US and Germany since I was a child. As it is for most families traveling internationally with children our flights were far from glamorous (we typically flew Condor from Tampa, back when they still had a smoking section), but I still loved the journey, and seeing new places, and most especially – the airport.
I have a soft spot for the old “flip-style” Departures board in Frankfurt for that reason.
The summer I was 14 I received a flyer from United in the mail. They were running an outrageous promotion which offered 5,000 extra miles for every segment flown, with a maximum of 50,000 bonus miles. Now, even if you knew nothing about miles and points this would sound like a pretty amazing deal, so I started researching, which led me to FlyerTalk, and my entire world perspective changed.
I did the math, and convinced my parents that allowing their youngest child to fly back and forth across the country all summer was not only a great idea, but would mean our next trip to Europe would be in Lufthansa First Class.
They went for it, and a few months later I was a 14-year-old with top-tier airline elite status, and had spent almost the entire summer in airports.
And I was hooked.
I’ve been chronicling my thoughts and travels here at One Mile at a Time since early 2008, when I started this blog from my college dorm room. Prior to that I spent a great deal of time doing the same on FlyerTalk, and served on the TalkBoard for four years (including a stint as Vice President, which I mention mainly because it was one of the few things I’ve done that my dad could appreciate). I’ve also written articles for TravelSort and other publications, and have reviewed countless products along the way.
I’ve flown over four million miles since that first summer, visiting nearly 100 countries on six continents and spending thousands of nights in hotels.
I never set out to be a writer, but am beyond thrilled to have made a career of blogging and writing about the travel industry. My favorite part of my day is literally interacting with people here on the blog, and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share my passion with others.
I believe that anyone can elevate their travel experience by leveraging their resources. I’m never going to try and sell the idea that travel is free, because it certainly isn’t, but there are so many opportunities to enjoy truly amazing experiences while spending significantly less than you might think.
So welcome! Make yourself at home.
If you’re new to miles and points, you’ll want to check out the Beginner’s Guide, and if you’re looking for my reviews of the best airlines, hotels, and airport lounges, you can find those in the Trip Report Index. If you need help redeeming your miles, you might want to check out my award consulting service, PointsPros.
If you have a travel-related question that you can’t find an answer to otherwise, check out the Ask Lucky page, and I’ll do my best to answer!
You can stay updated on the latest in the travel industry, from promotions to program changes to mergers, by subscribing to my free daily newsletter.
You can also like One Mile at a Time on Facebook, check out my YouTube channel, or follow my travels on Twitter and Instagram.
Meet my contributors
One of the amazing things about miles and points is how many fun people I’ve met along the way, and the friendships I’ve developed over the years. Some of these folks contribute occasionally here on the blog as well, and add an interesting contrast to my travel and perspectives.
These are not professional writers-for-pay, but rather truly passionate people in the space that might not have a background in blogging, but do have a background in obsessing over miles & points 24/7.
I love to talk about miles and points with anyone who will listen, and have been cited as a travel expert in various publications.
I am available for interviews and appearances, and am happy to speak on:
- Airline industry and aviation news
- Frequent flyer programs
- Redeeming miles and awards
- Best travel credit cards
A partial list of my media appearances and interviews are included below for your reference.
|August 14, 2018||The New York Times||Flying With Dietary Restrictions? Increasingly, That’s Not a Problem
|July 26, 2018||SFGate||Date set for big Marriott-Starwood-Ritz program merger
|June 26, 2018||Time||How Early Should You Get to the Airport? Here's What Travel Experts Say
|May 30, 2018||Independent||Paris-Saint Pierre Flight: This Route You've Never Heard Of Just Sold Out
|May 28, 2018||Business Insider||8 reasons why first-class airfare is so expensive
|May 22, 2018||The Telegraph||The death of business class? The rise and rise of premium economy|
|January 22, 2018||South China Morning Post||Lounge users in line for upgraded service at Hong Kong airport as Cathay Pacific changes manager|
|December 20, 2017||Vice||Airlines Are Bumping Fewer People Than Ever|
|December 18, 2017||Travel + Leisure||The 10 Best Places to Spend the Holidays, According to Travel Experts|
|November 19, 2017||South China Morning Post||From mattresses to dining on demand, Cathay Pacific joins airline race to up business-class perks|
|November 13, 2017||lifehacker||These Credit Cards Give You Free Airport Lounge Access|
|May 22, 2017||The New York Times||Drink Up, Business Travelers. The Minibar Is on the Way Out.|
|April 18, 2017||The Irish Times||Willie Walsh happy with response to budget carrier Level|
|April 14, 2017||The Associated Press||Delta OKs offers of up to $9,950 to flyers who give up seats|
|April 6, 2017||CNN||Social airline concepts make flying more fun|
|March 27, 2017||Independnt||Leggingsgate: United Airlines retreats from its dress-code altercation amid calls for more tolerance over inflight clothing|
|March 27, 2017||The Today Show||United bars 2 girls from flight for wearing leggings, spurring outrage|
|February 23, 2017||The Economist||Are airlines’ new “last class” fares just a bait-and-switch?|
|February 22, 2017||Bloomberg||How to Survive the Longest Flight in the World|
|December 28, 2016||The Daily Mail||What IS the etiquette for talking to strangers on public transport? A psychologist reveals all|
|December 28, 2016||U.S. News & World Report||How to Leverage Travel Rewards in 2017|
|December 19, 2016||Gothamist||How To Pack Like A Pro For Your Holiday Trip|
|September 22, 2016||Bloomberg||How Chase Made the Perfect High for Credit Card Junkies|
|September 12, 2016||The New York Times||Value-Seekers Warm to a $450 Annual Credit Card Fee|
|September 1, 2016||Money Magazine||How to Score Free Flights Now|
|August 16, 2016||U.S. News & World Report||5 Loyalty Program Trends to Watch|
|August 10, 2016||Bloomberg||Join the Mile-High Club -- of Exclusive Airline Pajamas|
|August 8, 2016||Money Magazine||The Official Money Guide to Becoming a Snob on a Budget|
|August 3, 2016||CNBC||Saving reward points and miles isn't a sound money strategy|
|July 8, 2016||CardRates.com||How Credit Cards Can Upgrade Your Travel: Ben Schlappig Shares his Tricks for Flying 400,000 Miles a Year|
|June 23, 2016||Financial Times||Air miles — fly at the front for a fraction of the cost|
|June 10, 2016||Vancouver Sun||Unfriendly skies: Battle for YVR-Istanbul flight shows Ottawa's role in limiting airline connections|
|June 7, 2016||Fox News||American Airlines will reward fliers based on dollars, not miles|
|April 4, 2016||Investopedia||Top 5 Differences Between Business and First Class|
|February 29, 2016||Condé Nast Traveler||Why In-Flight Pajamas Still Matter|
|January 13, 2016||Travel + Leisure||The Best Trips I've Paid For With Travel Rewards Points|
|January 7, 2016||U.S. News & World Report||What Changes to Loyalty Programs in 2016 Will Mean for Travelers|
|December 25, 2015||Business Insider||This 'homeless' guy flies first class for free and says anyone could do it -- here's how|
|December 24, 2015||Fox News||Are airline rewards programs still worth the effort?|
|December 23, 2015||HuffPost Live||Are Loyalty Points No Longer Worth It?|
|December 23, 2015||Gothamist||What Do You Pack For A Holiday Trip?|
|December 19, 2015||Boom Bust||Why travel service Skiplagged is surging in popularity|
|December 13, 2015||South China Morning Post||Blogger shows how to make frequent flyer programmes pay|
|December 6, 2015||LA Times||Frequent fliers, consider: Is airline elite status worth the trouble?|
|December 1, 2015||CNN||Meet the 'homeless man' who flies the world first class|
|November 29, 2015||BBC News||Why do so many people hate US airports?|
|November 17, 2015||Star-Telegram||American Airlines announces changes to its frequent flier program|
|November 14, 2015||Boom Bust||The Latest In The Travel Industry|
|November 11, 2015||Independent Traveler||Scoring Free Travel: A Q&A with Ben Schlappig|
|September 17, 2015||Esquire||5 Travel Apps (and 1 Blog) That Make Trip Planning Painless|
|September 15, 2015||Radio New Zealand||Frequent Flyer - Ben Schlappig|
|August 26, 2015||Made Man||Span the Globe! Expert Ben Schlappig’s 4 Amazing Travel Hacks|
|August 7, 2015||CNBC||How a frequent flyer maximizes rewards programs|
|August 7, 2015||The Global Travel Conspiracy with Gary Arndt||400,000 Miles A Year|
|August 6, 2015||Australian Broadcasting Corporation||Ben Schlappig, travel hacker on RN Drive|
|August 4, 2015||NY Post||How one man flew 5M miles (almost) for free|
|August 4, 2015||U.S. News & World Report||Rewards 101: A Guide to Maximizing Points and Miles|
|August 3, 2015||Fox News||Why aren't airfares dropping as quickly as fuel prices?|
|August 2, 2015||BBC World Service Radio||Airmiles addict who flies all the time|
|July 29, 2015||The Tommy Schnurmacher Show||How to travel for next to nothing|
|July 29, 2015||CNN||Flying the globe at a fraction of the cost|
|July 27, 2015||Nightline||This Travel Hacker Flies Around the World for Almost Nothing|
|July 24, 2015||Sunrise Australia||How frequent flyer Ben Schlappig travels the world without paying a thing!|
|July 23, 2015||Sunrise Australia||Frequent flyer outsmarts airlines|
|July 3, 2015||Skift||Travel Brands Need to Rethink Their Influencer Relationships|
|July 2, 2015||Fox News||Justice Department demands answers from airlines|
|June 25, 2015||CNN Business Traveler||They'll book longer flights for a better wine list. Meet the oeno-fliers|
|June 23, 2015||Huffington Post||Travel Blogger Explains Why He Refuses To Eat Complimentary Airline Meals|
|June 19, 2015||HuffPost Live||How Dirty Is The Food You Eat On Airplanes?|
|June 5, 2015||Discovery Channel||Xray Mega Airport|
|June 4, 2015||RT||Boom Bust Travel Edition|
|May 25, 2015||Fox News||The rules for packed planes|
|May 22, 2015||FoxNews.com||Free First Class Airplane Seats and Hotel Suites - Luxury Travel Secrets from the World of Frequent Travelers|
|April 22, 2015||Fox News||Do Jumbo Jets Face Extinction?|
|March 19, 2015||International Business Times ||How Persian Gulf Airlines Are Wooing American Travelers|
|March 18, 2015||Travel + Leisure||Trip Doctor: How to Use Miles to Get a Seat Upgrade|
|February 2, 2015||LA Times||Avoiding fees and surcharges on airlines' frequent-flier award tickets|
|January 27, 2015||CNN||Why earning frequent flier miles is about to get a lot more expensive|
|January 15, 2015||CNN||Getting the most from frequent flier miles|
|January 15, 2015||CNN||Aviation geeks, rejoice! A350 makes first flight|
|December 9, 2014||Fox News||
Hotels implement pricey new cancellation policy|
|October 22, 2014||Gothamist||
What Goes In Your Carry-On?|
|July 22, 2014||Frequent Business Traveler||
Winners of 2014 GlobeRunner Awards Announced at Event in New York City|
|July 10, 2014||"How Did You Get Into That?"||Ben Schlappig: How to Travel For Free|
|June 16, 2014||AskMen.com||Pulse Report: The 500 People, Products, & Trends That Will Define The Next 12 Months|
|May 21, 2014||USA Today||Travel blogger seeks $25,000 for expensive, flight|
|May 19, 2014||CBS News||Rise of airlines from the Persian Gulf represents stiff competition for American carriers|
|May 8, 2014||Forbes||Blogger Starts Crowdfunding Campaign To Fly And Review New Etihad First Class|
|April 16, 2014||CBS Miami||Hire Help To Maximize Tricky Travel Rewards|
|February 3, 2014||NASDAQ||Professional award bookers promise 'free' flights for fewer miles|
|October 1, 2013||InsideFlyer Magazine||Highlighting Bloggers Who Navigate the World of Miles and Points|
|September 9, 2013||Australian Business Traveler||Six expert tips to diversify your frequent flyer points portfolio|
|September 1, 2013||InsideFlyer Magazine||Award Experts|
|August 19, 2013||milepointTV||Milepoint TV talks to Ben Schlappig|
|August 19, 2013||milepointTV||Ben Schlappig's Top 5 Hot Nuts|
|May 20, 2013||HuffPost Live||The Rudest Things People Do In Airports|
|May 20, 2013||HuffPost Live||How to Avoid the Luggage Hassle|
|August 7, 2012||The Sydney Morning Herald||When points pile up|
|July 18, 2012||The Huffington Post||United Airlines $33 Flights To Hong Kong Result Of Computer Glitch|
|March 18, 2012||JohnnyJet.com||Travel Style: Ben Schlappig|
|November 20, 2011||Travel Guys Radio||Scoring that First Frequent Flyer Ticket and Exploring the Queen Mary|
|October 27, 2011||CheapFlights.com||Waiting to board with Ben Schlappig|
|October 14, 2011||FoxNews.com||Mile Runners Take Frequent Flyer Mileages to a Whole New Height|
|August 21, 2011||Travel Guys Radio||Family Vacations and Burning Man|
|July 22, 2011||NPR||Dollar Coins In The Wild|
|July 17, 2011||Travel Guys Radio||Mileage Running Stories and Expert Packing Tips|
|July 17, 2011||Gadling||Booking award tickets can be frustrating, unless you're a pro|
|July 13, 2011||NPR||How Frequent Fliers Exploit A Government Program To Get Free Trips|
|June 19, 2011||Travel Guys Radio||Frequent Flyers, Drive-In Theaters and Flight Attendants|
|April 10, 2011||Travel Guys Radio||American Road Magazine and Getting Bumped From Your Flight|
|April 6, 2011||The New York Times||Guide to Being Bumped (or Not)|
|April 1, 2011||InsideFlyer Magazine||Award Search Strategies|
|March 6, 2011||Travel Guys Radio||Ed Perkins, News from New Zealand and a Whole Lotta Toothpicks|
|February 18, 2011||CNN||Continental to get United's roomier seats|
|February 13, 2011||Travel Guys Radio||Of Mice and Bloggers Who Beat the System|
|December 9, 2010||CNN||Air rage: Is reclining your seat a right?|
|November 9, 2010||USA Today||Award booking services help frequent flier miles take flight|
|August 1, 2010||InsideFlyer Magazine||The Value of a Mile or Point|
|July 8, 2010||The Wall Street Journal||Shopping for Perks Among the Big Airline Alliances|
|June 1, 2010||InsideFlyer Magazine||Ask The Experts|
|May 3, 2010||The Associated Press||How United-Continental merger impacts fliers|
|July 28, 2008||The Washington Times||KRALEV: Being elite can be simple|
Speaking Engagements & Meetups
I love meeting blog readers and other frequent travelers, but don’t have any speaking events scheduled at present. If you see me in an airport or lounge, please say hello!
For general questions and inquiries, the best way to reach me is via Twitter or Ask Lucky
Otherwise, you can email me at lucky @ onemileatatime.com.
Thanks for reading, and maybe our paths will cross in an airport sometime.