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.
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.
About Tiffany Tiffany Funk is a passionate traveler who has visited over 70 countries, and lived abroad on multiple occasions. Her posts offer a different perspective on earning miles, tricks for balancing multiple household accounts, and break down the basics of redeeming miles for aspirational travel -- whatever those aspirations may be!
About Travis Travis has been playing in the world of miles and points for over a decade. At one time or another he has held status on just about every major domestic airline and hotel program. He has visited all 50 US states and over 50 countries. Nowadays he travels almost exclusively with his wife and three young children.
About Kate Kate’s a lawyer based in Calgary, Alberta. Originally from Newfoundland, she was bit by the travel bug as a student and managed to squeeze three international exchanges into her university experience. These days, when she’s not in court, she’s sharing the world with her husband and two sons, aged 5 and 7. She’s pleased to bring a Canadian perspective to the travel game.
About Steph A frequent traveler for both business and pleasure, Steph strives to maximize her “workcations” whenever possible. Whether she is traveling to the far reaches of Sierra Leone or the depths of New Jersey, she does her best to maintain a sense of adventure and a sense of humor.
When Steph isn’t flying, she finds herself in the air via other means - climbing mountains, skiing powder, or dangling off the edge of a rock face.
About Nick Nick brings the perspective of the infrequent but savvy traveler who finds that getting there is actually less than half the fun, but you might as well fly business class on the way and get a good night's sleep. Despite a relatively sparse portfolio of flown miles and hotel stays per year that would never otherwise qualify for status, Nick manages to leverage credit cards, promotions and points to secure elite status and increase his chances for that sought-after upgrade.
About Andrew Andrew's work as a government employee has forced him to learn to find humor in every situation, which he believes is the key to enjoying travel. An aviation geek who had never flown in a premium cabin prior to winning a trip to Finland from One Mile at a Time, Andrew now uses miles, points, and elite status to up his globe trekking game. His favorite animal is the golden retriever.
About Mike Mike has a two year old, a four year old and an insatiable appetite for travel. Thankfully, miles and points help make family adventures much more affordable. When he’s not obsessing over his points balances, Mike is playing with his kids, enjoying the Arizona sunshine or watching hockey and football.
About Ford Ford is a 20-something Angeleno, originally from Manhattan, and raised in Newport, Rhode Island. After completing his studies at Brown University and Phillips Exeter Academy and returning to NYC for a year, he settled in Los Angeles. He’s an avid traveler, bootcamp fanatic, and devotee of life’s ever-changing journey. You can follow Ford on Instagram @fordbeckett.
I’m grateful every day for the life I have, and while I’ve of course worked hard for it, I also recognize the huge advantage I’ve had in having parents who were supportive of my ideas (and my sexuality), being exposed to travel and different ways of life from a young age, and taking advantage of programs that allowed me to graduate from college without any debt.
And so in both my personal giving, and in what we do through the blog, I try to focus on giving to organizations and causes that help put a thumb on the scale for people who don’t have the same access to opportunities. Getting a little push or extra support can make a huge difference in terms of what a person can ultimately accomplish.
As an independent company, it’s important to us to be as transparent as we can about how we make money, what inspires our content, and anything else that informs our perspective. While many of our competitors have multi-billion-dollar parent companies with the associated corporate “standards”, we recognize that the thriving community of readers is a big part of the magic of OMAAT.