The (Honest) State Of Travel & Points Blogging

The (Honest) State Of Travel & Points Blogging

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I’ve been blogging full time for over 14 years (the blog’s 14th anniversary was last week, but I’m not big into anniversaries, so…). A lot has changed in the travel & points blogging landscape in that time, especially in the past couple of years with coronavirus. I thought this would be an interesting time to reflect on the overall state of this “industry,” if you will.

I imagine many other independent bloggers will have similar takes, and I’d welcome their thoughts as well. Part of the purpose of this post is to explain the overall content mix you may find on the blogs that you frequent.

Some background on how OMAAT started

For some background, I started this blog as a hobby while in college, and for a long time I didn’t make any money on it. I never planned on making it a career, and for that matter I’ve never really had a business plan for the blog, and have zero desire to sell this site (which, it’s weird to me that selling a blog is even a thing, but…).

The travel & points industry is my passion, plain and simple, and I wake up every day looking to this as an escape. While I’m fortunate that this is also my career, the reality is that my day-to-day really isn’t very commercially focused. I couldn’t tell you what the blog’s revenue was last month or how many readers there were, because frankly I don’t really care.

The reason I can write this blog every single day of my life and be happy with it is because it’s my passion and not my job. With that out of the way…

Lufthansa First Class Terminal ducks, just because

The complicated travel & points blog landscape

Back when I started blogging 14 years ago this wasn’t a very crowded space. There was View from the Wing, and not many others (at least not many that are still around today). Over the years a countless number of independent blogs popped up, and that’s fantastic.

Some didn’t last for long (not realizing it takes a lot of work and consistent effort to be successful), while others are still around today, typically because they have persistence and a unique angle. I’m very supportive of anyone who wants to try their hand at blogging.

For most independent bloggers, I think the biggest challenge is all the “corporate” sites that have gotten into this space. This has come in different forms:

  • We’ve seen multiple travel blogs sold, including to huge media companies, venture capital companies, etc.
  • We’ve seen mainstream media news sites get into the travel story and credit card rewards space
  • We’ve seen all kinds of sites pop up that are so clearly exclusively about SEO, with a very obvious business plan to be spun off in a few years when the price is right

Let me be clear, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of those things. That’s how a free market economy works — people see opportunities and seize them. However, that does pose a challenge for independent sites:

  • You can’t really compete when it comes to SEO with major news sites that now review credit card benefits and other travel features
  • Many of these websites that are sold don’t actually have to be profitable, but rather just have to continue to show growth (as is the case with so much of our economy nowadays); that’s easy to do when you’re spending millions and millions of dollars per year on social media ads, as that easily masks a much lower “base” readership of loyal readers
  • As the internet has gotten more saturated, margins have largely gotten thinner
Are you even a points blogger if you haven’t stayed at the Park Hyatt Paris?!

Why independent travel & points blogs have the content that they do

Let me be brutally transparent here. I’m sure this is something that other bloggers can relate to, and it might explain the overall mix of content you see on points & travel blogs.

If you look at the comments section of blogs, you’ll see comments along the lines of “this isn’t the content I come here for,” no matter what the topic is. That’s totally fair enough. I mean, that may very well be the case, and it’s also the internet. But I think it’s important to understand and consider how people make a living.

Earlier I committed to focusing more on trip reports, and that’s something I’ll stand by. I think it’s also important to expand on that, though — travel reviews don’t directly pay the bills, and I think any blogger in this space can attest to that. They’re hard to monetize, they’re a massive time investment (in terms of traveling and writing) and they don’t get nearly as much traffic as some other types of posts. So where’s the value in them?

  • Many of us are huge huge airline and hotel product geeks, and find writing these reviews to be enjoyable, regardless of whether or not the math works out; you don’t understand how giddy I get when I get to fly a new airline, no matter how bad it may be
  • Many bloggers realize how much readers enjoy trip reports, and view it as an overall good investment in getting people to read and support the blog
  • It’s useful to be well versed in what airlines and hotels are offering; after all, that knowledge is what sets peoples’ insights apart
Not much excites me more than trying a new airline!

Beyond trip reports, you have what you might consider to be “monetized” posts, about products. There’s money to be made there, but it’s probably not as lucrative as you’d think, or at least it takes a lot more effort than you’d expect. Like I mentioned above, it’s hard to compete on SEO with major news sites, and you have other sites spending endless money on ads related to these products. As far as a readership base goes, well, if you’ve written about a product often enough, odds are that they already have it.

This gets at my above point about trip reports. You hope that people enjoy some content on a blog, and will then support you the next time they want to pick up one of these products.

Then you have what some people consider to be clickbait stories. There are some blogs that almost exclusively post these, and they come in varying forms. A few things to understand about those:

  • These can get an absolutely unbelievable amount of traffic, especially for smaller sites, that don’t have a very high base level of traffic; these kinds of posts can easily get 100x more traffic than your average post, or in some cases even significantly more than that
  • These really aren’t intended for the actual audience of a blog, because these are all about generating traffic from elsewhere
  • These are often the easiest to write, because they’re not a huge time investment

Do I post these stories sometimes? Yes, of course, though as a percentage of content not nearly as much as some other sites. Do I enjoy writing these posts? It depends. Sometimes the topics are genuinely interesting, and while they might not be particularly deep or insightful, they’re stories I would enjoy reading elsewhere as well.

I’m fortunate that my blog gets a lot of traffic to begin with, but for many smaller sites, it’s extremely common that a single “clickbait” post gets as much traffic as the entire site otherwise gets in a month, or maybe even six months. This is the primary way that many sites can be monetized — some will write content hoping that one post breaks through and goes viral. It’s not only about the direct monetization of that traffic, though — many readers who find a viral post may bookmark a site and become readers for years to come.

None of that is to say that sites should or shouldn’t have clickbait, or that it’s a great idea, or anything. Rather I’m just saying that making money on the internet is hard, especially if you don’t want to put stuff behind a paywall. And unfortunately often the stories that require the least effort generate the most traffic, and for many blogs these are the posts that pay the bills.

Everyone is of course welcome to sound off how they’d like, and I think almost all blogs value genuine reader feedback. I just think it’s also important to remember that those writing independent blogs are trying to make a living too. I guarantee you that in a vast majority of cases when you see your favorite travel blog post what you interpret to be a “clickbait” story, you’re not the intended audience.

Posts about American’s “turkey” sandwich aren’t clickbait, though!

Bottom line

The travel & points blog space has evolved a lot over the years, for better and worse. Making money running an independent blog isn’t easy, though I hope the above at least provides some context on why you may see the content mix that you see on various sites.

In closing I just want to express my gratitude to those who have been reading OMAAT over the years. I feel blessed beyond words to be able to get up every day and just play around with my favorite “hobby” and have it also be my career. I recognize not everyone is always going to be happy, and also that content won’t always be equally good (we have our good days and bad days, or perhaps even good years and bad years).

At the end of the day what makes blogging most rewarding is those who read and interact, and genuinely enjoy the content, recognizing that no one who puts themselves out there is always going to get things right.

As always, I welcome feedback, and of course would also love to hear from other bloggers about how their experiences differ.

Conversations (148)
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  1. ashu Guest

    Lucky,

    I have followed this blog since 2012 after I attended your session at Chicago seminar, I have also used you booking service a couple of times until you started subscription model. I have found your blog and services to be authentic and down to earth.

    Being transparent is helpful, I'll make sure I use your referral for future applications. Please continue to nurture OMAAT!

  2. randy petersen Guest

    first of all Ben, congrats on the 14 years. those have been the most remarkable years of your life—just read the comments on this post. in those 14 years readers have gotten to know you and they applaud you. what i know (and i really, really know) is that you are among, if not t-h-e hardest working blogger in this space. i know of the decisions you've made for the blog based upon you wanting...

    first of all Ben, congrats on the 14 years. those have been the most remarkable years of your life—just read the comments on this post. in those 14 years readers have gotten to know you and they applaud you. what i know (and i really, really know) is that you are among, if not t-h-e hardest working blogger in this space. i know of the decisions you've made for the blog based upon you wanting it to continue to be your voice. it takes hours and hours of prep/research and the time to get in the right writing frame of mind to craft each and every blog post you've created for your readers ... that's a lifetime of time in just 14 years.
    the best part of my day has been reading the comments to this post. that is the measure of a blogger, not necessarily the quantity of comments, but rather the quality of the comments. your readers have measured your blog—something. to be very proud of.
    like your readers (of which i am also), i look forward to reading your blog posts the next 14 years, i also look forward to watching you mentor other bloggers just by the way in which you conduct yourself in front of your readers—this post was a master class. congrats by "finding your voice" at such an early age and never wavering from it.

  3. Ian End Guest

    Ben, I've been a reader of the blog for a good portion of the last 14 years. I always enjoy your content, and it's clear that you have a passion for this industry that goes well beyond money-making. Whenever I'm in a lounge I keep half an eye out in case you're there, so that we can have an awkward 2 minute interaction.

  4. JT888 New Member

    I've been reading your blog for 10+ years. Besides some random looks at BoardingArea, yours is the only one I consistently read almost every day. I like your content best.

  5. Travis Peacock Guest

    I follow three blogs like yours: You, Lucky, and "The guys". I don't really seek any content out but Google Discover knows what I like and so it gives me articles by you at least every other day or so.

    The problem for you is that I don't have RSS anymore (because no one does), I don't really want you (or anyone else) in my inbox, and I am not going to make it part...

    I follow three blogs like yours: You, Lucky, and "The guys". I don't really seek any content out but Google Discover knows what I like and so it gives me articles by you at least every other day or so.

    The problem for you is that I don't have RSS anymore (because no one does), I don't really want you (or anyone else) in my inbox, and I am not going to make it part of my routine to check the site daily.

    So what happens when google closes the discover feed or I switch to iOS or whatever else and I lose you?

    I don't have a solution for you, per se, but I know that if you guys did a pop-up that said "here's how to make sure you see our posts" and it linked to a Facebook page or Twitter account I would have clicked it.

    I do really like your content, and I'm sure someone might reply that I'm being lazy but I think I'm probably not just talking for myself.

  6. Kelly Goley Guest

    It's articles like this that keep me coming back to your site, Ben. I realized a few years ago that I spent an inordinate amount of time flipping back and forth between points and miles sites, reading every email and article. I decided to pare down to one and chose your site for several reasons: 1) You are relatable. I think much of that is because you are not a huge corporation. I feel like...

    It's articles like this that keep me coming back to your site, Ben. I realized a few years ago that I spent an inordinate amount of time flipping back and forth between points and miles sites, reading every email and article. I decided to pare down to one and chose your site for several reasons: 1) You are relatable. I think much of that is because you are not a huge corporation. I feel like I know you! 2) I trust you. You are transparent and thorough in your reviews and suggestions. 3) You actually answer comments on your website and Facebook group. I always like seeing your name pop up to answer a question or weigh in on an opinion.

    Keep up the good work! You are greatly appreciated!

  7. philelltt Member

    I enjoy reading your trip reports, Ben. They give a picture of you enjoying travel. I enjoy travel too, so that's something in common. I like it that you have photos of yourself and can easily be verified as a real person. Trust is importnat these days.
    I thought your articles about Australia were mostly muck raking in order to get lots of conversation/argument happening. Nothing personal as you did the same with Canada...

    I enjoy reading your trip reports, Ben. They give a picture of you enjoying travel. I enjoy travel too, so that's something in common. I like it that you have photos of yourself and can easily be verified as a real person. Trust is importnat these days.
    I thought your articles about Australia were mostly muck raking in order to get lots of conversation/argument happening. Nothing personal as you did the same with Canada too. Same with the lurid drama stories of rape and snakes on planes. I put it down to mid life crisis in the Ben household. Yeah, I get it that you wanted to keep an internet presence every day, but it lost my trust.
    OK, as for the other travel blogs I'm familiar with.
    The points guy has changed into something of a franchise. Mostly still fun loving, and their UK youtube stories of where 3 points guys would go on the same flight to compare economy,premium economy and business class are entertaining and informative. They are people with names and faces, so I trust them as far as that goes.
    View from the Wing just seems to be one lurid story, or bad news story after another. No fun or enjoyment to be had there. I dropped out of that a while ago.
    Loyalty Lobby is presented ostensibly by 2 guys with no faces. So they could be covers for a franchise. Don't know/ don't care. They never mention having fun or a good time. Always moaning about things going wrong and blowing it up like it is a crisis. And boasting about points they got through complaining. They did plenty of the "Australia/Canada locked in" stories too. Often word for word as yours. Co-incidence? I understand it promoted lots of argument on their disqus , but those doing the slagging off at others usually had no verified profile and are probably trolls. That's died down now a lot, and lots of members mentioned they got sick of that aspect. No trust there.
    Anyway, good luck with your plans. But keep in mind, you mention that you still feel the zeal and excitement about travel. Best if you think about that before posting some of the political stuff.

  8. Sam Guest

    Your blog is awesome and I have been following you for 5 years now.
    I think I saw you at Park Hyatt in Paris once but I didn’t want to bother so I didn’t speak.
    Thank you for your hard work

  9. Mark Guest

    Something to keep in mind while reading the comments: people are far more motivated to write in when they're challenging something they read. I probably read something on your blog almost every day, but I rarely write a response because everything's fine - interesting for sure, but I'm not likely to write every day saying "thanks, great stuff." Usually I'll write when I'm mad at something I read (usually from another commenter), or if I...

    Something to keep in mind while reading the comments: people are far more motivated to write in when they're challenging something they read. I probably read something on your blog almost every day, but I rarely write a response because everything's fine - interesting for sure, but I'm not likely to write every day saying "thanks, great stuff." Usually I'll write when I'm mad at something I read (usually from another commenter), or if I think something needs a correction or some kind of change. That doesn't happen often. But I'd like to take this opportunity to say "thanks, great stuff!"

  10. Coathanger Guest

    Long time reader and fan of your trip report style, which is a blend of thorough and genuine.

    OMAAT and VFTW are the two American blogs that I regularly read, in addition to the Australian sites like ET.

    Over the past decade the points and miles game has changed, with credit card bonuses now so lucrative for both readers and bloggers while 'loyalty' programs are becoming frequent spender/cashback schemes. The old mileage run...

    Long time reader and fan of your trip report style, which is a blend of thorough and genuine.

    OMAAT and VFTW are the two American blogs that I regularly read, in addition to the Australian sites like ET.

    Over the past decade the points and miles game has changed, with credit card bonuses now so lucrative for both readers and bloggers while 'loyalty' programs are becoming frequent spender/cashback schemes. The old mileage run for status seems a distant memory and mistake fares aren't as common.

    The travel experience will hopefully not change too much so look forward to many more years of your trip reporting.

  11. JeffP Guest

    The blog has been a huge help to me along with the Frequent Miler. I just began my third year in the game and I have accumulated 2.5 million points and miles. I also like the trio reviews…but the plane and lounge the best. I don’t like the political slanted stuff but it’s hard to avoid these days. Keep up the good work.

  12. JohnSF New Member

    Ben, let me add my thanks to you for the work you do to create the great content on OMAAT. I read OMAAT every day. I read a handful of other blogs but most of the others require me to wade through a bunch of muck to find the cream. With OMAAT almost every article is interesting to me. Even the few occasional click-bait like articles on your site usually have an underlying issue that...

    Ben, let me add my thanks to you for the work you do to create the great content on OMAAT. I read OMAAT every day. I read a handful of other blogs but most of the others require me to wade through a bunch of muck to find the cream. With OMAAT almost every article is interesting to me. Even the few occasional click-bait like articles on your site usually have an underlying issue that is worth analysis and I value your perspective on these.

    I especially have enjoyed the flight reviews. Yours are typically much more detailed than others and I enjoy the consistent quality and detail of your reviews.

    Selfishly, I appreciate your providing a link to an extra bonus on many of the LifeMiles sales. As someone who occasionally purchases miles also I enjoy your articles with a detailed breakdown of the cost of some of the better mileage sales and how they could potentially be used, and the tracking of previous sales to compare current sales value.

    Thanks so much!

  13. Ethan Guest

    Been reading you for a long time, and try and use your links whenever I’m getting cards. Your blog (and some others) have allowed me to take some trips I would have never thought possible (like honeymooning in the Maldives)- and do some crazy stuff over the years like a status run to Istanbul for a weekend trip. Thanks for everything you do, and keep the trip reports coming!!

  14. Jl100 Guest

    I just want to say that I only read blogs that are still written by the founder or key people. These blogs where the people are actually living the travel and have the passion are very different than the sites where I bunch of people are hired to "go do stuff" and report on it. You know who I am talking about. Also love the efforts that were made during the pandemic with Youtube and...

    I just want to say that I only read blogs that are still written by the founder or key people. These blogs where the people are actually living the travel and have the passion are very different than the sites where I bunch of people are hired to "go do stuff" and report on it. You know who I am talking about. Also love the efforts that were made during the pandemic with Youtube and the livestreams, I find these very entertaining and informative. Thanks for your efforts over the 14 years, as many of you know the feeling, people are amazed at the trips we take and I always tell people and family, I have millions of miles, so let's travel!

  15. Benjamin Weiss Guest

    Ben, as an industry insider let me just say your content is consistently thoughtful, insightful, and useful to us when we look to continuously raise the experience bar as an industry. Your thorough and thoughtful hotel reviews, in particular, are a rarity in the online space, going miles above the more sound-bites one often gets from the TripAvdisors of the world. While these posts may not generate the same initial traffic spikes as other pieces...

    Ben, as an industry insider let me just say your content is consistently thoughtful, insightful, and useful to us when we look to continuously raise the experience bar as an industry. Your thorough and thoughtful hotel reviews, in particular, are a rarity in the online space, going miles above the more sound-bites one often gets from the TripAvdisors of the world. While these posts may not generate the same initial traffic spikes as other pieces of content, I suspect that they’ll have some of the best long tail traffic effects because there’s so little competing content. One tip, try more video in 2022+. While your still images are always spot on, there’s such a dearth of hotel video content online that I really think this is another space for you to own. Thanks for so much great content over the years and always looking forward to your feedback.

  16. Justlanded Guest

    Anyone else have to Google the acronym 'SEO'?

    Keep up the good work (KUTGW) ;)

  17. James Irwin Guest

    I come here everyday. I have recommended your site to others especially those with planes and airline interests. I find you are one of the first to find out the latest industry news.

    I look forward to many more years of reading your blog.

  18. bombay121 Guest

    Been here since 2014, still visit almost everyday. Love the trip reports as much as the other posts.

  19. Nick Guest

    Mr. Schlappig- keep up the good work!

  20. Jill Guest

    Sorry Mr. Gary Leff, Mr. Mathew Klint, Mr. Brian Kelly, Mr. René de Lambert, and Mr. Chris Carley
    Your blogs are no where close to as good or as accurate as OMAT
    So go pound Sand!!
    Team OMAT rules!

    1. reddargon Gold

      Ha. While I find myself gravitating to OMAAT way more than these other blogs, they all have their strengths. I'm not sure what the value is of telling other blogs to pound sand or needing to pick "teams" but to each their own.

  21. Andrew Guest

    Ben, your blog is great. I honestly follow all the blogs and have my own blog (only 1 article a month for fun) and you're great. Don't let the haters get you down!

  22. harry hv Guest

    Dont know how you kept your good humour all these years, its been a pleasure to follow your blog and the exploits of lucky9876coins

  23. DuaneU2 Member

    Am I the only one that doesn't know what SEO stands for? I can't find anywhere in the post that spells that out.

    1. Xplays Guest

      Search engine optimization - how to get your website visible by search engines like Google.

  24. D3kingg Guest

    Ok Ben. Here’s what you need to do. Joking. You are the only blogger I follow. Thanks. Ive flown Lufthansa and Emirates first class for free thanks to you by signing up for credit cards on this website. You fellas are welcome to visit me in Texas anytime. I’ll take you and Ford to NASA , BBQ , Church, and shooting.

  25. Jorge Paez Guest

    That would explain why people commenting on other blogs call this site "One Credit Card at a Time." So I've seen.....

  26. Aaron Guest

    Lucky — I’ve been a reader since 2015 (found the blog while I was in college) and absolutely love it. Points & miles and travel as a whole are a place of comfort and joy for me, and much of that starts with this blog. You insert just enough of your personality to make it fun and interesting, and always have the best scoops and insights (WAY better than the more commercialized sites). It’s great...

    Lucky — I’ve been a reader since 2015 (found the blog while I was in college) and absolutely love it. Points & miles and travel as a whole are a place of comfort and joy for me, and much of that starts with this blog. You insert just enough of your personality to make it fun and interesting, and always have the best scoops and insights (WAY better than the more commercialized sites). It’s great to hear you talk about how much you love getting up and doing this every day, because we can all tell just how much you love it — and I think that’s what makes reading it so fun. Cheers to another 14 and congrats.

  27. DCS Diamond

    Dear OMAAT - Please do not post the comment that is now in 'moderation' in moderation because I posted it without first signing on, and it will simply be a duplicate of the one below but it has an un-terminated HTML tag that will bold all subsequent comments...

    Thank you.

  28. DCS Diamond

    Emphases in the form of changed font and/or brackets mine:

    Then you have what some people consider to be clickbait stories. There are some blogs that almost exclusively post these, and they come in varying forms. A few things to understand about those:
    - These can get an absolutely unbelievable amount of traffic, especially for smaller sites, that don’t have a very high base level of traffic; these kinds of posts can easily...

    Emphases in the form of changed font and/or brackets mine:

    Then you have what some people consider to be clickbait stories. There are some blogs that almost exclusively post these, and they come in varying forms. A few things to understand about those:
    - These can get an absolutely unbelievable amount of traffic, especially for smaller sites, that don’t have a very high base level of traffic; these kinds of posts can easily get 100x more traffic than your average post, or in some cases even significantly more than that
    - These really aren’t intended for the actual audience of a blog, because these are [simply] all about generating traffic from elsewhere [i.e., they are fluff pieces]
    - These are often the easiest to write, because they’re not a huge time investment [not necessarily!]

    -- Ben

    The quoted assertions present a false dichotomy. I pay WordPress a yearlay fee for a 'travel blog' that I created simply so that I can "vent" without being censored whenever I felt like it.

    However, every time I have written a piece, it has generate quite a bit of traffic and, like clockwork, I would be contacted by WordPress with suggestions on how to "monetize" the site. With a highly stimulating "day job" that also pays me extremely to do what I am passionate about, I've had no interest in "monetizing" the site, which has now been dormant for months. However, that may change because I see a challenge in I what I just characterized above as a false dichotomy: there is no reason 'clickbait' posts could not also be both substantive and widely appealing!!!

    I have not yet decided in which format (blog post, formal peer-reviewed paper, etc) to publish my magnum opus on points currencies that I have hinted about in recent days and weeks, but publishing it as blog post with a title like

    Mathematically and Quantitatively Rigorous Demystification of Major Global Hotel Loyalty Points Currencies
    Self-Anointed ‘Travel Gurus’ Have Gotten It All Wrong for Years!

    would get lots clicks for content whose substance is also guaranteed to shake up travel blogosphere in ways that would defy the traditional definition of clickbait because it would both increase traffic and deliver substance!

    In fact, I now see models that combine the best of several in ways that can efficiently 'monetize' a website without 'cheapening' its content...

    G'day.

    1. DCS Diamond

      Sorry for the many typos and/or omitted words above. It's tough to write comments from certain devices!

    2. UA-NYC Guest

      Enjoy your ones of readers who read ironically for all the Hilton love

    3. Sharon Guest

      @DCS
      You’re a troll

      Go back to talking about why’s Hilton greater than Mariott & Hyatt & IHG & Accor & Best Western & Sonesta & Wyndham properties

      You love paying the Bidenflation prices for hotels

    4. DCS Diamond

      @Madam Sharon -Trolling is precisely what you did with that nonsensical comment, i.e., there is nothing in it that can be addressed intelligently.

      G'day.

  29. DCS Guest

    Emphases in the form of changed font and/or brackets mine:

    Then you have what some people consider to be clickbait stories. There are some blogs that almost exclusively post these, and they come in varying forms. A few things to understand about those:
    - These can get an absolutely unbelievable amount of traffic, especially for smaller sites, that don’t have a very high base level of traffic; these kinds of posts can easily...

    Emphases in the form of changed font and/or brackets mine:

    Then you have what some people consider to be clickbait stories. There are some blogs that almost exclusively post these, and they come in varying forms. A few things to understand about those:
    - These can get an absolutely unbelievable amount of traffic, especially for smaller sites, that don’t have a very high base level of traffic; these kinds of posts can easily get 100x more traffic than your average post, or in some cases even significantly more than that
    - These really aren’t intended for the actual audience of a blog, because these are [simply] all about generating traffic from elsewhere [i.e., they are fluff pieces]
    - These are often the easiest to write, because they’re not a huge time investment [not necessarily!]

    -- Ben

    The quoted assertions present a false dichotomy. I pay WordPress a yearly fee for a 'travel blog' that I created simply so that I can "vent" without being censored whenever I felt like it.

    However, every time I have written a piece, it has generate quite a bit of traffic and, like clockwork, I would be contacted by WordPress with suggestions on how to "monetize" the site. With a highly stimulating "day job" that also pays me extremely to do what I am passionate about, I've had no interest in "monetizing" the site, which has now been dormant for months. However, that may change because I see a challenge in I what I just characterized above as a false dichotomy: there is no reason 'clickbait' posts could not also be both substantive and widely appealing!!!

    I have not yet decided in which format (blog post, formal peer-reviewed paper, etc) to publish my magnum opus on points currencies that I have hinted about in recent days and weeks, but publishing it as blog post with a title like

    Mathematically and Quantitatively Rigorous Demystification of Major Global Hotel Loyalty Points Currencies
    Self-Anointed ‘Travel Gurus’ Have Gotten It All Wrong for Years!

    would get lots clicks for content whose substance is also guaranteed to shake up travel blogosphere in ways that would defy the traditional definition of clickbait because it would both increase traffic and deliver substance!

    In fact, I now see models that combine the best of several in ways that can efficiently 'monetize' a website without 'cheapening' its content...

    G'day.

  30. kels2003 New Member

    Thanks for all you do Lucky! Whenever I need advice on a trip, redemption, or card, I always search your site first, mostly because I TRUST your content. You create with good intent and insight, and I appreciate what you put out here.

  31. Diane C Guest

    I love how your articles are well composed and summarizes everything nicely at the end. I find that there’s always a well thought out point being made with your blog posts. Truly appreciate your efforts in sharing! Thank you!

  32. MeanMeosh Member

    So I'll offer my commentary on the subject of clickbait specifically. It's not the clickbait itself that really bugs me. It's easy enough to simply ignore posts that are of no interest to me. What really sticks in my caw, though, are those who try to insult my intelligence by defending gratuitous clickbait on the basis that it has "genuine news" or "human interest" value, or is "a topic worthy of discussion". Sorry, but no,...

    So I'll offer my commentary on the subject of clickbait specifically. It's not the clickbait itself that really bugs me. It's easy enough to simply ignore posts that are of no interest to me. What really sticks in my caw, though, are those who try to insult my intelligence by defending gratuitous clickbait on the basis that it has "genuine news" or "human interest" value, or is "a topic worthy of discussion". Sorry, but no, the 90th post in the last 6 months about a drunk passenger kicked off a flight for not wearing a mask offers zero value. It also ceased to be worthy of discussion about 88 posts ago.

    In that vein, I appreciate your honesty on the subject. Something I've always appreciated about your trip reports, BTW.

  33. Artur Guest

    I also want to chime in to say thank you for all the great tips, guides, helpful information, and genuine fun and entertainment over the years. I love reading the trip reports even if I can't afford them (Aman) or will never do them (TAAG).

    I started in the points & miles world in 2014 and have been a daily blog reader since.

    In that time, your blog has helped me travel the world, a...

    I also want to chime in to say thank you for all the great tips, guides, helpful information, and genuine fun and entertainment over the years. I love reading the trip reports even if I can't afford them (Aman) or will never do them (TAAG).

    I started in the points & miles world in 2014 and have been a daily blog reader since.

    In that time, your blog has helped me travel the world, a handful of times in First, stay at amazing hotels, and sometimes even explore cool venues and activities.

    I'm extremely thankful for the opportunities that the knowledge you share on a constant basis has enabled me to do with my loved ones.

    Between a honeymoon in Bora Bora, a dream 60th birthday trip for my mom in southeast Asia, and so many other lifelong memories, all on points at a level I could never dream of affording out of pocket, I couldn't have done it without your help.

    Thank you, Ben!

    Cheers to the last 14 and the 14+ years to come.

  34. Vince Guest

    In 2016 I stumbled across your Rolling Stone article from the year before, and was blown away. It was soon thereafter the Fortune article about CSR came out, and with the RS on my left and the Fortune on the right (& with your link), I was instantly approved while awaiting a flight in PHL! I was hooked and it was off to the races! Thanks for the consistently great content! Your work is fun and purposeful!

  35. STLreader Guest

    Been reading for 10 years. Always appreciated your authenticity and expertise!

  36. Morgan Gold

    Thank you Ben, your blog helped me through a really hard period of my life.

  37. Anoop Guest

    Thanks for sharing a slice of your life with us on the blog. Your authentic personal voice is what keeps bringing me back. I got the Venture X through your link. I look forward to your continued trip reports.

  38. fooblah Guest

    Thanks for what you do Lucky.
    Keep up the good work.

  39. CMorgan Guest

    Thanks for all of the great info over the years. Greatly appreciated!

  40. YudaMan Guest

    I've been enjoying your blog for many years. Thank you!

  41. NYGuy24 Gold

    Most of the time your blog content is of actual value. Some other bloggers tend to focus heavily on the clickbait stuff and it is just obnoxious. I find your blog to be the most solid travel blog that isn't an obvious corporate shill.

  42. Art_Czar New Member

    Ben - You come across as a kind person who genuinely enjoys writing about planes and travel in premium cabins. I enjoy reading your reviews of various airlines' premium cabins and have often chosen our next inspirational adventure based on them. I've been reading your blog for over 10 years and appreciate that you've been able to keep a positive tone no matter the topic - thank you for keeping at it!

  43. murrayf Guest

    Lucky you are one of four travel bogs on the top of my web page ( 2 are local Aussie ones) and by far the best overall of the 50 or so in my bookmarks. Looking forward to more travel reports as endless credit card reports on a 3/6 month cycle do not keep readers coming back. Having kept a comments section when TPG stopped has massively increased the usefulness of the site as readers...

    Lucky you are one of four travel bogs on the top of my web page ( 2 are local Aussie ones) and by far the best overall of the 50 or so in my bookmarks. Looking forward to more travel reports as endless credit card reports on a 3/6 month cycle do not keep readers coming back. Having kept a comments section when TPG stopped has massively increased the usefulness of the site as readers share their experiences and we can tune out the political/trash comments that come up. Keep it up but if you are offered $100m to sell out then go for it. PS would love to see Tiffany back reporting she is an engaging writer.

  44. Al Guest

    Ben, thanks I learned a lot about the point and miles game from reading this blog. I mainly just read OMAAT and Gary's blog (LOL)

  45. Steve Guest

    Hi Ben,

    Your Blog post is usually the first one I read followed by others. Since your blogs are easier to read. Thanks for your effort

    Cheers

  46. JC Guest

    Why don’t you start monetizing trip reviews and start getting paid by hotels and airlines? YouTubers and other Bloggers do it, you should too. I rather see more trip reports than endless capital one Venture X posts and still have you come ahead financially.

    1. Daniel Guest

      I’m with JC here.

      I would easily pay $10 per month for the members feed with honest reviews, honest credit card strategies, and early mistake fare/deal alerts.

      I’m sure there are thousands like me.

    2. Dan Guest

      Ugh. Please not this. I really appreciate your independence! If you need to monetize trip reports, charge the readers (I’d pay!) not the hotels.

  47. PM1 Guest

    Appreciate you talking about it openly Ben. I think your readers will understand the need to promote products as long as there is amazing non-promotional content like trip reviews. Your last post (overdue) explained why the balance shifted the past few months, which was appreciated. Praying for your mom.

    1. PM1 Guest

      BTW, I always try to apply for cards through your links (as do others) due to the life changing value of your posts over the years.

  48. Andy Diamond

    Thanks, Ben, for this. I very much appreciate your openness and sincerity.

    Frankly, I’m not sure if clickbait is triggering real clicks or just clicks by automated engines. But I agree that you should seize the opportunity, even if the latter is the case.

    I obviously read your blog mainly because of trip reports, secondly because of your postings about promotions, status matches etc. Therefore, I’m excited that you commit to this.

    Finally, but importantly,...

    Thanks, Ben, for this. I very much appreciate your openness and sincerity.

    Frankly, I’m not sure if clickbait is triggering real clicks or just clicks by automated engines. But I agree that you should seize the opportunity, even if the latter is the case.

    I obviously read your blog mainly because of trip reports, secondly because of your postings about promotions, status matches etc. Therefore, I’m excited that you commit to this.

    Finally, but importantly, I’m glad to hear that your mother is happy

  49. henare Diamond

    I have been reading since your very early days and I finally had an opportunity to apply for a card through one of your links (although the timing was inopportune since, just a few days later, citi increased the signup bonus by 33%).

    One of the features I appreciate is that I understand some of the bias you bring to the table (I live by the rule that everything has some bias ... the...

    I have been reading since your very early days and I finally had an opportunity to apply for a card through one of your links (although the timing was inopportune since, just a few days later, citi increased the signup bonus by 33%).

    One of the features I appreciate is that I understand some of the bias you bring to the table (I live by the rule that everything has some bias ... the key is to understand where that bias lies).

    You write about many things that I DGAF about (luxury stuff, your focus on middle eastern carriers that I'll never fly, ...) but you bring more than enough utility to the table. Making money this way is not easy; that you've managed to do this is a testament to your work.

  50. Joe Guest

    Have you actually considered putting the site behind a paywall? I think you should. I would happily pay for the content with less of the banner and video ads and a lot less than of the clickbaity stuff. It's gotten tougher recently to weed through the lighter fare. Turn it into a subscription Zine.

  51. wcpierce62 New Member

    Ben, I have read your blog since close to the beginning (at least you were still in college). I have always found it the most useful travel/points/cards blog and I make many of my travel decisions based on it. I also have enjoyed and connected to your personal stories, especially travel with Ford and your parents. My wife has been fighting cancer for the last three years so I have particularly appreciated your discussions of...

    Ben, I have read your blog since close to the beginning (at least you were still in college). I have always found it the most useful travel/points/cards blog and I make many of my travel decisions based on it. I also have enjoyed and connected to your personal stories, especially travel with Ford and your parents. My wife has been fighting cancer for the last three years so I have particularly appreciated your discussions of your mom, how to travel with her, and how to travel safely and come home to her during a pandemic. I fly a lot (not as much as you) for business and I love aspirational travel as well. So I appreciate the full variety of your content. I first flew Lufthansa first class, first stayed at Ventana, first visited the SFO and SEA Centurion Clubs, and many more because of your recommendations. I have at least seven credit cards in my wallet that I found out about through you and that I got by clicking through from your site. I don't think I've ever bought a product you recommended or by clicking through your site, so I hope the miles I've sent your way with credit card apps are a fair exchange for all the value I've gotten from your blog. Keep up the great work, I hope your mom's journey through the remainder of her life is comfortable. Thank you.

  52. Tevi Guest

    I really want you to know that your site is my daily escape, and please keep it going! My daily routine before I get to start working is grabbing coffee and reading your blog. It gives me such a great pleasure that I very much look forward to coming back every day. Thank you for what you do! <3

  53. Britt Guest

    This is my go-to blog for travel topics. Keep up the awesome work, love seeing what new posts you have each day!

  54. Suzanne (PhilaTravelGirl) Guest

    I’ve been following your blog from early days and like you love airline and hotel trip reviews. That’s why I’ve sent folks to your blog and award travel bookings. We’ve met a few times at conferences and you were so generous with your time talking to attendees (something some bloggers ignore)
    As for blogging, you inspired me to start PhilaTravelGirl as a labor of love and haven’t monetized it for many reasons you mention...

    I’ve been following your blog from early days and like you love airline and hotel trip reviews. That’s why I’ve sent folks to your blog and award travel bookings. We’ve met a few times at conferences and you were so generous with your time talking to attendees (something some bloggers ignore)
    As for blogging, you inspired me to start PhilaTravelGirl as a labor of love and haven’t monetized it for many reasons you mention - trying to get massive traffic and SEO is tough one. plus i hate the user experience with tons of pop ups so I’ll likely stay under radar of travel blogs. I teach a travel for less class locally and have done tv/radio which is always fun.
    That said, when I get thank you notes, I know i helped someone discover something fun.

  55. Ron mexico Guest

    Good for you brother. Heartfelt. I’ve been reading your big forever. Always felt you were as transparent as possible. Good post.

  56. comicmuse Guest

    I think I've been with you from the start, Lucky. Back when it was just you and VFTW. Being UK and BA based, H4P is my first call every day, but you're a close second. I have really dropped my frequency on VFTW, TPG, etc.

    I love the trip reports, and most importantly - I love that you're a person and the site reflects you. Congrats on the anniversary. Here's to another 14.

  57. Fan Guest

    I have been reading OMAAT for a while, it gave me the opportunity to book around the world trip with AA and US air while they lasted. It is wonderful work that Ben has been doing. I truly enjoyed Ben’s writing and consider my time well spent. Btw, did you start blogging when AirTran run a promotion with wendy’s?

  58. Peter_Ohio New Member

    Love this blog and all the news you provide! Glad youre still writing most articles as it keeps the blog authentic.

  59. Diane Dioguardi Guest

    Ben,
    I think I have actually "been" with you for almost all of these year...thanks for the memories! You and Points Pros have remained my "GoTo" people!

  60. KB Guest

    I’ve been coming for a decade. Once millionmilesecrets sold to a corporate company you became my sole blog (other than youhavebeenupgraded, since I live in Munich and I’m guessing you like reading their Deutsche content too). I love reading your thoughts daily. I always secretly hope I run into you in MUC!

  61. Ryan Guest

    Well I feel like this article is partly stemming from my comments (and others' as well), and I have to say this context is fascinating and I appreciate you sharing. The fact that your blog is so interactive (that comments on one post very well could influence the very next post you make) is one thing that keeps me coming back here. So kudos to you, and here's to a more inspiring travel environment ahead...

    Well I feel like this article is partly stemming from my comments (and others' as well), and I have to say this context is fascinating and I appreciate you sharing. The fact that your blog is so interactive (that comments on one post very well could influence the very next post you make) is one thing that keeps me coming back here. So kudos to you, and here's to a more inspiring travel environment ahead with more stories of beauty and less stories of humans being awful to each other.

  62. Commentor Guest

    Not a fan of traveler bloggers but 100% like your trip reports and the other interesting content you find even outside the typical travel blog wheelhouse. I especially love how you'll acknowledge very critical feedback. You handle it with so much sophistication and class. Also your writings come off with sophistication and class without giving the DYKWIA feel. You are an extremely honest and kind hearted person. And I can still see that, even through...

    Not a fan of traveler bloggers but 100% like your trip reports and the other interesting content you find even outside the typical travel blog wheelhouse. I especially love how you'll acknowledge very critical feedback. You handle it with so much sophistication and class. Also your writings come off with sophistication and class without giving the DYKWIA feel. You are an extremely honest and kind hearted person. And I can still see that, even through 14yrs of evolution of your blog.

  63. David Guest

    Have to agree with some of the others. OMAAT is the best because your passion for the topic and reasonable perspective comes through. I'm not usually one to take the time to post comments, but can sincerely say that on busy days, OMAAT is the ONLY blog I make time to read. Keep it up, and keep loving what you do every day!

  64. Toys Samurai Guest

    The way I see it is, there are three types of travel reward sites:

    1) only take about the good things and never mentions the not so bright aspect of it. Like, keep saying ANA first class is so wonderful and using Virgin Atlantic miles to redeem ANA first class is even better, while at the same times, the same site would never mention or play down how difficult to find available first class even...

    The way I see it is, there are three types of travel reward sites:

    1) only take about the good things and never mentions the not so bright aspect of it. Like, keep saying ANA first class is so wonderful and using Virgin Atlantic miles to redeem ANA first class is even better, while at the same times, the same site would never mention or play down how difficult to find available first class even on ANA's own program (ex, NYC to TYO, you can usually count the total numbers of open first class seats from ANA for the entire year with just your fingers), let alone VA, which would see the same ANA seats days later.

    2) sites that keep selling short term strategy of gaining sign up bonus and downplay how to earn points from daily and necessary expenses. The fact is, credit card companies are tightening up who can earn sign up bonus (you can earn SUB only once from Amex, and Capital One would cancel your account with little notice, etc). On top of that, people who fall into this trap may end up spending money on things that that they don't really need or want.

    3) sites that do the right thing, like OMAAT

  65. Leonard Mincing Guest

    Your honesty and passion transpire over all the posts you write so, keep up with the good work, always a pleasure to read you

  66. Chris L Guest

    Thank you so very much for all your unbiased insights that really benefits the readers. You are one of the first bloggers I follow a few years back and boy have I learned so much! Thanks again :)

  67. Michael B. Guest

    You’re the best, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! I’ve been following you all 14 years, and your side business even helped me plan my honeymoon. Everyone I know who works in the travel industry (and I know many of them) follows your blog religiously. That’s because it’s genuine. Keep up the great work!

  68. Andy Guest

    Like I'm sure many people, I first got into points and miles through TPG. I discovered OMAAT when searching around for reliable airline product reviews so I could spend my points most wisely.

    Now, I almost never visit TPG. Meanwhile, yours is the first site I check every morning (kudos for being an early bird and posting 80% of your daily content before most people are awake!).

    I do still get a little "useable" knowledge...

    Like I'm sure many people, I first got into points and miles through TPG. I discovered OMAAT when searching around for reliable airline product reviews so I could spend my points most wisely.

    Now, I almost never visit TPG. Meanwhile, yours is the first site I check every morning (kudos for being an early bird and posting 80% of your daily content before most people are awake!).

    I do still get a little "useable" knowledge from OMAAT but these days I consider myself pretty elite in the points and miles game - I'm mostly just here to live vicariously through somebody who does what I also love full-time! The authenticity you bring is industry leading.

  69. guisun Gold

    The main thing is that you engage with your readers. There is a human touch about about it, while the the larger site is just content mill.

  70. Khoa Do Guest

    There is not a single day that I don't check OMAAT blogs. Learned so much and saved so much because of the blogs.

  71. UA-NYC Diamond

    Been a reader for over a decade now, well before the RS article that I think gave you your first major boost. You still have the best site & content, and you have smartly adapted during a brutal couple years for traveling generally.

    I also appreciate the fact that you are willing to moderate the comments, and block the specific ~10 or so racists/white nationalists and anti-vax/misinformation spreaders who proliferate on a couple other...

    Been a reader for over a decade now, well before the RS article that I think gave you your first major boost. You still have the best site & content, and you have smartly adapted during a brutal couple years for traveling generally.

    I also appreciate the fact that you are willing to moderate the comments, and block the specific ~10 or so racists/white nationalists and anti-vax/misinformation spreaders who proliferate on a couple other similar blogs...really sad that other leaders in the space don't realize how poorly that reflects on them.

    That being said - I get you need advertising to make a go of it living-wise (hey, we don't pay anything to come here and all)...but I hated seeing you wallpaper your site w/the Cap One background, just felt like a bit of a sell-out. And I especially detest the fact that even though each article has some interspersed ads (that I'm okay with) - ALSO have to click to close a video window to the right and a bottom banner bar as well that immediately block all the content when you load an article.

    1. Jerry Diamond

      The video thing seems to be a problem on all the Boarding Area blogs. It's incredibly annoying and I'm curious how it works from a profitability standpoint. Maybe you and I are not the audience for it, but it seems like it may be designed for an audience of ZERO

    2. UA-NYC Diamond

      Agreed. Related - while the FT site and interface is god awful archaic, at least when logged in they don’t serve you up the pop up video window. Wish Ben would do the same. Win win - get more people to register on the OMAAT site?

    3. D3kingg Guest

      @UANYC

      Your comments are highly offensive and i can’t recall any valid points you’ve ever made in the comment sections. Enjoy your empty grocery shelves in a few weeks when truckers go on strike.

    4. UA-NYC Guest

      Piss off, anti-vaxxer. Looks like your old boy 45 isn't so popular these days, boo hoo!

    5. Jim Guest

      If you don’t like comments read TPG

  72. Lukas Guest

    I just wanted to say thank you for all your work and daily posts. OMAAT is the only site I visit 365 days a year and a 1000 times better than the second best travel site. Keep up the good work!

  73. Khatl Gold

    Appreciate the article. I've been reading for years. I will say that, over the past few months, I feel the quality of articles has gone down and I'm going to other sites. Reflecting on that, I think the thing that I'm missing from your recent blog are the trips (which I love and seem to have been way too few the past six months) and that I increasingly feel like you're recycling content (maybe to...

    Appreciate the article. I've been reading for years. I will say that, over the past few months, I feel the quality of articles has gone down and I'm going to other sites. Reflecting on that, I think the thing that I'm missing from your recent blog are the trips (which I love and seem to have been way too few the past six months) and that I increasingly feel like you're recycling content (maybe to make up for the lack of trip-type articles). That said, your blog to do with what you'd like, and I'm sure there may be reasons - perhaps your Mom (hope not and that all is well), or maybe even married life :-) - either way, wanted to share my feedback. Thank you for all you have done. You've been an invaluable resource over the years!

  74. Rafael Guest

    Congratulations on reaching your 14 year milestone!
    I'm brazilian and a reader since 2018.

    I really enjoy this blog, I hope you continue do this for many years!

    P.S.: I'd love to see more reviews from hotels and airlines from South America.

  75. Greg Guest

    Ben your blog is one of the best. You are honest and thorough. What makes your blog stand out is your honesty. When something is good, you say so. When something is overhyped, you question say why you didn't like it. You also don't overstate the truth like so many other blogs. Sure AA Executive Platinum status is good, but it is not really that valuable. How many free upgrades do you actually get, and...

    Ben your blog is one of the best. You are honest and thorough. What makes your blog stand out is your honesty. When something is good, you say so. When something is overhyped, you question say why you didn't like it. You also don't overstate the truth like so many other blogs. Sure AA Executive Platinum status is good, but it is not really that valuable. How many free upgrades do you actually get, and when do you instead just purchase for a couple dollars more a seat in first. Or how do you use the couple of system wide upgrades. Same with hotel status, you don't go saying that as a Marriott Platinum you will always get a suite. You may or you may not. The only real guarantee is free breakfast and extra points.

    Even more important you do what you love in life. How many people can really say they love their job. Unfortunately not everyone. It is clear you do and it comes out in this blog. I like your trip reports as you point out the little details that are important that make the hotel or flight special.

    Don't worry about your fewer trip reports. Glad you have spent so much special time with your mom. To be honest, trip reports the last two years have not been as important as Covid has ruined so many of the little things that were special about travel in the points and miles community. Covid had closed many lounges, reduced services at hotels and on flights. Limited the comfort and special services of business class especially on long haul flights. To me the trip reports were a valuable read as I learned about the perks that I could expect as either an elite program customer or flying in a premium cabin. With many perks gone temporarily a report was not as important.

    The limited travel I did the past two years was pretty blah. Closed lounges, no or only cold food on flights. Limited service at hotels. Additional costs with Covid tests. Major closure of attractions and services. It's no wonder you didn't want to write trip reports.

    Keep up the great blog. Look forward to what I think is a turning point in Covid and a turning point in your excellent blog.

    I hope your

  76. Ko Guest

    Your buddy at Livefreeandletsfly is the master of clickbait titles and sensational stories. Props to Matthew for understanding what sells, but his posts come off as inauthentic compared to what you provide. Keep doing your thing Ben.

  77. Ismael Guest

    Ben, we really appreciate you and your blog. I've been a reader since 2009 and truly you have changed my life and I'm sure countless other's lives. We would have never been able to travel to where we've gone to or experience the things we've experienced without you introducing us to the world of travel "hacking". You are one of the very few blogs I still follow and always appreciate your authenticity and honor.

  78. Quo Vadis Guest

    @Lucky -- Been a reader of this blog since (around) 2015. On an overall basis, you consistently produce the most (in both quality and quantity) useful travel-related content. Even your reviews of "far out" destinations like the Maldives can be interesting to peruse even if the odds of us actually traveling there are extremely low. So thank you for your efforts here.

    While I've used various credit card signup links over the years, yours have...

    @Lucky -- Been a reader of this blog since (around) 2015. On an overall basis, you consistently produce the most (in both quality and quantity) useful travel-related content. Even your reviews of "far out" destinations like the Maldives can be interesting to peruse even if the odds of us actually traveling there are extremely low. So thank you for your efforts here.

    While I've used various credit card signup links over the years, yours have been the largest share. Your articles on the Capital One Venture X were among the first and led the pack (in both quantity and quality), so my VX card is through OMAAT.

    And to your point about each travel site offering a unique angle, how's "Waldorf" Winston doing? Don't your loyal readers deserve an update with some new pics of your loyal furry buddy? :-)

  79. Chris Guest

    Ben - another rare commenter chiming in here. Your blog is by far the #1 blog in the travel landscape. Always enjoy reading it and trust your perspective. I hate to contrast it to others because the quality is not only relative but absolute. But there are definitely others whose opinions shift with the winds. You have a consistency that I appreciate. Thanks for all you do! It must take a ton of work and I'm glad you can pay the bills with your passion.

    1. Joe Guest

      Have you read TPG
      Their blog worth a click
      Especially posts by Andrew

  80. David Diamond

    Which is why I've never criticized the content of your blog even if it doesn't interest me. Internet is tough business, and not all content revolves around me (or any individual). Hope other readers will give you more leeway going forward, or at the very least stop whining about free content that they are free not to click into.

  81. John Guest

    Lucky,

    Can't say I'm a HUGE fan of your blog. I do read it and enjoy it. And I totally get the need for some credit card posts that pay the bills.

    However, I will say this: I do love your trip reports. While you sometimes border on the over-detailed, you most def have your very own angle. And while I sometimes find the reports very detailed, those exact details sometimes come very handy when...

    Lucky,

    Can't say I'm a HUGE fan of your blog. I do read it and enjoy it. And I totally get the need for some credit card posts that pay the bills.

    However, I will say this: I do love your trip reports. While you sometimes border on the over-detailed, you most def have your very own angle. And while I sometimes find the reports very detailed, those exact details sometimes come very handy when researching my own trips (and using one of the products you reviewed).

    I do notice "purists" on FT are sometimes very critical of you as well as VFTW. But overall, you're running a fine blog. All the best.

  82. Robin Guest

    OMAAT has always been the #1 travel blog for points and usage. I just feel the website resign and COVID really set it all back. Other sites now are starting compete more and more and so if things continue you might get knocked off the #1 spot for me. Live free and lets fly for example.

  83. Donna Diamond

    I’ve been reading you for many years and even now during the dark days of the pandemic, still read all your stuff everyday even if it isn’t the fun stuff I got hooked on in years past. I’ve changed a lot about the way I travel, and I’ve been doing it regularly for decades, as a result of the fine content you’ve provided over the years. I even read your 29 credit card story yesterday...

    I’ve been reading you for many years and even now during the dark days of the pandemic, still read all your stuff everyday even if it isn’t the fun stuff I got hooked on in years past. I’ve changed a lot about the way I travel, and I’ve been doing it regularly for decades, as a result of the fine content you’ve provided over the years. I even read your 29 credit card story yesterday and learned some new stuff.
    Keep doing what you’re doing, change is good in the long term even if we don’t realize it at the moment.

  84. Ricardo Guest

    I’ve been following you since 2014, as I was preparing for my year abroad in college. Still an active reader on Monday-Friday. Your sight has been so insightful, and has helped me establish a ridiculous amount of points and miles! Scouring your site now, to make sure I get the best value in redeeming!

  85. Niko_jas Guest

    I check your blog every day and have done since at least 2012.
    I came for the airline reviews and stayed because what you say makes sense and is relatable and the good stuff is worth a few clickbait articles.
    I appreciate you're not selling out when it would be easy to. That it's your passion and not just a job is what sets your blog apart.

  86. Ziggy New Member

    I love this post, Ben. I may follow your lead and write my own (less well-put) version of this.

  87. otis Guest

    Thanks for all you do Ben. You're honesty is unique, and I wish more of the blogs were like yours. I especially appreciate you staying away from stories about the latest example of bad behavior - this morning's "Shocking: Woman Kicks Baby In Face On Flight To Barcelona When He Won’t Stop Crying" from another Boarding Area blog was an especially low point. Knowing that some bloggers are making money off of stories like this...

    Thanks for all you do Ben. You're honesty is unique, and I wish more of the blogs were like yours. I especially appreciate you staying away from stories about the latest example of bad behavior - this morning's "Shocking: Woman Kicks Baby In Face On Flight To Barcelona When He Won’t Stop Crying" from another Boarding Area blog was an especially low point. Knowing that some bloggers are making money off of stories like this must be hard for you to see when you're providing your readers genuine stories about just miles and points! Here's to your 14 years, and hoping you'll keep doing everything just the way you are now for the next 14.

  88. Petri Guest

    I don't follow many blogs but OMAAT is one definetly one my favourites. Thank you!

  89. Paul Guest

    Been following your blog since 2007. Thank you for guiding the travel community all these years.

    I agree that the people (especially in the comments) have gotten a lot louder and toxic over the years. I know it's easier said than done but try to ignore the negativities!

    Don't feel the need to express both sides to any viewpoints every time. Just be unapologetically yourself :)

  90. magice Member

    I do want to take this opportunity to thank you so much for this blog. It usually makes my day (here is my routine: wake up, deal with the little one, send the little one to daycare, check OMAT, get on with work). Yes, I realize it sounds really cheesy, but sometimes cheese is good, right?

    Also, I want to say that I love your mix of (for a lack of better words) content. I...

    I do want to take this opportunity to thank you so much for this blog. It usually makes my day (here is my routine: wake up, deal with the little one, send the little one to daycare, check OMAT, get on with work). Yes, I realize it sounds really cheesy, but sometimes cheese is good, right?

    Also, I want to say that I love your mix of (for a lack of better words) content. I enjoy the trip reports and the reviews, of course. But I also love the occasional (during your grounding period, mostly) travel- and airplane-related news and commentaries. And I love the personal take on many products. My point of comparison would be The Points Guy and View from the Wings. TPG got... hugely commercial these days. Their writing and content no longer have the personal "yeah, that's is what I think; maybe with a pink lens, but it's still what I think" and into "GO GET THIS GUYS!!!!" View from the Wings to wayyyyyyyy to political for my taste these days. I get that it's their blog, but I can use a bit less "DOWN WITH UNION" and more of "yeah, I disagree, but whatev'" Of all the blogs, I love yours (and Live and Let's Fly) best.

    So keep up the good work! Sometimes I wish I can help out more with your finance, such as clicking your ads more. But best of luck!

  91. Ian Berry Guest

    I read your blog fairly religiously as I really think you have great insight into the world of points and miles which is my main hobby. You are also a fantastic writer - funny, informative, and personable. I rarely comment but I truly enjoy reading your blog almost every day and just wanted to thank you for being a highlight of time spent online. Keep up the good work!

  92. BT Guest

    Ben, I rarely comment, but wanted to say that I always really enjoy your site, and it’s why it’s one of the few (only, really) miles and points blogs that I visit nearly every day. You have a great style of writing that makes it enjoyable to read, and I like hearing your thoughts on various travel topics, and even reading about your life and your evolving travel style over the years. Hope you plan to keep writing for many years to come!

  93. LVairbnbhost Guest

    What makes OMAAT so special is you. You put yourself squarely in front of all of us, you're honest, you're generous, you don't hide vulnerabilities, and you're a genuinely nice guy. I'd be lying if I said I fear the day you say the blog has been sold, and a post like this gives me some comfort that that won't happen (not that I wouldn't be happy for you to get a big ole payday!)....

    What makes OMAAT so special is you. You put yourself squarely in front of all of us, you're honest, you're generous, you don't hide vulnerabilities, and you're a genuinely nice guy. I'd be lying if I said I fear the day you say the blog has been sold, and a post like this gives me some comfort that that won't happen (not that I wouldn't be happy for you to get a big ole payday!). Keep it up, and I (hopefully along w a lot of us) will continue to use your affiliate links whenever possible. It's the least we can do for what you do for all of us.

  94. JeffFromSD Member

    Ben,

    I don't really comment much (or at all), but I have been a reader for years (10 years now). I have always appreciated your blog and I feel that you always have an honest and fair perspective on things in the travel and miles/points community. The one thing that I do try to do is use your referral links when I apply for cards. Hope that every little bit helps.

  95. dale m Guest

    The helpful content on travel blogs has changed a lot in ten years or so. Some of that early specific advice was a result of so many opportunities with the airlines and credit card companies trying to generate business in bouncing back from those recessionary times.

    Interesting comments on the clickbait. Most of us who’ve been around a while have some sense of where that’s coming from (and perhaps pointed at). When it’s a...

    The helpful content on travel blogs has changed a lot in ten years or so. Some of that early specific advice was a result of so many opportunities with the airlines and credit card companies trying to generate business in bouncing back from those recessionary times.

    Interesting comments on the clickbait. Most of us who’ve been around a while have some sense of where that’s coming from (and perhaps pointed at). When it’s a recurring theme on a site, you just quit going there.

    This is one of only 2-3 blogs I now read with any frequency, others having sold out in their various ways. Rationalize as you will, but the NYT article on a particular “points” blog recently generated a tidal wave of negative comments about the superficial and self-serving content. People get it, and really do appreciate analytical and helpful articles. Hope you’ll kep up the good work as long as you can and as long as it’s interesting and fun for you!

  96. Darin Guest

    Since you’ve voluntarily opened the cloak here, I have some questions that I’d love for you to address, all with the understanding that this is your business and I respect that you can choose to share whatever you like.

    You don’t mention credit card affiliations and how much of a factor that is for your business. It clearly drives some of your content and there’s nothing wrong with that. Like clickbait, I can read or...

    Since you’ve voluntarily opened the cloak here, I have some questions that I’d love for you to address, all with the understanding that this is your business and I respect that you can choose to share whatever you like.

    You don’t mention credit card affiliations and how much of a factor that is for your business. It clearly drives some of your content and there’s nothing wrong with that. Like clickbait, I can read or ignore what appeals to me. The Capital One Venture X launch content was overwhelming for example. I’m sure part of that was your genuine belief that it’s a great card (I agree), but I feel like the overwhelming positivity and lack of some critical analysis was driven by your business relationship. I mentioned this in a post you wrote yesterday about your 29 open cards: very few people with that kind of profile can get a Venture X, so it seems like you get special consideration and don’t disclose that or address the issue, just as an example.

    In any case, I applaud you for being open about the business of the blog. It’s nice to see that you’re open to some transparency as you’re under no obligation to anyone to tell us why you run it the way you do.

    1. John T Guest

      Ben I've been a loyal reader of your blog for years. You are successful because you are good at what you do. You have probably reviewed more airlines and hotels than anyone on the planet and that is your unique proposition that keeps readers coming back for more.

      I have noticed some big changes in OMAAT in the last 12 months:
      1. A lot more "passengers behaving badly" videos you write about with the...

      Ben I've been a loyal reader of your blog for years. You are successful because you are good at what you do. You have probably reviewed more airlines and hotels than anyone on the planet and that is your unique proposition that keeps readers coming back for more.

      I have noticed some big changes in OMAAT in the last 12 months:
      1. A lot more "passengers behaving badly" videos you write about with the same intro of "I rarely post this stuff, but...". Your actions speak otherwise.
      2. A huge shift in hotel reviews from points and miles properties anyone with the right credit card can book for free, to four figure ultra luxury properties most of your readers would never stay at. Other than driving traffic to Ford's booking service I don't understand why you keep covering these.

      Neither of these changes are wrong - you can run your blog however you want, I just wish you would be more transparent about this. The focus of OMAAT has changed quite a bit and that's fine, just be honest about it for your loyal readers.

    2. Anon Guest

      Strong agree about the shift to ultra-luxury hotel reviews being noticeable and unwelcome. Maybe I'm just not that much of a hotel guy, but the tone of those articles explaining how paying over $1,000 a night for a room is somehow a good deal is nuts to me. Such content is only useful to a tiny sliver of very wealthy (or financially reckless!) readers.

    3. LarryInNYC Gold

      @John T Honestly, I feel this blog had backed off the "passengers behaving badly" content to some extent. There's still some, but it seems to be less than previously. And, reading between the lines of this post, I think Ben is admitting that some if that is intended to drive new/viral traffic and not for regular readers.

      As for the hotels, I personally like the reviews even though I have no particular aspirations to visit...

      @John T Honestly, I feel this blog had backed off the "passengers behaving badly" content to some extent. There's still some, but it seems to be less than previously. And, reading between the lines of this post, I think Ben is admitting that some if that is intended to drive new/viral traffic and not for regular readers.

      As for the hotels, I personally like the reviews even though I have no particular aspirations to visit these kinds of places. It's perhaps not surprising that Ben's focus has changed a little after his marriage, and he's always been focused on luxury travel.

    4. GoAmtrak Gold

      Ben is actually pretty realistic about the limitations of certain cards or the opportunity costs versus other cards. My beef with the CC content is that he does not disclose that his affiliate link isn't always the best publicly available offer, nor does he bother to mention cards he can't monetize. I know it's a key revenue stream but it's the one thing that hurts his otherwise stellar credibility in this space. You have to...

      Ben is actually pretty realistic about the limitations of certain cards or the opportunity costs versus other cards. My beef with the CC content is that he does not disclose that his affiliate link isn't always the best publicly available offer, nor does he bother to mention cards he can't monetize. I know it's a key revenue stream but it's the one thing that hurts his otherwise stellar credibility in this space. You have to go to Doctor of Credit or Frequent Miler to see all of that. I wish I could get all the CC info I need here, but I can't.

    5. henare Diamond

      Eh. It is always up to the consumer to do the legwork before selecting a card to apply for and an offer to use. It's unreasonable for Lucky to chase this down for everyone.

      It's ok to do your own homework.

  97. Nima New Member

    Great post, Ben. As a Loyal reader since 2008, I still remember your post-graduation plans of working for Star Alliance. Ahh, those were the days. Can't believe all that time spent mileage running back then. Anyhow, looking forward to many more years to come.

  98. Ryan Guest

    Absolutely love OMAAT and keep the amazing content coming. I'm an independent travel writer myself and recently made the switch from focusing on my own travel blog to writing for one of the larger sites, as I just couldn't monetize my own blog given the saturation. For me it's a side-hustle, but I can't imagine how hard it would be to rely on an independent travel blog for full-time income given the competition.

  99. Eric Guest

    Interesting take on the industry.

    I've previously been critical when the blog had an omerta on anything climate change related, but I've appreciated that you been engaging on the issue from 2019 on (Gary also to a lesser extent).

    Personally, I'm no longer interested in traveling for the heck of experiencing a business or first class product, but congratulations on maintaining an independent and interesting voice in this space.

  100. Clem Diamond

    I've been reading this blog for years now and have gotten tremendous value out of it, along with a couple others. I went from not even having a credit card to traveling a few times a year on tickets that I could never afford or hotels I could never imagine staying at. So first of all, thank you! And thanks also for giving us a candid explanation on those clickbait-y posts (and other types of...

    I've been reading this blog for years now and have gotten tremendous value out of it, along with a couple others. I went from not even having a credit card to traveling a few times a year on tickets that I could never afford or hotels I could never imagine staying at. So first of all, thank you! And thanks also for giving us a candid explanation on those clickbait-y posts (and other types of posts and the value they generate), the transparency is appreciated.

    The only odd statement to me is that you say you don't care how much the blog makes, or how many readers you get, but it is paying your bills and it is no secret that you are really well off thanks to it. Don't you keep an eye on that stuff to keep things going in the right direction?

  101. FlyingHippo Guest

    There is so much I never would have known about, or even thought possible, had it not been for OMAAT. Yes the landscape has changed, but when I see a post I don’t care for, I tend to skip it. Regardless of if I value it, I know your time when into it so there’s no reason to be hateful.
    I have a trip to the Maldives later this year (QSuites) for a milestone...

    There is so much I never would have known about, or even thought possible, had it not been for OMAAT. Yes the landscape has changed, but when I see a post I don’t care for, I tend to skip it. Regardless of if I value it, I know your time when into it so there’s no reason to be hateful.
    I have a trip to the Maldives later this year (QSuites) for a milestone birthday where I’m staying at the Four Seasons. It’s still a bucket list item but without all the knowledge I’ve gained over the years, there’s very likely no way I would have been able to make that happen.
    Sincere thanks for all you’ve invested your time in!

    P.S. - Have you thought about a Patreon or the like? I know I’d be more than happy to spend a few $$ a month to support the travel and again, your time.

    1. LarryInNYC Gold

      @FlyingHippo Despite Ben's "aw shucks, I don't even know how much money the blog makes" he's doing very, very well. A Patreon account wouldn't move the needle.

  102. Doug Guest

    I think there are enough people who want quality content without the clickbait that someone as experienced and professional as you or Gary could go to Substack and put out subscriber-only content and do well. I would pay to get the info I am looking for without any fluff.

    1. GoAmtrak Gold

      Or create a Patreon and offer exclusive content there. Maybe bring back Ben & Tiffanie's happy hours for subscribers. Pay extra and get ones with Winston too!

    2. Dan Guest

      I would happily pay $100/year for a OMAAT substack with trip reports!

  103. Tommy O Guest

    You are easily my favorite points/travel blog. I started reading TPG, View from the Wing, and OMAAT ~7 years ago, when I first got into consulting. And, I can genuinely say that OMAAT is the only one that has continued to have a fair/clear/honest/relatable voice. And, it also helps that you aren't a major self-obsessed d-bag like one of the other sites... cough, cough.

  104. THEsocalledfan Guest

    Ben,

    Funny thing is when I started hacking in 2011, I didn't get your focus on trip reviews......now, as a seasoned hacker, you are my go to when I'm considering different products. Please keep them rolling!

    If I was going to offer a suggestion, keep teaching the art of redemption. You are a master, but find myself going to frequent miler more and more. That has always been some of your absolute best content.

    Keep up the great work, Ben.

  105. Kevin Guest

    This is still the #1 go to travel blog for me because of Lucky and his posts. I basically stop visiting other blogs because their content is terrible and/or only used to generate clicks for ad revenue.

    VFTW - Gary is just posting stories about masks, AA flight attendants refusing to work, etc. to generate outrage and clicks.

    TPG - nothing needs to be said about this "blog" disguised as a marketing arm for its...

    This is still the #1 go to travel blog for me because of Lucky and his posts. I basically stop visiting other blogs because their content is terrible and/or only used to generate clicks for ad revenue.

    VFTW - Gary is just posting stories about masks, AA flight attendants refusing to work, etc. to generate outrage and clicks.

    TPG - nothing needs to be said about this "blog" disguised as a marketing arm for its parent company.

    LALF - Matthew is still a douche.. At least he still travels and posts travel reviews unlike most other blogs.

  106. Katie C. Guest

    @Ben & OMAAT team,

    I read your blog every day and I like it so much better than TPG . I just find your blog a lot more trustworthy, everyone is giving their honest opinion whether if it's a credit card signup, a flight or hotel stay. I can't say the same about other bloggers trying to push whatever cards or hotels they get commissions on. I know it's hard to make money off...

    @Ben & OMAAT team,

    I read your blog every day and I like it so much better than TPG . I just find your blog a lot more trustworthy, everyone is giving their honest opinion whether if it's a credit card signup, a flight or hotel stay. I can't say the same about other bloggers trying to push whatever cards or hotels they get commissions on. I know it's hard to make money off blogging, and I've used every CC signup link on your site for myself and all my family & friends. I hope it helps to keep it afloat somewhat.

  107. steven kapellas Guest

    Lucky, I appreciate your honesty and that is one of the major reasons I enjoy OMMAT.

  108. Alex Guest

    Keep on keeping on! I've looked forward to reading what you and Gary have to say each day for close to 10 years, and happily alternate between you both on the sign ups when I decide to add a new card.

    Cheers to another 14!

  109. Drew Guest

    I totally enjoy OMAAT. I get so many ideas from you. I learned a lot of information in the past. But now, blogs have mostly become entertaining for me as a source for new destinations and hotels. Press on.

  110. Evan Guest

    @Lucky currently sitting in the lounge at SEZ after a great round birthday stay at Mango House. About to enjoy 20 hours of EK F travel back to the US! None of it possible without OMAAT and what I’ve been able to learn from you over the years of reading. Keep it up and look forward to more trip reports!!!

    1. jeffers New Member

      Hey Evan, my wife and I are staying at Mango House in June for a week...how was it??

  111. Never In Doubt Guest

    Surprised you’re not more focused on the numbers.

    Not surprised you take the trips/fly the flights/stay in the hotels because you find it fun. I can’t imagine you could do this if you didn’t enjoy it.

    Best of luck going forward.

  112. wpr8e Guest

    This is exactly the post I hoped you would write. Honesty goes a long way.

    Good job

  113. David Guest

    Delighted that you are continuing with your hobby!

  114. Millennial Miles with Mike Guest

    Interesting commentary and very insightful as I’m currently trying to grow my own blog. Like you mentioned I’m not ever expecting to make money off of it because I love doing it

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Paul Guest

Been following your blog since 2007. Thank you for guiding the travel community all these years. I agree that the people (especially in the comments) have gotten a lot louder and toxic over the years. I know it's easier said than done but try to ignore the negativities! Don't feel the need to express both sides to any viewpoints every time. Just be unapologetically yourself :)

7
LVairbnbhost Guest

What makes OMAAT so special is you. You put yourself squarely in front of all of us, you're honest, you're generous, you don't hide vulnerabilities, and you're a genuinely nice guy. I'd be lying if I said I fear the day you say the blog has been sold, and a post like this gives me some comfort that that won't happen (not that I wouldn't be happy for you to get a big ole payday!). Keep it up, and I (hopefully along w a lot of us) will continue to use your affiliate links whenever possible. It's the least we can do for what you do for all of us.

7
magice Member

I do want to take this opportunity to thank you so much for this blog. It usually makes my day (here is my routine: wake up, deal with the little one, send the little one to daycare, check OMAT, get on with work). Yes, I realize it sounds really cheesy, but sometimes cheese is good, right? Also, I want to say that I love your mix of (for a lack of better words) content. I enjoy the trip reports and the reviews, of course. But I also love the occasional (during your grounding period, mostly) travel- and airplane-related news and commentaries. And I love the personal take on many products. My point of comparison would be The Points Guy and View from the Wings. TPG got... hugely commercial these days. Their writing and content no longer have the personal "yeah, that's is what I think; maybe with a pink lens, but it's still what I think" and into "GO GET THIS GUYS!!!!" View from the Wings to wayyyyyyyy to political for my taste these days. I get that it's their blog, but I can use a bit less "DOWN WITH UNION" and more of "yeah, I disagree, but whatev'" Of all the blogs, I love yours (and Live and Let's Fly) best. So keep up the good work! Sometimes I wish I can help out more with your finance, such as clicking your ads more. But best of luck!

6
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