When people learn that my blog is my career, they usually ask how I make money. I answered that question several years ago (My job? I blog. Here’s the answer to your next question…), and the answer is the same today. Others are curious about what a typical day is like for me “on the job.” Well, yesterday was as typical as it gets so let me describe it…
Pick a topic
While taking the dog for his morning walk, I was thinking about how I recently helped a few friends to get cheaper or better flights. In each case I found completely different solutions. My mom needed a one-way, non-stop Delta flight that would have cost over $400 or ~30,000 Delta miles for economy. The solution? Virgin Atlantic showed award space, but only in first class. At my suggestion, she booked the first class Delta flight for 22.5K Virgin Atlantic miles (and she completed the point transfer from Chase plus the booking all by herself — I’m so proud of her). Next, a friend-couple needed an inexpensive round trip domestic flight. No problem, I have both the Ritz and CNB cards, both of which offer the Visa Infinite Discount Air Benefit ($100 discount on domestic round-trip travel for 2 or 3 people). I booked the flight and they paid me back. In another case, I suggested to a friend that they sign up for the Alaska credit card in order to use the companion ticket that comes with it in order to get to Hawaii. I can go on and on.
After reflecting on the above, I decided that I would write a post with a list of ways to save money or miles on flights. The idea would be to simply list all of the options one should check to see if there are discounts available. Examples, include cheaper partner awards, companion tickets and discounts, AA reduced mileage awards, hidden city ticketing (with lots of cautions), etc. Cool! I had a great topic for the day.
But first, one little thing….
As I thought more about the list of discount options, I remembered that I had posted a guide to travel companion tickets a while ago. And, I remembered that we had recently posted about the Virgin Atlantic credit card getting a new companion ticket option with $25K spend. I decided that I’d spend half an hour updating the companion ticket guide first and then write up my post. After all, companion tickets will be a key option in the list of ways to save money or miles.
So, I opened the Complete Guide to Travel Companion Tickets in the WordPress editor with the goal of adding the new Virgin Atlantic companion ticket. But I noticed right away that the American Airlines section was out of date. So, I started reading up on the latest changes with the Barclays Aviator cards. Then I realized that we hadn’t updated our credit card database with these changes. So, I updated the AA section of the guide and our credit card database.
After taking a break for lunch, I went back to put the final polishing touches on the companion ticket guide. But, wait… the guide was also missing the discounts that come with high spend on the Iberia and Aer Lingus cards. I didn’t remember much about those discounts, so I had to research them. My reaction? Wow, the Aer Lingus companion ticket is useless for most of us (only valid for economy flights between the US and Ireland and only on Aer Lingus), but the Iberia $1000 discount could be useful for anyone who buys tickets (for more than one person) with Iberia. I started wondering about mileage running with this discount, but had to force myself back to the task at hand.
After a late afternoon snack, I remembered that I had promised a reader to add credit card annual fee information to the companion ticket guide. I did that by linking each section to our card database in order to show a full summary for each relevant card. This took longer than it would have to simply type in annual fees, but it’s a great solution because it will update automatically when we update our database as card details change.
By late afternoon I had finished updating the companion ticket guide. After dinner, I answered some emails and blog comments, and called it a day. The post I had intended to write (a list of ways to save money or miles on flights) would wait for another day.
In summary, a typical day goes like this: I decide on a topic, realize that writing that topic requires doing something else first, and then I spend all bloody day doing that something else.
I realize that it may sound like I’m complaining, but I’m not. I love what I do. It just takes me 10 times longer than it should.