Up in the air


Have you seen George Clooney’s movie “Up in the Air”?  If not, it’s definitely worth the price of the rental.  Clooney plays a character who is paid to travel the country to fire people.  He loves the elite perks that come to define him, but his career and lifestyle is threatened by a new development in which video conferencing is used for the “you’re fired” talk, instead of in-person meetings. 

In March, my life imitated art when I walked into my company’s Cisco TelePresence room to meet with my boss via video conference.  He informed me that due to the latest round of reorganizations, my job no longer existed.  To be fair, he delivered the message himself instead of hiring Clooney, and the TelePresence room was way more life like.  It was more like how James T. Kirk speaks with Klingons and other villains “on screen”.  Afterwards I felt like yelling “Khaaaaaaan!” (see Star Trek II if you don’t get the reference).

Actually, while the news was a shock, I wasn’t really unhappy at all.  I’ve been tinkering with this blog for the past 8 months and I’ve really enjoyed it despite not having enough time to give it my full attention.  Thanks to the latest company reorg, I now have 8 months of severance pay to safely call myself a blogger and see if the old “if you build it, they will come” philosophy works with blogs as well as baseball fields. 

Business plan

To see whether I could make a career at blogging, I drew up a little business plan.  I started with a target monthly salary for 8 months out.  It would be less than what I was making at my prior company, but enough to comfortably live off of.  My goal was to earn 20% of that target in month 1 (April), 30% in month 2, 40% in month 3, etc.  So far, I met my goals in April (woo hoo!), but time will tell how I do going forward.  I’ll check my targets each month.  If I miss a target, I’ll have time to try to do better.  If I’m way off target 6 or 7 months from now, I’ll brush off my resume and start looking at alternatives. 

Making money

People often ask me how a blog can earn money.  There are two primary sources for me: ads and credit card links.  Thanks to you reading this post right now, I just racked up a penny or so from ads (thanks!).  And, if you use any of the links on my credit card pages to sign up for a card, I’ll make even more.  As I promised a while ago, I won’t put credit card links directly into my posts unless the post is slated to become a permanent blog page.  But I do maintain a few useful permanent pages with credit card links including Preparing for Miles and Best credit card offers.  If those pages are missing a card you would like to sign up for, please let me know.

What’s next

The content and format of this blog seems to be working pretty well so far, so I have no plans to change things.  Instead I’ll spend a bit more time planning and writing my blog posts, and I’ll do more experiments in the Frequent Miler Laboratory.  The ultimate goal, of course, is to find the perfect perpetual point machine


It’s been a long time since I’ve had a job that I truly love.  So, I’m thankful to my prior company for giving me this chance!  Even more, though, I’m thankful for every reader who gives me a chance each day by reading my posts!

What do you think?  Is this insane?

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[…] than a year later, this hobby became my career.  In the 2012 post “Up in the Air,” I […]

[…] This may seem like an idiotic business approach to some, but I believe it has served me well over the years.  I’ve heard from many readers who appreciate the fact that I provide unbiased advice and that I’m not pushy about card sales.  In return, they tell me that they always use my links and that they always recommend me to friends and family.  The proof has been the fact that this business has thrived and grown almost from the first month in which the blog changed from a hobby to a career (see this May 2012 post: Up in the air). […]

[…] to live off of.  In 2012, though, I made the leap (with a little push from my then-boss, see: Up in the air) from a long term corporate job to full time blogger.  Since then, I’ve consistently earned […]

Kareem Knueppel

I am not sure where you’re getting your information, but great topic. I must spend a while learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for excellent information I used to be searching for this information for my mission.


best read of my day too. keep it up good sir!

[…] end of my job.  In May I told readers that I would give full time blogging a try (see “Up in the air“). Then, in October, I declared that, so far, this blogging gig was working out fine.  […]

[…] everything elseHow I earned over 1 million points and miles in 6 monthsMileage running, from homeUp in the airWhy Chase cancels accounts (and how to protect yourself)Vanilla […]

Tim M

Hi FM, as a fellow Ann Arbor resident I hope all is well with you and your family. I was wondering if you have an update to this blog post?


Tim M: Thanks. It’s always good to hear from other Ann Arborites! I will writeup and update soon. Things are going well.

[…] that I’m on my own work-wise (see “Up in the air”), earning elite status the old fashioned way is no longer viable.  I no longer have someone […]


I am new mileage collector. I’ve bookmarked a few of popular blogs. But your blog is the most impressive one among all. Best of luck! I will use your links to apply credit cards.


I love the laboratory studies, keep it up! Your blog went from one I barely noticed to a must read in the past few weeks so I think it’s working for you. Good luck!


Good luck in the new venture. Just one bit on grammar, I think you meant “So, I’m thankful to my FORMER company for giving me this chance!”

Keep up the good work.


Congratulations! Sometimes I wish someone would fire me so I could escape the rat race and etch out a living on my own. Your blog is by far the best miles/points site out there. You provide a great service with all of the “experiments” and info on your site, and I hope you’re successful.


Good luck with the new/old gig. I was laid off a few years ago and should have taken the opportunity at the time.

Don’t forget the ad portion of the business, including google adsense. I know it’s not exactly get-rich-quick, and I can attest to how difficult it is to get people to click ads (I think most of the clicks on my blog are from people who do it accidentally!), but a few bucks here and there doesn’t hurt. Also, given your readership, you should have a higher hit number. Statistics that I have seen indicate that about 1% of visitors click an ad. Not a lot, but every bit helps.


Congrats man! You are one of two of my favorite blogs out there and I’ve picked up some very useful info since I’ve started following you. You’ve also been kind in supporting the charity I work for and I appreciate that. Though you’re (bloggers in general) getting some nonsense flak on FT (from what I assume is really just a very vocal, very small minority of silly hypocrites) right now, keep your chin up and keep sharing your knowledge. I, for my own part, will support you (and the other blog) via referrals every time I can.


Thanks everyone!


I too am overwhelmed with bloggers but always catch yours and Million Mile Secrets for original content. Good luck !


As the other Steve (Jobs) put it, “You have to find what you love.”

Keep up the great blog.


Your original content will carry you.

Blog on, my brother!


Thanks, everyone, for the well-wishes and advice!

rich (arizona)

Personally I think we are at the peak of cc miles and bloggers going full time. So many are just passing on the same info and several I have deleted (Momma Points, Frugal Guy). Even View from the wing has gone downhill.

I have a lot of sympathy regarding the job situation. Fortunately I’ve avoided that situation but I’ve seen too many others who haven’t.

Good luck with things and hopefully you can pursue different topics that causes your blog to last.


Sorry to hear about your news. I love your blog. Keep up the good work and look forward to seeing more of your content. I can relate to your situation since I am in the same boat. Things happen for a reason and usually it leads to something good.


Good Luck!


Oh, and if it was me, just to be safe, I would probably start looking for a “day-job” or part-time job or consulting gig now, just in case you don’t hit your goals. Hopefully, you won’t need to take another job, but at least you will have choice and power, and can be more selective, instead of “needing” a job fast, if you miss your goals. I know this advice runs counter to the advice of “just do what you love and the money will follow”, but I think it’s important to “trust, but tie up your camel”.


I’m stoked for you. You are my favorite blog. Million Mile Secrets is a close second. You are both authentic, transparent, and have good ideas.

As my way of saying thanks for your work, and helping you in your new transition, you are welcome to share the US Bank VisaBuxx idea we spoke about a while back, if you want.

I appreciate that you respected my request to keep that deal confidential. I’m getting a little tired of going to the ATM every single day, so it won’t be the end of the world if the deal gets killed.

I’m happy for you, and I’ll help you in small ways when I can, like using your links and sharing ideas.

I bet you’ll continue to come up with great ideas, especially since you have more time to experiment now.

Pat O

Very jealous and EXTREMELY excited. I’m confident if your content/attitude stay consistent with the way you are now you will do great!

Peter S

I just noticed that a lot of your readers have been using the term PPM. Did you realize that you have just coined a term in the miles/points world that will be used over and over again. Not a lot of bloggers can say the same. You will be doing just fine in the blogsphere. I think many people would love to hear you speak in October.


Very Jealous! Good luck. Love reading the blog everyday.


Best of luck my friend!


Cisco thing and 8 MONTHS severance? ? I’m really curious what company this is because apparently they are bleeding $$ out the @$$. (but not enough to keep you employed lol.)


If you love your job you’ll never work a day in your life!


Your a great guy
Hope all goes well for you
Insecurity sucks…the feeling
I suggest to have or keep a workout routine to help keep your mind clear


Great…so you can pay for lunch from now on and you can expense the whole thing;-) I can give you ideas non stop. Here is one: sell PPM T-shirts with your logo!!

I will soon become the mayor in foursquare in our local Office Depot by the way:-)

Good luck, give it your best shot and it is amazing what can happen. If you go back to a regular job, you would have no regrets…and that’s what life is all about, living with no regrets. And no I am not regretting I never got into this blogging thing years ago…maybe when i retire in a few years!


Good luck with full time blogging. I have not participated very much with your experiments other than an occasional gift car purchase using UR mall links but I intend to participate in the pre-paid PPM. And as @john mentioned the revenue from your blog may be sufficient now but at some point it may not be enough. So do keep that in mind and I wish you well.


I had to get the Ink Bold after reading about all the great opportunities for UR points. I wish you all the best and hope to use one of your links in the near future for the next greatest card scheme.

Phil Gold

no its not insane! Good for you!
I quit my job as a network consultant 5 years ago because i was working 80 hours weeks and hating it! Now i do my real passion, youth outreach, and while i still work 80 hour weeks and far less money i love my job and life is good 🙂
Best of luck!


Insane? well maybe not insane…but.
I am a very new reader to your blog, and yes everybody does wish you the very best on your new endeavor … although I am thinking of it more as your latest endeavor.
I am a senior citizen, and about the last thing I would want to do is write a blog. I can see why your blog is getting attention. It’s good. But my first read of the day is still the Frugal Travel Guy. Writing a daily blog can be demanding after a while; and FTG has gotten taken some potshots over that lately. A newer favorite of mine is Mommypoints, and she is one of the well wishers on this thread. I was surprised that I could ever get interested in a blog by a young woman traveling with a kid. But I believe Mommypoints is now a fulltime blog, and it is intersting to watch this very competent blogger balance the need for new posts to the blog with the kid/family theme of the blog. (and, eventually the whole thing might transition into traveling with a rebellious teenager; which could be interesting reading.)
I respect the people who believe the do what you love and money will follow. However, I expect people to respect my belief that “involuntary separation” from a job is never a good thing. Since 2008, I’ve had a number of coworker “involuntarily separated” from their jobs. It becomes about how the individual is able to land on their feet. One coworker(late 40ish) spent through his life savings and his home went into forclosure before he finally found a job this spring that pays the bills. Interestingly enough, the one pedestrian skill that he had landed him the bill-paying/butt-saving job as a forklift driver. And, I think he is probably happier in that job, than those of us “left-behinds” at the old work place.
So I think you can probably guess where I’m going. Enjoy your new gig; but don’t forget about the eternal “day-job”.
I never purchased a CD until the day I rented a car that didn’t have a cassette player. I went from active on FT to active on MP, back to FT; and now back to occassionaly on MP.
I don’t even own a player for my cassettes any more.
Enjoy it while you can, because things change; and my very best wishes to you that you land on your feet. 😉


Rooting for you succeed. I’ll certainly use a few of your links next time I ready for some apps.


the other thing you can consider is adding a paypal link, or other online payment system for people who want to sponsor you without signing up for credit cards. I know of other non-travel blogs that have a system set up for voluntary contributions for people who value their work.


FM, do you get revenue when the blog is read on something like Google Reader without visiting your site directly? I just want to make sure you get Ad revenue for that, since I do find your blog the best for quality vs. quantity. This really stands out in Reader when I see 15 new posts in another travel blog and see they have no added value and see two in yours both with new and relevant information. Keep up the good work.

Million Mile Secrets

Congratulations! You’re already great at this, and I’m looking forward to when you find that perfect PPM!


Congrats and good luck!. I look forward to reading your (and your other fellow points bloggers) posts. May I suggest you offer your services for booking award travel using your in-depth knowledge for a fee. It’s something I’ve been considering paying for…


Good luck with your new venture!


You’re awesome!! Your blog is so different from the others. Your original and valuable content really stands out! Keep up the great work. I support you 100%!

Jimmy @TravelByPoints

No, it is not insane. This is what is meant to be. Ditto what mommypoints said – there is no need to dust off the old resume. You will continue to be great at this. All the best!



You are my favorite blog. My caution would be to be careful to not fall into the trap of writing non-stop about credit cards now that your income is more dependent on it. I don’t think you will, but I think that is the beef with other blogs you see on flyertalk. Just keep featuring cards in “schemes,” and folks will get interested and link to it from you. That is legit in my book. (You should make a fortune on Ink referrals alone!)

Keep the same content, keep being innovative, and keep finding way to helping us all out. You have not yet found the perfect “machine” but if you stick with the format and content of this blog, we will keep coming back. You have seperated yourself by being innovative and original. I have mined a ton of points due to you from the ebay/walmart scheme, to Inking money, to going to Office Depot this coming weekend. Keep it up!

(And I’ll let you know about that other experiment I am working on…..)

Debbie Schroeder

It was great meeting you breakfast in the club lounge at the FTU. Best of luck with the full time blogging. 🙂

Thanks for the transparency about the ads. Now that I know that you get “a penny or so from ads” for reading, I’ll try to stop by several times a day vs just once.

Just a little way to show my appreciation and say thanks for all the great tips and additional points. 🙂

Mark T

“two,” not “too”

Mark T

Best of luck, but please, don’t be boring.
There are blogs run full-time out there that I won’t name, but which are entirely too prominent, in which there’s very little added value. The bloggers post stuff that could easily be found elsewhere on the forums earlier in the day, or they write their fifth monthly post about how great the Sapphire Preferred is, or they give another set of rhapsodies about and pictures of an empty Lufthansa cabin that, frankly, I don’t give too sh*ts about.
In other words, keep finding new and innovative deals, and we’ll keep coming back (and clicking your links).
Oh, and I agree with the above poster: you and Daraius focus on getting info to readers that is very useful. For that reason, you and he are still in my RSS feed and the others aren’t.


You have become the first blog that I read everyday. I read about 10 blogs but you are the best. Most of the other blogs have become salesmen for credit cards.


Good luck on your journey you have a great attitude. I think you should self-publish an E-book on the best travel credit cards (it’s easy). I self-published a book earlier this year and it’s a very (personally) rewarding experience. You won’t get rich from it, but it would be an excellent way to add blog readers. It also gives you even more credibility as an expert in your field. Good luck!


Good luck with the blogging and I’m sure you’ll do fine and even find some time to take a vacation with all the points that you have accumulated. =)


just remember to give credit where it is due if you find info on a deal on one of the public message boards. too often times I see bloggers “pimp” other blogs about a deal when it was really posted on FT or MP several days prior.


Keep up the great work and stick with it!!!


Very excited for you! The best decisions can come from these types of situations, and you are clearly making the best of the situation. (though that teleconference room thing sounds freaky to me!) I can’t wait to see what PPM you come up with next. There will be no need to dust off the old resume – full time blogger it is!


I wish you all the best. I have earned so many miles and points which otherwise I would have missed so easily. I think I can easily declare you the king of ultimate rewards.

Ryan from MA

Good stuff man!…urs and Daraius’ blogs are the best!




Your blog has quickly become my favorite for two reasons….you don’t actively push the credit cards in our face and you always have content about how to extract the most points out of any deal, which is exactly what I think we are all trying to do. If you can make this work financially, then by all means go for it and keep the great content coming. If you keep the same format you’ve had in the past, I’m sure you will be successful!


I think you’ll do great as you offer a different perspective and area of expertise than any of the other travel blogs. @tracey has a good suggestion though, a glossary of acronyms and terms for beginners might be nice (the one on FT is hard to navigate and a bit bloated IMO).

Good luck with this adventure!


I often scratch my head struggling to ascertain what many of the acroynms on these blogs stand for – That said . . . BOL!


Best of luck! You have a distinct niche and a clear voice in your blog. You should do fine.

I’m excited to think there will be even *more* great content on your blog now 🙂



Congratulation on the positive attitude and moving forward. This read make my day. Thanks.


i enjoy your blog because its fresh and original. be careful and dont become a whore like the others….just look at FTG and lucky, coming out with blog entries about the same damn card on the same day and with not points or miles involved….pretty obvious whats going on there!


Do whatvyou love most. You’re blog has become the first to read. Support you!


If you keep up the original content, you’ll have. I trouble meeting your goals. Your posts are almost always different and more creative than the other bloggers, so your blog has become a must read!


Follow your passion, and I am sure you will succeed!
You have a great niche in the blogosphere. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help!


Totally agree with what Kim said. You seem to be on your way to making this your full time job!

Bobbi Shaftoe

Wow, best of luck, man. I’ve earned lots of points from reading your blog. I’ll throw a little something your way on my next app.


Do what you love and the means and money will follow! Good luck and congrats on doing what you love to do! Blog on!