Monday Morning Miles Talk – My 100th Post

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My 100th Post

Monday Morning Miles Talk is a regular series that has some smaller, more quirky ideas to kick off the work week.  These are essentially random ideas that I wanted to share with you.  Here are the previous entries.

My 100th Post

This entry in the Monday Morning Miles Talk is going to be a little different because this post will be a celebration of sorts for me.  This is my 100th post on Miles to Memories…give or take one or two posts :). I thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect on my journey so far.  I also wanted to take some time to give you a little background on myself.  Since Shawn hasn’t fired me (yet) I thought this would be a good time.  And since Haley C. had suggested how I got into miles & points as a post idea in our Facebook group I thought I would combine the two.

My Background

I started getting into miles and points a little over 5 years ago.  But my story of how I got there starts a few months earlier.

I had quit my job the a few months before discovering miles and points to be a stay at home dad. We wanted one parent to stay at home with our kids and my wife, working in the medical field, had better hours and a better chance at increased wages. I was a regional service director for an industrial linen service at the time.  Industrial linen is kind of a family business so to speak, my father has worked in it for over 30 years.  It is a tough business with demanding hours. At that point I was burnt out and was just unhappy with my work situation overall.  It made the decision on who should stay home pretty simple.

For any stay at home parents out there I appreciate what you do. You probably don’t hear that enough…it is important work. Maybe the most important work you will ever do!  Many outside our lucky group don’t understand the joys and PAINS that come with being a stay at home parent.  My son is now in Kindergarten but I still have a daughter attached to my hip daily (2 more years, 2 more years lol).  That makes writing these articles a little more interesting, and FRUSTRATING, some of the time haha.  Toddlers know how to distract you if nothing else :).

My 100th Post

How I Discovered Miles and Points

Being a stay at home parent kind of lead me into the miles and points world.  I was looking for ways to trim the budget and increase our savings.  That is a tall task when you just eliminated 50% of your earnings.

One thing I am glad we did when we made the decision to have one of us to stay at home was we started living on one salary immediately.  We used my salary over the next 9 months to pay off anything we could, including both cards.  We also started plugging whatever we could into savings.  This gave us some time to adjust to our new household income.  It also allowed us to accrue some savings for the upcoming baby.  Child birth hospital bills are no joke so be prepared.

While I was wandering around the web trying to find deals etc. I stumbled across Mr. Money Mustache.  He has some interesting thoughts on savings and budgets etc. We were not prepared to go to his extremes but he does gives some good tips and things to think about.  He had mentioned getting $500 from Chase for signing up for a credit card.  I was immediately intrigued.

Up until that point we had put most of our bills on a Flexperks Visa.  We originally had the Northwest Airlines card but were product changed to Flexperks when Delta absorbed the airline.  I signed up for the Northwest card on a flight to Vegas because they were offering a sign up bonus for a free flight.  With the Flexperks card, I was earning 1-2 free flights per year from our regular spend. Which I foolishly thought was pretty good at the time.

I signed up for a Chase Sapphire Preferred a few days later and that kind of kicked it off.  Unfortunately I cashed out the points at one cent a piece (I still wake up in cold sweats over it lol).  I moved onto a Citi ThankYou Preferred card and got $250 in gift cards for signing up.  Not a great decision either but that one doesn’t bother me as much. I had saved my family $750 and I was hooked. That is when I started digging deeper and learning what a fool I was.


Getting My Bachelors In Miles and Points

As I was researching cards for my next sign up bonuses I stumbled upon blogs reviewing different credit cards.  I started to see the value you could get when you used the points for travel instead of cash and gift cards.  I was reading for hours every night.  My nights were spent gaining knowledge and planning future trips I had never thought were possible.

My start of course began with the mega blogs.  The Points Guy, Million Mile Secrets, and One Mile at a Time. Not a great look now but I think that is where most people end up starting out their journey.  And to be fair their content 5 years ago was a lot different and offered some good insight versus what it is these days.

After my new found knowledge I signed up my wife for the CSP next. We correctly used the points to book hotels and points!  And we were on our way.

My 100th Post

Getting my Masters in Miles and Points

I moved on from the “beginner” blogs when I started looking for more detailed content. I was looking for ways to gather more points outside of just sign up bonuses.  Gift card reselling was the first thing I got in to.  Man I miss getting portal pay outs and eBay bucks on gift card purchases.  Not to mention buying gift cards with discounted eBay gift cards…those were the days!!!

This search led me to a lot of the blogs I still frequent today.  I stumbled across Frequent Miler which led me to Miles to Memories, because this guy named Shawn Coomer was putting out some good content there and I realized he had his own blog too :).  I think I spent one night reading every one of the articles about his family living abroad.  If you haven’t read the stuff yet you should – it is as interesting as it gets!

I also came across Doctor of Credit who led me to Miles per Day and The Free-quent Flyer with their round up articles.

By reading these sights I discovered more and more ways to increased my spend.  Slowly but surely I started to become more confident in doing things others would consider crazy for the sake of miles and points.

100th Post Reflection

Now that I have given you guys some background on myself I would like to take a second to reflect on my 100th post.  I have immensely enjoyed working at Miles to Memories and getting the chance to interact with all of you.  Whether it be in the comments of my articles or via our Facebook group. It has been a blessing for sure.

It has been a learning process but I think I get a little better at it each day.  I thank you guys for sticking with me through the growing pains.  I have had some very successful articles so farSome very unsuccessful ones, thanks to all 48 of you who read it haha.  And I have even had a NY Times employee troll.  This job never gets old and it is something that I am truly passionate about which makes it a pleasure to do.  It is a rarity these days to get to do something that you truly love…I feel very lucky because of that!

The thing I enjoy most about this gig is getting to interact with the 3 people I work with.  I guess you could add in that PDX Deals Guy too lol. Just kidding PDX!  It is nice to get to share the love of this hobby with a group of people who are just as passionate.  I know my family is sick of hearing me talk about it, especially my wife :(.  She doesn’t seem to mind the insane trips though lol.


I hope you guys have enjoyed reading the first 100 posts as much as I have enjoyed writing and sharing them.  I look forward to bringing you the next 100 and beyond.

Words can not express how much I appreciate Shawn Coomer giving me the opportunity.  Thank you to all of Miles to Memories’ valued and loyal readers for your warm welcome and great, thought provoking comments. Lastly, thank you to the rest of the Miles to Memories team for putting up with my sarcastic sense of humor and constant Gifs as well!!


Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. Congrats Mark! It’s been enjoyable reading your content, including this post. Always interesting to read how people got into the hobby.
    Just saw this post now, a bit delayed 🙂


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