Why I Don’t Tell Friends & Family About The Miles & Points Travel Hobby
I no longer tell friends & family about the miles and points travel hobby. I used to try. It’s just not worth the effort any longer. I’ve given up on trying to explain this hobby to people, and I lead a more peaceful, less frustrated life now. Here’s why I no longer tell people I know about the miles and points travel life.
What I Used To Do
When this was all brand new to me, I tried to tell everyone! I’d post pictures of our awesome trips and write things like “We paid only $17 for this trip! If you’re interested in finding out how, let me know!” Guess how many people ever asked. It’s a number between 0 and 2. Take a wild guess on whether there was a 2nd conversation after the first inquiry.
Don’t get me wrong. Lots of people have asked me “How do you travel so much?” It’s usually accompanied by something like “are you rich?” or thinking I work for an airline, etc. Formerly, I tried to start explaining the details of this hobby in response to this question. After a blank expression and turning off their ears in the middle of what I was saying, the response always was the same. “OK” and walking away.
I’ve realized that people want an answer that’s 1 sentence at the most. They don’t actually want to understand, they just want a headline-length response. If it’s too long for a tweet, it’s too long for their interest.
Example 1 – My Family
I made some real effort to get my parents into this hobby. To be fair, after lots and lots of effort, they did finally open some credit cards and took a trip to visit my wife and I in South America. However, that took TONS of effort. Through the process, they always forgot to use my referral links. I managed to get 15,000 Hilton points out of the entire process.
They also didn’t follow my advice pretty much…ever. My dad busted 5/24 with a department store credit card and a Costco card. My mom accidentally busted 5/24 by opening a credit card she didn’t know she was opening. And my parents still ask me quite regularly if we are drowning in credit card debt from doing all of this. (We aren’t!)
My sister once asked my parents how my wife and I keep flying business class and staying in fancy places while my wife is in school / I’m the only one working. My parents mentioned something about my use of credit card points to her. I sent her a text message with a short explanation and offered to tell her more, if she was interested. She replied that she didn’t want to ruin her credit. Since then, she’s mentioned to my parents that she thinks this is probably illegal and wonders if the police will show up to arrest me for opening all these credit cards.
Example 2 – My Friend
I tried really hard to get a friend of mine into this hobby. He has a good-paying job, but he and his wife have 2 young kids. I figured that earning some miles and points would help them travel, since traveling with kids adds extra expenses. I wrote some basic info in an email, told him it’s actually not bad for your credit, etc. He wrote back saying, “I make good money. We can afford to travel more once the kids can walk on their own.” We’ve never talked about it since. It’s not worth chasing people who don’t care.
What I Do Now
Nowadays, I don’t tell anyone about this hobby. If people ask me, I give a really short response. “I use points I earn from opening new credit cards, and then I travel for free using those.” If the person says literally anything other than “Wow, tell me more!” I don’t say another word. Any response other than that means the person won’t do the work required to get into this hobby and actually open a credit card to get started. That’s especially true if you have any hope of this person using your referral link for the application!
That’s how I got into the hobby. I saw a friend doing tons of travel and asked him what the story was. He mentioned that he opens credit cards, gets the points, and then opens another. I asked for more info, and that was that. After doing this for a few years, I’ve realized that this is a hobby for those who find it on their own and then seek out a Facebook group for more info. 99% of the time, evangelizing this hobby isn’t worth the effort. Twisting people’s arms just creates awkwardness and usually goes nowhere, so why risk the arguments?
It’s not worth beating someone over the head for 6 months to get 1 credit card referral bonus. If they’re not interested on their own, you’re not going to make them interested. Plus, trying even harder to sell it makes this hobby sound like a cult. It also makes it sound like maybe it is illegal if you try to oversell it. You just come off like a snake oil salesman. High-pressure sales turn people off, to be honest.
Getting into the miles & points travel hobby has really changed my life and my wife’s. We’ve done things we never dreamed of. This hobby is awesome and fun and interesting. However, most people aren’t genuinely interested once they find out it takes the slightest bit of work. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not worth my effort to try to force people to be interested if they aren’t. Referral bonuses can be awesome, but I won’t put months of work into chasing one. I’d rather spend my time without those headaches. If people are really interested, they’ll show it. If not, I don’t tell my friends and family about this hobby.
What about you? I’m sure I’m not alone on this.