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Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m originally from Waco, Texas, but am a proud graduate of Texas A&M University and feel most at home either at my mom’s house or on the Texas A&M campus. I’m a single guy living in Dallas and trying to see as much of the world as I can. For my real job (not a full-time blogger and not sure I ever want to be one) I’m a financial software consultant and make people’s lives easier with our software.
How did you first catch the travel bug?
My grandmother strongly believed in traveling, so we took family trips to Hawaii and abroad as early as 6 years old. But I guess you could say I recaught the bug in 2009/2010 when I stumbled upon a blog called View from the Wing and started getting into the points game.
Do you have a favorite hotel or airline? Are there any elite statuses that are important to you?
My favorite hotel isn’t a hotel, it’s a B&B in Hallstatt, Austria, called Gasthof Gruner Anger. Simple room, good value, and man the view is tough to beat. If we’re talking big hotel chains, I generally try to stay at Hiltons simply because I have Gold status through a card and get free upgrades. If I’m using my points I’ll tend to stay at a Hyatt though, I love their properties!
Living in Dallas, you can fly any airline in the entire world! As long as it’s American, that is. I don’t really have a choice, but have grown to like American despite everything they do to try and push me away. I briefly held Executive Platinum status and it went directly to my head (“AHEM, FLIGHT ATTENDANT, HOW TERRIBLE DO YOU THINK IT IS SITTING BEHIND THAT CURTAIN IN COACH?!” “Ok I’ll be quiet”), but that’s long gone. These days I tend to float between Gold and Platinum status (and am about to requal for Platinum through Feb 2016 this weekend)
How do you get most of your miles and points? Credit card signups, manufactured spending, or (gasp!) actually flying?!? (Or other)
I do some very simple manufactured spending, I’m just not organized enough to do anything else! I have a Bluebird card and do an online payment thing and that’s about it. I’ll get a credit card bonus every once in a while, but the days of me carrying 14 cards at once are long gone, too much work to keep track of everything! (PWaC: No doubt – MS can be a ton of work. I have a bunch of cards, but don’t do a ton of MS besides what’s needed to get the signup bonuses)
Any exciting trips past, present or planned? What have been some of your best mile or point redemptions?
Let’s see, last April for my 30th birthday I took 5 days and traveled around the world in a variety of First Class cabins, including Lufthansa, Singapore (Suites Class), Singapore (First Class), and Cathay Pacific (PWaC: One of the things on my travel bucket list is to do an itinerary like that where I go around the world). It was an unbelievable trip and I enjoyed every second of it. As far as my favorite destination goes, New Zealand is up there if not #1, but I someday hope to own a small cottage in a place called St. Gilgen in Austria.
Tell me a bit about your blog? What made you decide to start a blog? How long have you been blogging? Do you have a posting frequency or idea of when readers can look for new posts?
Well, way back in 2012 I took a trip to Israel with my brother, still one of my favorite trips ever. When we got back, everyone was saying things like “how was it?” “tell me everything!” and “hey, how about that money you owe me?” so I decided that I should put everything in one place and just send everyone there. Having a blog generally encourages people to do more things that will work as a blog post, so I don’t really know why but I kept writing. In July 2014 I joined the Prior2Boarding network of travel blogs (I think they had meant to send the invitation to someone else but it was sent my way instead) and, by their metric, I officially now have a successful blog!
I don’t post with an alarming degree of regularity, but try to get at least 3 posts a week with one of those being a longer form post with lots of pictures. You can expect some sarcasm, hopefully less cynicism, good pictures (some great ones), and an optimistic outlook on life. Life is both too short and too long to go through it unhappily, after all.
How can we learn more about you – blog link / facebook / twitter / email / other
My blog is www.andystravelblog.com (I couldn’t think of a more creative title) and I post lots of pictures to my instagram, which is @realandyluten.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you or your blog?
One of my favorite posts, thankfully also one of my most popular, is about traveling with grace. I’ve never been proud of how rude I’ve been to someone, even if they deserved it. Let’s all be gracious to those in the travel world and the world around us! (PWaC – No doubt that’s very true, though when people are rude, it can make for good stories though 😀 )