Extra Income Series: I’m a Frequent Flyer Mile Redemption Specialist

Hey everyone. Today I bring to you the next edition of my “Extra Income” series. If you would like to be featured, please send me an e-mail. Other hustles in this series include: I Run a Resume Business, I Help Businesses Create Online Campaigns, and I’m a Creative Web Entrepreneur. I’m a frequent flyer mile redemption specialist. I…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 26, 2023

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Extra Income Series: I’m a Frequent Flyer Mile Redemption Specialist Hey everyone. Today I bring to you the next edition of my “Extra Income” series. If you would like to be featured, please send me an e-mail. Other hustles in this series include: I Run a Resume BusinessI Help Businesses Create Online Campaigns, and I’m a Creative Web Entrepreneur.

I’m a frequent flyer mile redemption specialist. I offer assistance to people to redeem their miles for flights to destinations such as Paris, Thailand.

Most of my clients are either time deprived to research possible options or don’t know what’s possible with their bank of frequent flyer miles. That’s where my service, iflywithmiles.com comes into the picture.

 

How did you get started with your side hustle?

I started by acquiring a domain name, but when I registered the domain name, I had no intentions of starting a frequent flyer mile redemption service.  I was compelled to register a domain name because a frequent flyer mile program was running a lucrative promotion where you earn miles for certain activities and one of them was registering a domain name through an internet service provider.

Without giving much thought to the name, I simply came up with the first thing that came to mind related to frequent flyer miles.

Months later, one of my colleagues and I were chatting at work and he expressed a desire to learn HTML and CSS. My mind was thinking about utilizing him to make a web site that would serve a purpose. I asked him if he would be interested in making a site for a service that I would like to offer. He offered to do it for free despite offering to pay him.

 

What got you interested in this job?

I’m knowledgeable and passionate about miles/points.  With the combination of this passion and my engineering like mindset, the thought process of putting together an itinerary is something that doesn’t discourage me like it would to most folks.

I figured I could offer this service for those that are time deprived or don’t want to tackle it on their own. In addition, there’s always some little nugget of information about the frequent flyer mile world that I learn had I not started this service.

 

Tell me more about your services?

I typically get a request from a client stating their frequent flyer mile account balances, desired travel dates, and destination.  With this information in-hand, I can determine if their trip is possible and what they can expect in terms of connections, cabin, and the number of miles required.

Once they understand what’s involved, I start piecing together an itinerary and run it by them. Once they agree, I go about booking the itinerary. After they’re all booked that’s when I expect payment for my services.

 

What sets you apart from your competition?

I have a passion for travel and often times have traveled to the destinations my clients wish to go.  In some cases, I have first-hand experience on the destination and have a realistic idea on connection times based on my own personal experience.

 

What has surprised you most about owning a business?

I’m surprised how fast word spreads based on referrals from clients.  I’m also surprised about the willingness of past clients to provide testimonials.

 

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a small business owner?

Just own it and do a stellar job with each client based on their needs and the dividend pays off from past clients referring your service to other friends and family members.  I’ve also learned not to rely on SEO to drive traffic to your site.  Google’s SEO algorithms change constantly and overnight certain key words could lead to different results.

 

What are the start-up costs?

My start-up costs are low. I think I paid $10-$20 for the domain registration.  I already had a hosting plan from my travel blog.  The web design cost me nothing thanks to a colleague at work.

 

What’s the most positive thing about your side job?

The most positive aspect is the self-rewarding feeling that you’ve made a trip possible for someone where the memories and experiences will last a lifetime. I also love reading the kind words that past clients write about my service when a new client asks for a reference.

 

What are your business goals for the upcoming year?

My goal for the upcoming year to is maintain a positive client relationship while gaining new clients through referrals.  I also have big travel plans for 2014. One of which, has me driving a car from London to Mongolia.

 


Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Sounds like an awesome business! I can attest to the fact that most people simply don’t have time to research all the miles/rewards programs and figure out which to go with. There was a couple of travel credit card rewards programs that I just started that I wish I had started a year ago. The reason I didn’t do it earlier was simple: lack of time to research.

  2. Cool side hustle! I am just now getting into the “travel hacking” world and hope to learn a bunch about it myself.

  3. Great business model. I just started getting into travel rewards, so I am eager to see where it takes me. I like your plan to drive from London to Mongolia. Sounds interesting!

  4. MBM

    The London to Mongolia trip sounds amazing. Be sure to post pictures if you end up doing it!

    1. Yes, it will be an epic adventure.

      I’m actually in the UK right now buying a car and storing it until the start of the Mongol Rally.

  5. WOW. Sounds like an amazing trip! Will you spend the majority of it in Russia, or do you have plans to go through Kazakstan?

    And, speaking from the experience of someone who has been wrangling with spending airline miles when I don’t have enough for a flight (and trying to find hotels and car rentals that will work for the amount of miles I have), I’m sure your services are greatly appreciated!

    1. We’ll be going through Kazakhstan and Russia.

  6. I’ve heard so much about travel rewards credit cards lately, it’s something I really have to start doing. If you’re using your credit cards regularly and paying them off in full there’s really no reason not to sign up for the rewards cards. Who doesn’t love free travel?

  7. Hi Mike,

    I was just reading the article on your mileage redemption expertise! I think services like yours are valuable especially for people who do not know the ins and outs of getting your hands on award flights — and most people belong to the category :O

    We’ve developed a tool that might help you be an even greater expert when you redeem miles for yourself and your clients: http://www.milez.biz

    Basically you can enter any city pair and select any frequent flyer program and see how many miles will be required for redemption … quite simple. You can compare the programs side-by-side too.
    So if you end up flying to Mongolia instead of driving, the frequent flyer miles costs from London can be seen here:
    http://www.milez.biz/en/list_rates.php?f=LHR&t=ULN

    Cheers
    ph

    1. Thanks for letting me know about the site. I did play around with it and found somethings useful. Like displaying the programs side by side, what would be extremely helpful is displaying which programs will allow you to book one-way awards. I’ll keep the site bookmarked.

  8. Thank you Mike, that is a good comment. We don’t have one-way rates on the system simply because it would be too much work to collect all of those as well. However, it makes sense to at least have a note that indicates how one-way rewards are handled (if at all).

    Thanks for the feedback!
    ph