60 Seconds with AA frequent flyer and milepoint member "horseguy".

60 Seconds with AA frequent flyer and milepoint member "horseguy".

FlyerTalk and milepoint member “horseguy” passed the 10 million mile mark on American Airlines last year and is well on his way to 12 million miles. To commemorate the event, he and a guest were invited to Seattle for three days to meet AA executives, tour the Boeing plant and be on the inaugural flight of the airline’s second 737 aircraft. He unfortunately was unable to attend the event, but appreciated the invitation. He earned over half of his miles from Bank Direct and the other half was a combination of hotel point conversions, FTD (nearly 500,000 miles from flowers alone), credit card spend and about 10 percent from flying.

InsideFlyer
How long did it take you to earn 10 million miles?
Horseguy
It took about seven years from the time I joined AAdvantage until I passed the 10 million mark.

IF
Now that you’ve earned 10 million miles, do you have any other milestones you’d like to reach?
Horseguy
Not in terms of miles. The 10 million goal came about because of the movie “Up in the Air”. The other thing that makes it very unlikely I will ever change my mind about that is the recent change to the AAdvantage million miler program. Since most of my miles come from activities other than flying, my Program to Date counter still can go up, but my million miler counter will not. Since the Program to Date counter doesn’t seem to be used for anything anymore, that takes the fun out of it for me.

IF
What do you like to redeem your miles for?
Horseguy
My wife and I have redeemed most of our miles for travel for friends and family. It’s wonderful being Santa Claus to our extended family!

IF
What is one of your most memorable travel experiences?
Horseguy
There are two experiences that really stand out and they both involve travel with miles. The first was actually the only time we’ve used miles on ourselves. On pretty much the spur of the moment, we got together with an old friend from college and my sister in London. That took 750,000 miles (three AAnytime awards in first class), but it was an incredible weekend.

The other experience that stands out is using slightly over a million miles to fly in extended family from all over the country to Grandpa’s birthday party. His health was declining fast, and we all felt that it would probably be his last birthday. Grandpa, and everyone else, enjoyed it immensely. Grandpa passed away about 12 weeks later.

IF
You’ve been involved on milepoint with generating support for Kiva. What is it that you like about Kiva?
Horseguy
I view Kiva as trying to break the cycle of poverty. There is this horrible thing called a poverty trap. I’ll illustrate this with an example that happens quite frequently in the U.S. Say you have a 30-year-old refrigerator. It works fine. The catch is that it uses about $250 a year in electricity to run. A modern refrigerator will only use about $50 a year in electricity. So, if you spend $500 on a new refrigerator, it will pay for itself in two and a half years, and then you will be $200 a year wealthier every year after that. A poverty trap is when you have the money to pay the $20 a month for electricity, but can’t come up with the $500 all at once for the new refrigerator. This kind of poverty trap is very common throughout the world, and Kiva really helps to break people out of this situation.

IF
Many members have said that you are an inspiration–both for earning 10 million miles and for giving out over 10,000 Kiva loans. Has anyone inspired you to set large goals for yourself?
Horseguy
Not really. I just love numbers, so why not try to do things that make cool numbers happen?

IF
Do you have any advice on how others can achieve their travel goals?
Horseguy
Read milepoint! Ninety percent of what I know about how to accumulate points and miles came from websites like milepoint and FlyerTalk. In my opinion, there is simply no better information resource out there for travelers.

IF
What’s the story behind calling yourself horseguy?
Horseguy
I am involved in the thoroughbred racing industry.

IF
If you could give a traveler new to business travel one piece of advice, what would it be?
Horseguy
Join the loyalty programs! I’ve seen too many travelers not join the loyalty programs and miss out on incredible perks and discounts.

IF
Do you also have big points balances in a hotel program? If so, which one? Why stay with that particular hotel group?
Horseguy
Yes, I am closing in on a million Starwood Preferred Guest points. I particularly like the SPG program because SPG points are the most valuable hotel program point. For people that accumulate a good number of points from credit card spend, the program is wonderful. The thing that cemented the SPG program for me is their incredible outreach on FlyerTalk and milepoint (the Starwood Lurkers). They really have shown all the travel companies how this kind of thing should be done.

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