Let Me Thank You

Thank you. Thank you for stopping by to visit my blog. Thank you for commenting and sharing you experiences. Thank you for the e-mails — expressions of your own thanks, but also your questions, I love answering them and working through puzzles with you, and I love knowing when I’ve contributed in some way to you.

Similar to last year I thought I’d take the Thanksgiving opportunity to express my thankfulness for each of you that reads my blog and interacts with me throughout the year. I’ve said this many times before but I really do consider myself one of the luckiest people, and certainly much more fortunate than I could have ever imagined.

I was a semi-frequent flyer as a young child. My parents divorced when I was young and I flew back and forth between the coasts. I remember boarding planes and looking at first class cabins — not imagining who would pay so much more for the seats (and back then it really was a lot more), and knowing that I would never be one of those people.

And of course I haven’t ever paid for international premium class travel. At least until last year, when I bought a China Eastern business class ticket but that cost me less than $100. And a flydubai business class ticket, which cost me less than Emirates coach. (Of course that doesn’t include the countless mistake fares or the British Airways sale that used an AARP discount and either Chase discount or miles-as-payment promotion.)

I’ve been fortunate to travel the world, and to do it in the sort of comfort I couldn’t have imagined. I’ve stayed in remarkable places, met remarkable people, and I’ve seen and experienced interesting things — none of which I could even have imagined growing up or at the beginning of my professional life.

At about age 5 I had family move to Australia. I remember flying American Airlines to visit them — back when they flew Honolulu – Sydney with a DC-10. Continental flights to Australia were cheap back then too.

When I finished college and moved to the East Coast for work, my family gave me frequent flyer miles to come home for holidays. I remember burning my grandfather’s British Airways miles back when you could get peak holiday domestic travel on American Airlines at the saver level.

From a young age I learned that:

  • Travel was how you stayed connected to family
  • Miles were how you showed someone you cared, especially if you weren’t very good at saying it.

I started this blog in 2002 when I was first documenting my own learning. I wasn’t an expert. I had only 5 years of elite status under my belt. But I knew more than many, and I did get lots of questions about miles and points and it seemed interesting to people. I knew others who were blogging and I thought I had a unique voice to offer (it was mostly political blogs back then). And yet looking back through the archives of earlier posts I didn’t have much of a voice at all!

I’m also deeply shy, which some people can find off-putting when I meet them (thinking that by not being outgoing with them I must not be interested). The written form has allowed me to connect so well with many. And I’m grateful for those connections. This hobby has enriched my life in so many ways, including less obvious ones.

This blog has done that for me as well. In many ways it’s still the same personal blog I first started, I write and share what is interesting to me. I usually write as though no one is reading, and I’m shocked when I get a call from an airline’s communications shop because a C-level executive is unhappy with something I’ve said.

Now there are just a whole lot more people reading the blog than when I started and I appreciate each and every one of you. Even the ones that are trying to insult me! (Here’s what I’ve learned about growing a blog and making money online.)

I don’t always have as thick a skin as I should, but I try my best, because each and every reader has something to teach me or challenge me. And the positive feedback touches me deeply.

So thank you. Thank you. I look forward to continuing to share this journey together, and I appreciate this opportunity to reflect — and to acknowledge.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for all you do. Your tips have certainly enhanced our travel since we started following your blog.

  2. Bravo!!! This is lovely! I feel the same way about how fortunate I’ve been to travel the world in style. And much of that fortune is a result of sharing trip ideas with you!

  3. I think this is my 5th year regularly visiting your blog Gary.
    I learned a lot from your blog and was able to explore the world utilizing the information I learned from your blog.
    Thank you and have a great Thanks Giving.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving !!! Echoing the sentiments of others, your blog and a few others have educated me allowing travel internationally in comfort and saving on domestic travel. I have shared your blog with countless other people in my travels. Thank you for your post and taking the time to respond to personal emails and messages.

  5. Thanks Gary, you’ve been my entry into the mileage world and my entry into frequent travel (with and without using miles!). It means a lot and your tips, tricks and sage advice has gotten me to more places for less than I ever thought possible. Have a great Thanksgiving! You deserve it!

  6. Incredibly grateful to you. Your blog has been a transformative experience. Thank you for everything you have taught me. More valuable at this point in my life than almost everything I learned in over 20 years of formal education.

  7. So thankful for this blog and introducing me to the hobby, Gary! It has made traveling so much more enjoyable for me, my family and friends.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Happy Thanksgiving – as an industry expert, I am thankful today for your blog! I love reading your posts for the simple reason that you’re authentic and a real person, like us, your readers. You’ve worked in and still work in the corporate world and live the not-as-glamorous-as-everyone-assumes road warrior lifestyle and this blog is your side gig and not your sole existence. You don’t let an unusual 6’5″ plus height and machine-driven popularity give you an inhumanely oversized ego with a large helping of arrogance on the side, while pushing credit cards and letting a VC firm fund your hiring of a hodge-podge of staff, interns and pretty gentlemen callers who have their own agendas. And you’re also not a trust fund kid whose never worked a real job in his life yet is now a self proclaimed expert on everything from caviar to champagne to airline network planning and economic decisions airlines are faced with. There’s only a handful of bloggers around who I respect so kudos to you for what you do and for teaching me — someone with 20 years in the industry in all sorts of roles.

    And my apologies to your “competitors” for my snarky views on them and their musings from the pedestals on which they perch.

  9. Many thanks Gary for the thoughtful holiday greetings and exceptional reporting on your first-rate blog. With 60 plus years of air travel, I agree flying is an extraordinary and rewarding experience! Keep up the great work!

  10. Keep up the good work. Thanks to your blog, vacations are more economical and the logistics are greatly simplified. By learning a little bit at a time, I am more confident when I plan and purchase travel for me or my family. The credit card advice is timely. And your site gives customers a voice with airlines, hotels, and banks. So thank you for your time and energy.
    One day I will ask a question if I can’t figure out a solution.

  11. Wow, very interesting to read your background. I can relate to your comments about travelling to see family , I am an Aussie with US grandchildren ( well Texan at least) and am trying to get my son into the points game in order for him and the family to travel more comfortably but don’t know anything regarding the US ways to do this ( I chase Qantas points). Don’t suppose you could recommend a site that “teaches” the tricks involved in collecting AA points?

  12. Thanks for your blog, Gary. I read it most days for years. Unlike reading a guide or news paper , I feel like I know you personally. And the people replying are part of my community.

    Happy Thanksgiving to the American readers and cheers to everyone.

  13. @Gary – Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! I appreciate the hard work and valuable information you continue to provide.

  14. Thank you Gary. As usual your words explain exactly why I love this web domain, and your opinions.

    Your voice, a thought leader in travel ; )

    Cheers. Hundred Acre?

  15. My wife and I are in Sydney right now because you alerted us to the availability of American Airlines Saaver business award seats in a post last January. Thanks Gary!

  16. Thank you for being a trusted source – your news and views are appreciated. And happy Thanksgiving (just a day late).

  17. No Gary, thank YOU for your blog!! It’s not only informative but factual as well!! Please continue this outstanding blog as I find more info about my company first from you than my company!!
    Happy Holidays to you, your family, your staff, and all the fine folks who read and participate in your blogs!!
    Thank you again!!

  18. Thank you, Gary ~ for sharing your world ….and for the many times you helped me to also travel the world in luxury and with such joy! You’ve given so much, on the ground and in the air!!

  19. We are all blessed that you share your wisdom and knowledge with us. I know you make money doing this but the time and effort of doing this daily is huge.
    So, it is us who give thanks for your kindness, knowledge and efforts.

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