a man sitting in an airplane
LONDON, UK: Gilbert Ott (God Save The Points) on the inaugural British Airways A350 flight to Madrid from London Heathrow on 06 August 2019 (Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

Yesterday was a special day for me. My little baby, otherwise known as God Save The Points, turned 5 years old. My, how much it’s grown. Before getting into anything else, I have only you to thank – the people who actually read. I don’t care about the rest. My focus from the beginning has always been to share travel as I see it and provide the most timely and honest account of the best opportunities, places to go and things to do, for anyone with an internet connection

I believe I’ve stayed true to you with that, one painstakingly dry, bad joke at a time. Looking back, I honestly wonder how we got here though. How did I convince millions of you travel nerds that my opinion matters? Or better yet, how did I convince my wife to marry me!

a man smiling for the cameraIt Was All A Dream, I Use To Read … View From The Wing

Five years ago GSTP was a thought and a dream. I was reading blogs, loving the way personal finance was unlocking opportunities to travel more, and how the “right” travel decisions could bring incredible experiences time and time again. There was so  much of the world I still wanted to see, and without huge income, I wanted to find a way to see it all.

My God, I was a rookie. Looking back, I knew so little. I should probably be ashamed for even having the thought of starting a blog and sharing info with others, since I barely had any worth knowing! But I emailed Gary Leff, and he told me that if I loved it, that it’s satisfying and to go for it. I did. I’m so very grateful that my blogging hero wrote me back, otherwise we probably wouldn’t be here.

I did have one thing though: passion.

And ok, maybe another – a vision. I read blogs frequently enough to know what I liked, what I didn’t, and where I thought I could carve out a space for myself. I felt that most blogs spoke too much in acronyms, and that the barrier for entry was too high. I found some topics many people found to be complicated and tried to demystify them.

If I had to guess, it’s all kind of worked because of luck, and…

To this day, I avoid ever using an acronym without explaining in layman’s terms what it actually is. It’s why I say Avios Points, instead of Avios, in case someone might think I’m just constantly writing lots of articles about misspelled Spanish goodbyes, and how you can benefit.

I wanted to create a blog that my dad could understand. He’s a brilliant lawyer, but learning acronyms about loyalty programs isn’t his job, nor is it yours, unless you’re one of the airline or hotel executives who read this blog. Understanding them in relatable terms felt like a much better way to drive home their value.

Is it actionable? Is someone going to end up better off or better informed because of this? Those are the only essential criterion for every article. Eventually, Gary hooked me up with Randy, the godfather of miles and points and founder of BoardingArea. The rest is history. I think Randy decided it was better to have me in the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.

I wonder why…

If this were a movie, we’d start to roll credits, as the scene fades away from me making a nice upper middle class living off my work, sitting at my desk and smiling. I’m incredibly lucky and I love what I do more than ever. My fire was reignited this year, and I hope to continue to play even just a small part in your travels.

But before I go

a man and woman in a plane
Say what you want about the old Virgin Upper Class, but this was an “a-ha” moment for me, and one of my happiest on a plane.

I want you to understand why a fire exists in me. Like a singer with an audience full of people, I feed off of you. When it’s quiet, I rarely bring my best. But I get a rush unlike anything else in the world when a story goes viral, or better yet, when I get lots of comments saying “booked”, or “omg, we’re going – thanks Gilbert”. I live for your feedback and I just want to feel like I’ve helped you in some way to explore the world the way you want to.

I love making a living doing something I love, but I get to live this voyeuristic life watching other people discover their own travel joys, and that’s what makes me grin from ear to ear. It really does happen, sometimes. I’m not the world’s angriest man, despite what you’ve heard…

Thanks so much for letting me live the dream.

With love,

Gilbert (but you can call me Gib now, like my friends do).

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Congratulations, I enjoy reading your blog, and I hope it continues to be successful for you and you keep writing!

  2. Congrats and well deserved! I’ve been reading BoardingArea blogs since 2011 and have enjoyed reading your articles (though I’ll admit I don’t comment often.) Thank you and as long as you have the passion for it, keep on going!

  3. Gib, I used to read so many miles/points blogs but so many have lost focus on what is important. You cut through all the crap and provide great content with humor. Your blog is at the top of my list. I am feeling guilty for not commenting more but plz know you have elevated my travel experience.

  4. Congratulations Gilbert, I too read many of your posts but don’t comment every time, your content and writing style is informative and inspiring. Different in that you talk to us common folk and make the complex flights attainable for the casual traveler. Because of your post on booking Etihad Apartments a few years ago I got to take a shower on a plane! Thank you for your blog and here’s to many more years

  5. Simply thank you and please find some more uncles… I to retain your almost absolute objectivity.
    A great read and willingness to share persinal story are why gtsp has become what it is and long may it continue.

  6. Hey Big Guy!
    Ever since meeting you (fellow speaker at FTU events) I have been engaged with your frank dialogue and cut through the crap observations and quips!
    I sincerely appreciate your honesty in this landscape of insincerity!

  7. Love your blog and work in helping us fellow travellers, the information you provide is invaluable. Congratulations on a great 5 years, here’s to the next 5.

  8. Gib- love what you do and how you do it. Please keep going and finding those deals and dimistifying travel. I am flying to Oz to see my daughter on Qatar business class thanks to your blog. That means the world to me and you made that happen. Thank you. Ann x

    1. Ann, such a sweet message. Please send happy pictures from the trip. I live vicariously through them, even if I’m doing the same thing!

      All the best!


  9. Congrats on 5 years. Love that you share so many tricks and tips, like your recent article on booking Open Jaw ANA Awards using virgin Atlantic miles. Well done, here’s to many more great years for this blog !

  10. Thank you for doing what you do – I can’t always book that great deal or take that trip as you suggest – but I love to dream and one day, when I have collected enough points and do book “that great deal” I will be sure to let you know. Many thanks!

  11. Gilbert, enjoy reading your blog and congratulations! Would really enjoy a linear recent posted feed by date sometime in the future if possible. Thanks again for the good content.

  12. Hi Gilbert,

    I’m sorry, I rarely comment also, but I have thanked you before. It was because of you that I flew to Haneda first class on ANA, and that I have two trips booked in first class next year on Singapore Airlines, and that I’m now the expert amongst my peer group. I especially like that you have articles about food as I use to be a chef. Thanking you for making it easy to take advantage of the points game.

  13. God Save “God Save the Points”. Congratulations and keep up the great work. I enjoy the reading and your insights.

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