I’m not saying you are not working hard. Your posts on twitter, FT and other forums make me feel you have a tendancy to always seek assurance, and that,yes,you are a douche 🙂 look at your replies to TPG. Immature. Sorry.
— Yanu Vitchy (@iaannuk) August 29, 2018
This week I started a fight with a giant. The Points Guy is easily the biggest website in the travel, points miles (and mostly credit cards) space and I took a public swing. My issue? Not the credit card pimping, I’m fine with that. It’s the lack of credible information, being pumped in by people who do not have relevant experience. Why am I taking another shot? Because I want to lay out, as clearly as possible what I offer to you, and regardless of future opportunities, what I’ll always offer to you…
If you see a how to guide: we’ve done it. If you see an Air Asia review: I actually marked my ass in those little (but wonderfully cheap) seats to see what the real deal is. If you see a best ways to enjoy a city guide: we’ve done it. If you see a restaurant recommendation: we’ve been there, and if you see a recommendation for a great bar – we’ve most certainly been there. Probably too often. My point here is that I am lucky enough to travel more than many of you, and I am a very observant traveler with an endless array of questions and thoughts on what could be “better”. Traveling frequently doesn’t actually mean I know anything, but traveling frequently and asking yourself questions often leads to deep understanding. Many “staff” you’ll find writing in travel used to write about celebrity sex affairs for tabloids. They know how to type, but them writing about travel is like me writing about macro economic trends. Anyone who “knows” the subject would quickly find that I am unreliable, even if I think I’m not. I think it’s actually laughable to think you can just switch over and be credible.
Like it, hate it, disagree with it or back it, I’m always consistent and in my belief. I believe my consistency in opinion, lifestyle and travel interest allows you to vet all the information with confidence, whereas reading reviews or opinions from 50 different people, who clearly don’t know the first thing about frequent or savvy travel makes trusting “advice” very, very confusing. Have you seen a deal we posted? We took the time to make sure it was actually bookable before posting. If we’re sure something won’t be honored, we won’t post it – no one likes wasted time. I search for flight deals manually almost 4 hours per day to ensure we’re almost always ahead of the curve. There are also things you can do to find your own – and yes, please share them.
First Hand Experience
Even if we ever take on new writers (you’re welcome to apply), every article will always be read, edited and scrutinized by me. Since many of you make a point of letting me know how much you loathe my existence, that may be bad news for some, but I believe it’s the only way to build true trust with you. For example, did you know that Mrs. GSTP has written quite a few of the most successful articles of the year? You wouldn’t because the style and consistency is meant to be identical, and I’ll insert my painfully crass sense of humor wherever possible. Even if we one day have 40 staff (which I would never let happen), everything would be in line with my views, for better and for much worse, depending on who’s reading.
Despite other brands offering large editorial, marketing and credit card staff, we’re competing really well, gaining market share every day. I attribute that to one thing: actual knowledge and tried and tested attitude. We get hit up for coverage by brands every day, and we always say the same thing: we just don’t like to write about things or places we haven’t experienced.
I value information I can bank on. I don’t want to cross check TripAdvisor reviews, against Lonely Planet Guides, against Flyertalk Forums. I just want information I can trust. What’s the best place to get coffee in Bangkok? Everything we offer we back 100%, and we want to always ONLY offer content we know to be true. For example, in a recent The Points Guy review, involving The Park Hyatt Bangkok, it quickly became clear that the person had never stayed in a hotel before, and certainly never been to Bangkok, because they suggested that Uber was a great way to get around. Small problem there: there is no f***king Uber in Thailand. Uber left and got a piece of local option “Grab”… months ago. Or perhaps it was the article about flying on Air New Zealand’s economy sky couch, and wondering why there were no VIP lounges for these special economy passengers. That instantly disqualifies you from “travel expert” status. They’re far from the only ones with this dilemma. As much as it pains me to send clicks to a competitor, it’s worth a read of both those articles, for all the wrong reasons.
Info You Need
Other than making fun of millennial “journalists” masquerading as “travel experts” we don’t do the bashing thing. We judge airports, hotels and travel experiences based on the functionality, feeling and reasonable cost of the experience. No, we don’t bring black lights into the far corners of a room, and try to use a non optical zoom to take a grainy picture of the one tiny corner of the room where the wallpaper may miss the floorboard by half an inch. Honestly; who cares? What we will give you is the information you need, like where to find the lounge showers, or how to get a good deal booking the hotel, or what floor the gym is on, and when it’s open. Better yet: how to spend 48 awesome hours in the world’s best cities. We want you to take in any experience we’ve enjoyed as if you’ve already been and know the drill. If something goes wrong, of course it’ll be mentioned, but a room getting made up at 3:30 instead of 3:00, when you called at 2:45 is not a problem – it’s you being an asshole.