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…

What You See Is What You Get

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.

Consistency

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.

Fake News

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.

We may not be the biggest, but we’ll always strive to be the best, the most honest and the most reliable. Thanks for being here. Oh, and tell your friends.

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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14 Comments

  1. Yanu is right.

    Cut down on the trolling – good grief it’s seat reviews, not political journalism.

    Your best bet is to keep focused on the in air experience reviews and building your European base – be the European TPG – why pick a fight in the saturated US market.

    Plenty of advertisers and sponsors there.

  2. Long-time reader, first-time commenter here. The reason why we read your site is authenticity without the the air of superiority that TPG gives off. I will admit, I do read TPG too, but mostly because they release a higher volume of articles per day. I fail to see though what picking a fight with other blogs accomplishes, as you are only going to alienate readers. I am all about standing up for yourself and your business, but putting down other blogs for their lack of research and experience just doesn’t look good. Your own work speaks for itself, and thats why we read GSTP.

    Keep up the good work,

    -A

  3. Thank god I thought I was the only one who was bothered by their lack of credibility. I admit I have commented on some of their garbage and referred people to you and a few others on boarding area instead. After following and reading everyone on here for a couple years it is very apparent to me that you have earned every bit of success you have achieved by offering useful, entertaining, and accurate content. Thank you for your hard work

  4. TPG was, like I’d imagine for many, my entry point into the miles blog world but it’s been quite some time since I visited it. So, good for them for building a strong business but value proposition is an excellent framing of the topic. That site, and others like it, just don’t provide any consistent original information that is separated from credit card schilling that often don’t even represent the best public offers. Keep up the good work GSTP.

  5. You raise some really fair points, but I think you need to take a look in the mirror and realize how stuck up and pompous you sound sometimes. Just an observation–you do have some good content, but you can be pretty snarky at times.

    1. You’ve obviously never given up everything, worked multiple jobs to pursue your dream career and had to fight for it in an extremely competitive market place. This is a very competitive business and if you’re not scrapping, you’re not working hard enough.

  6. One of the (many) reasons I read @godsavethepoint articles is precisely because of his ‘painfully crass sense of humor’ – it makes for FUN reading! THAT – along with FACTUAL, honest & REAL experience – CONSISTENTLY helps me make informed travel decisions – AND has saved me money – what’s not to like about all of that?! #FollowGSTP

  7. Haters are going to hate. I’ve been in the points hobby 5+ years, and I’ve learned who’s opinions I value and who’s to avoid. In my book, your opinion is one that I appreciate, and your creative perspective has helped me figure out which trips should be on my horizon. I think you’re allowed any level of engagement for TPG and other sites and vice versa, and I’m glad someone is trying to keep him honest while he’s trying to stuff credit card applications down people’s throats. TPG does have value but mostly to newbies and for people who are dreamers, not doers.

    Keep rocking it, and if some people are pissed, it means you might be doing something right.

  8. I’ll take a pot shot at TPG – used to follow Brian Kelly back in the day but was personally turned off on the excess display of wealth on his social media that happened to coincide with the blog getting bought by Bank Rate. I mean great for him, but I would rather be inspired by the likes of Warren Buffet than Donald Trump when it comes to following the 1%.

    At the same time the indiscriminate credit card shilling proliferated on his site so I made a conscious decision to simply turn it off.

    What does this all mean? Keep up the great work Gilbert with your honest voice and perspective. Good on you for putting a line in the sand. When you hit the millions, just keep it real alright? 🙂

  9. Keep doing your thing my man, GTSP is a quality site and I enjoy the content. Keep up the grind. Nothing worth doing comes easy.

  10. I’m with the others, particularly @Mike. I used to visit TPG daily, but I found an awful lot to dislike. For starters, the credit card pimping. I know you’re good with it, but it’s so overboard that it’s crazy. At least VFTW and OMAAT have a fair number of reviews, analysis, and perspective to go with the numerous credit card links. Another thing is the numerous titles Bankrate/TPG bestow on the writers. Assistant Deputy Associate Editor of Blogging, or something like that. It’s way beyond pompous. Then there’s the amateurish posts that get mixed in. With all of the other problems, should you really have to see who wrote the post before deciding whether it’ll even be worth reading? Finally, there’s the pure dishonesty. TPG excels in this area. It was merely annoying at first, but got worse as time went on. For me, the one that really got to me was the post where TPG himself was bragging on how you too can fly these amazing first class products with miles. Among the airlines were Air France and Lufthansa. When I brought up in the comments that only the super elite flyers were allowed to use their miles to fly these products, so it was wrong to say that anyone could fly them, he basically responded with a “so what”. I never used a crdit card link from TPG again.
    You write a great blog, with original posts and a perspective that stands out. Keep up the good work and call anyone out as you see fit. If you see something wrong, call bullshit. Maybe it’ll keep the idiots from making things up.

  11. You are simply the best and honestly i stopped reading TPG as he is a bit arrogant ,keep up with the good job.

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