Meet the Upgraded Points Team!

We’re very proud of our team here at Upgraded Points, which is continually expanding as the site grows and new goals are set!

SeeĀ below and get to know us all a little better šŸ™‚

Alex Miller – Founder & CEO

Alex Miller - UpgradedPoints.com

Alex was born and grew upĀ in England, spending the majority of his first 25 years living west of London.

After graduating with degrees in business & management and Spanish from the University of Exeter, Alex started his own online business specializing in search engine optimization (SEO). He is also co-founder of PosiRank.com, an SEO platform for marketing agencies and enterprise companies.

Alex certainly has his parents to thank for acquiring the ol’ “travel bug,” as there was always a new destination for the family! Alex’s love for travel leaped a couple levels after graduating, when he and 5 friends visited 10 European countries in just 30 days, all on a shoestring budget by maximizing the Interrail!

This bug turned into an obsession when Alex moved to America in 2011Ā after falling head-over-heels in love with Erin (and also realizing how much fun he has there!).

Alex was (and still is!) literally stunned at the number of credit card points you can earn in the U.S. (something that isĀ not possible in England), and quickly took this interest to the next level.

Alex has earned millions of miles, mainly through maximizing credit card sign-up bonuses and getting the maximum amount of points whenever he spends a single dollar anywhere. This combo is the key!

Alex is still amazed at how many people do not leverage their opportunities to earn miles and redeem them for incredible travels – and this led to creating UpgradedPoints.com!

Erin Miller – Trip Report Master & ContentĀ Relationships

Erin Miller

As wife of the wildly clever Mr. Miller, Erin was pulled into this crazy world of points from the beginning. SheĀ currentlyĀ maintains her status as Alex’s adventure-seeking partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points by producing Miller Trip Reports and maintaining content relationships.

These Trip Reports are comprehensive accounts of the Millers’ travels, which allow readers to gain a better idea of who the Millers are and what they love to do while galavanting around the globe!

A midwest girl at heart who was born and raised in Illinois,Ā ErinĀ caught the travel bug early in her teenage years thanks to her Grandmother.

At Grandma Carole’s insistence, Erin experienced Hawaii and the Southern Caribbean at ages 10 and 13, respectively. Then, a whirlwind 3 weeks in Europe as Grandma’s high school graduation gift cemented the itch (think: London, Paris, Lucerne, Venice, Florence, & Rome).

As for education, Erin received her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Illinois in 2008 and went on to earn her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Miami in 2011.

She currently works as a part-time physical therapist in the Austin area, which allows her the opportunity to grow in a profession she loves while having the freedom to travel the world with Alex.

A few additional tidbits?

Aside from traveling, Erin is having an epic time exploring the Millers’ (fairly) new hometown of Austin, TX. She truly enjoys a good happy hour cocktail, could eat guacamole at every meal, and can’t get enough of their lab mix pup, Leo. She’s jumped out of a plane at 10,000 feet, hopes to one day speak fluent Spanish, and rarely meets a beer she doesn’t like.

So far, Alex’s persistence with cracking the points game wide open has allowed Erin to experience multiple flight upgrades – a fantastic way to travel that will never (ever) get old!

Jeanette Margle – Editor

Jeanette Margle

Jeanette Margleā€™s passion for perfection in writing and editing is almost as strong as her passion for travel! Though she loves living near her family in Texas, she takes plenty of opportunities to visit new places.

From weeks-long U.S. road trips to months-long international excursions, Jeanette has experienced many of the sights this world has to offer. She especially enjoys experiencing local history, culture, and cuisine during her travels, and loves incorporating elements of adventure.

Her favorite trip so far has been exploring Peru with friends: from the exciting fusion of cuisines in the coastal metropolis of Lima, to ancient ruins in the rural countryside, and finally hiking the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. Her bucket list includes trekking in Patagonia and making it to Everest Base Camp!

At home, Jeanette enjoys running, hiking with her husband and their dog, reading good books, and cooking great food accompanied by a stellar glass of wine.

Jeanette has two bachelorā€™s degrees from the University of Texas and a Master’s of Education from the University of Houston. A former journalist and middle school English teacher, she spent time working in higher education before venturing out on her own as an editor and writing coach with her company, Vox Tuus LLC.

Brian “Thin Content” Graham – Content Master

Brian M Graham

Brian has been helping the Millers build Upgraded Points since the beginning. A lover of travel himself, when the MillersĀ gave him whispers of a better life he couldn’t help but dive in to the points world headfirst!

Before starting his points strategy, Brian had enjoyed traveling to a variety of places. But he didn’t start until very late in life…after the age of 23!

Brian’s first ever airplane ride was in a private turbo-prop jet. He was merely an intern boy trying to make a good impression, but it turns out the plane made an impression on him.

Even though he wouldn’t fly again until the next year (which ended up being the worst travel experience of his life), he thought he might like to visit some more exciting places in the future.

It wasn’t until Brian relocated to Dallas, TX, and movedĀ in with an American Airlines employee that he truly discovered how incredible travel could be.

After getting hooked up with the employee travel benefits, he immediately set sail with his buddy around the world. Currently, Brian has visited the following countries:

Canada, the Bahamas, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, England, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, France, and Belgium.

That’s not nearly enough to satisfy his tastes, however, and Brian has multiple places on his list for when he can collect enough points!

Until then, Brian will continue to write articles helping everyone else enjoy their lives just a little more through the magic that was created when that first person thought:

“Hmm, wouldn’t it be weird if we combined the super-boring sport of spending money on everyday things with the ultra-exciting world of travel?”

Have questions for Brian about anything points-nerdy? Contact him at brian@upgradedpoints.com. You can also follow him on his personal blog at BrianMGraham.com.

Caroline LupiniĀ – Content Master

Caroline Lupini - UpgradedPoints.com

Caroline Lupini always enjoyed traveling, but it became her goal to do as much as possible after a 3-week trip around Europe in 2011. In March 2014, Caroline left her job and embarked on nearly full-time travels.Ā 

As a frequent traveler, frequent flyer miles have played a large role in planning her trips. Caroline has enjoyed discovering the ins and outs of how to maximize different types of miles, hotel points, and transferrable points currencies. Over the years, Caroline has earned millions of frequent flyer miles and continues to grow that number every year!

Caroline is currently working on earning her Master’s of Business Administration through Indiana University’s Kelley Direct distance-learning program.

Caroline enjoys learning and working remotely so she has the flexibility to discover the far reaches of the world. Recent travels have taken her to Colombia, Afghanistan, Poland, and more, with additional on- and off-the-beaten-track trips being planned every chance she gets!

Outside of travel, Caroline is passionate about good craft beer, the outdoors, photography, and skiing…and she absolutely adores dogs! You’ll also occasionally find her under the water on a scuba diving adventure. You can find out more about Caroline and her travels atĀ carolinelupini.com.

Spencer Howard – Content Master

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience.

Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class!

Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal).

Spencer has put that knowledge to use by booking some of the top premium cabin award flights in the sky. Fortunately for his friends, he helps them figure out how to travel too!

Spencer graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in political science and now works in Washington, D.C.

When heā€™s not searching for fun award redemptions, you can find him playing softball on the National Mall, watching Notre Dame football, or enjoying a fine bourbon. If you want to learn more about what he is up to, you can find him at Spencer For Miles.

Mark-Anthony Villaflor – Content Relationships

Mark Anthony Villaflor

Mark is a one-eyed Filipino-American who currently lives in an island paradise with his lovely wife Camille. He was an international school teacher and real estate investor before becoming a hotelier. As an avid traveler and life-hacker, travel hacking was something Mark became deeply interested in, especially before he and his wifeā€™s epic honeymoon they called 365TravelDates.com.

Mark graduated from Pepperdine University with a bachelor’s degree in international relations. He spent nearly half his undergraduate time abroad studying in South Africa and Argentina.

Having caught the travel bug, Mark did a ā€œgapā€ year in South Korea, but only stayed for 6 months. He quickly fired his boss and moved to the Philippines to earn a Master of Arts in teaching English, and the travel continued as he landed a job in Saudi Arabia.

Once again Mark fired his boss, this time in the name of love. He told his friends, family, and colleagues he would be going back to the Philippines to get with the girl of his dreams.

Shortly after returning to Manila, he did get with Camille, only to eventually move to China without her.

After living and working in Shanghai, Mark and Camille both fired their bosses to go on a 16-month honeymoon around the world. During this time, Mark started messing around with the idea of travel hacking, opening up about 8 credit cards a year prior to their trip.

At the end of the trip, Mark accepted a job in Austria to continue his career as an international teacher. While waiting for his visa, he bought some land in El Nido, on the worldā€™s #1 island of Palawan in the Philippines. Quickly ditching the teaching offer, Mark decided instead to start one of their many dreams together.

With his Camille, Catman (the cat), and Robin (the dog), Mark hosts travelers from around the world in their glamping hotel theyā€™ve dubbed The Birdhouse El Nido.

Leo Miller – Head of Security

Leo Miller

It’s a dangerous world out there, and someoneĀ needs to step up and protect us!

Leo, our lab mix pup, decided to take on this highly important role (in exchange for a steady supply of biscuits, of course).

He’s our special little guy, a big member of the Miller family, and our head of security! šŸ˜‰

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
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