Krista Paul of UsingMiles Featured in Entrepreneur’s Business & A Beer Event

UsingMiles’, Krista Paul was recently featured in Entrepreneur Magazine’s first Business & A Beer event in Denver, Colorado.

Krista joined a diverse group of local entrepreneurs spanning from first-time entrepreneurs to seasoned veterans and even including financial types who invest in start-ups.

As expected, it was a very active conversation, as most of the personalities in the room were Type A. The conversation touched on many aspects of the lifecycle of a business, including how to build a strong team, advice for first-time entrepreneurs, how to innovate, and what to put in a business plan. Here are some of our favorite quotes:

“Talking about your business is crucial to getting feedback on your idea.”

“Keep innovation lean.”

“Get a great lawyer, and a great accountant.”

“You don’t need a lot of MBA’s or 40 years of experience. You need people who are bright and smart and ready to get going.”

“Starting a business with a co-founder is almost like getting married. You need to be comfortable with that person and know that person well.”

“Ideas are a commodity. It’s execution and validation.”

Check out Krista’s cameo in Entrepreneurs Offer Advice to Budding Business Owners and view the other videos below:

What Investors Really Think About Your Business Plan

How Investors View Innovation

Why Keeping a Business Idea Secret Can Backfire

Why a Strong Team Is an Entrepreneur’s Greatest Asset

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UsingMiles Reports: Does Where You Live Make You Healthy?

We all know that improving your lifestyle is not just about moving to the healthiest country, state, or city in the world, it is about committing yourself to eat healthy, live happily, and be active.

But can your surroundings, including your hometown, help you stay healthy? We think it can. is based in Denver, Colorado, which is the #1 least obese state in the country. And it’s quite obvious why. The culture in Colorado embraces work/life balance and the people who live here thrive on being outdoors and getting fit.

UsingMiles tries to foster fitness and heath in our company. Being employed at our company includes access to a gym and we encourage our employees to take time during the day to work out. We organize mountain bike rides on sunny summer afternoons to get our team out together doing something healthy and fun (and yes, all of us somehow have a mountain bike).

Does your company and community foster exercise, health and fitness? If it doesn’t, maybe you should move!

Here are some lists of the top healthiest countries and cities, as well as a list of the least obese states in the U.S.

Top 10 Healthiest Countries in the world:

  • Japan, Sweden, Iceland, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Austria, Australia

Top 7 Healthiest Cities in the World: 

  1. Reykjavik, Iceland – less pollution, low disease rate, highest density of physcians, swimming has been included in the school curriculum for 60+ years.
  2. Vienna, Austria – low infant mortality rate, people are covered under government insurance once employed or in university studies, many recreational activities (e.g. skiing, hockey)
  3. Sydney, Australia – has one of the world’s best health care systems, all policy holders are charged equal premiums, low air pollution, 5 national parks that allow residents to enjoy the outdoors
  4. Zurich, Switzerland – spends 11% of GDP on universal health care, parks and gardens, sporting facilities
  5. Helsinki, Finland – one of the lowest pollution rates in the world, low infant mortality rate, lower number of cars per resident than other cities of similar size
  6. Calgary, Alberta Canada – one of the world’s cleanest cities, attractive to sports enthusiasts because it is close to the Canadian Rocky Mtns, great universal health care system
  7. Portland, Oregon, US – 277 miles of bike paths, 146 miles of forested hiking trails

Top 10 Least Obese States in the United States:

  1. Colorado (yay!)
  2. Conneticut
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Hawaii
  5. Washington DC
  6. Utah
  7. Vermont
  8. Montana
  9. New Jersey
  10. Rhode Island
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Frequent Flyer Site UsingMiles Recommended by Los Angeles Times

This weekend UsingMiles was featured in the Los Angeles Times as a site that “safeguards your (travel) values.”

The article highlighted some of our useful (and free) features, such as our award search that deep links you directly to the supplier to book and our expiring miles alerts across all of your frequent flyer programs.

The article also highlighted one particular issue: we don’t have all of the programs integrated into the site. We are working to integrate approximately 40 more sites by mid-August, which will allow us to track over 100 programs.

Moreover, UsingMiles is working hard to make it easier for you to manually enter programs we don’t or can’t manage (like Southwest Airlines). This should be out in about a month.

We are thrilled to be profiled in the LA Times and will continue to find even better ways to safeguard your miles!

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Krista Paul, Founder of, Featured in New Venturist Entrepreneurial Blog

I’m excited to announce that I was profiled today in the New Venturist blog, which is dedicated to introducing it’s readers to the entrepreneurs “who will shape our country’s future.” Wow. What a humbling comment.

The mastermind behind this work is Babs Carryer, a serial entrepreneur who has her hands in many ventures related to entrepreneurism. She is the Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, Embedded Entrepreneur for Project Olympus at Carnegie Mellon University, as well as the President of Carryer Consulting, which provides strategic business planning services to technology companies.

The article is a fun walk down memory lane and covers some of my experiences leading up to our venture capital raise and the launch of the *new* It also hints at some of our [very] exciting future announcements about site enhancements, mobile apps (yay!) and our awesome team. She even managed to promote that I am on the hunt for Java programmers (thanks, Babs!)

The entire article is great, but I think the most important point I would like aspiring and active entrepreneurs to take away from it is don’t ever quit. It’s not always going to be easy, and in fact, most of the time it most definitely won’t be — but continue to put yourself out there, meet more people, and find a way to make it work. People are the key to your success as an entrepreneur. And you never know when you might meet that next person who will help you get to the next level — whether it be through a piece of advice, and introduction, or through them taking an active role in your company. I fiercely believe for the most part, that people are good. They like helping other people. And your business won’t succeed unless you have a lot of good people helping you make it happen. In my experience, that has been the key ingredient to getting me to this point.

That being said, I still have my work cut out for me! But I am grateful for where we are as a company and excited to continue building a product that will truly make a difference in people’s lives, even by just cutting out some of the day-to-day stress when it comes to travel.

Thank you so much, New Venturist, for allowing me to take a little trip down memory lane, and to stop for a moment to be grateful for what I have. So thank you Babs, and to echo what you said, I’m you’re newest reader!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment’s Top 5 Ways to Travel Without Breaking the Bank

With a little planning, anyone can afford to explore the world… and we do mean anyone. has identified five of the best ways to travel and stay abroad on a tight budget. There are countless ways to satisfy your wanderlust and still have enough money left over for souvenirs!

1. Volunteering and Home stays

If you are a serious traveler, you know that costs can quickly skyrocket. If you’re willing to volunteer, however, you can live abroad for as little as $800 for five months. You simply spend a couple hours a day teaching English (or doing something specific to your field) and spend the rest of the time exploring the country. Not only do you benefit from the warm, fuzzy feeling you get from helping the less fortunate, you gain a first hand experience of how locals live by staying with a host family. The best part is, that $800 pays for all your meals too! Get started with the links below:

2. Organize your Frequent Flyer Miles…and use them!

Many people earn enough frequent flyer points to qualify for great rewards but either don’t know how to redeem them, or forget that they eventually expire. Loyalty point management can be tricky, especially if you have multiple accounts. Take a minute to sit down and enter your loyalty programs in the dashboard to efficiently manage all of your accounts. Secondly, you really CAN use your miles to travel. Airlines must reserve a portion of their seating inventory for awards (usually 5%), but many end up giving away 10% or more of their seats to awards. The ability to redeem depends on your timing and strategy. Searching for awards on allows you to search across brands simultaneously, which saves lots of time. Setting up award alerts can also help you get a ticket when it becomes available.

3. Exchange Work For Hostel Stay

Mountaineers who travel the world looking for the next big climb are well aware of how to live for free in hostels throughout Europe. All you really have to do is talk to the owner and organize to clean sheets or cook food. The first step is to figure out where to go. Next, using the links we’ve provided, you can start contacting hostels and ask them what they want you to do. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself, especially if you have a special talent that might help them solve a problem (handyman, marketing, PR, etc.) Hostels throughout the world are small, informal businesses and often will gladly except barters for free housing.

4. Be a Deckhand on a Cruise Ship

How do you feel about embracing the spirit of adventure in Moby Dick?  You can actually work with cruise ship companies and smaller ships, as a “deckhand,” earning travel money while you experience life on the sea. Cruise ships sign short work contracts constantly and learning how to work on a ship could provide years of free travel. Besides, what could be more adventurous than traveling the world by sea? Like working for housing in hostels, the best way to start is by contacting cruise line companies directly. Here’s some simple tutorials to get you started.

  • Simple steps to becoming a deckhand
  • Being a deckhand as a career

5. Get Discounts by Traveling in Groups

If you can get enough people together, or if you can organize a company getaway, there are several companies who package group deals for huge savings. Here are a few of the best ones.

Anybody can travel. You just need to be creative, consider your options and go for it! We’ll see you there.

“Choose the World You See, and See the World You Choose.” —- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment Interview with Nicholas Kralev: learn how to save money and improve your travel!

Recently had the pleasure of interviewing Nicholas Kralev, a frequent flyer & point maven and the author of a new must-read book for frequent flyers (and frequent flyer wannabes), called “Decoding Air Travel.”

Nicholas has a very interesting past that motivated him to figure out the rules of travel early on in his career. It quickly became a passion for him, and now he is inspired to share all of his learnings with you and I so we don’t have to take the time to learn it ourselves (other than by simply reading his book).

Nicholas’ goals are pretty straightforward: to help you save money and improve your travel life. We like the sound of that!

We were eager to learn more about Nicholas’ inspiration for his book and how to save money and travel better! Read on to learn about his top tips for maximizing the value of your miles. Describe your background in travel and how you taught yourself the “frequent flyer game.”

Nicholas: Out of necessity, I suppose. It had to do with my job. From 1999 to 2002, I was a correspondent for the Financial Times and I had to fly a lot domestically. Then when I started working for Washington Times, I had to travel the world. I had a very small travel budget and I had to learn to stretch it. The most effective way to do that was to learn everything there was to know about airlines.  I was originally doing 3-4 trips per year with my budget, and after training myself and figuring out the system, I was taking 9-10 trips on the same budget! The next problem was that I didn’t want to fly in coach. So I needed to figure out how to get status in an airline and maintain status from year to year. For the last 10 years I have been top elite status with my preferred airline. The last time I flew in coach was in 2002 (unless the plane only had coach.) I love to travel. I grew up in Bulgaria and we were not allowed to travel so I cherish the opportunity to travel.  My mission is to help more people travel and to help Americans see the world. 

For an aspiring frequent flyer, what are your top 3 practical tips on how to get started maximizing the value of your miles (other than reading your book!)

  1. Pick an alliance. There is no point in spreading yourself across several different alliances.  Domestically, I think the Star Alliance is the best alliance just because of its domestic partners (3 major airlines.)
  2. Achieve elite status. Even if it’s the lowest level, at least you will get all of your baggage fees covered.  Status doesn’t necessarily need to be with a domestic airline. For instance, it’s easier to get Aegean status, but since it is a Star Alliance member, you will not have to pay for your baggage fees with any Star Alliance member, including United.
  3. Learn the air travel science. This includes fare filing. It sounds complicated, but honestly you just have to read the book and you’re done. It took me years to figure it out, but you could do it in hours (shameless self-promotion, wink wink!)
  4. Think before you book and think before you travel. There are many things you can do between the time you book and before the time you travel that can minimize your hassles while traveling.  Stop complaining about the airlines! Learn the system and use it in your favor! The system is what it is. There is nothing you can do to change it. So let’s learn everything about it and let’s find a way to turn all the negatives into positives.

Is your book a better fit for experienced frequent flyers or aspiring mileage junkies?

Both. My only criterion is if you fly 2-3 trips per year, you will get value out of this book. Whether you love to travel or you have to travel, you will learn a lot.

What real-life experience as a frequent flyer are you most proud of?

Typically my proudest moments are when I am sitting in business or first class in an International flight and I know that I have paid far less than people in economy. For instance, I was sitting in first class on a one-way flight to Lufthansa and I paid $1,600. There were people sitting next to me that paid 10 times what I paid.

What is the best place you have traveled to or stayed in on miles?

Sydney, Australia, because it’s very difficult to get business or first class to Australia. I was actually able to take both of my parents with me in business class on the same flight to spend New Year’s in Australia – and I did it on Saver Awards!

What frequent flyer experts do you rely on for advice?

Out of all the travel bloggers out there, the one I read the most and respect the most is Gary Leff ‘s blog. It’s not just, “I went there and I had fun.  It’s hands-on experience that people can use. I also read FlyerTalk and MilePoint.

Intrigued? We knew you would be. You can buy the book on or go to and read some of the reviews if you can’t decide (disclosure: we make zip, zilch, zap if you buy this book, but we still think it’s a good idea!) Morevoer, the eBook is out in Kindle format and selling on Amazon’s U.S., UK and German sites.

Nicholas is also doing a book tour in many cities and rumor has it that he may be co-hosting one with yours truly in Denver, so we’ll let you know!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment Named One of “Hottest Companies in Colorado” in 2011 Awarded one of the "Hottest Companies in Colorado" was recently awarded one of the “Hottest Companies in Colorado” in 2011 by Lead411.

Annually, Lead411 reviews over 600 press releases and business articles to access the fast movers in the state.  The company compiles their “Hot List” to recognize the fastest growing technology companies each year. This year the list started with over 672 companies and was narrowed down to the final 32 companies, including

“We are very proud of these awards. We have been tracking fast-moving companies for our customers for the past 10 years,” said Tom Blue, CEO of Lead411, “and we felt it was important to recognize these growing brands publicly.”

The following criteria were used to qualify companies in the selection process. A contender must be:

  • In the Software, Wireless, Hardware, Internet or Media industries
  • A resident of Colorado
  • A company that has increased revenues by 100% OR received $2M+ in funding over the past two years.

View the entire list of 2011 winners here.

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United Celebrates First Frequent Flyer to Reach 10 Million Mile Mark

United Airlines celebrated its first-ever frequent flyer to reach the 10 million mile mark in the Mileage Plus program this weekend.

Tom Stuker, a Chicago automotive sales consultant, hit the 10 million mile mark somewhere over Iowa while en route to Chicago from Los Angeles. He was was greeted by United’s President and CEO Jeff Smisek, and whisked off to a large after-party at the O’hare Airport with all of the “who’s who” in frequent flyer miles (they forgot to invite me).

What does it mean to have 50 million miles?

  • He flew 5,962 flights with United
  • He flew approximately 340,000 miles per year
  • It took him 29 years to accumulate his miles
  • He has 50 million frequent flyer miles to spend
  • He has flown equivalent to 400 times around the world
  • And equivalent to 20 times to the moon in the back

What do you get if you reach Tom Stuker’s status as a frequent flyer?

  • A Titanium Mileage Plus Membership Card
  • A personal phone line with United Airlines
  • Lavish gifts each time you fly another million miles
  • The first Boeing 747 named after you
  • First pitch at the Cub’s game
  • Never, ever having to stand in lines at the airport again
  • Custom meals made just for you with all your favorite foods
  • Never again, a middle seat. Ever
  • Private check-in areas with secret doors to check you in
  • A golf cart waiting at the gate for you if you are tight on a connection
  • Airlines keeping your flight on the ground while they wait for you
  • 80 award trips to Hawaii

Sounds like a pretty good deal, aye? Unfortunately for most of us frequent flyers, we’ll continue to hope for that next upgrade and that occasional award flight to Utah.

Congrats, Tom!

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How Much Do You Pay For a Free Flight?

It’s the infamous question. How much does that free flight really cost you? It’s also a very tough question to answer, especially when you have to factor in annual fees for your co-branded credit card, miles earned depending on your award program, etc.

I also learned the hard way that if you’re trying to fly International, fuel surcharges can make a “free” award flight very expensive.

The following infographic developed by attempts to break down the costs and rewards structure of the major co-branded credit cards and then compares them side by side. The color-coding is a bit difficult to follow but the information within the graphic is interesting.

For example, find out (according to their data), how many years it will take an average spender to earn a free flight in each program, the rate of return in rewards for every dollar spent in a particular program, and the first year value of each card in dollars once you factor in the rewards earned and the sign-up bonus.

What did you find interesting in the infographic? It won’t be published until July 11th, so consider yourself privy to a “sneak peak,” compliments of and our friends at!

Airline Rewards: Earning Frequent Flyer Miles
Infographic from

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment Founder Krista Paul Shares Frequent Flyer Tips with American Express Open Forum Founder, Krista Paul, was recently interviewed by Jean Chatzky, financial editor of NBC’s “Today Show” and contributing Editor of More Magazine, about how to make the most of your frequent flyer miles.

Jean Chatzky is a finance guru, and she believes travelers need to have a strategy in place for earning and using frequent flyer miles, just like you would develop a strategy for starting a new business or planning for retirement.

Paul provided American Express readers with several easy ways to start maximizing their mileage earnings and burnings.

  1. Utilize airline alliances to travel between partners.
  2. Don’t use your miles unless you are getting about $0.02 cents per mile in value. If not, it’s almost always better to pay with cash.
  3. Don’t let miles expire. Use a site like to get alerts in all of your programs when miles are going to expire and receive advice on how to keep these hard-earned currencies in your pockets.
  4. Book your travel on supplier sites (airline and hotel) rather than with Online Travel Agencies to assure you earn your miles.
  5. Best time to book with miles? 360-365 days before your award flight leaves or under two weeks before the flight leaves.

Please read the article for more great tips on how to get the most out of your frequent flyer miles!

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