This Year I’m Especially Grateful

Every year on Thanksgiving I offer a reflection on the good fortune I’ve had in travel, mile and points and to be able to interact with so many wonderful readers over the course of the year. And as difficult as the past couple of years have been for so many (it was a dumpster fire, and we thought nothing could match 2020 and 2021) – and as tough as the coming year may be, I’m even more thankful than I’ve ever been – for my family’s health and for the way Covid kept me home more to grow as a dad, and how I’ve been able to keep that up even while traveling again.

And I’m extremely grateful for my readers. I get to interact with brilliant and thoughtful people through this blog. Sure, the comments on posts often descend into madness (it’s the internet, and I’ve been forced to delete more comments than I used to and still don’t delete enough) but I’ve gotten to know so many people. And online friendships are all so many people have had, I’ve been practicing at it since the start of this blog in 2002 (and really going back to my BBS days in the mid-1980s).

If there’s one thing I think I have to offer writing for 20 years here, it’s a memory. I remember when things have happened before, been promised before, and how they worked out. And I try to offer some of that context to the day’s developments. I remember most of the people I’ve had the good fortune to get to know since I began in miles and points, and it’s sustained me this year even more than in others.

I thought I’d take the Thanksgiving opportunity to express my thankfulness for each of you that reads my blog and interacts with me throughout the year. I’ve said this many times before but I really do consider myself one of the luckiest people, and certainly much more fortunate than I could have ever imagined.

I’m deeply shy, which some people can find off-putting when I meet them (thinking that by not being outgoing with them I must not be interested, or somehow aloof). The written form has allowed me to connect so well with many. And I’m grateful for those connections, although I don’t share nearly as much detail that’s personal many of you know me very well from my writing — certainly my opinions, my quirks, my sense of humor. This hobby has enriched my life in so many ways, including less obvious ones.

This blog has done that for me as well. In many ways it’s still the same personal blog I first started, I write and share what is interesting to me. I usually write as though no one is reading, and I’m shocked when I get a call from an airline’s or hotel’s communications shop because a C-level executive is unhappy with something I’ve said. (Or when one of those C-level folks comments here or drops me a note, as happens so often too.)

Now there are just a whole lot more people reading the blog than when I started and I appreciate each and every one of you. Even the ones that are trying to insult me! I don’t always have as thick a skin as I should, but I try my best, because each and every reader has something to teach me or challenge me. And the positive feedback touches me deeply.

So thank you. Thank you. I look forward to continuing to share this journey together, and I appreciate this opportunity to reflect — and to acknowledge.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Thank you for your contributions to the genre, Gary. I have learned a lot and you are my main source of industry news. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Your blog was the first one I ever discovered when a job change meant more international travel.

    When I met you at the BoardingArea get together in Colorado Springs way back when – I would have never guessed that you were deeply shy as you wrote above.

    Thank you for your thoughtful, funny, and interesting posts all these years.

  3. Thanks Gary, always an interesting read and I have learned a lot. And also you have given some very good advice. (I really appreciate your keeping me away from SAA just before it went belly up.) Happy holidays and many more years of writing!

  4. Thanks for your informative posts , Gary. I look forward to reading you daily. Happiest of Thanksgivings to you and yours.



  5. Your blog was the first I read when entering the world of mikes and points years ago. Thank you for all the info and tips you’ve provided all this time, and a special thanks, Gary, for your kindness and generosity when I reached out to you directly. Here’s wishing you and your family a lovely holiday!

  6. Many. thanks Gary for an exceptional and informative blog! Wishing you and your family an enjoyable and safe Thanksgiving!

  7. Makes me feel old when I read this post every year. I have been reading you and Ben since 2009 when I was a college student. Thanks for all you do. You and OMAT are the sites I visit first thing every morning.

  8. Thank you Gary for providing this blog, which I have found to be exceptionally informative and educational. Also, you bring a life experience in general that the younger bloggers simply don’t (yet) have.

    Thank you for all that you do, and Happy Thanksgiving.

  9. Gary,
    Thank you for all you do, the many things I have learned from reading your blog (first miles and points one I discovered many years ago), and for your prompt and kind replies when I’ve reached out to you.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

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