The first post I wrote on Mommy Points launched on May 6, 2011. Late one night I wrote a couple of sloppily worded paragraphs, not thinking anyone would ever read them, while my then one-year-old only daughter slept in her crib. We had just started ramping up our travels ever so slightly after a heck of a first year of parenthood. That first year, we experienced a ride in life-flight helicopter for our daughter, known then as Little C, months of intense colic and screaming, and a move back to my hometown near Houston so we could be closer to grandparents and our support network. When that first post launched, I was not looking to start a business by any stretch of my wildest imagination.
Mommy Points started, at the urging of my husband, purely as a hobby. I already had a full-time career in social work and I don’t think I even knew that a blog could provide any amount of income. There were no business plans, or goals, or strategies. Mommy Points was just me, a laptop, and our travel tips and stories that I looked forward to sharing while my toddler slept.
After a few months of that comfortable routine, a very unexpected thing happened during the summer of 2011. Mommy Points went from being something that I just shared with friends and family members on Facebook in the hopes they might enjoy a few of our stories, to being a place that people I had never met in the real world found and utilized. The first few times that I got comments from people I didn’t know, I was completely baffled, and also pretty darn excited.
At the time, nobody else was writing about family travel from a miles, points, and rewards-earning credit cards perspective. In fact, that was what really motivated me to start the site. I loved reading about miles and points, but almost everything I found on the topic was written by a man who didn’t have kids. The realities of my life as a mom were dramatically different than that of the guys who were talking about their mileage runs and first-class flights booked to Asia at the last minute. Although I ultimately would write about many of the topics other miles and points sites covered, it was from the perspective of a busy, time-strapped parent who had to book trips for more than just one or two people.
Within a year, my blog had joined the BoardingArea network, started making a bit of money, got us noticed by The Travel Channel, and officially outgrew something I could manage in my spare time. After much deliberation and multiple late-night discussions with my husband Josh, in the spring of 2012, Mommy Points became my full-time job. I never looked back.
I have blogged an average of 360 out of 365 days a year, for over the last seven years. I blogged in labor, from a hospital recovery bed, in the middle of the night, from the other side of the world, while nursing a baby, and absolutely everywhere in between. I not only loved it, but it became the way we paid our bills, which was a very surprising blessing given that it truly started as a hobby.
When I started Mommy Points, there were a handful of people who treated their blogs as a business, but for the most part, this was a very young industry. In fact, for the first few years it was easy to monetize some of the things you were writing about anyway without many extra hoops or hassles. Then, as most industries do, this space grew up. Regulations increased, similar blogs started hiring additional writers and administrative staff to keep up, sites had social media strategies and budgets, and the norm went from posting a few times a week to needing to crank out content multiple times a day to stay relevant.
Throughout these changes, Mommy Points remained, for the most part, me and my computer (and my parents). The trade-off was that more and more of my time was consumed with the business end of things, and not on the writing and traveling components that I loved. Add to that our second daughter being born in 2015, and there was a real juggling act.
It got crazy, but running Mommy Points remained something I loved, in large part because of the people who read the site. Every single one of you are to thank for the last seven years.
As my second daughter grew beyond her baby years and we came up for air, it was clear that the site was going to need to make a change of some sort. Running it largely by myself was not a long-term strategy that would serve to keep pace with the demands of the industry and still allow time to travel, research, and create good content.
Last fall, Brian Kelly at The Points Guy reached out to me and asked if I had time to talk. I’d known Brian since 2011 when we were both blogging basically with just a laptop and some spare time. However, as the years passed, The Points Guy site grew well beyond simply Brian and his computer and became the real leader in this space with a crew of editors, writers, social media whizzes, credit card compliance folks, millions of readers, New York City offices, and a small army of adorable Points Pups.
The Points Guy team had basically everything they needed, but what they didn’t have was someone who knew family travel. Specifically, someone who knew family travel and miles and points.
The more we talked, the more the path forward for Mommy Points became as clear as the air at 35,000 feet. The way to get back to doing what I love, traveling, sharing our family’s travel stories, and helping families stretch their miles was to have Mommy Points become a part of the vibrant TPG family.
It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but after getting to know the TPG team even better, it was clear that joining them was not only the right call, but a tremendously exciting one.
This is not the end of the line for Mommy Points. In fact, Mommy Points is growing. You will now find Mommy Points articles, still written by me (and even Grandpa Points!), but at The Points Guy!
Best of all, it won’t be just me. We are launching an entirely new TPG Family vertical, a TPG Family Facebook Group, and more as we work to bring in a diverse line-up of family travel voices, ideas, perspectives, and strategies. There is so much more we can now bring you with the backing of an entire team. With the support of the TPG team, we will also be ramping up our video content, family travel gear reviews, in-person events, giveaways, social media offerings, and more.
I know this is a big change, but I sincerely hope that those of you who have spent some of your day checking in with us will continue to do so now that we have moved down the virtual block a few houses. At the heart of it all, it’s still the girls, Josh, me, and our stories. We still can’t do it without you.
Before I wrap this up, I want to give a heartfelt thank you to Randy Peterson and the entire team at BoardingArea for providing a wonderful home for the last seven years. You have been nothing short of fantastic through the years, and through this transition. The same is true of all of the BoardingArea bloggers, many of whom have become some of my best friends.
A thank you is also in order to my parents, Grandma and Grandpa Points, who in their retirement years have been willing to learn about credit card links and regulations, coding, and have been an absolutely essential part of keeping the non-glamourous side of keeping Mommy Points going. In addition to that, they brought their own travel stories to the table via the Grandpa Points column and made what Mommy Points had to offer so much richer. I can’t wait to read their budget retirement adventures on The Points Guy (and I’m sure they can’t wait to never update a credit card link again).
My girls and Josh are up next for thank yous, because they are the site. They are willing to wait to go into a hotel room until we have taken photos and to fly back into town the night before school starts. And they just generally pick up the slack when I need to be at the computer.
And finally, one more thank you is in order to everyone who has ever read, commented, tweeted, retweeted, liked, shared, said “Hi!”, and supported our site. You have kept us going all of these years.
These last seven years, two months, and 19 days of running Mommy Points have been a wilder and more rewarding ride than I could have imagined. I can’t wait to experience the next chapter with you as we work together to help families travel further, better, more frequently, and for less than they ever thought possible.
Thank you again, and I very much hope to see you regularly at The Points Guy.