The Story of Monkey Miles

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The Story of Monkey Miles

From time to time I get readers asking me about Miles. They’re confused. Where did Miles comes from? Why is there a monkey everywhere? They find it funny. Stupid. LOVE Miles. HATE miles. Love the pics. So on and so forth.  It’s all over the board, but I think most people enjoy Miles, and as for the negative comments, I’ve always thought you’re probably on the right track if you have some haters 😉 .

I thought I’d take the time to explain a little bit more about how this blog came to be and why I write it – This is the story of Monkey Miles.

Zachary Abel. Author.

AA Business Class 777-300ER ORD-LAX - 7 of 22

It’s never really been a secret who writes MonkeyMiles, as it’s listed in the About Miles section, but I think a lot of people miss it. It has a hyperlink to me, Zachary Abel, and my wikipedia page which briefly describes my education and a bit of my career as an actor. The broad strokes: I’m from the midwest and got a degree in finance, but caught the acting bug and ended up in Los Angeles. I’ve been fortunate to be a working actor. My big “break” was the ABC Family show: ‘Make it or Break it’ where I had a regular role for a few years. Since then I’ve recurred on shows, shot commercials, guest stars, the lead of a JJ Abrams pilot, and traveled uhhhhhhhhh lot.

Since I can remember, I’ve preferred hotels to museums.

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Peninsula Hong Kong

I’ve always LOVED hotels. My faves are old, luxurious and historic hotels: Those that helped define a city or area. BUT, I appreciate all designs and concepts. I think ‘normal’ people want to visit museums when they’re touring a city to understand history, art, culture, etc NOT I FINE SIR.  I could spend days going from hotel to hotel. I don’t need to stay in them, I just want to walk through them. Feel the walls, have a drink at the bar, sip coffee and watch patrons go by. You learn a lot about a city from its hotels. I’m an 80s baby and my favorite part of Home Alone 2 was the fact that he was at the Plaza – D-R-E-A-M! I’ve wanted to live in a hotel for as long as I can remember.

Why did I start Monkey Miles?

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Before the surgery I’d been helping friends and family plan trips with points, but I don’t think I went deep, deep, deeeeeep down the rabbit hole until I was forced out of commission at the end of 2014. I had to have lower back surgery and the recovery was 3 months of bed rest: No bending, lifting or twisting. I’m pretty good now, but it was over a year before I felt like I could audition without thinking I may fall to my knees in agony.

I have a lot of faith that we’re here for a reason and that most things in life that are difficult or a struggle are meaningfully preparing us for something later in life.

The down time gave me a lot of time to read and read and read and read. I felt like I was in college without the fake IDs and beer pong. In fact, I had fancied myself pretty good at the whole points schtick.  I went from having a pre-surgery points GED to post surgery Masters. The more I read, the more obsessed I became. I spent hours and hours everyday on blogs and threads.  That was the great thing about having the injury…I couldn’t do anything else.

I also talked about it a lot. People started egging me to take my passion to page and publish a blog. In hindsight, they probably did this so I’d just shut up and talk about something else. Regardless it got me thinking…how would my voice be different? I’m a monkey according to the Chinese Zodiac, and my mom had given me Miles years ago as a gift. One night I was looking at Miles sitting on a shelf and the idea hit me: Miles the Monkey. A voice that was clever, fun, light, and started a lot of conversations.

MonkeyMiles first blogged trip was the feature picture: a $20k+ trip for a wedding in England that only set me back $400.

It was roughly 6 months after my surgery that I began writing with Miles and haven’t looked back since. It’s created a whole new aspect to my life, provided unbelievable adventures, a new business, excuses to meet up with friends, and introduced me to an entire group of people at BoardingArea that couldn’t be nicer or more supportive. My life is undeniably fuller and without a bad back, surgery, pain, and my acting career taking a hit, I would never be here.

So I thank YOU for coming along with me on this journey. Through trials come triumph.

Rome wasn’t built in a day – we’ll keep writing 😉

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based. 

Welcome Offer

60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months

80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

Super solid welcome offer.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

  • 3x on dining
    •  including eligible delivery services for takeout
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
  • $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Primary rental car coverage is my favorite

There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 


  • Deejay February 28, 2021

    Planning a roadtrip with my mom to Fortworth Tx any tips for hotels there? TikTok: @deejaycfb

  • Andre July 13, 2017

    This is my first visit to Monkey Miles as I was looking for a new travel blog to add to my daily review (Started with OMAAT and TPG. Expanded to VFW and Live and Let’s Fly). It was the monkey specifically that attracted me to the site. I look forward to reviewing your new content in the near future.

    • Miles July 13, 2017

      Andre – Thanks for visiting! Miles will be very happy to know that HE was the one that attracted you to the site 😉 Have fun and feel free to comment! Thanks again

  • ss March 20, 2017

    I’ve always wondered what if you accidentally lost Miles. Do you have a back up monkey?

  • Dhra Sharma March 20, 2017

    nice post ….about Monkey Miles………

  • Manu March 19, 2017

    I’ll admit, the first time I read one of your stories I wasn’t sure what to make of the Miles angle. But it grew on me big time. I appreciate your sense of humor and Miles is a great vehicle for it so keep up the great work

    • Miles March 19, 2017

      Thanks so much Manu! Appreciate it 🙂

  • David March 19, 2017

    I admire your passion for hotels, but I hope one day you can discover a passion for museums, too.

    • Miles March 19, 2017

      Thanks, David! I do enjoy museums quite a bit. I just don’t have the same unhealthy obsession as with hotels 😉 Appreciate you!

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