The Points Guy
Founded2010
FounderBrian Kelly
Key people
  • Brian Kelly (CEO)[1]
Number of employees
Increase 20 (2017)[2]
ParentRed Ventures
Websitethepointsguy.com
thepointsguy.com
OwnerThe Points Guy
CommercialYes
RegistrationOptional
Launched2010
Current statuslive

The Points Guy (TPG) is an American travel website and blog that produces sponsored news and stories on travel, means of accumulating and using airline points and miles, politics, and credit cards - in particular, credit card reviews.[3] The site was founded in 2010[2] and was initially a blog written by founder Brian Kelly.[2] By 2017, the site employed 20 full-time staff in addition to 50 freelance contributors.[4]

History

Before founding TPG, Kelly worked at Morgan Stanley as an IT recruiter and ran an informal travel agency-type operation for his colleagues aimed at helping them maximize their return on earned travel reward points.[1] While still working for Morgan Stanley, Kelly launched The Points Guy blog in 2010, where he wrote about frequent flyer miles, credit card points, and travel goals.[4][3][5] TPG began monetizing content through affiliate marketing in February 2011, which became the main source of the company's revenue.[3][5] Shortly thereafter, Kelly quit his job at Morgan Stanley.[3]

In 2012, Bankrate, a company that publishes and promotes financial content, acquired TPG.[3] In a 2014 interview, Brian Kelly stated: "I still have a vested ownership interest in TPG and I retain 100% editorial control."[6]

Between 2012 and 2017, TPG acquired three competing websites: Million Mile Secrets, Mommy Points, and Travel is Free.[2]

In 2016, TPG started Points for Peace, a partnership with the nonprofit PeaceJam Foundation, which donates frequent flyer miles to help Nobel Peace Prize winners travel to developing countries.[3][4]

In 2017, Brian Kelly was named the top influencer for travel by Forbes.[4] Bankrate was acquired by digital marketing company Red Ventures in 2017.[7] The company now operates out of offices in Austin, Charlotte, New York, and London.[2]

In 2020 Business Insider reported that multiple TPG employees had anonymously accused Kelly of fostering a toxic work environment, including drug use and abusive behavior toward staff.[8] In response to the allegations, Red Ventures said: "Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies all allegations of drug use, sexual harassment, and assault. TPG and its parent company, Red Ventures, do not tolerate any form of harassment, exploitation, or discrimination in the workplace and take seriously their responsibility to create environments where people feel safe, respected, and able to do their best work.”[8][5]

In September 2021, TPG released an app to track airline points and miles across multiple airlines.[9]

On January 11, 2022, TPG preemptively sued American Airlines, asking a Delaware court to make it legal for customers to manage their frequent flyer data on a third-party website.[10][11] The filing was in response to a cease and desist letter from American Airlines, demanding TPG not track the data of its AAdvantage members who opted-in to share their info with the TPG app.[11] On January 22, 2022, American Airlines filed suit against The Points Guy in a federal court in Texas, claiming the company's app violated its trademark and the terms of the airlines’ frequent flyer program.[10][9][11]

Products and services

The business receives revenue in the form of 'marketing fees' from credit card companies. These fees are based on traffic from the site related to credit cards participating in loyalty programs.[2] Among the company's partners are Citi, Bank of America, Chase,[2] and Capital One.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c Field, Hayden (November 29, 2018). "The Points Guy, Brian Kelly, Talks Success, Scalability and Money-Saving Travel Tips (Podcast)". Entrepreneur. Irvine, California: Entrepreneur Media. Retrieved January 12, 2020. it remains successful today, with the help of additional revenue streams via parterships with companies such as Capital One. On Entrepreneur's How Success Happens podcast, Kelly talks success strategies, his top growth tips for entrepreneurs and, of course, his best advice for saving money on upcoming travel.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Willens, Max (December 18, 2017). "How The Points Guy built a business based on affiliate fees". Digiday. New York, New York: Digiday Media. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Marikar, Sheila (June 29, 2017). "How to Travel Like a Millionaire? Ask the Points Guy". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on July 5, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d O'Connor, Clare (June 20, 2017). "Forbes Top Influencers: The Points Guy, Brian Kelly, On Turning Miles Into A Media Empire". Forbes. Archived from the original on June 20, 2017. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Keiles, Jamie Lauren (January 5, 2021). "The Man Who Turned Credit-Card Points Into an Empire". The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  6. ^ Martin, Grant (December 1, 2014). "The Blurring Ethical Lines Between Credit Card Companies and Travel Writers". Skift.com.
  7. ^ Saxena, Aparajita (July 3, 2017). "Red Ventures to buy Bankrate for $1.24 billion". Reuters. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Inside the wild world of 'The Points Guy,' Brian Kelly: A massively profitable media empire and claims of non-stop partying, drugs and extravagant spending". BusinessInsider.com. March 14, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Lyons, Kim (January 21, 2022). "American Airlines suing The Points Guy over app that syncs frequent flyer data". The Verge. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  10. ^ a b Brubaker Calkins, Laurel; Schlangenstein, Mary (January 20, 2022). "American Airlines Sues The Points Guy Over Its Rewards Management App". Bloomberg. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  11. ^ a b c Dunn, Catherine (January 22, 2022). "Frequent-Flyer Miles Spur Lawsuits: American says app uses data unlawfully". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved May 12, 2022.

Further reading