Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

LAST CHANCE: Head for Points writer, London, £40,000 pa

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Applications for the job as our new HFP co-writer close on Wednesday so I thought I would give it a final push today.  The deadline will not be extended – I am back in the office after World Travel Market on Thursday and will then start to plough through the responses.  Very few people who have applied to date have prior experience of writing about miles and points so don’t let that put you off.  Similarly, don’t be put off if you are not currently working – in some ways, this is easier because you can start more quickly.  Before applying, you should also read through the questions posted under the original article here.  I have updated the text today in response to feedback from the first version.

I am looking to hire a new writer for Head for Points. If you’re interested, read on.

I ran this site on my own for the first three years. Anika worked for me part-time for a year and, two years ago, joined full time.  We kept this low key but I’m very happy to say that Anika got married a few weeks ago and she is no longer based in London.

What I have decided to do is hire a new writer to work alongside me in the London office.

I am looking for someone to join the business to co-write our standard day-to-day ‘points and miles’ articles. It will also involve replying directly to reader emails and updating legacy content.  You will also be taking on the flight and hotel reviews which Anika would previously have done.

You will not be looking after advertising, marketing, competitions etc but you will be involved in organising our eagerly awaited Christmas and Summer parties.

This job has very specific requirements

HFP is a bigger and more complex business than it appears, with the site generating 1.3 million page views per month and sending out 1.1 million articles by email.

Remember that we are producing 24 articles per week across Head for Points and Shopper Points – an average of almost five per working day. This is on top of a schedule of meetings and trips.

The key reason for taking on someone is to reduce the 365 / 24 / 7 burden on myself.  This means that there are very specific requirements attached to the job which may disqualify you.

You would not be allowed to take leave during the UK school holidays in February, May or October or over Easter.  We are more flexible over the Summer but there would also be restrictions.  I am always away over these periods and you would take full control of the site at these times. Bear this in mind if you have school-age children or your partner is a teacher.  This is not negotiable.

It would be an added bonus if you wanted to work part or all of the weekend in return for days off elsewhere. However, this is a “nice to have” rather than a “must have”. Don’t be put off applying if you want a Monday to Friday job.

What does the role involve?

I don’t intend to go into a detailed description of the knowledge you need. It’s very simple – if you think you could write most of the analytical HFP articles virtually off the top of your head, then apply.

If you don’t know all of the benefits of Amex Platinum, which BA Club Europe routes offer 160 tier points or which hotel top tier statuses include free breakfast, you’re probably not right for this.  At the same time, I would still want to do the more complex articles myself so you don’t need to know everything.

Remember that we write for a mainstream business travel audience and much of what we do is mainstream trade journalism.  We have a small shelf of ‘Business Travel Journalism Awards’ to prove it.  The crossover of readers between HFP and, say, Flyertalk is low.

We’re not looking for ideas for obscure redemptions on obscure airlines. You don’t need to know every airline code (B6 anyone?) because we never use them.  We DO want you to tell people about offers to make a stay at the Holiday Inn Sheffield more rewarding.

If you already write about miles and points then this is an advantage.  There are certain key differences between having your own site and working for HFP.  The main ones are that you will not have control over what you write about (although obviously you can suggest ideas) and you will not be able to randomly vent about issues which interest you.  You need to accept that your work will be edited by someone else and substantial changes may be made.

If you compare HFP to a newspaper you will be writing the news pages, not the editorial comment pages.  The overall tone and direction of the site will not be changing.

You will be reviewing business class flights for the site. Recent trips included Tokyo on ANA, Johannesburg on South African, Boston on Aer Lingus and New York on Norwegian as well as some private jet flights.  There will also be occasional European high-end hotel reviews and some more prosaic UK airport hotel visits. These are usually 3-4 nights solo trips which you will need to plan and manage yourself. You will be away from home for 10-12 nights per year.

It is worth stressing that you should not apply for this job if you’re looking for a role with a lot of travel.  If you enjoy travel, miles and points then you will enjoy this job because you are effectively turning your hobby into a full-time living – but don’t apply because you are looking for a job where you can see the world.  You will primarily be seeing Central London.

I am looking at this as a long-term appointment.  If I fall under a bus tomorrow, my wife and kids will be relying on you to keep the business going.  If the site is sold to MoneySuperMarket, GoCompare or someone similar I would expect you to become editor whilst I move to a non-executive role. This means that you need to show managerial and commercial potential even if it won’t be required short term.

WordPress experience is essential but you could teach yourself in a couple of days.  Basic HTML, CSS and video editing skills are handy.

Location

HFP is based behind Moorgate station in a 3,000 person WeWork co-working space. HFP has its own dedicated two-desk office.

The building comes with the usual perks – free beer, free coffee, an extensive events programme, table tennis, table football, on-site cafe etc.

I am considering moving the office to Victoria to make it walkable for me, but it would remain within a co-working facility.

Other points to consider

You need to hold a UK or EU passport (or a passport with equivalent travel rights) and be able to travel without restriction to the Middle East and North America.

Working for HFP is a public role and you will lose some of your personal privacy. We are regularly featured in the media and TV, radio and press appearances are occasionally required.

Whilst this is technically a Monday to Friday job – unless you want to work over the weekend in return for days off elsewhere – review trips will involve weekend travel. Working late is not encouraged but we may, for example, set up a rota over who is responsible for monitoring site comments in the evenings and weekends.

Anika won “Best Newcomer to Business Travel Journalism” at the annual industry awards in 2017 and I would hope that whoever takes this role would be nominated in 2019.

The job is a genuine partnership with a very high level of delegation and high levels of mutual trust.

Compensation

The salary is £40,000 pa.

Interested?

If you think this role is for you, please email me at rob at headforpoints.co.uk and tell me why.   Do not apply if you cannot commit to working during school holidays as outlined above.

If you have any questions, post them below or contact me directly. Applications close on Wednesday 7th November. Interviews will take place in November. We are flexible over a starting date but the sooner the better.

Comments (110)

  • Lukethetraveller says:

    Real shame, travelling is my life and I would love this type of job, however English is not my native language and with some very pedantic readers here, it wouldn’t do any good.

    • Alex Sm says:

      Anika was not a native speaker either and she managed very well with some editing and proofing supervision from Rob. I think this should not discourage people from applying at all. Also this might help to “internationalise” HfP English which sometimes is a bit too British 🙂

  • czechoslovakia says:

    Would love the job, just no-where near good enough, being a *A kind a person.
    Good luck!

  • Lady London says:

    £40,000 for rent? You mean you’d be looking for a place for…. £3200+ per month?

    Even living in/near or working in London there are ways of not paying that. Even with 3 dogs.

    If you wanted to make it work I’m sure you could. Getting round the mindset of professional often young(ish) travellers, who work or live in London, though, is a very peculiar thing as Rob says.

    • Russ says:

      I’m still not very clear on what a professional youngish traveler who works or lives in town is. Are we looking at the well moneyed through their profession i.e. finance, tech, pharmas who’re comfortable spending higher amounts on travel in general including hotel chain’s executive apartments? Or is this cohort now more likely to frequent a Moxy type hotel with the austerity thing that’s been going on?

      • Rob says:

        You are looking at a bunch of people who, in general, took graduate jobs in London after university and are now 10-15 years into their professional careers and have generally achieved some level of success but with a lot more to (hopefully) come.

        • Russ says:

          Nicely cleared up, thanks Rob and good luck with the search.

        • tom1 says:

          Out of curiosity, where do you get all your info about the visitors -from Facebook pixel?

          • Rob says:

            Come to our parties and you can meet 250 of them in one room.

            There is also date from Quantcast and Alexa page count pixels on the site, plus Facebook, and all of these give us aggregate data based what else they know about you. Quantcast claims a HFP reader is 4.2x more likely than the UK average to earn £70k+ for example. No idea how they get to this, but working this stuff out is what they do all day.

        • Julian says:

          Most jobs in which people fly regularly in Business Class tend to be senior roles in marketing, sales or at Chief Executive level.

          Also in order to earn enough Avios to regularly make long haul Avios redemptions in to Club and First Class again implies a very high level of annual card spend (apart of course from the fanatics who constantly cycle between different cards and earn large sign up bonuses each time).

          All that being so it hardly seems surprising to me that the average HfP reader has a much higher earning level than the average member of the UK population.

        • Shoestring says:

          Julian – you’d make an excellent HfP sub editor!

          Always the master of detail & I think you could learn (in time) to sharpen up your prose.

          A joy to read, I think you should consider applying.

        • Julian says:

          Shoestring,

          I’m glad to have one at least fan on the site given that I also seem to have connected with quite a few detractors regarding my somewhat expansive writing style. I do however retain and store normally pointless facts and data and recall them with ease (surely a key qualification for the job). Only a few commenters here are memorable for different reasons and Genghis (mainly as the most heavily addicted contributor who would clearly be a shoe in for this job were he not already apparently now earning far more money than the pay offered), oldharryrocks and Lady London (obviously the name alone stands out but the contributions are interesting too) are amongst them.

          Things going against me (aside from insufficiently concise writing style, although of course HeadForPoints articles are themselves relatively length) are clearly age (since I appear to be around five years older than Rob, which I think most bosses would find difficult with someone as old and opinionated as me) and possibly gender, although I am sure that Rob will select on merit all things being equal.

          May be I should give it a go therefore (only a few hours left to apply) but I think with a position like this one it will come down not just to the ability to do the job satisfactorily but also personal connection and rapport with Rob as determined by the interview for those who make it that far in the selection process. Employment gaps would also be an issue with me but noting that Rob has not immediately discounted someone who is not currently working (and actually sees advantages in that situation) then he appears to be more broad minded than most potential employers.

          I’m still wondering though about any possibilities on share options after so many years service etc in the event that Rob eventually sells the business on to one of the usual suspects for several tens of millions………………………………..

        • Julian says:

          Damn I see that a couple of typos made it in to the last post (at least I spotted them subsequently) but as usual there is no edit button.

          Were I to get the job I would definitely hope to try and persuade my boss of the benefits of a normal proper threaded web discussion forum where those contributing then also receive post update emails.

        • Julian says:

          Also if I take Rob’s CV at https://uk.linkedin.com/in/headforpoints at face value and his start date in the world of employment (September 1999) then he only appears to be either 40 or 41 compared to my 55.

          So I’m still feeling like the late 20s to mid 30s applicant (I’m also guessing that being female might actually be a potential asset rather than a hindrance given that Rob’s wife clearly didn’t impose any non officially advertised strictures in that area regarding the previous post holder) with some relevant writing and numerical analysis skills is most likely to be the person that Rob is seeking.

          However this would have been the perfect job for me to apply for back in 1993 after eight years in my first job as a numbers and data analysis geek (also talking to the national financial press about the numbers and associated monthly commentary that we produced) with a trade association for the collective investment fund industry (AKA unit trusts). Unfortunately the internet at that stage had scarcely been conceived and most of us with an interest in that area were at that stage using some quaint walled garden service known as Compuserve.

        • EwanG says:

          So you have applied Julian? Good luck!

          And I think you have more fans than you think. You provide intelligent, measured, appropriate and on topic responses, and you acknowledge these could be more succinct and that is the first step in improving these!

      • Shoestring says:

        Here’s one for you, Julian. I really wanted to be a Reuters reporter but they turned me down as an undergraduate. Not to worry, I got another 8 job offers, those were the times.

        Anyway, I later got to present business plan for 45 minutes or so to Chris Hogg (different chairmanship) and he basically said I was the main man lol, big on the congrats etc. What talent, what potential lol.

        So I could possibly really have been that hack that I should have been! If only he’d been on the panel 10 years earlier.

        • Julian says:

          So what career did you end up pursuing then?

          I always thought that Shoestring was a BBC series private investigator (detective) of 1979/80 (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoestring_(TV_series) Trevor Eve was particularly good in the role but apparently he feared becoming typecast – see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoestring_(TV_series) However it appears that members of the same production team were also responsible for the creation of the excellent Bergerac series. I can still remember the theme music for Shoestring quite clearly now but then I can also still remember the decimilisation ad jingles of 1971 when I was only 7/8 years old.

          Regarding the job I fear that I have not applied so far (one reason being that I unexpectedly had major commitments to attend to yesterday evening) and of course Rob may well dismiss me out of hand (as he is quite entitled to) for not meeting the official deadline. However I note the application process is only to email Rob telling him why one is suitable for the role, which does not on the face of it seem that arduous compared to many job application processes. Surprisingly he doesn’t even seem to ask for the customary CV, although no doubt he would not object if anyone attached one.

          I have more time than yesterday to try and write something convincing. However I do wish now that I had managed to apply for one of the tickets for the previous HfP parties in time (before they sold out in about two hours) as if I had actually met Rob I would already have a far better idea of whether or not he is somebody I could happily work with. Still that would clearly become obvious in the unlikely event of making it as far as an interview…………

  • Andy says:

    This comment thread makes me wonder if demand is there for more content based around the North, or if perhaps the Northern types are just a bit more vocal at times.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      I think we are more vocal. This site, like most of the country, will be geared towards the M25. It’s hard to argue because that is where a critical mass of people exist. I’d love to see some more stuff focused on MAN, but that doesnt help people 2hrs north of EDI. It’s a tough nut to crack.

      I would also like to see some more stuff on earning avios with sunglasses. Once I’ve finished my 23hr day down the mine for £20k a year the sun doesn’t half hurt my eyes when I get back to the surface.

  • George K says:

    I think the point has been well made in some of the comments above, but I’d like to state with a certain degree of experience that a) the £40k salary for such a London-based job is probably the most competitive I’ve ever seen and b) that London rent is perfectly achievable around the £9-10k mark (and in many cases, much lower).

    I’ve worked in both trade and national/international media organisations over the past 20 years, with the former offering starting salaries in the low £20s these days – after years of stagnation. A couple of years ago, Time Out London had a column called ‘Quit your job to become a…’ and when Journalism was mentioned, the starting salary was listed as £18.5k pa (which was exactly the starting salary in my company about 12 years ago).

    There’re plenty (and without a doubt, too many) jobs in London that offer even below £20k (without even considering the gig economy phenomenon) so for those still in doubt, I’d like to state that this job has not only an above-average starting salary, but also an air-tight job spec (a rare sight as most job descriptions I’ve seen are usually thrown out the window as soon as you start).

    Best of luck to the candidates! There should never have been any cause for any complaints.

  • mutley says:

    Rob,

    Your not on the list of notable former pupils, where did it all go wrong?!!