Interview with Milepoint Founder Randy Petersen

We’d like to express our sincere appreciation to Randy Petersen and the members of the Milepoint frequent flier community for their generous support of Zidisha entrepreneurs.  

During the month of March, Milepoint Founder Randy Petersen offered to enter all active members of Zidisha Milepoint Lending Group in a drawing to win an iPad mini – with a second iPad drawing if the team reached the goal of $125,000 in total impact.  The team surpassed that milestone, exceeding $150,000 worth of loans made and new members recruited.  In the process, the Milepoint group became Zidisha’s number-one lending group in terms of total impact.  

Today, Milepoint Founder Randy Petersen shared his perspective in this interview:

1. Could you give us some background on Milepoint – why the Milepoint community was founded, and what makes it unique?

I’ve had the extreme pleasure of being involved in starting other resources for frequent flyers and about two years ago was approached by a few of my customers to start a new project—Milepoint, with the express goal to harness the social actions of the frequent flyer and create a new brand for frequent flyers with emphasis on helping others and broadening the description of what a travel community is. We still love our frequent flyer miles and points, but we have grown to sponsor educational sessions throughout the year, private events with leading airlines executives and even chartering an airplane to visit Boeing’s factory.

2. The Milepoint community is known for its involvement in philanthropy.  Milepoint members have contributed millions of dollars to Doctors Without Borders, Livestrong, The Susan G. Komen Foundation and Kiva.  With so many worthy causes to choose from, why do you believe Zidisha is a particularly good fit for Milepoint members?

The best question yet. From Milepoint we have learned that direct contact is a gift not only when we travel, but in our charitable endeavors. And Zidisha allows us an even more direct form of communication in helping others. Zidisha for us is a new form of pen pals for the future and with this channel of charity it brings giving to a personal level.
3. In just a few weeks, the Milepoint Lending Group at Zidisha has risen to the top of our lending group ranking in terms of total impact.  What do you see as the reasons for the Milepoint Lending Group’s success?
This is the easiest questions to answer. First of all, we’re just getting started. We’ll continue to create new and interesting ideas on how to  promote Zidisha to our members. As for the success? We’re blessed with a great team captain and with the same passion for helping others as with our other charity efforts, but we’re competitive. In frequent flyer programs we want our upgrades, we want extra bonus miles. In giving, we want the most for those we help. We’re not here just today to help Zidisha, we’ll be here tomorrow  and the next day. And remember, we’re new as well. As we grow, so will our support of Zidisha. Let’s grow together.
4. What are you hoping Milepoint members will gain from their involvement with Zidisha?
The same thing we all gain when helping others—respect for our fellow man. Charity with Zidisha has names and faces behind each story we are telling others about. That is enough for us.
To learn more, check out the Milepoint Zidisha forum.

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