Inside the wild world of ‘The Points Guy,’ Brian Kelly

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Brian Kelly, founder of The Points Guy, has built an impressive travel and rewards recommendation business. And he has a lavish lifestyle to prove it. Dave Kotinsky/Stringer/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Business Insider
  • Brian Kelly is the founder and CEO of The Points Guy, a travel and credit-card-rewards website also known as TPG.
  • Kelly lives a lavish lifestyle of first-class flights and luxury hotel suites in destinations including the Maldives, Venice, and Japan.
  • Some former and current TPG employees described a workplace atmosphere they saw as toxic, including allegations of verbal abuse and public shaming by Kelly.
  • Read the full story on BI Prime.

This past holiday season was a busy one for Brian Kelly.

First, he hopped aboard a first-class flight from New York to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in a private cabin with butler service and its own bathroom. Then came a stay at a $US3,000-a-night five-star resort in the Maldives, replete with sunrise yoga and Champagne, before moving on to a luxury resort in Jaipur, India, for Christmas.

It may sound extravagant, but for Kelly, the founder of The Points Guy, it’s just another week on the job.

The Points Guy, a travel and credit-card-rewards website also known as TPG, was founded 10 years ago. Since then, it has grown from a one-man blog into a company with more than 100 employees who bring in 10 million monthly unique visitors to the site.

Last year, according to sources, the site generated more than $US50 million in profit.

To many, working at TPG seemed like a dream job where they were promised a slice of Kelly’s jet-setting lifestyle, which he broadcasts daily to his 232,000 followers. Photos of him cavorting at $US2,000-a-night-plus hotels in Venice and the Caribbean sit alongside images of Kelly hobnobbing with Martha Stewart and partying at the Oscars as a Marriott executive’s date.

But while the 6-foot-7 Kelly sells the dream of glamorous travel to both his readers and his staffers, the reality of working alongside the 37-year-old travel guru can be a nightmare, according to a number of former and current employees with whom we spoke.

Business Insider spoke with 28 current and former employees, freelancers, and contractors, 23 of whom described a toxic work environment they said was fostered by Kelly.

Read the full story on BI Prime.