Travel Blogs

We highlight bloggers who navigate the world of miles and points.

Definition of BLOG – Merriam-Webster 
: a website that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments and often hyperlinks provided by the writer; also : the contents of such a site 
— blog verb 
— blog•ger noun 
— blog•ging noun

Blogging About Miles and Points

Frequent travelers in general are a connected and well-informed group of people so it’s no surprise that many have taken to the blogosphere to share their knowledge of all things miles and points. Many points/miles bloggers are featured on InsideFlyer’s sister site, BoardingArea.com, which was launched for travelers to find the best of frequent flyer blogs all in one place. Below, we take a look at just eight of the many travel bloggers writing today: View from the Wing, One Mile at a Time, Mommy Points, Frequent Miler, Loyalty Traveler, Hack My Trip, Marshall Jackson on Travel and Points, Miles & Martinis.

In a recent survey we conducted, a commanding 67.8 percent of those responding said that they consult a miles/points travel blog once a day or more. Only 2.5 percent said they do not read travel blogs, so it certainly looks as though travelers see a benefit to reading these blogs. Below, you’ll learn something about the featured bloggers as well as some travel tips as they share some of their knowledge. You can find them all at BoardingArea.com.

View from the Wing

http://boardingarea.com/viewfromthewing

gary_leff

View from the Wing is a blog written by Gary Leff that he launched in May 2002 under the earlier title, “More Room Throughout Coach”. Leff said the idea behind the blog was that we all can find additional space in our travels and our lives, freedom and prosperity, by remaining alert to opportunities and understanding what frequent flyer programs have to offer. “From the very beginning, I shared my thoughts, the best deals and opportunities I’ve come across, everything that seemed interesting to me each day,’’ Leff commented.

Randy Petersen invited Leff to move his blog to WebFlyer at the beginning of 2003. That’s when it gained its current name, and later helped anchor the launch of BoardingArea. Leff has turned the blog into a daily “must read” for frequent flyers.

Leff is a Chief Financial Officer for his “day job” and also offers an award booking service for which he is listed by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the world’s top travel specialists. He is known as a frequent flyer expert with profile pieces in Executive Travel and Town & Country, and regular references to his work have appeared in the New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times, and appearances on television with CNN and The Colbert Report.

Along with in-depth analysis and news about frequent travel, including photos of over-the-top luxury experiences that will make you drool, View from the Wing features regular help with how to best make use of your miles, including the routes with the best award availability and instruction in how to find award seats on your own and successfully get what you wish for when talking to travel providers. Leff says, “I am a bit of a generalist in the miles and points space, I cover the broad swath of frequent flyer programs and comment on trends and changes in the industry. If it’s happening in the mileage and elite status space you’ll likely find me covering it.”

When he’s not writing his own blog, Leff’s “first read” blogs include One Mile at a Time, Mommy Points and Wendy Perrin’s Perrin Post.

Q&A 

InsideFlyer

What are a few of the “non-obvious” frequent flyer programs that North American residents should consider and why?

View from the Wing

The “non-obvious” frequent flyer programs to consider are:

– Aegean Miles&Bonus (Star Alliance) because it’s a quick way to status that won’t expire as long as you keep your account active. Flying 19,000 qualifying miles in one year gets Star Alliance Gold status, and you just need to credit miles to the account once every three years to keep it. That means United lounge access even when flying domestically on United.
– Avianca LifeMiles (Star Alliance) has one-way awards, no fuel surcharges, a reasonable award chart and cash and points awards—you can buy up to 60 percent of the miles you need for an award at just 1.5 cents apiece.
– British Airways Executive Club (oneworld) for short distance nonstop flights which are an exceptional value in this program. You can avoid fuel surcharges on transatlantic flights with Air Berlin, and minimize them flying Aer Lingus. Rarely does a frequent flyer program make sense for domestic awards, but nonstop flights on American Airlines and Alaska are a great deal.
– Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan (partners with many airlines in oneworld and Skyteam) allows one-way awards and now lets you combine partners. The key here is that you can credit flights from both Delta and American to an Alaska Airlines account, so folks who aren’t frequent flyers with either can earn awards faster—and the Alaska award chart is reasonable.
– Korean Air Skypass (Skyteam) adds fuel surcharges to awards and only lets you redeem points for family members, but award availability on Korean’s flights in first class is out of this world good—it was no problem to get one-stop first class flights from Kuala Lumpur to Washington Dulles last year for the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

InsideFlyer

Do you personally want the merger between US Airways and American Airlines to go through? Why or why not?

View from the Wing

I may be one of the few frequent flyers that would really benefit from a US Airways-American Airlines merger. I’m an American 100,000-mile flyer who lives minutes from Washington’s National airport where US Airways is by far the dominant carrier. Mergers don’t usually work out well for frequent flyers, just ask any former Northwest WorldPerks member. Still, while I don’t think United’s elite members are better off with the Continental merger, MileagePlus redemptions are actually much improved (better routing rules, no more intentional blocking or ‘throttling’ of partner awards). Still, much of the consternation from frequent flyers over this merger is about losing the special niches of exceptional value that each airline and program offers—things that will probably be lost anyway that would simply get blamed on the merger if it happens. I’ve always said I preferred each airline to remain a standalone, but I don’t think the merger itself would be the cause of Really Bad Things.

One Mile at a Time

http://boardingarea.com/onemileatatime

ben-schlappigBen Schlappig, a.k.a. Lucky, has been blogging since 2008 after, he says, “oversleeping and missing a midterm in my Computer Science class … When I finally woke up I decided it would make sense to do something productive to feel better about myself.”

He decided to take his passion for miles and points to the next level and emailed Randy Petersen to see if he was looking for more bloggers for his new BoardingArea.com site. And, “Sure enough, within a week I was blogging.”

In February 2008, Randy Petersen commented on Lucky’s blog, “Love your point of view and energy to keep blogging away. My vote for ‘Best New Biz Travel Blogger!!!!’”

And Randy is not alone in his assessment. One Mile at a Time features in-depth analysis on all things miles and points and Lucky has been cited as a travel expert in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and others. Like View from the Wing, One Mile at a Time features envy-worthy photographs and information about luxury travel and Schlappig offers an award booking service. Schlappig says, “My trip reports tend to focus on the more ‘aspirational’ products and destinations people can experience with their miles, but I try to spend a good amount of time highlighting the best methods to accrue miles, how to maximize various programs and so forth.”

He says that his blog can be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys the humorous side of travel. Readers can join in the fun of sharing travel memories by sending photos to Lucky to feature in a Photo Contest to guess where in the world the photo was taken (winners receive bragging rights).

Schlappig’s blog reads include View from the Wing, (“Gary is probably the smartest person I know, so I make a point of reading everything he writes”). He also reads Matthew at UPGRD, (“… he has a quick wit and great approach to travel”) and Scott at HackMyTrip, (“… writes a great blog and does a fantastic job of breaking things down for his readers”).

Q&A

InsideFlyer

If you were given 100,000 points in any hotel program, which program would you choose and how would you spend them?

One Mile at a Time

My first instinct is to say Starwood Preferred Guest, as their points are incredibly versatile, and I find them to be the most valuable of any hotel program. That being said, three nights in a suite at a top Hyatt property such as the Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris, or the Park Hyatt Tokyo would only be 99,000 points, so I think I’d have to go with that!

InsideFlyer

How do loyalty programs change the way you travel?

One Mile at a Time

Loyalty programs allow me to travel in a way I could otherwise never afford. I’ve not only experienced some amazing first class flights that would be completely out of reach, but have stayed at hundreds of aspirational hotels for a fraction of the price.

Loyalty programs also make my travel planning much easier! When I’m researching a new destination, I know that at a minimum I’ll have breakfast and Internet at the hotel included given my elite status, which at luxury properties could otherwise be upwards of $100 per day. These types of benefits add up quite quickly, and really help keep costs down.

Mommy Points

http://boardingarea.com/mommypoints

summerYou don’t have to be a mother of a toddler to benefit from reading Mommy Points. Summer Hull (a.k.a. Mommy Points) is a mother of a three year old who started her blog in the spring of 2011 and says the idea came from her husband who liked putting together websites, “… and wanted an audience for my ramblings on the wonders of miles and points beyond just himself.” Hull says, “I started Mommy Points thinking it might appeal to a few of my friends and family, and I was shocked when it turned into something more than that.”

When explaining her blog viewpoint, she says, “… in my mommy years I have less expendable cash, less spare time and a greater need than ever for an affordable way to travel.” She is now blogging full time and recently appeared on Good Day Chicago to talk about frequent travel programs. “… I do strive to post things that would largely be helpful for everyday middle class families who want to ‘give their family the world’ but don’t necessarily have the budget to do so in the traditional sense.”

Hull is good at finding the jewels of miles and points earning and breaks it down in a succinct and easy-to-digest manner. She is quick to post whenever she sees a particularly good deal but will also give you more information than what you’d find in a press release.

For inspiration along with reviewing the best deals, Hull includes videos on her blog. You will also find that the blog focuses on family-friendly travel, along with tips for parents such as how to manage your child’s first flight.

Her daily blog reads include View from the Wing, The Points Guy and HackMyTrip, among many others.

Q&A

InsideFlyer

How has using miles and points for travel changed how you view family vacations?

Mommy Points

I view family vacations as not a ‘once in a lifetime’ or ‘once a year’ type of extravaganza. Thanks to miles and points they are now a more ingrained part of our regular life. For example, we don’t have to choose between which family members to visit this year, we go see them all, and we are often able to meet them in awesome destinations!

InsideFlyer

What are some of the often overlooked ways members can earn more points?

Mommy Points

It isn’t a new or fancy way, but using online shopping portals is a workhorse of points earning in my house, and yet I know so many families who don’t take the time to click through a portal to make a purchase. I just earned 21x bonus United miles via shoes.com for some shoes we needed anyway. That can turn 100 miles into 2,100 miles with only about 30 extra seconds of ‘work’.

Frequent Miler

http://boardingarea.com/frequentmiler

gregGreg, the Frequent Miler, has been blogging full time since April 2012 but says, “I started in September 2011 with the initial goal of simply sharing my excitement about points and miles with friends and family.”

He quickly learned, however, that his interest was in writing about creative ways to earn miles and points. “For example, I frequently write about ways to double shopping portal earnings by buying gift cards through a portal and then going through a portal again to pay for merchandise with gift cards.”

One of his biggest claims to fame is earning one million miles/points in one month. An e-book is on its way detailing that feat (published by Randy Petersen). Frequent Miler says that his blog is “for travelers looking for creative new ways to earn airline miles and points.” His blog features the “Frequent Miler Laboratory” where he shares his successes and failures in his experiments in mile and point gathering. He also gives information about getting miles/points through credit card signups, shopping portals, gift cards and more. He says, “I am very fortunate to have a pretty large and loyal following of hard core points and miles collectors.”

He says that his readers often take the points and miles earning ideas he writes about “far past where I would go myself.”

Greg says he reads a great many travel blogs but a new blog called Personal Finance Digest (pfdigest.com) has caught his attention. It isn’t a travel blog, but it covers travel deals as well as many non-travel financial opportunities.

Q&A

InsideFlyer

What is one of the lessons you learned during your “Million Mile Madness”—earning one million miles/points in one month?

Frequent Miler

Earning a million points and miles in one month was hard—really hard. The toughest part was the extremely short period of time I allowed myself. I would never recommend that anyone try to earn a million points in one month, but earning a million points over the course of a year or so can be pretty easy if you know what you’re doing. I recommend following blogs and trying things out in small doses before jumping in big time. Get to know, for yourself, what works and what doesn’t and what you’re comfortable doing and what you’re not.

InsideFlyer

Have you ever made any mistakes with either earning or redeeming miles/points that might be helpful for others to know about?

Frequent Miler

Yes, definitely. Several times in the past, I bought points or miles when they were heavily discounted, but without concrete plans for how I’d use them. That was a big mistake because most of those points are still sitting around collecting dust while becoming less and less valuable over time (due to program devaluations). On the other hand, when I’ve bought points with a concrete plan in mind for how to use them, I’ve been able to save money and travel in luxury. As a general rule, if you have no set plans for using your points, I’d recommend waiting and watching for opportunities to get points for free (or close to free) rather than buying them.

Points, Miles & Martinis

http://boardingarea.com/pointsmilesandmartinis

points_miles_and_martinisThe Weekly Flyer started Points, Miles & Martinis with a friend in 2009. He says, “… a friend and I were having a drink and discussing how a colleague had over 800,000 US Airways miles and didn’t know how to use them.” They decided it was much easier to help all of their friends and family by sharing travel tips and tricks through a blog. “We challenged each other to come up with a name during our happy hour and we settled on Points, Miles & Martinis,” he said. “We think it pretty much sums up our approach to points and miles travel blogging.”

On the “About Us” page of his blog he says he is, “a part time blogger and a full time business traveler.” In 2011, The Weekly Flyer and Mrs. Weekly Flyer redeemed over 1.7 million points and miles to take an epic trip to French Polynesia. Alex joined the Weekly Flyer team in 2012, helping to bring additional perspective for Points, Miles & Martinis readers. Alex logs over 100,000 flight miles each year and is also a part time blogger and full time business traveler.

Points, Miles & Martinis features Tips & Tricks, Happy Hour Stories and information about the latest promotions, among other miles/points related information. Weekly Flyer says, “We hear from our readers all the time about how we’ve helped make them aware of a little known promotion or trick to earn more miles or get status faster.” He says the Weekly Flyer team has engaged with readers and recently exchanged an email with a reader who was on the same flight as Weekly Flyer. “We didn’t find out that we were only one row apart until I posted an article on the wake turbulence that we had just experienced.”

In addition to reading several other fellow BoardingArea blogs, Weekly Flyer enjoys Our Swiss Adventure (euorpeanliving.blogspot.ch), written by a friend who is an ex-pat in Switzerland; My Life’s a Trip (www.mylifesatrip.com), a writer/photographer and Dan and Marcela (darcela.blogspot.com), a married duo focusing on culinary wonders of travel.

Q&A

InsideFlyer

Can you please share a few of your favorite or most popular ‘tips or tricks’ for our readers?

Points, Miles & Martinis

By far and away, the tip with the most interest was the one where we shared our go to iPhone app for making free international phone calls: www.insideflyer.com/link/?9674. The Magic Jack application is free to download and use. It allows us to call any number back in the U.S. for free from anywhere in the world as long as we have a decent WiFi connection. Another great tip is the use of British Airways Avios points. Most of the frequent traveler/points and miles crowd know that you can redeem Avios points for one-way travel with as little as 4,500 points. And you don’t have to travel on British Airways. British Airways Executive Club members can redeem their Avios points for partner airlines like American Airlines. If you select a route based on distance, say for example, New York to Montreal, you can redeem as little as 4,500 points plus taxes for a one-way flight. Of course, there are status challenges that make a lot of sense if you know how to use them. A friend was boarding a plane and sent a tweet that he didn’t have status at a specific hotel chain that he was about to stay with. I quickly sent him a response and a number to call where he could initiate a challenge to top-tier status at that hotel. The best part? His status was instantly upgraded while he was on the plane to his destination.

InsideFlyer
How have your travel patterns changed now that you have Baby Weekly Flyer? Any advice for parents traveling with children?
Points, Miles & Martinis
Oh my, how they have changed. Gone are the days when I book two flights on a Thursday at 4pm for a 6pm departure to some Caribbean island. My advice? Plan ahead. Flying with kids takes lots of preparation for us. We want to make sure that our child is safe first and foremost. So we’ve decided that Baby Weekly Flyer gets a separate seat. We’ve picked up a car seat that is compatible for planes and use that in the seat. This way we don’t have to worry about turbulence while having the baby in our laps. The best time for us to travel with Baby Weekly Flyer was around the 2-5 month mark. At that age you can pretty much count on them napping and feeding during the flight. It gets harder and entertainment ideas will come into play when they are older and more inquisitive. So we’ve picked up a smash proof tablet and loaded it with a few games and movies and we always have a few extra toys on hand.

Loyalty Traveler

http://boardingarea.com/loyaltytraveler

ricRic Garrido is the Loyalty Traveler and a regular contributor to InsideFlyer. He describes his blog as “my lifestyle entrepreneur independent business in Monterey, California” and he focuses on hotel loyalty programs. He says he had been wanting to blog since 2000, about a year after finding FlyerTalk but he was too busy spending five million miles between 1999 and 2005—miles he’d earned mostly from flying routes with enormous bonus mile offers. He says, “I got serious about writing after being surprised twice in two years with a sudden layoff.”

He has been blogging since 2006, and along with Leff and Lucky, was one of the original bloggers featured at BoardingArea.com when it launched. Garrido was a school teacher who now blogs full time. He says, “My goal is to make a middle-class living teaching others how to travel better for less money while working primarily at home or on the road at my leisure.”

Garrido chose to focus on hotel programs as his specialized niche. His forte is analyzing hotel promotions and will spend hours looking at every possible angle to maximize the benefit. He also summarizes hotel promotions from quite a few hotel loyalty programs every month so it’s a good idea to check his blog for this quick summary. Readers can also follow along on Garrido’s road trips.

He says most of his readers are based in the U.S. and travelers who pay for their own hotel rooms will benefit from reading his blog. “My blog focuses on how to earn points on low room rates and redeem high value reward nights.” And he practices what he preaches, “Only once have I paid more than $250 for a room night and I earned over 20,000 Starpoints for that one night in Amsterdam.”

When he’s checking his favorite blogs, he turns to Nerd’s Eye View. In the points and miles world, he says, “I read the prolific posting of View from the Wing, the welcoming charm of Mommy Points and the inciting insight of TravelBloggerBuzz.”

Q&A

InsideFlyer

What are some tips for hotel program members who are considering a cash + points award? Good deal? Not so good? Which hotel loyalty program offers the best cash + points deals?

Loyalty Traveler

Conserving points by using Cash & Points rates for hotel stays is a strategy I use frequently. Cash & Points is usually preferable to redeeming a Standard Reward, but not necessarily better than paying the listed room rate.

Four hotel programs offer Cash & Points rates. Club Carlson, Hilton HHonors and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) are capacity controlled so you can’t count on Cash & Points availability for your hotel stay. IHG simply offers the option of buying discounted points for reward nights. Each program has a slightly different name and different conditions.

Club Carlson charges 5,000, 10,000 or 15,000 points depending on hotel category, plus about 60 percent of the published rate. Hilton and SPG have a fixed cash component regardless of room rate. By pegging the cash portion to the published rate limits the savings at most Club Carlson hotels. I like to get at least $7 per 1,000 points value and I find Club Carlson least useful of the four programs.

Hilton HHonors charges 40 percent standard points plus a fixed cash rate based on hotel category. Sample October rates for the San Francisco Hilton are $280 or 60,000 points for a standard reward or $100 + 24,000 points. Spend $116 after taxes, and save 36,000 points compared to a points-only reward. Cash & Points offers $208 savings per night for 24,000 points. This is an example of good points value with significant rate savings.

The IHG Rewards Club program allows purchase of 5,000 ($40) or 10,000 ($70) points at a discount rate for a reward booking at time of purchase. The purchase is simply a way to buy points inexpensively and use fewer points from your account for reward nights. This option is always available in lieu of standard reward nights. Cash & Points is useful when you save about $7 per 1,000 points on the reward night.

I find SPG Cash & Points the most appealing for Category 3 to 5 hotels where the cash portion is fixed between $55 and $110. SPG Cash & Points charge 50 percent points of the standard reward rates. One advantage is the points are fixed and do not increase during peak season rates. An SPG Category 5 hotel at 16,000 points will only take 6,000 points and $110.

Category 3 and 4 hotels with $200 and higher rates are common. A Standard reward at 10,000 points for a $250 room is $25 per 1,000 points value. Cash & Points at 5,000 points + $75 is a better value saving $175 with 5,000 points. Cash & Points savings approaches the cost to buy points from SPG at $35 per 1,000.

All four programs offering Cash & Points rewards also count these reward nights as elite qualifying nights.

InsideFlyer

Of all the changes made by hotel programs this year, which was the best change? And the worst?

Loyalty Traveler

Best: IHG offering free Internet access at their hotels worldwide to IHG Rewards Club members, even if not a registered guest. This is a useful benefit as IHG approaches 5,000 hotels worldwide.

Worst: Hilton HHonors’ introduction of seasonal rewards within the Hotel Standard Reward category. Members no longer know if a Category 8 hotel is 40,000 points or 70,000 points without checking a separate monthly calendar.

Hack My Trip

http://hackmytrip.com

scott_mackenzieScott Mackenzie, who goes by the online handle “Scottrick” says travel hacking appeals to him as a kind of “real-life strategy game.”

“The term ‘travel hacking’ sounds illegal, but all it means is being very knowledgeable about the loopholes, mistakes and other technical aspects of travel,” he says.

Mackenzie has been blogging since January 2012 and later teamed up with fellow blogger Amol Koldhekar. The two say they enjoy applying an analytical approach to loyalty programs and co-branded credit cards, employing charts and comparison tables for reference tools. Hack My Trip has a wealth of information available including the award charts of major frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs, as well as charts showing points transfer options.

He says he consistently finds value in earning top-tier status with United Airlines and Hyatt Hotels. Along with his blog, he offers an award booking service.

“I purposely avoid focusing on the idea of ‘free travel’—lots of blogs do that already,” he says. “I get emails from business travelers as well as families planning vacations, people who are willing to pay but want advice on how to do it better. I also tend to write longer posts where my inner scientist comes out as I try to reason through all my options.”

He says some of his favorite blogs are The Wandering Aramean (“for his unique content and great travel tools”), View from the Wing (“for everything”) and One Mile at a Time (“for the ideas and photos—a.k.a. travel porn”).

Congratulations are in order as he recently married and planned his honeymoon, with the help of “miles, status and a bit of careful thought.”

Q&A

InsideFlyer

Can you explain what “fifth freedom” flights are and how to take advantage of them?

Hack My Trip

There are several ‘freedoms of the air’ that describe international commercial aviation rights. The Fifth Freedom permits an airline based in one country to fly between two foreign countries as long as it is part of continuing service that originates or ends in its own country. This can be a great way to secure a better in-flight experience since the foreign carrier is probably using aircraft intended for long-haul travel. Amol shared how to find a schedule on Google by searching ‘flights from ABC to XYZ’ (airport to airport). Just look for a foreign carrier with a nonstop flight.

InsideFlyer

What is one of the best pieces of travel hacking advice you’ve ever received? And what advice do you find yourself often giving to others?

Hack My Trip

The best advice I’ve received from anyone is to contribute to the online forums and make friends. A lot of information gets shared through private channels. My advice is not to worry about comparing your accomplishments to others. Everyone has their own tolerance for pain, and travel hacking is ultimately a compromise among time, convenience, quality and price.

Marshall Jackson on Travel

http://boardingarea.com/mjontravel

marshallMarshall Jackson has been an aviation enthusiast from the age of six and took his first flying lesson at the age of 15, obtaining his commercial pilot’s license at 19. His blog, Marshall Jackson on Travel, was launched in August 2006. He says, “I started the blog because I think I have a unique perspective to share and I could not think of any better way to share that perspective.”

He currently travels for business and enjoys sharing his travel expertise with his blog readers. He is known especially for his knowledge of cruises and some of his readers are “frequent floaters”, experienced cruisers, while others are looking to truly get away and are considering a cruise vacation. “It’s no secret that I like to cruise,” he said. “Frankly, if I ruled the world and had unlimited funds, I’d spend the majority of my time at sea…” Readers of Marshall Jackson on Travel can cruise vicariously through Jackson’s cruise reviews while planning a getaway of their own.

He also writes about the best credit card deals and travel deals in general and will answer readers’ questions through his blog. He has a core following of business travelers since he is one himself. “My travel patterns have me flying between 75,000 and 100,000 miles per year, mostly domestic … in other words … a pretty pedestrian business flyer.” Pedestrian or not, he works to smooth out the rough patches for fellow road warriors. “I try to share my experiences with them when it makes sense with the occasional post on mileage program benefits, hotel reviews, restaurant tips, etc. that worked for me.”

He has also recently announced that he will share “airport stories” from his years as first a pilot and then an airport manager. (We can only imagine that he’ll have some very entertaining stories.)

He reads every BoardingArea blogger but if pressed to name three of his “first reads” he says he reads View from the Wing (“… literally the first blog I ever heard of and haven’t stopped reading”), Frequent Miler (“… has brought much to the table in making the most of miles and points”) and Delta Points (“… if you are a Delta flyer, you need to read his blog”).

Q&A

InsideFlyer

With cruising in mind, which credit card (or cards) would you suggest are good for travelers who enjoy taking cruises?

MJ on Travel

There are three cards that I think should be in any cruiser’s wallet. The American Express Platinum Card for the Cruise Privileges program, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for Ultimate Rewards, and my latest favorite is the Barclay’s Arrival Card. I tend to opine that most travelers are better off using their card points for premium class flights, but if you’re inclined to cruise with points, these three are tops. Funny thing is, I think these same three cards are good cards for flyers to carry too.

InsideFlyer

Can you share one quick “airport story” with us?

MJ on Travel

Oh, gladly. I’ll hit the highlights on one I’ve never lived down. It was a nice day at the airport, great weather, no issues, but I still got a page to the ticket counter to deal with a customer who had a problem. I arrived at the counter to find a disheveled looking gentlemen who had obviously had a rough go of travel. He had the clothes on his back and a box that had been cargo-taped together. Somehow or another he had landed in Baltimore, needed to be in Dallas, and was standing before me in Washington, D.C.

The number one thing a manager needs to do is listen, so I listened to this customer’s story. I can’t remember every detail, but he’d endured quite the ‘trains, planes, and automobiles’ experience, some of which I felt was our airline’s fault, and some his own. In any event, I broke a few rules and got him booked on a flight several hours later without any additional cost to him. We shook hands, and I left for a meeting.

A few hours later, I got called to the ticket counter again. It seemed that our customer was so grateful for the positive outcome that he had dropped by with a thank you note which was waiting for me on my desk. There was a note, and also a gift. The note began with ‘All hail MJ, king of customer service….’ I unwrapped the package and inside was a box of lavender scented rose petals! Just another day at the airport for me!

You’ll have to wait for the blog post to get the rest of the story.

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