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Ross Mathews on Travel, Points Strategy and Feeling Guilty in the TSA PreCheck Line

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Ross Mathews has come a long way since his days as “Ross the Intern” on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno back in 2001. The man can write (his memoir came out in 2013), host (The View among other shows), play the guest (as on Celebrity Fit Club and Chelsea Lately) and certainly judge (RuPaul’s Drag Race).

Over the years, he’s had ample reason to accumulate credit-card points — something that no doubt led to his latest role as pitchman for Capital One. Specifically, he is “starting a social conversation” about the benefits of the company’s reward cards — #TeamQuicksilver and #TeamVenture — and promoting a big giveaway (worth $10,000), as well as a Twitter chat at 12:30-1:30pm EST on June 10 about credit-card rewards.

We spoke to Ross about his travel preferences, points strategy and airport experiences.

TPG: Are you a points kind of guy?
Ross Mathews: Well I’m human, so I like to be smart about everything I do and if I can get unlimited miles or cash back or miles back that don’t expire, I think it’s a smart thing to do.

TPG: How often do you fly these days?
RM: Well, I’ve flown a lot in my life. I have my new gig, which is [Fox’s] “Hollywood Today Live,” so I’m live every day in my studio on Hollywood Boulevard… but I can’t travel as much [anymore]. I’ve saved up a lot of money for a decade and I have a house in Palm Springs, so I go there every weekend.

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TPG: How do use frequent flyer miles? Are you the type that uses upgrades or holds out to go on some exotic trip?
RM: That’s a great question. I’m saving all my miles for a big, big trip one day. Like just go nuts. Remember in “Sex and the City 2” where they had on the plane where they had their own little booth, their own little kiosk? I want that.

TPG: Do you have kind of a bucket list of travel destinations, or at least a sort of list where you really want to go, where you haven’t been yet?
RM: Yes, yes, I’ve always wanted to go to Australia. I’d love to bring my mom to Norway because our family is Norwegian because she’s never been there. It would be cool to see her there. I mean, the list is long. I’ve been a lot of places, but my list is long.

TPG: Do you have any packing tips?
RM: Get someone else to do it, that’s my packing tip! Don’t do it like me and do it like five minutes before you’re leaving for the airport.

TPG: Is there any one thing that you always carry in a wallet?
RM: I have pictures of my family, and my dogs, things that are important to me. We all have to always carry around this stuff — the passport, the ID, the cash — but it’s nice to carry some mementos as well.

TPG: Are you the type that likes to check baggage or carry it on?
RM: Carry-on, I’m in a hurry.

TPG: Are you a window or an aisle seat kind of guy?
RM: I like the window, I need a view.

TPG: Prefer to fly by day or don’t mind the red eye?
RM: Don’t mind the red eye. As long as we’re going to land safe, we’re good to go!

TPG: Have you registered with TSA PreCheck?
RM: I do get PreCheck, and I feel guilty about that all the time when I pass people on line. You know I’m not the person who thinks “suckers!” I think “oh my god, I’m so sorry, do you want my spot?” I know what that’s like being on line for four hours, especially this summer. But listen, it’s not the worst thing in the world, so I’ll take it, and you know, once you get there, you forget about the long lines, you forget about the airport, you forget about the security, you just are down for some adventure.

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