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6 Father’s Day Gift Ideas for the Dad Who Likes to Travel

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I’ve looked up to my dad my entire life — well, until I was about 15 years old I surpassed him height-wise anyway. Even though I’m four inches taller than him now, I still look up to him in so many ways.

My dad and I have a lot in common. Both of our names are Brian Kelly and we are both the third son with a younger sister. And we both love to travel. Even though he traveled a lot for work, we bonded over planning family trips with his frequent flyer miles. I was 12 when I planned our first international trip to Grand Cayman, which to this day probably still ranks up there in the top five best trips of my entire life.

Never in a million years did I think that points and miles would be such a huge part of my life as The Points Guy. So on Father’s Day, I’d like to take a minute and thank my dad, the original Points Guy, for all that he’s taught me and for generally being a fun guy to be around.

To San Francisco we go! :airplane::airplane: #tpgintotheblue

A photo posted by Brian Kelly (@thepointsguy) on

When Dockers asked my dad and me to visit their headquarters in San Francisco and share our story for their new Father’s Day campaign, I immediately said yes because it would allow us time to travel together, which is one of my favorite things to do with him.

Here’s a short clip of our interview. Share your own Father’s Day story on social media and use the #AllAboutDad hashtag for a chance to win a trip for two to San Francisco! Dockers has also extended a generous offer to our readers: 30% off a $100 Dockers purchase any time in June if you use this promo code: DockersTPG.

1. Global Entry, So He Can Speed Through the Airport

With security lines as long as ever, what better way to show your appreciation for everything Dad’s done than by saving him hours of time waiting at the airport? Help Dad sign up for Global Entry, something I’ll never travel abroad without again, by billing it to one of your cards that offers a statement credit to cover the cost, like the Citi Prestige Card or The Platinum Card from American Express, which unlike the Citi Prestige, will also cover the $85 charge if you’re solely after TSA PreCheck, though it’s kind of a no-brainer to get Global Entry, too.

For no added cost with select credit cards, you can start enjoying less waiting time at airport screening checkpoints.
With Global Entry, your dad can start enjoying less waiting time at airport screening checkpoints.

By having Global Entry, Dad will also gain access to TSA PreCheck — even if he doesn’t travel internationally as often, TSA PreCheck is great for domestic travel and I’ve been using it as often as I can.

While the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card does not specifically give you a credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, you are given a $300 travel credit, which could be used toward either program. Another card to keep in mind is the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard, which gives you a statement credit of $100 to use for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

2. Sweet Perks with the Platinum Card from American Express 

I'm a huge fan of the American Express Centurion Lounges.
I’m a fan of the American Express Centurion Lounges.

Call it the gift that keeps on giving. Adding your father to your Platinum Card from American Express account as an authorized user will get him some great perks, including access to some of the world’s best airport lounges, such as American Express Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass Select Lounges and Delta Sky Clubs (if you’re flying Delta that day). He’ll also enjoy Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status and Hilton HHonors Gold status, access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts and complimentary Wi-Fi via Boingo. Amex will charge you an additional annual fee $175 to add up to three authorized users — so add your mom, too! — but you’ll be earning points on whatever they’re spending, so it probably won’t take too long for this to pay for itself.

When you add your dad as an authorized user, he won't have to stay more than 40 nights per year with Hilton to enjoy Gold status benefits.
When you add your dad as an authorized user, he won’t have to stay the 40 nights per year with Hilton to enjoy Gold status benefits.

Additional cardmembers can also sign up for Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status, which we value at $545, as well as Hilton HHonors Gold Status, which we value at $1,310. So Dad can enjoy benefits like room upgrades and bonus points as well as additional on-property perks.

As an authorized user on your Platinum Card, Dad will enjoy free Boingo Wi-Fi access at more than a million hotspots.
As an authorized user on your Platinum Card, Dad will enjoy free Boingo Wi-Fi access at more than a million hotspots.

He’ll also be able to use free Boingo Wi-Fi at more than one million locations across the globe, including most major airports. He can enjoy the same unlimited Wi-Fi access you get, with the added peace of mind that everyone will still be connected while traveling.

Some of the many benefits you can start using as part of the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program.
Some of the many benefits you can start using as part of the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program.

Yet another benefit when you add Dad as an authorized user is access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program, which lets him enjoy sweet perks like room upgrades, late check-out and on-site credits, among other things that vary by property when he books through the FHR portal.

3. A Companion Pass So You Can Fly Together

The Southwest Companion Pass is extremely valuable and will give you some time to catch up with Dad.
The Southwest Companion Pass lets Dad fly for free with you.

There comes a time when you really need to catch up with your dad, something I try to do as often as possible. Southwest Airlines‘ Companion Pass is one of the most lucrative airline perks out there; when you fly 110,000 qualifying miles in a calendar year, you can choose one person to fly for free with you (minus taxes and fees). And just in case Dad doesn’t always want to fly, Southwest allows the primary status holder to change companions up to three times per year. If you don’t fly at least 110,000 miles per year with Southwest, you can get still score 50,000 bonus points that count toward the Companion Pass when you sign up for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card and spend $2,000 in the first three months.

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express also issues a free round-trip companion certificate each year upon a cardholder’s account anniversary that’s valid for a single companion in economy class on a paid ticket within the 48 contiguous United States. It works for nearly all economy fare classes (other than some negotiated bulk fares) and covers the entire companion fare aside from taxes and government fees. Delta also recently improved the upgrade policy for companion travel, which could make for a more an even more comfortable ride.

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card offers a discount code that lets cardholders buy a companion ticket in economy class on Alaska Airlines for $99 plus taxes and fees. This companion pass offer is only valid on paid fares for flights operated by Alaska Airlines, but allows both travelers to earn miles.

While British Airways doesn’t offer a typical companion pass, with your British Airways Visa Signature card, you can earn a Travel Together Ticket after spending $30,000 in a calendar year. This gives you a second seat for your companion — when you book an award flight on a British Airways mainline flight originating in and returning to the US. Even with British Airways’ exorbitant fuel charges, this benefit could be a great value for you and your dad while flying in a premium cabin.

4. Gifting Elite Status

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American Airlines Business Extra members can bestow AAdvantage Gold status on deserving dads.

If you’re part of American Airline’s Business Extra program, you can earn points on eligible flight purchases, and you can then use these rewards to gift AAdvantage Gold status (for 2,400 points), among other things.

One interesting feature of the SkyMiles program is that Delta allows upper-tier Medallion members to pick from among several special perks known as Choice Benefits. Options include Sky Club membership, bonus miles, retail gift cards and more. Plus, Platinum elites can gift Silver status, while Diamond elites can gift Gold status to another flyer. And finally, with Delta’s SkyBonus business program you can gift Silver Medallion status for the cost of 120,000 points.

5. Use Hotel Points to Get Him a Free Stay

If you don’t have time to join Dad on a trip, consider making a reservation with your own hotel points for him as a gift instead. Just book as usual using your points, then call the reservations desk directly — since you won’t be with him, it’s a good idea to have the representative add your father’s name to the reservation. Don’t specifically say that you won’t be traveling with him, but that you just want to add him on as an additional guest. About a week prior to his trip, call to confirm that his name is on the reservation, since your companion will be “arriving before you.”

I’ve done this numerous times with Hyatt, Marriott, Starwood and Hilton, among other hotel chains, and I’ve never had a problem before — if anything, the hotel may not give your guest access to elite benefits that come with your reservation. This could be a great opportunity to give Dad a free hotel stay so he can relax and enjoy himself, even if you’re not able to join him this time around.

6. Spending Time With the Legend Himself

Of course, spending time with your old man is the simplest and easiest way to show Dad your appreciation. My dad has been trying to get me to go golfing with him for a while now, since it’s one of his favorite things to do, and one of my goals is to actually learn how to play.

Not only is it fun to get out there and be competitive, but golf also gives you plenty of time to talk and bond as you go. Citi Prestige cardholders are entitled to three free rounds at select golf courses around the world by booking reservations online after creating an account on the GolfSwitch website. It’s a nice-to-have perk that could come in handy when your travels take you to locations with participating courses, such as Las Vegas, Hawaii and Tampa Bay.

Do you have any special plans for Father’s Day? Tell us about them below!

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