My 5 Travel Essentials: Celebrity Designer Clare Vivier

It was during home-ec class at high school in St. Paul that the stitch itch got celeb designer Clare Vivier. “I loved learning to sew,” said Vivier, who nurtured that affection over the years, even listing ‘bag designer’ as her occupation on her marriage certificate long before she founded her eponymous leather goods line, Clare…

Which Delta Platinum Choice Benefit Should I Select?

TPG reader Jason sent me a message on Facebook to ask about elite benefits: “I recently hit Delta Platinum for the first time, and I wasn’t sure which Choice Benefit to take. Should I go for the $200 voucher or the 20,000 miles?” Choice Benefits are a fairly unique feature of the Delta SkyMiles program….

Review: Air Serbia (A330) Business Class, Round-Trip Between New York and Belgrade

TO THE POINT: Air Serbia recently launched nonstop service from New York to Belgrade with a retrofitted two-cabin aircraft. The pros: wonderful service, a luxurious lounge, and 18 cozy lie-flat seats. The cons: low-quality bedding and pillows, plus a quirky seat that only lets the tray table come up when it’s in the upright position. After…

How Do I Choose the Best Routing to Maximize Elite Miles?

TPG reader Andrew emailed me to ask about routing: “I have the Gold Delta Amex Card, and I’ll be traveling from Los Angeles to London soon. It will likely be one of two big trips I take this year, and I want to maximize the trip in terms of MQMs/MQDs. Would you recommend flying through Detroit, Minneapolis or Atlanta?” With…

Review: An Overnight Stay at the Aloft Panama City, Panama

TO THE POINT: The Aloft Panama is a great base for exploring the Panama Canal and was a nice spot to rest during my epic mileage run. The pros: sleek, stylish rooms with an ultra-modern design and a complimentary SPG platinum upgrade to an Aloft suite. The cons: lousy views of the ocean and a sketchy-looking spot…

One Last AA Mileage Run Before the Devaluation on August 1

TPG Contributor Eric Goldner just got back from an epic three-day adventure that earned him AA Platinum status. Here’s how he did it. A few weekends ago, I embarked on a mileage run that would take me from coast to coast, down to Miami and over to Panama for a grand total of $942.85. I was on a mission:…

Update on Crediting American Airlines Flights to Alaska in 2016

After American Airlines announced changes to the AAdvantage program last year, TPG Special Contributor Eric Rosen covered the basics of crediting American Airlines flights to Alaska Airlines instead. But with Alaska instituting new mileage-earning rates for American flights in August, it’s time for an update. Here are the factors you need to consider. It was…

Which SPG 50-Night Platinum Benefit Should I Choose in 2016?

TPG reader Alex email me to ask about Starwood elite benefits: “Which SPG 50 night benefit would you choose? I wasn’t impressed by the suite night awards I chose last time, as they never cleared. I’m also not worried about re-qualifying next year, so the 5 nights of elite credit aren’t worth much to me.” When Starwood introduced choice benefits for…

Is It Easier to Earn Airline Status with Miles or Segments?

TPG reader Matt sent me a message on Facebook to ask about strategies for earning elite status: “I’m trying to earn Delta elite status; is it generally more cost-effective to aim for the mileage or segment requirements? It seems like mileage would be easier, but I’m not sure, since I can get cheap, short segments from Atlanta.” Since Delta and United offer redeemable…

Is the Mileage Run Dead?

Mileage runs have long figured into frequent flyers’ strategies, allowing them to earn thousands of redeemable rewards with a single, cheap, long-haul fare. Now that American Airlines is set to become the last major US carrier to switch to a revenue-based earning system, mileage runs may no longer seem like a viable option. TPG Contributor…