Points Guy Pointers

What the Crash of Asiana Flight 214 Can Teach Us

July 8, 2013

While the cause of the Asiana Boeing 777 crash-landing in San Francisco that left two passengers dead is yet to be determined, the accident has reminded me to brush up on safety procedures. Here are some of the things I’ve been thinking about since hearing about the crash (via Twitter): 1. Pay attention to the […]

32 comments Read the full article →

Celebrating The 4th Of July With Travel Independence

July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July everyone! In celebration of our country’s Independence Day, while you are all hopefully at the beach, BBQing or enjoying time with friends, I wanted to share my thoughts on how travel symbolizes independence to me. Knowing I can go almost anywhere in the world – all at an affordable price – […]

11 comments Read the full article →

Top 10 Airline Errors That Can Ruin Your Trip and How to Avoid Them

June 25, 2013

Travel is inherently stressful and can be complicated. While consumers can make a lot of different mistakes, airline and other travel employees are humans too, and they royally mess up your travel plans. To help you avoid some common pitfalls and perils, TPG contributor Jason Steele breaks down some of the most common airline mistakes […]

15 comments Read the full article →

How to Minimize Costs When Using Your Phone Internationally and Top Apps for Communicating Abroad

June 17, 2013

TPG contributor Debbie Emery did some research on the top ways to use your phone to communicate while traveling international, so read up before you get stuck with a huge bill after your summer trip abroad! A mammoth cell phone bill after an international trip can wipe out any savings you might have gotten by […]

20 comments Read the full article →

Travel Tuesday Top 10: Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Award Trip – And How To Avoid Them

June 11, 2013

We at TPG are a knowledgeable bunch of award travelers, but as TPG contributor Jason Steele relates, everyone makes mistakes – and some of them can keep your trip from getting off the ground. Here are some of the top mistakes that award (and revenue) travelers can make as well as his tips on how […]

20 comments Read the full article →

Getting Around The Global Entry Appointment Backlog

June 6, 2013

Lately I’ve been covering Global Entry a lot since it’s such a great travel program that speeds you through customs and immigration as well as giving you a Trusted Traveler ID number that will qualify you for TSA PreCheck. Plus, if you have the Amex Platinum, Mercedex-Benz Platinum or Business Platinum (or Centurion) cards, the […]

57 comments Read the full article →

Maximize Monday: Airport WiFi

June 3, 2013

Summer is here, which means that more of us will be traveling. A lot more. Approximately 209 million Americans will be flying this summer between June and August according to estimates by trade group Airlines for America, and of those, 27 million will be traveling internationally. With all that action, keeping in touch and staying […]

8 comments Read the full article →

ExpertFlyer To The Rescue: Save Time and Miles With Flight Alerts

April 24, 2013

I’ve been using ExpertFlyer for years, whether its searching for award availability, routing options or fare information, it’s got a lot of functionality. However, the one tool that I can’t sing enough praises about is the flight alert feature which allows you to set alerts for award tickets so as soon as the airline releases […]

29 comments Read the full article →

Sequestration Air Traffic Control Cuts Go Into Effect – Tips On Avoiding Huge Air Travel Delays

April 22, 2013

Well, today’s the day that Congress’s sequestration cuts finally go into effect for the FAA and air traffic controllers have to start taking one furlough day per 10 work days. The FAA and major news outlets are all predicting huge delays – up to 6,700 flights per day – but is all this going to […]

20 comments Read the full article →

5 Tips for Avoiding Hassle During the American Airlines System Failure Aftermath

April 16, 2013

Even though American has fixed their computer issues, thousands are still stranded or severely delayed. American’s head of communications just emailed me and stated that AA is offering the following options: 1) If customers must travel today and are already at the airport, they can rebook on another airline by visiting an American Airlines agent […]

17 comments Read the full article →

What Happens To Frequent Flyer Miles and Credit Card Points Upon Death?

March 27, 2013

Points are a form of currency, and as with any asset, when people build up a sizeable points portfolio, they need to think about what will happen to those points and miles after they die. I suspect a lot of people just let those points expire or never redeem them, but there’s no reason that […]

7 comments Read the full article →

The Best Travel Insurance Policy: Miles and Elite Status

February 13, 2013

As I alluded to on Thursday, as the potential snow-pocalypse was bearing down on the east coast, I realized that my plan to fly from New York JFK to Los Angeles on Saturday’s 1:45pm American Airlines flight would be in peril. Unfortunately I couldn’t really change my plans since I had an important meeting I […]

6 comments Read the full article →

Frequent Flyer Fraud – Are You A Victim?

January 31, 2013

Recently I read an interesting story about a Seattle-based travel agent who stole millions of frequent flyer miles from wealthy clients and used them to book over 100 award trips for herself and her family. Karen Yeakel, a travel agent in Bellevue, Washington, stole 3.7 million airline miles from clients whose travel she arranged to […]

9 comments Read the full article →

Sunday Reader Question: How to Handle Unacceptable Schedule Changes to Flight Reservations

January 27, 2013

TPG reader Faith has a sticky scheduling situation: “I booked an award travel on Air Berlin using American Airlines miles and they just changed my flights to new times that are terrible for me. Any suggestions on how to take care of that?” Schedule changes are common. Airlines constantly update their schedules to adjust to […]

8 comments Read the full article →

New York Times Travel Show Resource: Maximizing Credit Cards For Free Travel

January 20, 2013

Thanks to everyone who came out to the New York Times Travel Show yesterday for my first presentation: Beating the System: Travel Pointers for a First Class Lifestyle on a Budget. I hope to see many of you out there for my second talk today on Maximizing Credit Cards for Free Travel. I’m going to […]

10 comments Read the full article →

New York Times Travel Show Resource: Beating the System, Travel Pointers

January 19, 2013

This is the resource post for the folks that are attending my first New York Times Travel Show presentation today (Saturday, January 19, 2013) entitled, Beating the System: Travel Pointers for a First Class Lifestyle on a Budget. Readers who were not able to attend should find this to be a useful compendium of the […]

13 comments Read the full article →

My Street Signs Appearance on CNBC – How To Avoid the Elite Status Frequent Flyer Cliff

December 28, 2012

Just in time for a debate on whether the US economy would go off the fiscal cliff, I was invited to appear on CNBC’s “Street Signs” to discuss ways frequent flyers could avoid the elite status cliff with last-minute elite mileage tips, why top-tier elite status is so important, as well as credit card bonus […]

11 comments Read the full article →

End Of Year Airline Miles Account Audit – Claiming Miles That Are Rightfully Yours

December 26, 2012

As the year comes to an end, and everyone is concerned about maintaining elite status, I wrote earlier this week about End of Year Hotel Point Account Audits, so today I look at how to make sure you received all the airline miles that you are due this year. Similar to hotel programs, I almost always find discrepancies in my […]

19 comments Read the full article →

How to Save Money By Redeeming Miles for Last Minute Holiday Travel

November 20, 2012

While airlines generally increase the price of tickets drastically in the days leading up to departure, they often take the opposite approach with award seat inventory – releasing a lot of saver (lowest amount of miles needed) availability, making last minute redemptions very attractive. So if you need to get someone at the drop of […]

15 comments Read the full article →

Earning and Using Points For Hurricane Sandy Relief Donations

November 1, 2012

Update: You can no longer purchase Vanilla Reload cards using a credit card and Vanilla Reloads are no longer available in Office Depot. Not only did Hurricane Sandy throw everyone’s travel plans into chaos, but it also claimed dozens of lives, flooded cities and towns up and down the East Coast, left 8 million people […]

4 comments Read the full article →

Hurricane Sandy Update: Get Around Long Phone Hold Times To Change or Cancel Travel Plans

October 29, 2012

According to, more than 6,800 flights have been canceled so far, and rail traffic has also been impacted with Amtrak canceling all of its Northeast Corridor service in addition to some other lines it operates in the region where Hurricane Sandy has hit. With all the canceled flights and disrupted travel, I wanted to […]

9 comments Read the full article →

Absentee Voting For Travelers: Instructions and Deadlines

October 22, 2012

In the frenzy of award booking that led up to the launch of the new British Airways Avios program last November, I booked a Cathay Pacific first class award for early November of 2012. I had actually somewhat forgotten about the award up until a couple weeks ago and I’m at the point where I […]

11 comments Read the full article →

(Video) Sunday Reader Question: When To Book International Award Tickets

October 21, 2012

This Sunday I decided to answer a great question from TPG reader Ben who asks about booking international award tickets: “I am planning a trip overseas in 11 months. The ability to even search for reward tickets just opened up given how far away the trip is timewise, and I am finding there are not many great […]

7 comments Read the full article →

My Experience Getting Out of Delta Flight Change Fees

October 19, 2012

A couple weeks ago I booked a one-way domestic flight on for $152. A week later my plans changed and I had to go a day earlier. Unfortunately, that meant I would essentially lose out on all but $2 of my original ticket since Delta charges a $150 change fee plus fare difference on […]

32 comments Read the full article →
Print This Page