Points Guy Pointers

Why I Paid My Taxes With a Credit Card to Earn Points and Hotel Nights

September 25, 2012

I always get asked if paying taxes with a credit card is a good way to rack up points. My answer is always: it depends on your situation since there are fees involved using credit cards, so the value proposition decreases drastically. However, depending on the size of your bill, it is a quick and […]

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Tips for Searching Star Alliance Award Availability

September 17, 2012

With so many ways to earn and buy Star Alliance miles, like the current 100% US Airways buy miles bonus and the 40% United discount, I thought it would be helpful to summarize the best ways to search for Star Alliance award availability. I’ll be doing the same for Oneworld and SkyTeam in the near […]

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Frequent Flyer Mile Scams: Are Your Miles Secure?

August 25, 2012

Miles and points are a form of currency- these days they can be redeemed for a whole lot more than just travel. That flexibility is valuable, so it’s not surprising that there are scammers out there looking to gain access to your accounts to not only drain your miles, but also gain access to the […]

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Travel Tuesday Top 10: Ways To Get Through Airport Security Faster in the US

August 21, 2012

Getting through airport security can be one of the most frustrating aspects of the travel experience. Slow lines, grouchy TSA agents and borderline violations of privacy are just some of the joys you can hope to experience on your next trip to the airport. However, there are some ways to make this process less painful, […]

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Travel Science: Beating Altitude Sickness While Traveling

August 1, 2012

TPG contributor Katharine Gammon is a science writer for publications including WIRED, Popular Science and Los Angeles Magazine. When she’s not jetting to international conferences to interview some of the world’s leading scientific minds, she’s globetrotting herself, exploring unique destinations including recent trips to New Zealand and Southeast Asia. Today she writes about the science […]

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How To Get Compensation When Things Go Wrong On Flights

July 23, 2012

In general, I’m not a complainer. I know things go wrong on flights all the time and that there’s only so much an airline or crew can do to fix them. Beyond whether meal service sucks or an entertainment system is on the fritz, they’re there to keep us all safe and get us where […]

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Maximizing Points on Political Donations

July 4, 2012

Has July 4 got you feeling patriotic and ready to donate to your candidate of choice for the upcoming 2012 elections? Well, the election season is really starting to heat up along with the summer temperatures, and even Frank Bruni recently wrote an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times about the changing nature of […]

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My Points Procrastination/Last Minute Award Booking Outcome

June 28, 2012

Last week I wrote about my bad habit of waiting until the last minute to book award tickets. Things started to get down to the wire and my friends in Madrid were expecting me to be at a couple of events, so I really pounded the pavement to get something that worked – and was […]

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My Severe Case of Points Procrastination

June 21, 2012

I’ve recently been dealing with a rough bout of a condition I bet many of you are familiar with: points procrastination, the bad habit of putting off a booking until the last minute in the hopes of creating the perfect award itinerary with the least amount of miles possible. My Situation I am supposed to […]

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Tuesday Travel Top 10: Mistakes People Make With Their Airline Miles

May 22, 2012

I talk a lot about airline miles and the best ways both to earn and to use them, but today, I’m going to tell you the top ten mistakes people make when it comes to their miles and how you can avoid them. 1. Letting miles expire: Honestly, I die a little inside each time […]

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And The Winner of the Bose QC15 Headphones is…

March 23, 2012

Before taking off for Singapore, I posted about my top 10 travel products for long-haul flights and asked TPG readers to do the same for a chance to win a set of noise-canceling Bose QC15 headphones. Tons of you commented with great ideas, so we selected a random winner: Steve. Not only is his list […]

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My Top 10 Travel Products For Long-Haul Flights (And Bose Giveaway)

March 21, 2012

Yesterday I boarded the world’s longest commercial flight: Singapore Airlines Flight 21 from Newark to Singapore, which lasts an astonishing 18 hours and 40 minutes, practically an entire day up in the sky! In fact, due to the flight timing and time zone changes, I spend the entire Tuesday, March 20th in the air! The […]

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How to Minimize Time Spent on Hold With Airlines: Part 2

March 19, 2012

Last week I wrote about calling airlines’ international customer service centers to avoid long hold times when the US phone lines are jammed. This was topical because United’s phone lines have been swamped since they officially merged with Continental last week. Naively, I thought United’s phone lines wouldn’t be jammed up at midnight last night […]

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How to Get Around Long Hold Times When Calling Airlines

March 12, 2012

One of the things I like doing least in life is calling up airlines. Even as a top-tier member in several elite status programs, I dread having to pick up the phone and speak with phone agents. However, as much as I don’t like it, it’s a fact of life for a frequent traveler because […]

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Tips for Traveling with a Mobility-Challenged Person

December 9, 2011

As I mentioned in a previous post, as a special present, I took my grandmother to visit our cousins in Santa Barbara over Thanksgiving weekend. She’s 89 years old, still sharp as a whip, but like most people who get to that age, her mobility has become somewhat limited. She still gets around, but she uses […]

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Sunday Reader Question on Consolidating Frequent Flyer Accounts

November 13, 2011

TPG reader Jeff writes: “I have points on gazillions of airlines – probably enough for free flights on many – but am wondering if there is a good way to consolidate? Just moved to silver status on US Airways – but no status on others. I registered on but seems like there are high […]

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Understanding South American Visa and Reciprocity Fees

November 12, 2011

Due to the comments on my master British Airways award clinic post, I know many of you are booking amazing South American awards with your British Airways miles before those redemptions become less valuable on Wednesday. However, before you book you should understand the visa and fees associated with visiting South American countries. If you […]

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Sunday Reader Question: What Do I Do If an Airline Changes My Itinerary?

October 23, 2011

TPG reader John recently emailed me about his experience with an award being changed and what his options were. While it question is specific to his experience, I’ll give my general advice on what to do when airlines change your awards. “Over a month ago I booked an award ticket with points for my trip […]

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How to Earn and Maximize the Southwest Companion Pass

October 20, 2011

Update: This offer is no longer available. View the current offer for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card here. The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the most lucrative benefits of any airline loyalty program. This pass allows you to designate a companion that flies for free (just pay 9/11 taxes) on any flight that you […]

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Sunday Reader Question: How Can You Spend Your Way to Airline and Hotel Elite Status?

October 9, 2011

Savvy TPG reader thegasguru asks: “I’d like to see a post on how to “spend” your way to status in various programs. Can the very top tier status be obtained without ever stepping foot on the plane or in the hotel? If not, what’s the highest you can go via spend only” These days, its […]

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Using for Award Availability

October 6, 2011

Airline websites are notoriously horrible for award searches – especially when it comes to partner availability. Even ANA’s site, which is revered as possibly the most accurate search engine for Star Alliance availability, has a frustrating and time-consuming interface that only searches simple routes day-by-day. While not perfect, I religiously use to identify accurate […]

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Why I Love Chase Ultimate Rewards

September 23, 2011

Update: The offer mentioned below for the Platinum Card from American Express has expired. View the current offer here.  Update: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card sign-up bonus offer is now reduced to 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Update: As of April 2013, Chase Ultimate Rewards has added Virgin Atlantic as a new airline transfer […]

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Reminder: Get Global Entry!

September 9, 2011

My experience on this week’s Star Mega Do 3 has been a whirlwind – a one day trip to Munich, which ended up being filled with airline delays and rushing through airports to events – but overall it’s been a great experience. I’ll write a summary post once I have time to breathe next week. We […]

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My Year End Elite Status Sprint Begins

September 8, 2011

As of today I have roughly 75,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles on Delta and I’m hell-bent on requalifying for Diamond (125,000 miles). What this means is that I will have to rack up at least 50,000 elite miles by now and December 31, 2011. To do this by flying, it means I’d have to do 2.5 […]

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