Do I Have to Book Directly with Southwest to Use the Companion Pass?

TPG reader Matt sent me a message on Facebook to ask about using a companion ticket on flights booked through a third party: “If I book a Southwest flight using ThankYou points, can I still add a companion to that reservation?” You can get a lot of value out of companion tickets, but many of them come loaded with…

Do Hotels Charge Taxes and Fees on Cash + Points Awards?

TPG reader Jonathan sent me a message on Facebook to ask about booking hotel awards: “Do you have to pay taxes and fees on Hyatt Points + Cash stays?” One of the biggest advantages of redeeming points for hotel rooms is that you typically don’t pay taxes on award stays. That sets hotel loyalty programs apart from airline…

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….

Are Seat Changes Allowed On Board Due to Unruly Passengers?

TPG reader Marjorie sent me a message on Facebook to ask about changing seats: “Can I request another seat if I get on a plane and the row behind me has a toddler in it? I just had an awful trip from Frankfurt to LAX that involved the children behind me screaming the whole flight and kicking my chair.”…

When Can I Downgrade My Credit Card Account?

TPG reader Paul emailed me to ask about the timeline for downgrading a credit card: “My wife and I both have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but we were thinking of downgrading her card to the Chase Freedom Unlimited for the higher base earning rate. Her account is only a few months old; can she downgrade immediately, or does she have to wait?” Credit…

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…

Will I Earn Miles If I Don’t Complete My Full Itinerary?

TPG reader Bert emailed me to ask about earning airline miles: “If I book a round-trip flight and don’t use the return, will I still be credited for the outbound portion? What if I book a flight with a layover and simply end my trip at that point?” It seems counterintuitive, but you can sometimes save money by purchasing more airfare than…

Should I Earn Cash Back Rewards or Transferable Points?

TPG reader Janelle emailed me to ask about choosing between different travel rewards: “I just got a Capital One Venture card and earned a sign-up bonus, but now I’m wondering if the Sapphire Preferred or another card is better. My husband and I mainly travel to Las Vegas (on Hawaiian Airlines) with the occasional staycation at a hotel near…

Should I Redeem Airline Miles for Hotel Rooms?

TPG reader Matt sent me a message on Facebook to ask about redeeming airline miles: “Do airline miles offer good value for booking hotels? Specifically, should I redeem 200,000 United miles for four nights in a 4-5 star hotel in Napa?” Frequent flyer programs offer a wide variety of ways to redeem miles. Aside from flight and upgrade awards, you can use miles to…

When Should I Avoid Being Listed as an Authorized User?

TPG reader Frankie sent me a message on Facebook to ask about improving his credit score: “I recently realized that my credit score has dropped because of one of my parents’ credit cards. I was added as an authorized user long ago, and now they have a high balance on that account. Will removing myself as an authorized…