Do Airlines Ever Lower the Mileage Cost of Award Flights?

TPG reader Diana sent me a message on Facebook to ask about booking award flights: “I’m trying to book three award tickets from New York to San Diego. The mileage cost has gone up since I first started checking. Will it ever go back down?” Anyone who travels regularly has probably kicked themselves at some point for waiting to buy a flight until…

Should I Transfer Starpoints to Marriott for Airline Awards?

TPG reader Faysal sent me a message on Facebook to ask about maximizing transfer partners: “I’ve been stockpiling Starpoints to redeem for an Emirates First Class award (via Alaska Airlines). Should I transfer from Starwood to Alaska directly, or should I transfer to Marriott for a Hotel + Air package?” The merger between Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards has…

Do I Get Luxury Hotel Benefits When I Book With Points?

TPG reader Drew sent me a message on Facebook to ask about getting hotel benefits: “Can I get Visa Signature hotel benefits just for staying at a participating property, or do I have to use a Visa Signature card and book through Visa’s website? For example, could I get the same benefits by booking with points through Chase Ultimate Rewards?”…

How Much Should I Pay to Reinstate Expired Airline Miles?

TPG reader Jill emailed me to ask about reclaiming expired miles: “My daughter’s frequent flyer account went unused for a bit and over 48,000 miles expired. United will let us buy them back for $300, which is a lot less than it would cost to buy miles outright. Is that a good deal?” Letting points and miles expire is one of…

Will I Lose Elite Status If I Close My Credit Card Account?

TPG reader Avi sent me a message on Facebook to ask about credit card benefits: “I have Starwood Gold status from the Amex Platinum card, which I used to also get Marriott Gold Status. If I cancel my card, how long will my status with both programs remain valid?” One of the biggest award travel developments of 2016 came…

How Do I Get Global Entry If I Can’t Schedule an Interview?

TPG reader Eric sent me a message on Facebook to ask about Global Entry enrollment: “My Global Entry application was conditionally approved last week. I’ve been trying to schedule an interview here in Austin, but there are none available. They say I have 30 days to schedule it, but I really don’t want to have to drive…

Where Should I Exchange Currency for an International Trip?

TPG reader Scott sent me a tweet to ask about getting cash for international trips: “I’m heading to Chile and Argentina soon, and wondering what’s the best strategy for exchanging money? Should I do it at the airport (here or there), or should I find an ATM once I’m on the ground?” I’m all for maximizing travel, but…

Should I Use Chase Sapphire Reserve for Everyday Spending?

TPG reader Rodrigo sent me a message on Facebook to ask about maximizing points on spending: “Should the Sapphire Reserve be my new go-to card for everything, or should I still try to make the $30,000 spending goal for my Aviator Silver companion tickets?” The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card has been a hit since it was first…

How Do I Find Airport Lounges Once I Have Access?

TPG reader Brian emailed me to ask about finding airport lounges: “I recently got a Priority Pass Select membership, and I’m excited to have lounge access since I travel quite frequently. How can I tell which airports have lounges, and whether I’ll be able to use them?” There’s no doubt that having lounge access has improved my travel experiences over the years. I’ve visited some truly…

Can I Get Hotel Upgrades by Tipping Front Desk Agents?

TPG reader Royal emailed me to ask about hotel upgrades: “Do you believe in the $20 trick at hotels? I’m going to Las Vegas in December and staying at the Palazzo. I don’t have any status with IHG, and it’s my first time staying there. Do front desk agents really have the power to upgrade me…