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TPG Contributors

Strategies for Minimizing the TSA Fee Hike

July 14, 2014

Today, TPG contributor Jason Steele looks at ways to mitigate the increased TSA security fees set to begin next week. As TPG reported recently, the TSA will soon be raising its fees, making airfare more expensive. The current fee is $2.50 per leg, with a cap of $5 per one-way trip or $10 per round trip. Beginning […]

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Westin Las Vegas: a Starwood Hotel in the Heart of Sin City

July 11, 2014

TPG Points and Miles Editor Peter Rothbart visited Las Vegas last month and stayed two nights at The Westin. Here’s his take on this Sin City Starwood property. When I visit Las Vegas, if I’m fortunate enough to be in a window seat on the approach into McCarran airport, I’m always struck by two things. First, I can’t help but […]

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Maximizing Hilton HHonors For Family Travel

July 11, 2014

Today, TPG contributor Jason Steele continues his series on family travel options in the most prevalent hotel brands with a look at Hilton HHonors. Previously, we looked at the family friendly aspects of two popular hotel loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest and Hyatt Gold Passport. Today, I want to examine Hilton HHonors and see how it stacks up in accommodating family travelers. How HHonors […]

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Lifetime Hotel Elite Status: a Hilton HHonors Proposal.

July 10, 2014

Today TPG Contributor Nick Ewen begins a new column called The Weekly Wish, where he’ll look at flaws, shortcomings, and room for improvement in the world of travel and loyalty programs. Each hotel chain has its own unique ways of attracting and maintaining profitable customers. These methods can include enhancing on-property benefits, expanding ways to earn and redeem points, and introducing […]

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Spanish Summer Adventures: Asturias, Alicante & Gran Canaria

July 8, 2014

You’ve used your points to get you to Madrid or Barcelona. Hurrah! Now what? It’s boiling hot in the urban jungle, and not a Spanish city dweller in sight (all have long since fled to their country homes and beach apartments). Madrid-based contributor Lori Zaino suggests you hop on a train/plane/automobile and head straight out of the city […]

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Ticketing Errors, Schedule Mix-ups, and Wrong Destinations

July 8, 2014

Today TPG Contributor Nick Ewen looks at common ticketing errors, how to avoid them, and how to survive them if they happen to you. As a travel enthusiast and die-hard soccer fan (still smarting from last week’s dramatic US-Belgium result), I couldn’t help but cringe when I read about the Australian couple who thought they had booked […]

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Flying a Round the World Award Using US Airways Miles

July 7, 2014

TPG special contributor Eric Rosen recently used his US Airways miles to book a round-trip business class award…that instead let him fly round the world. Here’s how he did it. The sweet spots in US Airways’ award chart combined with its lax routing rules make it possible to fly around the world for the same […]

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Best Mileage Transfer Partners For Awards To Japan

July 7, 2014

TPG contributor Jason Steele writes today about how to maximize your award redemptions to get to one of our favorite Asian countries- Japan.  Japan is a popular tourist destination, and award travel there can be a great use of frequent flier miles. Flights to Japan from North America travel much farther than most flights to Europe, […]

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Maximizing Points in Wedding Season: Miles Registries & More

July 5, 2014

Wedding season is in full swing, and there’s a good chance you’ve got a few to attend this summer. Considering the cost of gifts on top of airfare and hotels, wedding expenses can add up quickly, especially if you’re involved in the wedding party (or if you’re the one getting married). To help offset some of those costs, TPG […]

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Making Family Travel Easier with Car Seats & Strollers

July 4, 2014

For those of you whose adventures come with infants and toddlers in tow, today TPG Contributor Jason Steele advises on how to minimize the hassle of traveling with a car seat or stroller. My wife and I find that the rewards of family travel exceed the challenges, but there really is little upside to towing child car seats and […]

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Maximizing Hyatt Gold Passport for Family Travel

July 2, 2014

TPG Contributor Jason Steele continues his series on family travel options in major hotel loyalty programs. Up this week: Hyatt Gold Passport. Previously, we looked at family friendly hotel options within the Starwood brands, and readers commented that they wanted to compare that perspective to other brands. For starters, we’ll look at the Hyatt Gold Passport program […]

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How to Get the Best Value for Starwood Hotel Redemptions

June 27, 2014

TPG contributor Jason Steele returns this Friday to talk maximizing Starwood Preferred Guest promotions, just in time before the limited time 30,000 point offer on the personal and business Amex cards ends on June 30, 2104.  According to TPG’s most recent monthly valuations, Starwood points continue to be the single most valuable point or mile […]

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Vanilla Cards and Bluebird At WalMart – Lessons Learned

June 25, 2014

Over the last month, manufactured spending participants realized that they could no longer load their Bluebird cards at WalMart stores using Vanilla brand gift cards and debit cards. At first there was a clever workaround, but now the method appears to be truly dead for the foreseeable future. One reader wrote in to say that he […]

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Best Starwood Transfer Partners for Flights to Israel

June 23, 2014

Israel is a popular destination for American tourists as well as VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives) travelers. It’s also a fairly complicated award trip to book, as the award charts of different airlines place Israel in different regions. Since the most valuable points are those earned in flexible transfer programs, we thought it would be […]

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10 Tips On Being a Better Passenger- From a Flight Attendant

June 12, 2014

Ever wonder what you can do to endear yourself to your flight crew? Want to know why some people get upgrades and preferential treatment and others don’t? Curious about how your in flight etiquette is perceived? Meet Cary A. Trey, an anonymous flight attendant for a major US carrier flying mostly international routes, here to set the record straight on […]

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Maximizing Starwood’s Unique Mileage Transfer Options: Part 2

June 9, 2014

TPG contributor Jason Steele takes us through some of the unique transfer partners of the Starwood Preferred Guest program. The sign-up bonus on both the personal and business American Express Starwood Preferred Guest cards is currently 30,000 points after $5,000 spent within 6 months, with the $65 annual fee waived the first year.  Of the […]

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Maximizing Starwood’s Unique Airline Transfer Options: Part 1

June 6, 2014

TPG contributor Jason Steele returns today to talk about maximizing Starwood Preferred Guest points when transferring to airline partners. American Express is currently offering their Starwood Preferred Guest card with a 30,000 points sign-up bonus for a limited time on both personal and business cards. While these points can be quite valuable for award nights […]

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A Food Lovers Guide To Mexico City

May 29, 2014

Mexico City, or Distrito Federal/ D.F. as the locals call it is Mexico’s sprawling capital city, as well as one of the world’s top culinary destinations. Although it may seem intimidating, this city is well worth a visit, especially if you’re a foodie itching to sample local specialties like tamales or tortas. TPG contributor Lori Zaino, lover […]

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Giving the Wedding Gift of Miles – Registries, Transfers, Upgrades, and More

May 12, 2014

Spring has sprung, and that means wedding season is here! If you have weddings to attend, points and miles make great gift options for those wanting to contribute to the honeymoon. We asked TPG reader Lori Zaino to show us how it’s done. Giving the gift of travel to newlyweds has become much more popular […]

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Using Hotel Points in Las Vegas and Maximizing New Partnerships

April 28, 2014

There was a lot of news out of Vegas in the past year with established Sin City properties launching new points partnerships with the likes of Hyatt, Starwood and Marriott, so we asked TPG contributor Nick Ewen to cover the basics of these partnerships and how you can maximize each. As a former Las Vegas […]

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Traveling With Children: Planning Activities for All Ages

April 19, 2014

Planning the perfect vacation with children means picking the most family-friendly airlines (both domestic and international) and packing the best gear (for infants and young children), but the most important part might be choosing activities that are fun for the kids, and their parents, so I asked TPG contributor Jason Steele to write up his […]

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Hotel Review: W Verbier, Switzerland

April 17, 2014

One of our picks for the top hotels to check out in 2014 was W hotel brand’s first foray into the ski resort world opened in Verbier, Switzerland, in December. TPG Contributor Casey Hatfield-Chiotti recently visited the town in the Swiss Alps known for some of the best off-piste (backcountry) skiing in the world and […]

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Destination Edition: Top 7 Emerging European Travel Spots In 2014

April 11, 2014

You might notice a change in the title of our destination series. While for the past two years we’ve been featuring a Destination of the Week with information on using miles to get there and points to stay at various hotels, we’re branching out and trying something new we’re calling Destination Edition. Posts in our […]

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Update on Maximizing Credit Card Spending Strategies With Prepaid and Gift Cards

April 10, 2014

CVS recently hardcoding its registers not to accept credit card payments for Vanilla Reloads last week has prompted a major shift in credit card spending strategy. Earlier this week, TPG contributor Jason Steele share strategies for purchasing Vanilla Reloads elsewhere. Today he expands his focus to recalibrating your credit card spending strategy on prepaid and […]

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