What to Do if Family Don’t Understand Miles and Points

During our monthly travel meetup this week, one reader asked an interesting question: We all love earning and redeeming miles, but family and friends rarely understand the value they represent. At what point do you give up trying to explain how it all works? And what do you do next? It's an interesting question because it speaks to both psychology and economics. Why should I care at all if … [Read more...]

Why Award Nights Are Difficult to Find at the Best Hotels

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Many hotels aren't owned by the brand -- they're independently owned franchises that contract to display the brand's "flag." The brand establishes certain standards that can be incredibly detailed while also taking a cut of the hotel's revenue in exchange for marketing. That marketing includes loyalty programs and the points that you earn with them. It's an arrangement that works pretty well … [Read more...]

Plan Your Summer Vacation with Silvercar

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With new locations in Chicago, Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, and New York, Silvercar has expanded significantly this summer. The New York entrance is a big one, as the Brooklyn location means it's more like a car share program. If you want to take a day trip or need a car for the week, you can rent an Audi A4 without the hassle of a traditional rental firm or traveling far out to the … [Read more...]

Our Sightseeing Tour of Seattle

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My dad was in town last month and had a few hours to hang out on a Friday afternoon. Since he has his own plane, a Piper PA-24 Comanche, he flew up to Boeing Field and took us on a sightseeing tour. Last time we went up in his plane, I got to fly over the Sonoma wine country. This time Megan took the co-pilot's seat, and I took pictures from the back. Several operators will do commercial … [Read more...]

August Travel Meetup in Seattle Next Week

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We had an amazing turnout at the last Seattle-area meetup: almost 30 people came to Bellevue to talk about travel hacking, manufactured spend, and other travel tips. Like always, this month it will alternate back to Seattle proper. Dave has reserved space at Liberty Bar in Capitol Hill to make sure we have room for everyone in the group. Tuesday, August 18 5 to 8 PM Liberty Bar 517 15th … [Read more...]

Save Additional 5% on SPG Hot Escapes through August 15

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SPG Hot Escapes is a weekly list of discounted hotels around the world offering pre-paid rates that may be 20% less than the usual price. Starwood Preferred Guest members (no elite status required) can save an additional 5%. Each Wednesday a new list is announced, and you have until Saturday to book. I don't ordinarily visit the Hot Escapes website unless I have upcoming travel plans. … [Read more...]

Increased Offer for 30K Points from SPG Credit Card

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American Express typically offers just 25,000 points as a sign-up bonus for the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card. Fortunately Starpoints are pretty valuable -- I'd peg them around 2.5 cents each -- and can be converted to airline miles in most programs. But 25,000 isn't much in comparison to the 50,000 miles or more offered by many competing cards. That's why I recommend readers wait for … [Read more...]