Planning A Last-Minute Jaunt to Europe

Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz

I recently found myself with a couple weeks free to take a trip somewhere. I decided to go to Europe since it had been a while since I’d spent some time on the continent (not to mention the US Dollar is currently pretty strong compared to the Euro, so it seemed like a great time to go). That’s one thing I love about airline miles – even though I was planning a trip within a week of departure, I … [Read more...]

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


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

Silvercar 59 a day

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

Megan flying

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


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...]

Do I Even Have To Ask Whether 5,000 Extra SPG Starpoints Are Worth All This Fuss?

spg amex 30,000

From the desk of the Devil's Advocate… I don't know if you've heard yet, but Amex has the Deal Of The Millennium(™) going on right now! The Amex Starwood Preferred Guest card usually offers only 25,000 bonus points for signing up, which is functionally equivalent to being punched in the face. But right now, for a limited time and on an annual schedule that's completely predictable, they've … [Read more...]