Flying Together? Find the Lowest Fare on ITA

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During FTU I gave two talks, on ITA Matrix and ExpertFlyer, in which the central message was that an educated customer is better prepared to get the best flight for the lowest price. These search tools don't magically create low fares. They just help you find the low fares that already exist. Not all airline websites or online travel agencies work very well, so it can be very useful to know what … [Read more...]

Get a Refund When Your Fare Drops

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Saving money on travel involves two key challenges: finding a deal in the first place and keeping tabs on your reservations even after you've booked. Hotels and car rentals are great opportunities to save money because they tend to have extremely flexible cancellation policies -- as long as you didn't pre-pay. That enables you to cancel and rebook at a lower rate. I've saved hundreds of dollars on … [Read more...]

Commuting by Car or Plane: Which Is Worse?

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As everyone comes home from the holiday weekend, many of you are likely to be getting into a car or plane to get to work. I spent about two and a half years commuting by air to glamorous destinations like Seattle, Minneapolis and Denver, while spending two more commuting more than an hour and twenty minutes each way from San Francisco to various locations around San Jose. How do they stack … [Read more...]

My Hotel Blew Up, So How Do I Fix That?

Directions Andaz Liverpool to Hyatt Regency Churchill

Exaggerated title aside, that was my gut reaction when I learned Saturday morning that there had been a gas explosion in the basement of the Hyatt Regency London The Churchill. Fortunately the damage was much less than it could have been. About a dozen employees were injured, only four went to the hospital, and there were no fatalities. But while authorities inspect for structural damage to the … [Read more...]

Save over $1,000 with the Amex International Airline Benefit

Amex IAP

"Airlines are crazy." That's what my dad said after booking his trip to New Zealand, something he's been talking about for over a year. He likes visiting new places, but the problem is he doesn't like flying all that much. For some people there's no way to make it comfortable, and spending 13 days in the land of Middle Earth didn't seem worth the punishment of spending 13 hours each way in a … [Read more...]

Amex Doesn’t Get It: You Should Never Pay With Points

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The Forward Cabin is an interesting blog I've been paying more attention to lately, and one post in particular caught my eye because it discussed a survey for customers with the Amex Platinum Card. I have one myself and am likely to cancel it soon, while this card was looking to see what benefits might encourage cardholders to keep it. Unfortunately all of the benefits discussed are just a … [Read more...]

What Are Miles and Points?

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This is a basic question, but one asked often enough that it deserves a public answer. Hopefully some of you beginners will find it helpful. If you’re interested, you can also learn my by coming to hear others and me speak at Frequent Traveler University this December, in Washington, DC. Tom wrote in last month asking more about “points,” I.e., the loyalty currencies you can earn other than … [Read more...]