Over at One Mile At A Time, they did an analysis of the recent IHG Priceless Surprises Promotion where you could mail in 94 entrees and get back 94 plays in an online game. Most entrees only won 500 points but some won 1000, 2000, 5000, and a few won free nights or gift cards. I liked his analysis and it got me thinking about possible wins and the distribution. Instead of doing a bunch of math, it was easier to create a Monte Carlo Simulation and the results were a little surprising.
Almost a year ago I wrote the post The Best Travel Itinerary Manager and it quickly became my most popular post. In that post I gave my preference for Kayak over the established TripIt for managing itineraries. Since then I’ve used them much more and they’ve both had updates so I thought it might be a good idea to review them again in a little more depth. I’m covering TripIt since it is the entrenched favorite and Kayak My Trips because it is second place in google searches and is my favorite. Continue reading “TripIt vs. Kayak My Trips”
One of the blogs I follow (Thread Tripping) recently had a post about different itinerary managers. These managers offer a convenient place to keep all of your reservation information and dates. I had no idea there were options other than Tripit so I signed up for all of them and gave them a try. I imported my next three trips: a weekend in San Diego, my Honeymoon, and a ski trip to Utah. It included a variety of air and hotel types including a Southwest booking for two people on points, which turned out to be the most difficult to import because of the way Southwest generates two confirmation numbers for one email. Here are my thoughts and the one I’m going to be using going forward.
As with the post on choosing a frequent flyer program, a large part of choosing a hotel loyalty program might be decided for you based on the price of hotels in the city where you usually stay and how much your employer (or you) is willing to pay. But you will often have a choice and making the correct one can mean the difference between a great vacation and a mediocre one. The world of hotel loyalty programs is vast and covering all of it would take days, but hopefully this will get you headed in the right direction. Continue reading “How to Choose a Hotel Loyalty Program”
With so many frequent flyer programs, it can be difficult to chose the best one for you. Making the right choice is important since it can be difficult to switch programs once you’ve have status and a bunch of miles. This post will hopefully help you chose the right program for you. Unfortunately, I’m only going to be looking at US carriers so all you international folks are out of luck on this one. I also won’t be covering US Airways as they are currently merging with AA. Continue reading “How to Choose a Frequent Flyer Program”
For this post, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite blogs, podcasts, and message boards.
View from the Wing
This was the first blog I found that talked about miles and points and it’s considered one of the best around. He is especially good when discussing some of the behind the scenes stuff going on in the travel world.
The Points Guy
It took me awhile to find this blog but since I have, it’s quickly become one of my favorite ones. Brian has a good mix of trip reviews, news, and tips and has several weekly posts like Wine Wednesday, Destination of the Week Friday, and Sunday Reader Questions. Plus, he has an adorable traveling puppy.
This is a relatively new blog but is really great. One of the things I like is that he doesn’t repeat a lot of the news stories that tend to get repeated a dozen times whenever a story comes out. He also does what I consider to be travel hacking by finding loopholes in the system and sharing the absolute best way to use miles.
While you might not immediately consider this blog because of the name, it really is a gem. She does have a focus on travel for families but also has great info and is one of the best at clearly explaining things.
Million Mile Secrets
Daraius gets a lot of flack on FlyerTalk for some of his posts because he walks you through some of the the tricks step by step with pictures and red arrows. But in the beginning, I really appreciated those steps and I like his idea that everybody should have access to information.
This is another good blog that focuses more on the travel hacking side of things. His specialty gift card churning and buying/selling items for miles. Notably, he recently did a challenge where he earned a million miles in the month of March – impressive to say the least.
Twenty – Something Travel
This blog doesn’t focus on miles or points at all but has great information on frugal travel written with a great personality and writing style. Most of her posts are trip reviews rather than travel tips, but they’re still great and the tips she does have come in pretty helpful.
This is another one that doesn’t usually focus on mile and points – though he does get into it every once in a while. He focuses mostly on frugal travel tips and even has a few books on the topic. In addition, he’s got great info on many of the popular backpacking countries.
I have a love/hate relationship with this podcast but I’ve listened to every one so I must love it more than hate it. I do like that they are pretty consistent and I always learn new things. It just celebrated its one year anniversary and usually releases a new 30-40 minute episode every couple of weeks. However, a lot of the stuff they talk about is very inside baseball and is fairly complex. They discuss a lot of mileage runs, travel routes, airplane comparisons, and ticketing rules. They are also at a disadvantage since none of the authors uses hotel points programs, which I am a big fan of. Another issue is the low sound and production quality. It’s not so bad that I can’t stand it but all three of the authors voices are at different volumes and I feel like it would be better if they planned the episode out more. But like I said, I’ve listed to all of their episodes so it must be doing something right and it is enjoyable. Website and Podcast link.
Extra Pack of Peanuts
This is a relatively new podcast but so far I am a huge fan. This is exactly what I have been waiting for in a podcast for a long time. He has great interviews and is doing a great introduction on miles and points. If you want to get into this game, the easiest thing to do is listen to this podcast on the way to work. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Website and Podcast link.
This is a great podcast with an equally great author and amazing production quality. Each episode is an interview with somebody who lives in or recently visited a city or country. With each episode you truly get a feel for the area and a desire to travel there. Some of the best parts are the questions he asks to find out the underrated and overrated things to do. This is way better than a travel book. The only complaint I have is that it makes me want to travel way more than I have time. Website and Podcast link.
Flyertalk is one of the older message boards and has the most information and users which makes it a great source of information. However, Flyertalk has a reputation for some users that are less than friendly (though a large minority) and the shear amount of knowledge can make it hard to follow.
Milepoint is much newer than Flyertalk and I generally think that the users are nicer. It’s got less users and therefore a lot less information. However, it’s still a daily stop for me.
In my opinion, airline alliances are the best thing to happen to air travel since deregulation occurred in the 1970s. They allow you to travel to many more places, especially for free using miles. The other great benefit is that you can earn miles on your home airline when flying any of the alliance airlines. This post will go into the detail about how to earn miles for your normal airline from flying partners and other members of the alliance. Continue reading “Getting Miles for Partner & Alliance Flights”