Two Continental One Day Passes — Minda M
Two United One Day Passes———-Michael K
7500 Point Marriott Reward———–Amy C
7500 Adios BA Points——————-Jami J
$25 SPG Gift Card————————Pat O
$25 SPG Gift Card————————Clark W
T-shirts and remaining prizes: I’m still working on to match up sizes etc. Hopefully later today or tomorrow.
Congrats to the winners. Send me an email at email@example.com
I’m headed to Hawaii next month and while my tickets from Savannah to Honolulu were booked, we hadn’t secured our inter-island flights. One of the things that Rick has taught me is the need to diversify my loyalty program membership. I’m a Delta and Starwood guy, but those points weren’t going to do much for me for flights on Hawaiian airlines with no award availability.
Prices were escalating and I immediately became thankful for my program diversification in the Citi ThankYou rewards program. Teamed with Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards, these three programs are important additions to any travelers wallet. With their own 2x, 3x, 5x multipliers for specific category spends, they can be better than a specific hotel or airline branded program. Most importantly, they allow you to diversify across programs and, depending on how you book, you can earn miles / points for a booking.
In my case I needed a pair of tickets to hop from Honolulu to Kona, Kona to Kauai, and Kauai back to Honolulu. Booking direct with Hawaiian would have been $850 — no thank you. Instead, I leveraged 63,000 ThankYou points, and booked a combination of flights on Mesa and Hawaiian at ideal times for us. My out-of-pocket cost would have been $630, but thanks to a little diversification it didn’t cost us a thing.
If you’re like me and you primarily fly one airline / alliance and stay with one hotel brand / program, I think having a co-branded credit card for spend with them is the best tactic. That said, for all of the other spend, leverage programs that allow you to diversify. My Delta miles won’t get me a first class seat on Lufthansa, but those Chase Ultimate Rewards converted to United miles could. Never forget to diversify.
What are your favorite programs that allow you to be diverse?
Travel Tip: Trust the Government
As important as it is to plan a trip with your family, have fun things to do, and plenty of great food to eat, safety still needs to be a number one priority. I’ve been to the Middle East and taken bus rides with groups of soldiers carrying several machine guns. I’ve also just missed being in a market that was bombed by a few hours. I still consider myself very fortunate. So whenever I travel internationally, my first stop for trip planning is always the US State Department. I’ll ask friends, I’ll go to local government and visitor bureau websites, but this is always a great starting point. Bookmark the site.
Packing Tip: Don’t save it for the last minute
Earlier this month for my trip to Europe, I accidentally set my alarm for 5 p.m., instead of a.m., for a 6:10 a.m. flight. I live close to Savannah Airport and security is generally a breeze. I woke up at 5:20 a.m. but I didn’t panic. I showered, got ready, said goodbye to my wife and dog, and headed off to the airport. I left my house 35 minutes prior to scheduled departure. Risky, I know. Yet not only did I make my flight, I wasn’t even the last person to board. By packing everything the night before and having everything ready, I wasn’t panicked — even though I did have to rush.