AirlinesAlaska AirlinesDelta AirlinesUpgrades

Earning Elite Status

As you may be aware, I travel every two weeks while my wife and I maintain our lives in two states over the next few years. The journey officially began two months ago, and despite the abrupt halt to our "normal lives," the upcoming travel presented an interesting opportunity: Earning elite status with an airline. While it is very easy to "buy" status with hotels by having the right credit card in your wallet, the same is not true for airlines. The only way you can achieve elite status with an airline is to complete their flight-based requirements each year in order to earn and maintain the status. So naturally, I was very excited at the prospect of playing this through. Here is how I approached planning for this process: Be Intentional from Day 1 There's nothing worse than coming up a fe

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CLEARDelta AirlinesTSA PreCheck

My Experience with CLEAR

I've been aware of CLEAR for sometime, but never felt compelled to join. Frankly, it seemed to me like an alternative to TSA Precheck that I did not need. Why pay more to stand in their line rather than the one I'm already expedited through? Then I began to notice it at Mariners and Seahawks games. Interesting. Then fellow frequent fliers, who I trusted, swore by it. It WAS worth adding, they said, if you traveled frequently, and since I travel every two weeks, and since I was offered two months free, I decided to give it a try! I enrolled online with relative ease providing my name and date of birth to complete registration. On my next trip to the airport, I went to the CLEAR kiosk and spoke with a representative. Armed with my driver's license and fingertips, I completed my account se...

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Alaska AirlinesAMEX PlatinumChase Sapphire ReserveCredit CardsDiningPerksTravel

Finding Your Next Card

Commitment While I'm no loyalist, I do value commitment in all phases of my life including credit cards. That's because a percentage of your credit score is the average length of your accounts. If you have two cards, one you've had for ten years and the other brand new, your average length of your accounts is five years. If you cancel the card you've had for ten years, you now have a nonexistent average. On the flip side, if you retain the card(s) you've had longest (assuming they have no annual fees or you're still claiming the value from the fees), your score can afford to adopt some new plastic or metal friends into your wallet. Know Yourself and Spot the Fakes Where do you spend your money? For me, it's dining and travel. Nearly 100% of my discretionary income goes to one of those two

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AirlinesConnectivityGlobal EntryLoungesPriority PassRideshare AppsTSA PreCheck

The Perfect Airport Experience

My entire life, my family has been involved with Air Force, commercial or government aviation. Fast forward to today, nothing has changed. I love flying out of SeaTac International Airport, and doing so is a major part of my life since my wife and I work in different states. Often times I talk to folks who ask how I can put up with the frequency of an airport, and it reminds me that perfecting my experience has been a longtime coming. Before mobile boarding passes, priority service, dedicated waiting areas or ride services, getting to and navigating the airport was a chore. For those who may not fly often, many of these innovations may still be unfamiliar and we resort to standing in lines, lines and more lines before finally waiting in a herd to board our flight. Here are my tips and tr...

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AirlinesAlaska Airlines

Alaska Air’s Price Guarantee

Alaska Airlines discontinued this service in 2018. If you have MVP Gold status, you can still use this strategy since change/cancellation fees are waived. Alaska Airlines is my preferred airline for many reasons, and one reason I love booking with them is their Price Guarantee. Using Google Flights, which monitors airfare pricing and alerts you of changes within the parameters you set, I ensure that by the time I travel, I've paid the lowest fare available. Just like any good plan, you need a spreadsheet. So I have one that lists (one per row) all of the airfare I've purchased. After I purchase a ticket, I add a row to my workbook and round-up the total I paid. I then add the itinerary I booked, using the same parameters (i.e. Airline, nonstop/1-stop) into Google Flights so I'm essent

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Alaska AirlinesAMEX PlatinumHiltonLoungesTokyo

8 Nights in Tokyo + Airfare for $237

Earlier this year, we enjoyed a trip to Tokyo, Japan for nine days and eight nights. My wife, mother and I flew round-trip with just one connection, and stayed in the heart of Tokyo's business district at a 4.5 star hotel in Shinjuku. We stayed on the executive floor and enjoyed access to the Executive Lounge offering breakfast, snacks and cocktails; and we did it all for less than $237/person. Breakdown Service Value Paid Hotel – 8 nights w/ Exec Lounge $4,861 $95 Round-trip Airfare for 3 $4,129 $615 Sum $8,990 $710 (92% off!) $236.67 / person The $710 paid was a result of taxes incurred, and annual fees associated with credit cards we acquired solely for this trip. Value It pays to use points for airfare and hotel expenses because not only are the exchange rates favorable, yo

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Alaska AirlinesCancunChase Hyatt VisaCredit CardsHyattHyatt Zilara CancunUpgrades

Enhancing a Trip with Plastic

Next week, we depart for a week-long stay in Cancun, Mexico! In late 2014, Alaska Airlines added nonstop flights to Cancun from Seattle; making it one of the more luxurious itineraries available. We also couldn't pass up the opportunity to stay at one of Hyatt's newer properties in the area which opened around the same time. This trip took some planning, but we were each able to secure our airfare for just the cost of the fees ($75.00) after redeeming 60,000 miles in exchange for roundtrip, nonstop, First Class tickets! These same pair of tickets would have cost us nearly $2,500 otherwise. As for the miles, they're easily attainable through Alaska's 25,000 mile bonus upon approval. For the bold: We had some luck explaining to the bank our desire to separate&n...

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Alaska AirlinesBoA Alaska Air VisaChase Hyatt VisaFree NightsTravelUnited AirlinesUnited Explorer VisaUpgradesWestin

One-Week Honeymoon in Maui for under $175.00

When my wife Brianna married me, she knew about my obsession with points and miles acquisition. My plan to fund the honeymoon trip to Maui became clear when she saw we only had $175 budgeted for the trip’s hotel and airfare. Despite her knowing about the wild world of points, she still asked: How will we stay 6 nights in Maui for only $175?? Generally speaking, I had this strategy: Brianna and I would each acquire two airline credit cards (each with a bonus equivalent to a one-way ticket); and 1-2 hotel cards incentivizing new cardholders with free nights. When deciding which cards to pursue, we considered which airlines best met our needs, and whether there were specific hotels in Maui that we particularly wished to stay at. For us, we were traveling from Seattle and it was important to ...

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