Sunday Evening Open Thread: What’s On Your Mind, Or What Would You Like to Know?

This is a Sunday evening open thread The comments are yours to do with as you wish. Share whatever is on your mind.

  • What have your travels been like over the holidays?
  • What (anything) are you wondering, or what would you like to know?
  • What’s bothering you?

Most of the time what I write on a given day is really just ‘whatever pops into my head’ although sometimes the very best pieces are those prompted by reader questions. You’re always welcome to email me of course, but I’d love for you to share what’s on your mind here.

  • What’s important to you in the world of travel? What’s the biggest thing right now?
  • What do you think I could do a better job of covering for you?

As always, I won’t promise up front to cover everything, though I’ll read and ponder everything that’s written here in the comments.

So ask questions, or just spout off, this is your open thread…

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I was wondering why Japan never bothered to setup an Boeing or an Airbus of their own.
    I heard back then that the usa was very opposed to it back in the 1980’s
    When Japan was at its economic peak.
    Is this a rumor or truth?

  2. I have two US Airways Barclay elite world could I get a credit cards that wil give me companion coupons and Prefered elite miles just for purchases? Also if I buy up to platinum status will I receive 500 mile upgrades for platinum(50,000 miles) or only for the miles that I flew.

  3. Fairly new to the frequent flier community; I have been accumulating points and I wonder if it is worth the effort – question is, how hard is it to get 3 award tickets together for summer travel? I would like to go to Kilimanjaro someday.

  4. I would like to know how to view the points I get for every purchase with my credit cards.. Citi, us bank, chase, amex etc.. so far only my arrival + shows points per purchase when I log in…

  5. Which is your favorite airline for business class from the east coast to Europe? I have tons of points and miles for any alliance. To date we have preferred Lufthansa (but don’t even mention Air Berlin around me!). Any gateway is fine and any destination can work.

  6. Leaving Chicago to tour one month in Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. January of 2015. Can you recommend airline and hotel hacks?

  7. I’m also flustered we get news of all the major credit cards from blogs (only cards that blogs get a commission for), but not from cards that offer no commission to bloggers to promote. Specifically, the chase sapphire recently (Nov 30) got discontinued, (great 2x UR dining points, no AF) and there wasn’t a single whisper on ANY blog about it… Instead the ink bold (pulled at the same time) was all over the headlines… Sad.. I missed getting the sign up bonus and the awesome no AF card by 5 days, cos I wasn’t aware it was going to be pulled! :((

  8. What’s bothering me is your titling of posts. They read like something you got from one of those clickbait generator parody sites. Please show more respect for intelligence AND for the intelligence of your content by including a complete and accurate description in the title. No more “One weird trick you should NEVER try” baloney. Just tell us what it is and trust us to decide to read it. PLEASE!

    Your content is a cut above. Please use titles that are also a cut above.

  9. I’m waiting for the 1st Class Qantas review during that recent trip LAX-BKK-SIN-SYD-LAX you took. Never saw one before (but plenty Qantas members fill the AA Flagship Lounge at LAX T4 all the time….lol). Please write what’s on Qantas’ AVOD system when you get to writing it—curious what OZ plays on that.


  10. May take some number crunching, but here’s my concern as a DCA/US Air traveler. Even as a low level elite with US my upgrade percentages are high, which is especially surprising given the hub status at DCA for US Air. With the meshing if the two airlines in 2015, do you estimate my upgrade percentages are going to go to pot? American certainly has many more elites, but what causes me pause is the fact that American elites travel on different patterns than US elites do, so will the odds still remain high for me since most of my routes are the DCA to South Florida routes? The only overlap I’ve seen is the DCA-MIA route.

  11. @alex I write regularly about cards that do not offer anything to me, there are months where that’s the majority of my card mentions. I cannot speak for other blogs, and can’t be accountable for other cards. But the regular (non-Preferred) Sapphire card was a very niche product. It certainly wasn’t a good card for the signup bonus. And I didn’t know it was going to disappear until it was actually gone.

  12. Marriott bait and switched me. I had 72,000 points. They sent me lots of snail mail credit card offers clearly stating the extra 70,000 points will set me above 140,000 points, and i’d get platinum elite status. I got the card, my points went above 140,000, but I remained at gold.. I secure messaged them, and they just told me that points don’t help attain platinum status, and the only way to get plat would be to stay 75+ nights..

    I’m pissed.. How do I handle this?

  13. @Gary. I considered it a card to get because:
    – getting it for 10-20k UR points was better than downgrading a CSP to a CS eventualy for no extra points
    – its a great card for dining (right?) CSP is touted heavily for being a great card (bonus aside) for its 2x on travel and dining, but has a $95 annual fee. yet CS offers the same category bonuses without the annual fee. (Chase actually pulled it to keep from cannibalizing their $95 CSP can cow when they planned to increase the min spend.
    – its a keeper since it has no AF.

    Are my premises flawed?

  14. I’m wondering… can you use the US airways or Alaskan Companion pass if you use some sort of pay with points option such as Chase, Amex, Wells Fargo.

    If I book a trip only on US airways through my wells fargo propel world points, does that meet the requirements to qualify to use the companion pass? It’s probably an easy answer, but I just feel lazy tonight.

  15. I have over 40,000 Starwood points. My plan was to accrue these points and transfer to Alaska. With the 5,000 point bonuses, I would have 50,000, enough for two round trip (coach) saver awards. Flying Newark to Fairbanks. Might be able to schedule stops in Portland and/or Seattle as well, as Alaska’s pricing seems to allow this. Purchasing the tickets would be over $1000 p.p.

    QUESTION: Should I use these points, or should my husband and I sign up for the Alaska Airlines card for 25,000 points each and save my Starwood points for later. (not to United since the transfer is only 2:1)

  16. @alex – I would consider your reasoning flawed because you couldn’t transfer the points unless you had the CSP or one of the Ink cards.

    Gary, I’d be interested in your thoughts on why the DL Reserve AmEx doesn’t offer access to the 1st class security screening lines, like the equivalent AA & UA cards do.

  17. AA EXP here.

    Traveled to Quito with my girlfriend on the 24th. Her bag got lost somewhere along the way. It’s now the 28th and the best anyone can say is that it’s “in Miami.” EXP team doesn’t seem to care. Twitter team doesn’t seem to care. Baggage team doesn’t either. I got one rep to care and authorize $250 in necessities, in a city where clothing is ~2x the price since it’s all imported.

    It’s been a frustrating few days, to say the least…

  18. If I book a r/t flight with US Airways miles first class on the flight out and business class on the return (because I can’t find first space) I will be charged for the first class booking as though it is first class both ways. However, if a first class seat becomes available for the return after the booking (most likely after the outbound leg has been flown) is it possible to get the business class seat changed to first?

  19. Gary, you’ve been to the Park Hyatt Maldives repeatedly: what are your favorite menu items for dinner there? We’ve got six nights, and I’d like to enjoy every meal. Recommendations?

  20. Is Global Entry worth it now that almost all US airports with heavy international traffic have kiosks that really speed up the process? From what I’ve seen GE might save a minute or two but that’s all.

  21. I applied for 2 siuthwest personal cards for the bonus to get the companino pass. I was not sure if my second application would be approved so I applied foe a business card. Ends up I was approved so i got all 3 southwest credit cards! Will they give me the 50k bonus on all 3 cards?

  22. Looking for fresh ideas on luggage. I try not to check bags, to save money and to keep better track. My luggage (carry on) has to double as a professional briefcase. I recently bought a beautiful and suitable piece and it immediately got scuffed during the valet check. I remembered to put the nylon cover on, and the valet checkers removed it. Also have had conflicting information from Westjet as to where I could pick up my valet checked bag coming back from Canada. Any tips on the least expensive, most convenient and reliable way to get stuff to the destination?

  23. Also would appreciate tips on footwear for flights. Now that it is boot weather, I found that boots and compression socks are making a big difference with ankle swelling. How to look professional, be comfortable,and ready to dash across an airport if necessary?

  24. @everyone. If anyone cares to respond, pray tell what cc you put your dining expense on, and why..? I’m curious to know..

  25. Gary,

    I’m looking for houses at the moment, so I delyayed new applications for credit for the last few months. We’ve been pre-approved for a loan already, but should I still hold off until we actually start a mortgage? I’ve seen references to this, but nothing specific about the timeline.

  26. We use t he chase sapphire preferred because of the 2 chase points at restsuranrs. The flexibility of the chase points are great. In addition we are still getting the bonus dividend.

  27. @Michael, I just bought a house w/mortgage. I suggest NOT disrupting your credit history until your loan is funded and the closing has occurred. The pre-approval you have is based on your earlier credit history, and the terms are subject to adjustment if your credit history changes. The disruption of your closing could cause the deal to fall through, not to mention a possible upward interest rate adjustment would cost you real money in the long run.

  28. We all know how to get elite status at a hotel (I’m looking at you, Hilton). What is the best way to get elite status on an airline?

  29. Going to Thailand (Phuket) in early March for 6 nights. 6 adults. Need 2 rooms or a 2 bed villa in the 4 to 5 star range. On the beach please.

    Suggestions? Thank you in advance!

  30. As you’ve told us, Gary, 2015 will bring revenue-based programs for DL and UA. When all other things are equal or nearly equal and it’s possible to do so, I’ll fly AA, Alaska, or other airlines instead, but sometimes for one reason or another (route, schedule, fare, etc.) it only makes sense to fly UA or DL. Do you continue to recommend putting miles from UA flights in Air Canada Aeroplan?
    I’ve been putting the few miles I’ve earned from DL flights in Alaska, but now discounted fares will barely get any Alaska credit. Where is best to put DL miles?
    Thanks for your helpful advice.

  31. Gary,
    When would you recommend booking domestic J/F for leisure travel? I’m also looking for a means of tracking pricing trends, but am coming up empty. I’ve used kayak, but don’t see the option there anymore. TIA!

  32. I called AA to ticket some CX and JL flights yesterday, but I haven’t gotten any confirmation emails yet from anyone, and the points have not been deducted from my account. I do have a pending charge for $0 from AA on my credit card. How long do they normally take? The CX/JL flights aren’t showing seats anymore on JAL/BA websites so it looks as though they’re at least holding them. I have record locators from the AA agent that said it could take up to 48 hours to get the ticketed email.

  33. Hi Michael. Right after I posted that comment I checked my email and sure enough there was the AA ticket confirmation. Four flights. Two CX 1st (LAX-HKG and HKG to HND), one CX Biz (regional BKK-HKG), and one JL 1st (HND-SFO). This will be our first time on CX and JL, and also our first first class ever too. HKG is the destination, but we built in trips to Macau, Bali, and back to Bangkok after we had a great time on last summer’s RTW trip.

  34. @Mike:
    I can refer people to Marriott Vacation Club Asia Pacific’s Phuket Mai Khao beach for 4 days 3 nights for free (in exchange for attending a timeshare presentation). The units are two bedroom suites. Send me a PM on Flyertalk (Flyertalk handle: lhs323).

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