I Will Answer Your Travel Questions Here.

One of the things I really enjoy doing is responding to reader questions. Here’s your chance. I will my best to cover many of your questions. Some I may answer right away, others that I answer will take me a few weeks.

Please leave requests in the comments section.

As my boss once wrote making a similar request on his blog, “The only promise is that of weak monotonicity, namely that your mention won’t lower the chance of the topic being covered.” In other words, I won’t promise to cover everything, though I’ll read and ponder everything that’s written here in the comments.

I’d love to hear from you!

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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 have not flown on Delta for years…..can’t stand them. I have 103,000 sky paso’s and can’t figure out what to do with them. I’ve been EP on AA for a long time so I’m pretty spoiled about flying up front. Any recommendations on how to use these miles on Delta or partner airline to get the best bang for my paso? Thanks M

  2. How much does each of the major airline carriers (United, AA, Delta, etc.) charge to transfer miles into a survivor’s frequent flyer account? Or if any of them do it as a courtesy? I presume all you need is a death certificate if you don’t have the deceased person’s frequent flyer number? Thanks

  3. How do I upgrade united’s visa to the chase card that includes access to clubs (400+ a year). Saves me having to buy the separate club card.

  4. Questions about two different trips with different airlines’ miles, Gary:
    1. If I use SQ Krisflyer miles to fly F from the U.S. to Singapore, (a) is a free stop permitted in Hong Kong?; and (b) is a flight(s) on UA to a SQ U.S. hub included in the award price, and, if so, in F or Y?
    2. If I use AA AAdvantage miles to fly F on Etihad to India, (a) I don’t think American permits a free stop in the UAE — how many additional miles are required to stop there either outbound or inbound?; and (b) is a flight(s) on AA to an EY U.S. hub included in the award price, and, if so, in F or Y?
    Thanks for your help with these questions.

  5. Hi Gary –

    I am always curious about the Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles program. It seems like no one covers the program in any of the points blogs. Are there any ways to earn miles in a substantive way in America? I find it surprising they haven’t partnered with an American bank for either a branded card or transfer (ThankYou, Ultimate Rewards, etc). Have you heard anything on that front? I did see they partnered with Citi in the Middle East to be able to transfer points. Even though they have surcharges, it seems to be a good program, and they fly to so many places in the States now, with great connections to all sorts of places. Anything you can divulge on Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles would be great!


  6. What do you think is going on with Norwegian Air? They currently fly from OSL direct to FLL, JFK, MCO, LAX, and OAK. Now they just announced direct flights from Baltimore BWI to Martinique and Guadeloupe. BUT, they have no other Baltimore flights. Do you think the two flights are a prelude to using Baltimore as a hub and maybe a direct flight from OSL to BWI? (I have a very personal interest in this since our daughter married a Norwegian and they live in Oslo. We would give anything for a BWI-OSL non-stop!). Any insight or speculation would be appreciated.

  7. Gary–could you cover the current policy for repeat applications for the AA Citi cards (personal and business). How long do you have to wait if you have previously held the current product or a similar product (for e.g. Held AA AmEx in the past).


  8. Gary,
    Any suggestions how to use my Amex card to accumulate 25k in spending to reach the waiver for Diamond Medallion?
    Thank you ahead of time!

  9. Hi Gary– I’ve already spent over 25K in 2015 on UA explorer but the annual fee is due next month. I won’t hit 75K PQM for platinum status until Dec. If I cancel the card now will the PQD waiver remain on my account or do I need to keep it open to waive PQD requirement? Thanks!

  10. Is there a website that lists flights on smaller airlines, ie Frontier, Spirit, Jet Blue, etc. or do you have to go to the airlines website to find out if they are flying a certain route?

  11. I have refrained from transferring points/miles into airlines outside my usual programs of Lufthansa, AA, UA, BA because of not knowing the difficulty of redeeming miles in other programs, such as Alaska, SQ, ANA, Air Canada, Iberia, etc. Could you outline the ease or difficulty in redeeming in other programs? I am aware of the expiration issue with SQ miles. Thanks!

  12. My wife and I don’t generate enough spend and fly too frequently to book premium cabin award travel. Your advice for our situation has been to put spend on a 2% cash back card like the Citi Double Cash card, but instead we’ve chosen to put dining and travel on the Chase Sapphire Preferred and everything else on the AmEx Everyday Preferred. We’re averaging 1.8 pts/$ with this strategy, and even with economy redemptions, this seems to be superior to 2% cash back. Thoughts?

  13. Trying to figure out how to get from Cleveland OH to Moorea and Bora Bora using United (or Star Alliance) miles. Can you help? Thanks

  14. @Sunny – This past late Feb/early March, we flew to Hawaii from the East Coast on a combination of Krisflyer miles on United on the way out and off-peak AA miles on the way back. At the time that we booked (late July), availability was much better on United. The folks at Krisflyer do seem to sometimes have a hard time decoding the taxes on domestic United flights (they wanted to charge over $100 USD per person, which was fortunately reduced to the correct $5.60 after hanging up and calling again.

  15. Gary – I’d be interested in a summary of award availability in coach by alliance and destination region (with an origin in the contiguous 48 US) for families with school-age children (i.e., 3+ people, constrained by school schedule). We’d love to fly in business or first, but that would deplete our mileage balances very quickly.

  16. @Shirley Garcowski:

    You can only get to Papeete using miles— PPT is the gateway city that all of the international airlines fly into.

    To get to Bora Bora and/or Moorea, you’ll have to buy a cash ticket on Air Tahiti— Air Tahiti is the only carrier that serves these amazing places, and they have no frequent flyer program.

    In 2012 we went to Bora Bora for our Honeymoon and paid $900 roundtrip from Papeete to Bora Bora— granted we did opt for the fully inclusive baggage fair offered by Air Tahiti— otherwise you’ll have to pay per kg for baggage weight– and yes they do weigh your checked luggage and you do pay per Kilogram unless you purchase a fully inclusive baggage fare purchased directly from Air Tahiti’s website or through a real travel agent— online travel sites like Expedia or Orbitz only sell Air Tahiti seats that are not baggage inclusive.

    I guess I will try to answer your question regarding using Star Alliance miles to PPT, but I honestly don’t know of a way for you to do it easily.

    Considering the only international carriers serving PPT are Air France, Hawaiian Airlines [once weekly service], Air Tahiti Nui, and Air New Zealand.

    Of those, clearly Air New Zealand is the only Star Alliance partner serving PPT. So you’d have to come up with some creative way to get to New Zealand and then find award space to PPT— but be advised award space on Air New Zealand to PPT goes quickly.

    Good luck, and perhaps Gary can be of more service.

  17. I will soon be flying on Etihad between JFK and BOM, connecting in AUH of course. This will be a paid ticket and I was wondering, in your opinion, is it best to accrue AA miles on this trip or is it better to accrue Etihad Guest miles? AA miles cannot be accrued on legs between the US + AUH, so it would be for the shorter AUH-BOM leg, which isn’t very much. Etihad Guest miles aren’t a mileage currency I use very much so I could use it in their “mall” to buy goods with point. Do you know if there is a better program to which I could accrue the miles from this trip? Or at least a better way to use Etihad Guest miles if I don’t travel with them a lot? Thank you for your insight.

  18. @Jason G. I may be wrong and if so Gary can correct me but I think now you can earn AAdvantage miles on any Etihad flight so you should be able to credit both segments.

  19. My husband and I have enough points to fly business class to Tahiti and to stay in an overwater bungalow at IC Thalasso. My problem is that I never seem to be able to book the hotel – it is always busy (except, maybe, during hurricane season; haven’t tried that yet). I just used your Book Your Award service, when I got frustrated booking our flights to Capetown and Zimbabwe (my first time using the award service, and it was flawless). Is there any way to get someone to book our hotel?

  20. My son needs to fly from Memphis TN to Palm Springs CA from Dec 29-Jan 2. I have miles in all the major programs, but what would be my least-miles option? Thanks

  21. Regarding Citi Thankyou points…… I was thinking of transferring points to Virgin Atlantic for the purpose of redeeming them on VIrgin Australia, Air New Zealand Or Hawaiian during the current +25% bonus promotion. With that said, I’ve read that it’s very hard to redeem on VA’s partners. Is this true?
    What would recommend?

    Many thanks

  22. Thank you so much for answering my previous question about FlightStats!

    Could you write a guide on how to use the ANA website for *A searches? The website has been changed, and the old guides give a (previously extremely helpful) direct link to the search page that is no longer valid.

    Many thanks.

  23. Gary – can anyone explain why there are still fuel surcharges with the significant decrease in fuel costs? How about a fuel REBATE on fares now? Logically one would expect a ‘surcharge’ to be intended as a temporary measure to cover an extraordinary situation, and if it’s a regular component of cost, it should be incorporated into the fare like other costs. Similar to the trucking industry, however, it seems the airlines abuse this and add surcharges when fuel costs rise, but don’t decrease fuel surcharges (or eliminate them all together) when fuel costs decrease. Why separate out a surcharge and not just adjust airfares as costs fluctuate as is done with other expenses and market demands?. What’s next, a pilot salary increase surcharge? An egg surcharge for in flight catering based on the bird flu impact? It all seems a bit deceptive and a way to mislead customers at times.

  24. Gary – I’m having a tough time deciding whether to add the SPG Amex (with 30,000 bonus) or Citi Prestige as the next card to my selection? Any thoughts on which one might be better? It sounds like both could be “limited time offers” based on your recent posts. Thanks!!

  25. I want to use your booking service for business class flights to Europe (late in June, IAD to Barcelona; mid July, Paris to IAD) this summer for me (age 70), my wife (then age 71), and our granddaughter (then age 14). But my passport expires in January 2017 and our granddaughter’s expires in the fall of 2016. Should we wait ’til renew our passports? Or should we proceed now? Any other advice as to what we should gather now? We now have ca. 480,000 AA miles; ca. 340,000 Ultimate Rewards. Many thanks!

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