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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »

I Used Chase “Pay With Points” and Then Needed a Partial Refund. Here’s What Happened.

Dec 07 2018

Normally I like to transfer my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline frequent flyer miles or to Hyatt points. However I recently had an interesting use case to spend Ultimate Rewards points for paid travel.

I booked a domestic first class ticket using a combination of points and cash. I was downgraded from first to coach, and the airline was willing to refund the fare difference — to the agency that issued the ticket. And Chase just changed agencies!

Continue Reading »

Offers I Don’t Think Will Be Around for Long, If You’re Interested Act Now

Dec 07 2018

There are several offers right now that I don’t think are going to last. Some we know won’t. Others banks have hinted they won’t. And in some cases we can make that bet based on past experience.

Usually there aren’t this many heightened offers at once, it’s an embarrassment of riches, largely I think because it’s getting harder and harder to get consumer attention, banks need to spend more to acquire customers and it’s a highly competitive environment, when one product increases its offer others respond in kind.

Continue Reading »

American Raises Premium Cabin Hawaii Award Prices, Adds 2 Obscure Partners For Online Redemption

Dec 07 2018

American AAdvantage has added two more airlines for online redemption. These are two that most members will never use, but it’s going to add convenience for those who do — especially since that makes connections onto these carriers bookable as part of a larger award.

American is also updating their award chart online around 10 a.m. Eastern this morning to reflect award chart pricing changes for Hawaii that will go into effect January 16th.

Continue Reading »

Watch Out, US Airlines Are Trying to Get Government to Pick Your Pocket Again

Dec 06 2018

Earlier this year Delta, United, and American took out a full page ad praising Donald Trump trying to curry favor, to build up capital, in hopes of cashing in for their own ends.

The lobby shop representing Delta, United, and American — the Orwellian “Partnership for Fair & Open Skies” which lobbies against Open Skies agreements — has put out a statement.

Continue Reading »

Delta Explains Their New Basic Economy Award Ticket Restrictions

Dec 06 2018

Delta wants you to believe that they are making the cheapest awards more restrictive to help you. Apparently Delta customers have been telling the airline that they want the flexibility not to be allowed to get seat assignments in advance. And they’ve been saying that more rules and restrictions are both simpler and more intuitive. As a result this is an enhancement you should like.

Continue Reading »

The 11 Best Card Offers for December

Dec 06 2018

There’s no quicker and easier way to earn a large amount of miles quickly than with a new credit card. And before the holidays is the perfect time to get one, because it’s even easier than the rest of the year to meet the minimum spending required to earn signup bonuses.

Every month I post what I find are the best signup bonus offers out there. There’s now even a public 200,000 mile offer which I’ve never seen before.

Continue Reading »

Delta Now Punishing Frequent Flyers: Starting to Book Some Award Tickets Into Basic Economy

Dec 06 2018

Basic economy tickets aren’t a ‘new way to offer cheaper fares’. They are new restrictions on the cheapest fares, a way of making the product worse so that some passengers will pay more.

Now that United, Delta, and American all offer Basic Economy fares (no advance seat assignment, no cancel/changes, no upgrades or extra legroom seats, and in United’s case no full-sized carry on bag) it’s only been a matter of time before one of the carriers tried booking award tickets into Basic Economy.

I admit to being surprised that it’s happened so quickly, since it’s not in the best interests of the airline – it’s a bad business decision – but I’m not surprised that it appears to be Delta going first.

Continue Reading »

Man Forgets to Put Phone in Airplane Mode, Gets $300 Bill

Dec 06 2018

About 5 years ago the ban on using personal electronics below 10,000 feet on U.S. flights was lifted. Now passengers can use their phones or tablets with the door closed, during taxi, and takeoff. But devices are supposed to be in airplane mode.

This is the first time I’ve heard of a real consequence for not doing that — though as a result of something that would only occur with certain airlines in Europe, the Mideast, and Asia.

Continue Reading »