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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Earn Hundreds in Free, Easy Money From SoFi

cash
Jan 25 2020

SoFi’s free money offer is just too good. It’s quick and easy, all online, and they give you money. It’s a finance product that’s really aggressive getting new customers. It has no fees of any kind, and they’re offering a pretty good 1.6% APY in interest. And they even reimburse all ATM fees for withdrawls, so it’s convenient for pulling out cash anywhere. There’s no hard credit pull when you sign up, either.

And they’ll give you money for getting your friends and family to sign up – up to $10,000 a year.

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North Carolina Marriott Shut Down, Guests Locked Out Of Rooms

Jan 25 2020

One person staying on property reported spending hours on the phone with Marriott “trying to get the..chain to help.” The chain directed people to go into the office and get staff to find them somewhere else to stay. These were the employees who had just lost their jobs, and who abandoned the property early. Great strategy.

Marriott also reportedly stated “they were under no legal obligation to help” although eventually helped guests transfer to another Residence Inn.

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Remember to Garden Your Reservations After You Book Them

garden
Jan 24 2020

I find it’s worth checking a booking right after you make it to make sure everything was done correctly — are traveler names accurate? Can you assign seats? Does a partner airline see the booking and does it appear ready for travel? If the reservation is for some time in the future, scroll through your reservations at least once a month. Do it again a few days in advance of travel, too.

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How United Airlines Elite Status Names Have Evolved

united plane with ronald macdonald in it
Jan 24 2020

United’s top public elite tier is 1K, or 1000 which is short for 100,000. However it no longer takes 100,000 miles to earn this status. In fact United MileagePlus no longer has anything to do with miles at all. You no longer earn redeemable points based on miles flown, and status is no longer earned based on distance either. Instead 1K status is either earned based on number of flights (not 100!) and spending, or on spending alone. It’s time to rename 1K status.

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How to Beat Jet Lag Every Time

coffee
Jan 24 2020

Sleeping, and waking on local schedule at your destination, is the number one way to beat jet lag. Then stay up at your destination on arrival and go to bed as close to when the locals do as possible.

When I take an overnight flight to Europe or Asia that arrives in the morning, I take a shower and change clothes. If it’s sunny, take a walk. If my schedule allows I will take a nap. I will get up and make myself go out to dinner. This can be tough. I’ll be dead tired. Doesn’t matter. I want to go out, ideally a late dinner, so that I’m tired and fall right to sleep when I get back to the hotel.

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Free Domestic Lounge Access for United Gold Elites and Higher

storefront
Jan 24 2020

Most people think the United club exclusion means United Gold elites don’t get lounge access on domestic trips (unless they’re a United Club member). But that’s wrong. I don’t believe I’ve written about this in two years so it seems worth sharing.

The trick – that the initiated know but most do not – is that any Star Gold member can access any Star Alliance lounge in the U.S. other than United’s clubs provided they are flying on Star Alliance airlines out of that airport that day and can physically access the terminal where the lounge is located.

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Chase New United Explorer Offer Is Smaller – Yet Much Better

Jan 24 2020

Chase’s offer to earn 65,000 United MileagePlus miles with a new co-brand credit card just expired. They’ve got a new offer, the initial bonus you can earn is ‘just’ 60,000 (still the second largest public offer ever) but it’s actually a much better deal.

That’s because instead of having to spend $10,000 within 6 months to earn all the miles, this new offer requires spending $3000 within 3 months.

This is a fantastic card to have if you live in a city with lots of United service, fly them regularly but not enough for elite status, or you’re an elite who wants upgrades on award tickets or help towards the spending requirement for status.

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