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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Meeting planner programs

The major hotel chains offer perks and points to meeting planners. In my experience, these points are generally ‘left on the table’ — that is, meeting planners don’t know about them. In most cases these offers don’t drive up the cost of a meeting. They’re really just a marketing expense that the hotel chains incur and the points can be had by those in the know. So if you plan meetings for a living or occasionally, be sure to take note: Marriott, Starwood, Hilton, and Hyatt all offer formal rewards programs for meeting planners. Priority Club offers American Express Gift Cheques for paying for meetings with an Amex. If you’re aware of other programs in this category, please let me know.

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In the event of an emergency landing, smoke ’em if you got ’em

Tony Woodlief has some observations on air travel and the silly consequences that flow from a legal obsession with safety. [P]art of my trip required me to fly from Phoenix to Tucson. It’s a 22-minute flight over sand and rock and an occasional patch of farmland cultivated no doubt at the expense of low-income taxpayers in New Jersey. As we prepared for take-off, the stewardess explained to us how we can use our seat cushions as flotation devices in the event of a water landing. I’ll let that sink in for a minute. It’s not her fault — our safety-obsession leads us to make silly rules, like the one that requires stewardesses to demonstrate how to work a seatbelt Oh, and Tony warns us about peeing in a bucket on the train.

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Scalia Update

Update to the Scalia/Throwaway Ticketing story. I’m told that Scalia did indeed fly New Orleans-Washington National non-stop on USAirways, and USAirways’ Contract of Carriage clearly prohibits the practice of throwaway ticketing.Now that Justice Scalia’s cirumvention of fare rules is public knowledge, will USAirways go after the Supreme Court Justice for the difference in fare? I’m guessing not.I bet that if the hidden city ticketing class action suit returns to the Supreme Court, there’ll be another request for Scalia to recuse himself.

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Supersize my Earning

I’ll be earning miles even more quickly now that McDonald’s will be accepting credit cards. What the piece doesn’t say is the reason — their tests have found that customers using credit cards spend more on food than those using cash.While I’m not sure if this is selection bias (people who don’t have credit cards might tend to have less cash to spend?), it still sounds about right.

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Shocked! Shocked to find that a public servant might be under investigation…

Daniel Montgomery, former executive director of the Air Transport Stabilization Board, exercised tremendous influence over the future of major airlines — the ATSB was in a position to grant or deny billions of dollars of subsidized loans. Now several major airlines face subpeonas looking into whether Mr. Montgomery extracted free travel and other benefits from the carriers.

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Does this happen to you?

Murphy’s Law for Travelers 1. No flight ever leaves on time unless you are running late and need the delay to make the flight. 2. If you are running late for a flight, it will depart from the farthest gate within the terminal. 3. If you arrive very early for a flight, it will inevitably be delayed. 4. Flights never leave from Gate #1 at any terminal in the world except countries where there is only one gate. 5. If you must work on your flight, you will experience turbulence as soon as you touch pen to paper. 6. If you are assigned a middle seat, you can determine who has the seats on the aisle and the window while you are still in the boarding area. Just look for the two fattest passengers. 7.…

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