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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Etihad Guest: New Elite Benefits and New Mileage Expiration Policy

car parked behind hydrant
Nov 15 2019

Etihad Guest is a transfer partner of American Express, Citibank, and Capital One. As a result U.S. program members are a disproportionate share of the Abu Dhabi-based airline’s 6.5 million program members.

The once-super premium airline has been retrenching in recent years, cutting routes and costs. They fly to Washington Dulles, New York JFK, Chicago O’Hare and Los Angeles – but no longer to San Francisco or Dallas Fort-Worth.

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Amex Platinum Cardmembers Get Free Cocktails and Food in New York at the End of the Month

Nov 15 2019

American Express created ‘Small Business Saturday‘ – the last Saturday of November – in 2010. This used to come with big marketing spend on cardmembers whether discounts or bonuses. Underlying the effort is an attempt to underscore that American Express is accepted broadly. They want small businesses to know they can accept American Express, and consumers to know that small businesses do.

This year’s Small Business Saturday features a pop up lounge in New York – for Platinum Card® from American Express and Centurion cardmembers only: Platinum House.

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New To Miles and Points: There Are 2 (And Only Two) Rewards Cards to Consider

first class cabin
Nov 15 2019

If you’re new to frequent flyer miles, the single fastest way to rack up miles quickly is with a rewards credit card. Roughly two-thirds of miles are earned with activities other than flying and the number one way is through credit cards.

The best rewards programs are the ones that let you transfer points to your choice of airlines. You pick later where to put the miles.

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Data Shows How People Actually Upgrade to First Class on American Airlines

economy seats
Nov 14 2019

Fifteen years ago most of domestic first class cabins were filled with upgrades. On average about 10% of domestic first class seats were sold for cash. That’s changed.

Upgrades are far tougher than they used to be. American Airlines monetizes about half their domestic first class cabin. But how are the upgrades that still exist obtained? Here’s data that shows how people really get up there.

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Elite Status: Where I’ll End 2019

american airlines plane
Nov 14 2019

I just booked what I hope will be my last flights of 2019, and my last hotel stays as well. Looking back on the year I realize I traveled less – fewer days than I’ve spent on the road in recent times since the birth of my daughter last fall.

Less time in the air and in chain hotels for me will still seem like a lot of time away to many readers. In 2016 I was gone half the year. That hasn’t been close to true this year. Still, I’m on track to renew several of my status levels.

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27 Years Ago the Sole Survivor of a Vietnam Airlines Crash Lived 8 Days in the Jungle

Nov 14 2019

On November 14, 1992 Vietnam Airlines flight 474 crashed during a tropical cyclone as it approached Nha Trang. The Yakovlev Yak-40 aircraft was carrying 25 passengers and six crew. Only one person, a passenger, survived.

The sixteen year old Soviet-built aircraft had departed Ho Chi Minh City. As it neared Nha Trang Airport, it descended below its expected altitude. It hit trees and crashed. The aircraft was destroyed.

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