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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Greenspan Rumors

There’s a whispering campaign in DC against Alan Greenspan, according to conservative columnist Robert Novak, because of Greenspan’s tepid endorsement of the President’s tax cuts. The current issue of Forbes provides a recap of the drama. Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer criticizes the Republicans and sticks up for Greenspan. Odd, because Greenspan’s reservations about the tax cut is that the President isn’t also seeking spending cuts. Greenspan’s point is that if you keep spending, while taking in less revenue, you’re just going to have to raise taxes later, coming back to haunt the economy at some future point. There’s little reason for Bush to take on Greenspan. The decision whether to re-appoint will come in 2004, when Bush is up for re-election. Karl Rove will see a public spat with the Fed Chairman as politically risky,…

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I needed to laugh

Joe Brancatelli’s column is especially good today. He provides an Onion-quality skewering of the most recent developments in travel news. Sample headlines: UNITED LAUNCHES 307 LOW-FARE CARRIERS IRAQ AIR SAYS IT NEEDS CONGRESSIONAL AID NORTHWEST ANNOUNCES CODE-SHARING DEAL WITH GREYHOUND Check it out.

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Targeted Bonuses

Delta has released a whole sleuth of targeted bonuses (identified by Flyertalker bdschoebel). Targeted bonuses are opportunities to earn miles or other benefits that are only open to the recipient of the offer. Airlines and hotels evaluate a traveler’s habits and try to get them to bump up their spending in specific ways. For instance, I fly from Washington DC to California alot, but usually on cheap fares. United has sent me bonus offers good for lots of miles if only I’ll fly Washington DC to California on expensive fares. However, I’ve often found that I’ve been “targeted” and just wasn’t aware of it — maybe I received the offer buried in an email or paper statement and I just didn’t notice it. I’ve also found that many so-called targeted offers that I may not…

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$20 at Starbucks — for $2.10

Signup for Mypoints, an online shopping rewards portal. (Buying items online from various merchants by clicking on links to those merchants at the Mypoints site first earns you additional points good for gift certificates, miles, etc.) During the signup process you’ll be given 50 Mypoints for answering some survey questions about yourself and your interests. By telling Mypoints that you’re interested in everything, they’ll send you alot of email. This can be a good thing — because each one of these emails will offer you 5 or 10 Mypoints just for clicking on the link that shows you opened the message. Go to take surveys, and fill out 4 or 5 multiple choice questions for another 5 points. Signup for Amtrak Guest Rewards using promotion code FB03P and you’ll get 50 Mypoints. Then buy an…

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American to Follow United’s Path?

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that an American Airlines chapter 11 filing may come as soon as May. Most observers had previously said end of 2003/early 2004. Normally I’d assume this was just American’s posturing to convince their employees to give in to concessions. But the piece suggests that this is the conclusion of the pilots union, not the airline. United may have waited too long to enter bankrupty, with only $800 million in available cash on hand. That gave tremendous leverage to the institutions offering debtor-in-possession financing. While American has about $2.7 billion, they also have very large debt payments coming up. American could choose to restructure those payments off into the future, or they could decide simply not to make the payments — going bankrupt instead in order to conserve their cash…

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If we can’t keep intruders out of nuclear labs…

… the how likely is the TSA to stop terrorist plots at airports? Wired reports on the paucity of security at the Los Alamos nuclear facility: There are no armed guards to knock out. No sensors to deactivate. No surveillance cameras to cripple. To sneak into Los Alamos National Laboratory, the world’s most important nuclear research facility, all you do is step over a few strands of rusted, calf-high barbed wire.

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