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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$9/night hotel outside Washington, DC

Ripped from Flyertalk, not yet on FareAlert: Several nights can be booked at $9/night (double occupancy) at www.ramada.com at the following hotel: Ramada Inn New Carrollton/DC Area 8500 Annapolis Road New Carrollton, Maryland 20784 Not valid for all dates, but you will find the $9 rate mostly for weekdays. Seems to be valid from now until August 2006. This hotel is a decent distance outside of DC but appears to offer a shuttle to the metro. It’s a Ramada but looks quite decent as a basic hotel room.

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Poste at the Hotel Monaco: Zen and the Art of Bad Service

Great service is anticipatory, your needs are met before you realize you have them so that a dining experience seems effortless with staff unobtrusive. Furthermore, good service means accomodating guests’ preferences and requests rather than sticking to and enforcing the restaurant’s routines on patrons. The best example I can think of for this is the Inn at Little Washington. Customers often report not even having to identify themselves by name upon entering, somehow the restaurant knows who you are (easy to do if expecting a few guests at a particular time, and you know that there are several 50 year anniversaries, you deduce the names of the 30-year old couple from among those not celebrating an anniversary). But once you identify yourselves there, everyone in the restaurant knows who you are. The Inn provides all…

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Rewards for Writing Reviews

free starbucks
Aug 19 2005

JudysBook.com is a site with reviews of restaurants and hotels, but also local auto mechanics and real estate agents. It’s new and they’re offering $5 Starbucks cards for every 5 reviews you write by September 30 (up to $50 total). It’s a little late to take advantage of this, but they’re also offering a free iPod Shuffle for writing 50 reviews and referring 10 friends, and up to 50 iTunes if the friends you refer write reviews themselves. Problem is that this needs to be completed by Sunday. I just got around to checking out the site today, already posted 10 reviews, and may just go for the iPod — but there are lots of terms and conditions to iPod offer (which don’t apply to the Starbucks offer), such as No more than 10 of…

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Yours is a very bad hotel

Four years ago bad hotel stays got spread via email (such as this famous complaint). Now they’re posted at TripAdvisor and on Flyertalk for millions to read. And people post them on their blogs, which are nicely indexed by Google, so that a search for the airport Holiday Inn in Buffalo would likely yield this entry. A power outage, bad beds, rude staff, and a failure of the pillow man to deliver pillows is just the start. Jeneane Sessum should really just say Yours is a very bad hotel. I have a feeling that anyone doing due diligence online before booking the airport Holiday Inn in Buffalo will have second thoughts. By way of contrast, while I sympathize with this review of the Crowne Plaza Rochester (and wouldn’t want to stay there!), the Buffalo review…

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Bonus miles for referring new cardmembers to the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature

alaska airlines
Aug 14 2005

If you have an Alaska Airlines Visa Signature, you can refer friends to the card and earn 1000 Alaska miles when they’re approved for it. The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature is one of the cards that I recommend as one of the Best Mileage Earning Credit Cards (in limited circumstances, primarily if you can make use of the companion travel certificate that comes with the card). So if you’re going to get the card, consider letting someone who already has it refer you so they can get a free 1000 miles. (Via Free Frequent Flyer Miles.)

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Using State Power for Personal Gain… and Miles

As posted on Flyertalk, Thailand’s Members of Parliament fly free domestically and earn miles for doing so. Thai Airways tried to stop awarding miles on these free tickets, and got called to the carpet. Furthermore, He said the House committee also asked THAI to allow MPs to fly business class instead of economy class. Phaichit said the House panel would also ask the Finance Ministry to consider allowing MPs to fly international flights for free on both THAI and other airlines. As Mel Brooks would say, “It’s good to be the king.”

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How to earn a rebate on Priceline now that eBay Anything Points is ending?

With the demise of the eBay Anything Points program, it looks like the best kickback deal on Priceline purchases is now Ebates which offers a 3% cash rebate. They’ll give you $5 for signing up, too, though they won’t cash out the $5 until you’ve earned an additional $5.01 through purchases. They also give $5 to you for each person you refer (so if you use my link above, we each get $5) but again you can’t cash this out until you’ve earned $5.01 in shopping rebates. Not hard at all, a single Priceline purchase of $167 gets you there for instance. Ebates is not the only way to earn something for Priceline purchases, to be sure, it just looks to me to be the best remaining deal. AirMilesMart gives 1 point for every 2…

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