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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Southwest Airlines Companion Pass FAQ: 2-for-1 Travel Is Super Easy Right Now [Updated, 2020]

airline seats
Feb 18 2020

The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is arguably the best deal in all of travel. After earning 125,000 points in a calendar year from qualifying sources you can bring a companion along on your Southwest Airlines travels.

Here’s everything you need to know to take advantage of companion travel — usually for just an extra $5.60 for the second passenger, whether you are buying a ticket for yourself or even redeeming points.

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3 Cases Where American Airlines Gate Agents May Hold The Boarding Door For Passengers

american airlines lounge
Feb 18 2020

United has a program called ConnectionSaver to hold planes for connecting passengers where it won’t cause system or other passenger delays. United expects 25% of flights to arrive 10 minutes early (or more) every day. So holding plenty of flights still allows for on time arrivals.

American doesn’t defer to a computer for this. Their operations center can make the decision to hold a flight, for instance when there are a large number of connecting passengers they’ll have difficulty accommodating in the event of a misconnect. However there are 3 cases where gate agents are allowed allowed to hold the boarding door for customers past 10 minutes to departure.

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$7000 Per Night North Island Resort Now Bookable With (The Wrong Number Of) Marriott Points

villa
Feb 18 2020

In December Marriott changed its terms and conditions to say that category 8 high season pricing of 100,000 points per night is no longer the highest price a hotel can get.

It turns out that prospect was all about just a single hotel: the $7000 per night North Island in the Seychelles has now joined Marriott’s Luxury Collection. The hotel is now bookable at 365,000 points per night.

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First Class Passengers On American Airlines Can Give Up Their Seat To Whomever They Wish

economy seats
Feb 18 2020

The Senior Director of Corporate Communications for Borden Dairy was flying American Airlines from Dallas Fort-Worth to Charleston, South Carolina with her CEO. The CEO insisted she take his first class seat. However she reports that an hour into the flight a flight attendant realized she wasn’t the passenger on the manifest. That’s when things got heated.

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Get A Tax Refund Whenever You Buy Airline Miles And Spend Them On International Travel

Feb 17 2020

The federal government charges a 7.5% excise tax on domestic air travel. When you buy miles from a U.S. airline you have to pay the tax, because the assumption is the miles are being used for domestic travel.

The IRS notes that if you use purchased miles for international travel (or hotels, gift cards, or anything other than domestic air travel) you can claim a refund of that 7.5% tax.

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Is Upgrade Pack The New Fyre Festival?

upgrade shirt
Feb 17 2020

God Save The Points calls out Upgrade Pack, a startup which promises discounted airline and hotel upgrades. He apologizes for giving coverage to the startup over a year ago, since they’ve raised money, hired employees and customers have paid money to the company — but there’s still no product.

Upgrade Pack responded on twitter, defending itself by arguing that they’ve been successful in raising lots of money and hiring lots of people.

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Avatar Airlines Announces Letter Of Intent To Buy 30 Boeing 747s, Raise $300 Million Starting This Week

Feb 17 2020

Barry Michaels has been trying to start an airline for at least 28 years. First under the name Family Airlines, and then Avatar Airlines, he’s had an idea to fly Boeing 747s between leisure destinations. He went to prison for tax and securities fraud in connection with the venture. The DOT insisted at the time that he give up control of the project.

Now he says he’s sent a letter of intent to Boeing to buy 30 Boeing 747-8 aircraft, and he’ll start marketing to investors on Wednesday to raise $300 million. When he tried to raise money on IndieGogo they kicked him off.

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