Request for Requests

Most of the time what I write on a given day is really just ‘whatever pops into my head’ although sometimes the very best pieces are those prompted by reader questions.

You’re always welcome to email me of course, but what I’d love is for you to share what’s on your mind here in the comments.

  • What’s important to you in the world of travel? What’s the biggest thing right now?

  • What would you love to understand better? What do you want to know?

  • What do you think I could do a better job of covering for you?

What would you like to see me write about? What’s on your mind?

I won’t promise up front to cover everything, though I’ll read and ponder everything that’s written here in the comments. It may take me awhile to work through it as well, goodness knows there are things I’m behind on (I have a Singapore first class trip report I need to start…).

But I’d love to hear from you!

    You can join the 30,000+ people who see these deals and analysis every day — sign up to receive posts by email (just one e-mail per day) or subscribe to the RSS feed. It’s free. Don’t miss out!

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, 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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  1. Ways to get status with various hotels/cruises/airlines cheaply or for free. For example, virtual trips to AUS or VA silver status that could then be used for matches to other airlines.

  2. Once you achieve top tier status with AA (for example), would (or should) you try for a different status (such as AS, UA, DL, etc. or just continue to credit to AA?

  3. I would like to know if it would be better to use my UR points for flights or hotels. It seems that I could use my 180,000 points for 9 nights at the Paris Hyatt Vendome ($7000+ value) and then just pay cash for our flights and get more for my money but I can’t seem to figure it out.

  4. Hey Gary –

    Had a couple for you…:)

    Once you have a destination in mind, I’d be curious what pops into your head first when booking an international award ticket. Does the direct route/airlines that usually have inventory come first? Then based on your expertise, do you then choose the appropriate ANA Tool/Award Nexus/Expert Flyer/etc that best suits that airline to search?

    Would also love to know your advice on how to best research each airlines direct routes (and available award inventory) from the US to Europe and Asia. Your recent posts on EVA and BA (LAS VEGAS-LONDON) included those really great calendars from Award Nexus which is probably the answer, but would love to know if there are other ways as well.

  5. Which credit card do you recommend for recent college graduates (with limited credit history, e.g., just a store credit card)? Is any particular bank more likely to extend credit to those with limited credit history?

  6. With airlines purchasing more fuel effecient long range planes, could you write on whether these purchases will ever lead to decreased or eliminated fuel surcharges on awards. I’m specifically wondering if BA will reduce YQ after implementation of A380 and 787 planes.

  7. Would love to see a comprehensive database / list of the best airline award value (I.e. sweet spot awards as MileValue calls them). Every frequent flyer program has their sweet spot, and with transfer partners such as Amex MR, Chase UR, and Starwood this allows travelers to transfer points just to take advantage of a sweet spot award. Would be great to know what are sweet spot awards for airlines in the major alliances.

  8. Gary, if you do the one above this post in award sweet spots please include economy /coach sweet spots as well.


  9. Hi there! Love the insights you share.

    I know award ticketing requires of me a lot of foresight and planning, but what would really make a difference on my end is how to most efficiently book award tickets/upgrades on the web.

  10. For Star Alliance or Oneworld, what’s the cheapest way to upgrade an Economy flight booked into a cheap fare class (like K or L)? It seems quite expensive on United, for instance, because you have to pay some $300 in addition to the miles you use. Can you do it with a partner airline’s miles for cheaper?

  11. I get confused when airlines post their low fare pricing from particular airports. When I click through to their website, they ask me where I want to leave from & where I want to go. If I am just looking to “get away” somewhere at a good price, I have no idea what to place in the destination field. Is there a website to go to that you can look for cheap destinations based on where you are leaving from? I don’t know if this post makes any sense to you. I just want to travel, and don’t want to have to wait for travelzoo or shermanstravels to email me with their latest finds, I would like to find them myself! Thanks.

  12. Codeshares;
    TSA luggage rules applied by United to non-US *À partener award flights ?

  13. I’d like to know which airlines routinely have more than 2 business class award seats available on their flights.

  14. Two items I would like to understand better are:

    1) Air travel etiquette. What is expected of passengers, airline staff, flight crews, airport staff, and TSA/Customs. What etiquette practices make travel easier?

    2) Dressing for travel. As our society shifts and air travel changed from something special to a bus service, the way we dress for the trip has seemed to change as well. What do you recommend for apparel while flying as a minimum, what crosses the line, and what may be too much (and why is it too much)?

    Personally, I’d love to know the proper way to wear a suit on the plane, especially the storage of the jacket in this age of no coat check and stuffed overhead bins.

    However, as originally premised, what is the current (unwritten) standard for airline travel and what to do if a fellow passenger crosses the line?

  15. What is your approximate annual travel budget? What is the approximate $ outlay required to hit status if you were starting now with 0 E/P/MQM’s?

  16. My best understanding of eventual revenue based frequent flyer programs is that 1 mile will equal 1 cent, so 25,000 miles would get $250 toward a ticket. Is this correct, and how soon do you realistically see United, America, Alaskan, and other major airlines adopting this? Will credit card bonuses and miles earned be taxable if there’s a set value of the miles in the future? I read this blog for info on credit card bonuses and maximizing coach travel, so my main concerns are around miles and using them for coach super saver awards. Thanks.

  17. While we are dreaming, here is a time saver I would like to see. A database that shows airlines (plane types and flight numbers) with routes over four hours who have business seats that are lay flat with every seat having aisle access. It seems like all the airlines talk about how this is in the pipeline, but who has it now, what routes and planes? Seat Guru comes close but there is a lot of cross referencing and you really have to pull up the seat diagram to see if the seats have aisle access.

  18. Hi Gary, I have a quick question that I can’t seem to fin an answer to: with the BA Travel Together Ticket for spending $30K in a calendar year, I know you can bring along another person for no miles and just have to pay the taxes and fees. But my question is when searching for flights to use this with, does there have to be 2 open mileage redemption seats or just 1?

    Thanks! Marty

  19. Gary, I would love to see more analysis in your blog–posts with your pictures of first class and lounges make your site just one of many that are doing that–your coverage of HOW things work in the FF world are what make this blog stellar.

  20. We will be in the same situation as CanesLawMarty by around October and want to use our 2 tickets to fly First on BA to LHR NEXT Thanksgiving. Since we will be flying around the holiday but going East, what (IYHO)will the redemption be like? Thanks!

  21. I would humbly request that you make no changes to the current general mix of posts, other than to avoid propagating deals involving Gilt (a dishonorable organization).

  22. Please explain the ins and out of airline alliances and how to use them to book free travel. It is a big mystery to me because there is no explanation from the airlines.

  23. I need to know more about CC offers. I wish they could be offered more across all of you bloggers.

  24. Gary

    I’m not sure I’ve seen you cover this one yet…a comparison of the major award availability ‘automation’ tools – KVS, Expertflyer and Award Nexus come to mind.

  25. @ ABC…you’ll find a good summary of all offers at the External Miles and Points Resources forum @ Flyertalk, where all 35 of you pathetic, hateful loons post.

  26. Hi Gary;

    If you did a summary of the rules for waiting in between credit card before being bonus eligible again, that would be great. Sometimes they would be rumours or informed guesses, but it would still be valuable. (I.E., Chase, once only per card type, but Ink is 4 different types; Amex is xx months, etc.)

    Your recent style of posts (best use of Delta miles, best chase offers, etc. has been great).

  27. The most efficient way to use miles and points to book Virgin Galactic $250,000 space flights.

  28. There is marriott rewards and ritz Carlton rewards. How do these 2 work together? Is one better than the other? How do the 2 statuses work?

  29. echoing what Andrew just wrote, the Marriott/Ritz thing is a riddle wrapped in an enigma that i just can’t figure out, and the Chase component adds even more confusion to an already confusing program, or is it programs, hell i don’t know. Along with the Junior Suite thing Lucky posted today, it is one of those life mysteries that just cannot be solved.

  30. Love the blog. One thing that I have wondered alot about lately is:
    I keep hearing about all of the new planes that airlines are getting (a380, 787, 300er, etc). Seems like every time I book a flight I end on on the reject, 25 year old, un-updated plane and not the nice one in the picture on the airlines website. I would love to hear more about what airlines are getting what new planes, the routes they fly, and how can I make sure I am booked on one of those new planes! Thanks!

  31. Do airlines and hotels keep notes on us? And if they do, is that information available to whomever on a flight, with a CS rep or upon check-in?

    Not that I’m paranoid or have anything to hide, but I’m just wondering if miles/points whore – nice customer – complainer is ever in the equation.

    Thanks, Gary.

  32. Echo what Beachfan says in post #32. I know not all cards have a published “rule” on how often you can get bonuses, but would love to see a comprehensive list that outlines both the published rules and the general “guidelines” for the different cards. Thanks!

  33. I would love to know which routes and airlines routinely have lie flat seats on domestic routes

  34. I would like to see some information on how to use award rules to benefit those of us LIVING in Hawaii. So many blogs on how to get to Hawaii on points/miles, or only emphasizing using open-jaws/stopovers starting from mainland cities. People living in Hawaii go on vacation, too! Thanks.

  35. Wow, lots of ideas. I guess what I am still curious about is the best way to achieve status with a non-stellar credit history. I know how to gain points from CC bonuses but can’t qualify for most of the offers yet. I’ve gotten hotel status from some “virtual relocation” and then status matching. I’ve even done some long BIS travel in Y. But I travel primarily with my family for vacation, and while we have some budget, we probably don’t spend more than $5K per year. So I guess the short answer is: how to make the best use of $5K travel budget for a family of 3, with the goal of obtaining status and/or traveling the most comfortable way possible. Thanks, enjoy your blog very much!

  36. Thanks to you and so many more, I fly free and stay free. But that also means we never use travel agents and we have to do all the legwork on our own. I guess I’ve gotten okay at it – I’ll Google the destination and the number of days, find organized tours, note the common threads and create an itinerary for me and my wife (and occasionally, friends).

    Curious to know how you go about it and if you have any better ideas. But as others have said, doesn’t seem like you really need my help. That said, thanks for asking!

  37. Not a specific topic, but a general writing style request. When outlining a great deal or sweet spot in an award chart, please don’t use the term “ripe for devaluation” or “too good to last”. Those types of terms getting used by major bloggers seem, to me, to be waiving a banner at the powers-that-be saying “go ahead, take it away from us, we know it’s too good to be true”. I would instead say something like “offers maximum value” or “as good as it gets”. So when they do eventually take it away, you can really flame them for it, instead of shrugging it off as to be expected.

  38. I would like to see as full a compendium as possible explaining who releases what, and to whom, and when they do it. As awful as Delta is, in my experience, they are more prone than other legacies to release distressed inventory close in. Anyway, I operate from a small dataset and would read a compendium based on numerous data points.

  39. As this seems similar to an MR request, I leave a list of items you could address
    1. Write a post in praise of Tyler Cowen (or another non-points inspiration who made you see things differently)
    2. Give a Hansonian take on why Travel is not about vacation
    3. How has your hobby modified your job or vice versa?
    4. Write a post about how you think a smart but not involved person sees the points game (status chasing all the way down? Coupon clipping dressed in beach vacation dreams?)
    5. Write a post on what the credit card game looks like 3 years from now. Don’t post it, but send it to a third party for a scheduled release 3 years hence
    6. What are your best travel tips for introverts?
    7. Invent a cynical twin, what are the thoughts that leak out of his mind?

  40. Your travel focus seems to be primarily on Asia, where mine is primarily Europe. I’d be interested to hear more about strategies for getting to Europe up front and on miles. Surely you’ve had to deal with the availability issues in your award booking service. Speaking of which, I find your occasional discussions of that very interesting and would love to read more about it. Thanks!

  41. I’d like more consideration of value sweet spots in coach vs. purchasing. Also, the internet is flooded with info on earning miles, but short on the best tricks for redeeming them. Few of the bloggers have your award booking skills, so I always appreciate these types of posts.

  42. Would like to see some step by step posts geared toward beginners. Thinking of a particular travel destination…how to plan, how to strategically get there. or, so you’ve accumulated some miles and points, and now how will you use them–would love to see the comments on those.

    *I used to get each post via email. Now I get a compilation each day. Prefer each post.

    *Agree, love the trip reports and also enjoy hearing about the award booking experiences from your service.

    *I LIKE the top credit card offer posts and appreciate that you update them!

  43. I really enjoy reading your posts, thanks. How does one figure out what seats are available on partner airlines if the seats aren’t shown on the rewards web site? For example, on UA, how to see what seats could be redeemed with miles that don’t appear on the chart. Do you have to know who the partners are and check their award charts? Can one see on the ITA matrix award seats? Or is the use of the ITA matrix to see how to get to a destination using various routes?

    Thank you again, I have learned so much reading your blog.

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