Starwood Refreshing Amex Benefits? Politicians Behave Badly While Flying. And Much More.

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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. I tried finding the answer to this question but no luck. If someone can help me out with this it’d be much appreciated:

    If I use my card at groceries, restaurants etc. outside the US, does that spend still qualify for spending bonuses (ie. using sapphire at a restaurant in Europe and getting 2x the points)?


  2. @Gary, I think you might have missed the satire in the Hawaii tunnel bit, or at least could have called it out more.

    (FWIW, are there any cards that offer spend bonuses on highway/bridge/tunnel tolls?)

  3. That tip for Avios is good to know since I almost always use the WAS code and assume everything available is going to be shown. Doesn’t help me on my most pressing award booking but could definitely be useful in the future. Also I thought it was funny/ironic how most of the bookings he’s showing have mostly first award space only. Economy availability is really bad for most of the domestic awards that I’m looking into.

    And you posted a Daily Currant (supposedly satire, but really just clickbait) article from November last year. I’m not sure if you are trolling or what, but it’s not even a funny article.

  4. Finally! The answer to the “can I take the train to Hawaii?” question we get!

  5. @Imre I posted the satire piece because it is funny. It’s not funny anymore when you start talking about how it is satire…

  6. Gary, thank you for the link!

    @Alan, I’m usually able to find great econ space on that particular route – my fault for choosing an example date too soon in the future. I updated post with a new example with great econ award space. Good luck with finding extra flights out of WAS! I find searching from DCA is really helpful 9 times out of 10.

    Thanks again, Gary!

  7. SPG Amex… no foreign transaction fees is a nice start. I really don’t care too much about Boingo. What about some bonus categories for restaurants? airfare? car rentals? The only thing we’ve really seen new from the SPG Amex the last few years is the increasing annual fee. It doesn’t seem to get that there are several other hotel cards out there. My SPG Amex use has dropped dramatically the last few years… it’s gone from the front of the wallet to practically the sock drawer.

  8. @Tom – “What about some bonus categories for restaurants? airfare?”

    The problem is, if they do that they’d be undercutting the PRG card. And if they could figure out a way to introduce those benefits without undercutting the PRG card, the annual fee would be increased accordingly.

  9. @Nathan Drake, Yes. I always use my Sapphire card out the country and get 2x points at restaurants.

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