Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Twitter Matters in the Points Game, Part 2

My last post on why I think Twitter is extremely valuable apparently resonated with a lot of people. Several people showed their agreement in the comments section, Do It For the Points wrote a great follow-up, and I even received a positive mention on Travel Blogger Buzz for the article. All these responses made me realize that there’s so much more value to Twitter than I covered in the original post, so I feel the need to write a follow-up of my own.

I made a passing mention at the end of the post about being able to win free stuff. As much as you might think that it’s impossible to win anything, let me tell you outright that it’s NOT impossible. One of the comments noted that he himself won two substantial prizes on Twitter. I personally won tickets to a Tennis match in Las Vegas that I ended up giving away to someone else. Ben from One Mile at a Time is currently running a promotion to win an extremely valuable 25K SPG points. Even I had a contest to give away Avios not too long ago. The best part is that it’s all random and requires no more than 10 seconds of your time! A simple “re-tweet” or one sentence is enough for an entry. There’s nothing to lose and so much to gain!

To make it even better, Twitter is a place where you can actually make friends. As strange as it sounds to be able to build a relationship online with someone you’ve never actually met, it’s amazing how far those 140 characters will teach you about someone.

A perfect example of this was FTU. I hadn’t met a single person at the conference because I’d never been to one, but I knew lots of Twitter handles. To my surprise, that was more than enough for me to figure out who people were (and you can read my post on how surprised I was that people knew me at all). In fact, Vinny even suggested that we all write our Twitter handles on our name tags since that’s how we knew each other…and that’s exactly what we did. Parag of Frequent Flyer University even said that next time he’s going to bring the picture on his Twitter account and glue that to his name card, just to make it a little easier for people to recognize him.

Try doing that with Facebook or any other social media website. It’s very unique to Twitter that you can actually meet people online and get to know them to the point where you can pick up a conversation when you do finally meet in person.

The next point actually provides tangible benefits to us as Twitter users and travelers. I mentioned in my last post that The Points Guy had all kinds of issues with an award ticket after he got to the airport (I posted the entire series of Tweets in my last post if you want to check it out). That particular case was unfortunate because United’s Twitter team is, well, useless. But that’s not the case with many other Airline and Hotel companies.

The consensus for the top travel Twitter team is @AmericanAir, and it’s not even close. Not only do they get things done, but they’re actually fun to talk to sometimes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched them help out people that are in a jam, whether it be re-booking them on a flight, finding an item that a passenger left on a plane, explaining rules, etc.

Today, for example, George was flying American Airlines with a friend. George’s friend was on a flight 7 hours earlier than George’s was, so he thought he’d just standby for the earlier flight. He did, but the American Airlines employee he spoke with insisted that he’d have to pay a $75 fee to move up to the earlier flight, and wouldn’t budge. George checked on Twitter and some friends mentioned it should be free. George contacted American’s Twitter team to see if they could help:

The American Airlines Twitter team saves the day for this traveler!

The American Airlines Twitter team saves the day for this traveler!

Seriously, how awesome is that? The guy would have had to wait 7 hours and be on a different flight than his friend, but the AA Twitter team saved the day. They are empowered to get things done, and very few others are as effective.

Delta Points pointed out to me that @DeltaAssist is also an extremely useful resource if you’re flying that airline. I’ve never had to use them personally, but if Delta Points recommends them then it’s probably useful.

When it comes to hotels, I’ve personally found that @SPG is extremely helpful. Whenever I have a question or problem, they’re there to help. I recently tweeted that I didn’t get upgraded to a suite even though they were available online, and I was promptly given a call by the front desk to upgrade me. Jamison pointed out the @HiltonHelp team is also pretty responsive, though I don’t think they’re as empowered to get things done as the other accounts are. My brother had a terrible experience with Hilton earlier this year and the Twitter team wasn’t able to help, though that could easily have been a one-off occurrence.

You get the idea. Twitter is an extremely valuable resource for a variety of reasons, and I highly encourage you to get in on it. You can learn, win free stuff, make friends, and in some cases get things fixed when they’re not right. You’ve got nothing to lose and so much to gain from it, so just do it!

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Twitter Matters in the Points Game

Note that I wrote a Part 2 to this post here.

We’ve heard and read that social media has become absolutely essential for any business that wants to connect to customers and fans. But how does this translate to the loyalty points game? In my opinion, it’s way more important than most people in the game realize.

You see, while Facebook may not be the most useful social media tool for us, Twitter is a nearly perfect forum for what travel and point addicts want: quick information and pictures, with reviews.

No, not Bluebird. This is the Twitter logo!

No, not Bluebird. This is the Twitter logo!

You see, the big bloggers are really good at what they do. They write very engaging articles and take fantastic pictures. They review flights and hotels that many of us would have an interest in seeing, and they’re almost constantly traveling. But there’s so much more than what they can put in to a short blog post!

Enter Twitter. Many of the bloggers use Twitter pretty regularly while traveling. Brian, aka The Points Guy, and Ben from One Mile at a Time are two of the best at this. When they’re traveling, they’re constantly taking pictures and providing instant reviews. Whether their check-in is taking too long, their Business Class seat is broken, or they found Vanilla Reloads at a new store, they provide instant reviews.

Much of this makes it to a blog post later on, but some of it doesn’t (particularly pictures). And that brings me to my next point: there are a lot of extremely knowledgeable people that don’t blog about their tricks! People like @TheMrPickles, @FlyerTalkerinA2, @jamucsb, and @HouseofV are expert travelers and point/mile earners, and they have a lot of useful information to share.

And as Mr Pickles pointed out to me at FTU, when these expert travelers (bloggers or not) do happen to have problems of some kind, you can often times see their thought process as they figure out a solution. They ask questions, and others respond with suggestions or solutions. For example, The Points Guy recently had a problem at the airport where his award flight couldn’t get ticketed. His Twitter account gave us a play-by-play as he tried to figure out what to do and others recommended a whole spectrum of solutions, including purchasing a full-fare ticket with cash and then suing United in small claims court (which one person had successfully done).

The Points Guy gives a play-by-play of his nightmarish trip to the airport. Other Twitter users were giving him all kinds of advice!

The Points Guy gives a play-by-play of his nightmarish trip to the airport. Other Twitter users were giving him all kinds of advice!

Then there’s the more “traditional” value of Twitter: word can spread very quickly. If there’s a mistake fare, people will be talking about it on Twitter well before it hits anyone’s blog (and on Twitter you can see people experimenting on the best way to exploit the deal). If there’s a fare war between airlines, it’ll be on Twitter first and may not even make it to a blog. The same is true, although to a lesser extent, with mileage runs. Any deal where speed/timing is of the essence will almost certainly be on Twitter before on a blog.

Unfortunately there are many other topics that people talk about on Twitter, including quite a few useless comments. I realize that this is why many people avoid Twitter and it’s a legitimate excuse that has no real solution. The recent Presidential election, for example, made everyone a political pundit, and of course the race nothing to do with travel. It’s simply part of the social media deal.

The moral of the story is that if you’re not on Twitter, you’re missing out on a lot of interesting information. Oh, and there are TONS of things you can win (free points, GoGo internet passes, etc.) just by tweeting certain words when people have contests. To me, the positives outweigh the negatives.

And if you’re interested, you can follow me on Twitter @TravelSummary!

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If you enjoyed this post and the others on this blog, feel free to follow me via the link on the right side menu, on Facebook, or via Twitter @TravelSummary.

A Great Website for Casual Travelers and Experts Alike

If you travel a lot and status means a lot to you, you’ve probably considered doing a mileage run at some point by attempting to get the cheapest fare possible (read why mileage running is worth it). Likewise, if you don’t travel a lot but yearn to get away somewhere for quick weekend trips, you’ve probably looked for cheap flights rather than looking for a particular destination. The common ground between the two types of people? Both want cheap flights.

Most travel “experts” have heard of the website named The Flight Deal. If you haven’t heard of it but love to travel, I can almost guarantee you’ll think it’s one of the best websites ever.

Casual travelers will love The Flight Deal, and experts love it too!

Casual travelers will love The Flight Deal, and experts love it too!

The Flight Deal’s goal is to find truly cheap and amazing fares. While we are inundated with advertisements for “sales” and coupon codes from various travel websites, those usually only provide a marginal, if any, discount to the normal airfare price. The Flight Deal decided to break down all prices into an objective measure based on the distance of the flight – specifically, they only publish fares that are 6 cents per mile or less.

To put that in perspective, they think you should never pay for a round trip flight from Los Angeles to New York if it’s more than $297, from Los Angeles to Tokyo if it’s more than $654, or from New York to Paris if it’s more than $436. In many cases, they find deals that are significantly less than 6 cents per mile (I booked mileage runs that were 2.7 cents per mile).

For example, take a look at the current fare from Washington DC to Moscow for only $371. Or how about Los Angeles to Honolulu for $302, or better yet New York to Honolulu for a whopping $382, which is just 3.8 cents per mile. It doesn’t take an expert traveler to know that any 10+ hour flight that’s less than $400 is a good deal!

There are some caveats, though. The website was created for people that want to travel, but don’t have a particular destination in mind. If you’re thinking “I want to go to Vegas” or some other specific destination, you’re likely not going to find it. You have to be flexible, both in terms of the locations and dates.

It’s also important to note that you can’t actually buy the fares through their website. They give you the general dates and airports, but you’ll have to go through a different booking site like Kayak (or the airline directly) in order to purchase the actual ticket.

Of course, experts love this website too because it’s an easy way to find a mileage run. Between this website and the FlyerTalk mileage run forum, you can find all kinds of great fares if you’re trying to re-qualify for elite status. I think The Flight Deal knows that mileage runners use their website, because each post title starts with the airline on which the deal is valid (i.e. “American” or “United”).

FOR BEGINNERS – HOW TO USE THE WEBSITE

If you’ve never been to the website before, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out. The front page has the most recent deals regardless of what city pairs are involved. If you move your mouse to hover over the “Flight Deals” menu tab on top, it will open up a list of the most popular cities that have deals. Currently only 12 cities have their own pages, but there is an “other cities” option and I wouldn’t be surprised if more cities are added as the website becomes more popular.

The most popular cities have dedicated pages on the website.

The most popular cities have dedicated pages on the website.

When you click on a particular deal you’re interested in, you’ll see a description of the two city pairs, availability dates, the total miles flown, and what the cents per mile breakdown is. Again, you’ll have to book using a different website, but you’ll have all the information you need so it should be simple.

Now, go out there and travel!

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Some Uncommon Point Transfer Tricks

If you’ve been collecting and using points for a while, you’ve probably run in to a problem of wanting to transfer points to a certain program but didn’t know how or what the best way was. This is a common problem, and there are a couple of tricks that might be able to help you in a select few cases. I’ll try to cover the one’s that might not be obvious for the beginners that want to move their points around.

Hilton Honors

This one is probably the most obvious one at the moment because of the current transfer bonus that’s been written about. Hilton is a transfer partner of American Express, but the normal transfer ratio is only 1:1.5. That’s not a very good use of Amex points. I didn’t realize this before, but from 12/1/12 to 1/31/13 Amex is offering a 33% bonus, meaning that the ratio will now be 1:2. While still not the best ratio, it’s clearly much better.

Amex currently has a transfer bonus to Hilton for a 1:2 ratio!

Amex currently has a transfer bonus to Hilton for a 1:2 ratio!

But you can earn this 1:2 ratio all the time, even when there is no bonus, by making an extra transfer. The way you do this is by first transferring your points from Amex to Virgin Atlantic, which is another Amex transfer partner, at a 1:1 ratio, and then from Virgin Atlantic to Hilton, which can be done at a 1:2 ratio. Essentially, you can always earn a 1:2 ratio from Amex to Hilton via Virgin Atlantic. The only thing to note is it takes some time to transfer from Virgin to Hilton, and that you have to call to do it. You also cannot transfer if you have fewer than 10K points in your Virgin Atlantic account.

First transfer Amex to Virgin Atlantic, then Virgin Atlantic to Hilton. You'll always get a 1:2 ratio!

First transfer Amex to Virgin Atlantic, then Virgin Atlantic to Hilton. You’ll always get a 1:2 ratio!

US Airways Dividend Miles

US Airways has some valuable redemption options, but they’re not a transfer partner with either Chase or Amex. US Airways is a transfer partner of SPG, but those are valuable points that you probably don’t want to transfer unless you really need to. There is another option that is not discussed frequently because it isn’t a perfect solution, but still could be very helpful if you’re in need of some US Airways points and have a lot of Amex points to burn.

Amex transfers to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio.

Amex transfers to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio.

You can transfer your Amex points to Air Canada’s Aeroplan program at a 1:1 ratio all the time. You can also transfer Aeroplan miles to US Airways miles at a rate of 1:.84 via Points.com (which is used by many point programs). So you can essentially transfer your Amex miles at that same rate. Again, it’s not the best deal ever but it’s pretty great offer if you happen to have lots of Amex Membership Rewards points.

Aeroplan transfers at a 1:.84 ratio. Not a terrible loss if you need the miles!

Aeroplan transfers at a 1:.84 ratio. Not a terrible loss if you need the miles!

Priority Club

You can also do the same trick as above to get Priority Club hotel points, but at a lower redemption rate of 1:.72. Again, it’s not worth it to do on a regular basis but it’s definitely worth it for a PointBreaks hotel that costs just 5K points. There are also plenty of other ways to earn Priority Club points, including buying them for very cheap.

Note that you can also transfer Chase points to Priority Club at a 1:1 ratio, but some value their Chase points too highly to make this kind of transfer (including me).

That’s it?

These are the more lucrative ones that exist. If you check out Points.com (through which the Aeroplan transfers can be completed) you’ll see there is a very long list of transfer partners, including the elusive American Airlines. The only problem is that the transfer ratio is a very unimpressive 1:.373 ratio, so unless you’re really in need of American miles and have a ton of Amex points, there’s no reason to make that transfer. Still, check out the list of possibilities just to educate yourself on what can be done.

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Discounted SPG Hotel Rates? Maybe…At Your Own Risk.

I’m an SPG Platinum member thanks to taking their Platinum Challenge earlier this year. I called in and asked for the challenge, and after 18 nights I earned their top tier status (it used to be 15 nights but when I asked they said it had to be 18). Since then I’ve stayed at quite a few SPG hotels and I’ve loved many of them.

They also announced many enhancements earlier this year to give more benefits to their top tier elites. In addition, the SPG Twitter team is one of the best there is – it’s nearly as good as American Airlines’ Twitter team, which is widely recognized as the best in the loyalty program business.

Like anyone who wants to travel more and loves a particular loyalty program, I set out to learn as much as I could to minimize my paid nights or maximize the points I earn in the program.

I started at Loyalty Traveler, who knows hotel programs in and out and does some great mathematical analysis (my favorite kind) on what deals and programs are most worthwhile. I then moved on to Frequent Flyer Bonuses to see what kind of deals might currently be available (note that these deals are not always current). I was also sure to read everything written by the blogs I feature in my blogroll on the right of this page.

Still unsatisfied with the rates I was getting, I decided to check FlyerTalk. I’ll admit that I’m not a very patient person, so reading through hundreds of pages of posts isn’t exactly my cup of tea. But then I found some FT posts referencing the “SET/Corporate Account #” field on the SPG website, but they were “coded” messages that I couldn’t decipher.

FTU this year is at the Sheraton Gateway in Los Angeles. Is this the best rate possible? Let’s find out…

I never paid attention to this field before. I happen to work for a big, well-known company so I checked to see if my company had a Corporate Account number. Sure enough it did, and I was embarrassed to not know of it earlier. It brought some prices down considerably, but others were unaffected or even higher. I wasn’t sure exactly how these worked so I used mine a couple of times. It worked exactly the same way as using a normal prepaid rate.

Then I started wondering if I could use other corporate account numbers. First things first, I needed to find some. That was not an easy task at the time. FlyerTalk is kind of written in code in order to prevent anyone from just searching for the obvious string of words, and it’s actually forbidden to write these codes outright (this type of thing is heavily moderated). Still, determination and Google work wonders.

Sometimes better, sometimes worse. Use at your own risk.

MilePoint also has an interesting discussion of the ethical and other questions that come from this. I personally know someone that got a hold of some codes, then met a guy on a flight that had different codes. They exchanged information. Plenty of people also have anecdotal evidence of getting completely shut down for doing this.

The fact is, these codes are meant for qualified people only and no one else should be using them.

Everyone has their own interpretation of what is right, wrong, ethical, or a grey area. Yours probably isn’t the same as mine, so I don’t expect people to agree with the way I’ve written this one way or another.

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A Points Website You Should Really Bookmark

Everyone has heard of Gary at View from the Wing, Lucky from One Mile at a Time, Daraius from Million Mile Secrets, and Brian aka The Points Guy. These are the big, popular points/miles bloggers (among many others). Despite a few rants from me about them here and there, I always note they provide extremely valuable information for many many people, and I highly recommend you follow each of them closely.

There are a few other people, however, that have oodles of wisdom and knowledge that can greatly advance your points earning strategies, or even change the way you think about them. One of these people, who I’ve only ever known through his very informative Twitter account, has a blog but hadn’t posted in many months…except now he’s posted several times in the last couple of weeks. He’s been part of loyalty programs for over 25 years and has attained quite a bit of knowledge in that time.

I’m talking, of course, of Mr Pickles and his blog at TheMrPickles.com.

Mr Pickles is different. He usually doesn’t talk about the “normal” deals or methods of accruing points. When he writes on either Twitter or on his blog, he gives you hints and points you in a certain direction only – rarely does he give full answers and never does he give step-by-step procedures. He wants to help you, but it also looks like he wants you to help yourself.

This is Mr Pickles. No really, it is. When I see this bird appear in my Twitter feed, I read the tweet immediately. Then I attempt to figure out the riddle.

I covered the topic of “giving answers away” in my most popular post a few weeks ago. Mr Pickles seems to fall in to the third category of people I talked about – the ones that don’t care about how many people know about the deal, but prefer they put in effort to figure it out on their own rather than being handed step-by-step directions.

It’s hard to describe what he actually writes about. He covers many topics but looks at things from a different angle. He thinks outside the box, and also points out a few things that others on FlyerTalk have figured out as well. He writes infrequently on his blog (at least thus far), and when he does it’s short and to the point.

He’s much more active on Twitter and sometimes gives valuable nuggets of information, one of which I was able to use on my recent trip to Hong Kong and Macau (a massive trip report is in the works). His simple tweet literally saved me hundreds of dollars on my hotel rooms. The only thing is, he doesn’t give it away. You have to read between the lines and solve the riddle. Sometimes he teases, but there’s usually something of value in what he says. Make sure you follow him on Twitter because he’ll post there before he posts on either FlyerTalk or his blog.

Oh, and he also mentioned to me that he’ll have another post of interest to international travelers coming up soon. You’ll want to read that one.

I mentioned I’ve never met him before despite living in the same general geographic area, but he will be at FTU next week and hope to meet him there. I know he is a big fan of networking with others in the miles and points game, as are others like Hack My Trip. Listen to these guys, because they know what they’re talking about.

I’ve added Mr Pickles to my blogroll to the right of this page – you’ll learn a lot if you follow him closely!

But not literally – stalkers are bad.

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Is There a “Code” Among Points Bloggers?

“Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?” – Morpheus, from The Matrix.

(Sorry for the lame analogy)

If you’ve followed the points world for even just a few months, you’ve probably noticed that although there is a lot of great information written about by all the points bloggers, there is also a noticeable absence of other information that could seemingly be extremely valuable.

You know this not because the bloggers have stated there are certain things they don’t write about, but because of veiled references and/or comments made on particular blog posts. You know because when you, as a beginner, tried to read FlyerTalk, you found everyone was seemingly speaking a different language – that they were talking in “code” in many posts. Well, you’re right.

There seems to be an unwritten code among most of the popular points bloggers to not “out” some of the most valuable tricks and loopholes in the game. The reason is pretty obvious: the points bloggers know they have a lot of readers, and writing about a particular trick would increase the number of people utilizing that trick, which would in turn make it worth it for a company (like United, Hyatt, etc.) to figure it out and end/correct the trick or loophole.

Essentially, writing about the deal would “kill” the deal, and that benefits no one, right?

Yes and no…maybe.

The first school of thought is that yes, the more people that make use of any trick or loophole, the more likely it will be to get noticed and the more likely the deal will get shut down (or alternatively, it will become worth it for the company to invest in closing the loophole). After all, companies are interested in making money. If there are tons of people taking advantage of a particular deal/trick, companies can probably charge more or adjust the deal in some way to make it favorable to them and less favorable to everyone else. But if there is only a select group that knows about it, the chances of the deal/trick remaining available increases since it may not be worth it for a company to make adjustments to their systems.

The second school of thought is that if there is a deal/trick that’s being taken advantage of, it’s likely to be short-lived anyway. Why not spread the word and let everyone take advantage of it? These are tricks that are likely already written about on FlyerTalk and MilePoint, so doing a blog post with a summary means that thousands of people no longer have to read every page of a FlyerTalk forum to decipher the code, and can just read it in plain English instead. The deal was already publicly available – the blogger just made it easy to read.

The third school of thought is that it doesn’t matter how many people can figure out about a particular deal/trick, as long as they put in effort to figure it out rather than having it laid out step-by-step (as a blog post would do). There is a sense that you have to “earn” the knowledge by putting in the time to read every page of FlyerTalk, or by trial and error on your own. This preserves the deal for a longer amount of time since fewer people know about it, but acknowledges that it is public knowledge available to those who work to figure it out.

So who’s right, who’s wrong, and how can you get in on the truly great tricks?

Once again, there’s no straight answer. Million Mile Secrets is famous, or infamous, for posting step-by-step instructions on how to maximize certain deals. These are deals that other bloggers most certainly know about, but don’t write about. Just take a look at the comments section of this post for a raging debate on whether it was appropriate or not to out a deal with such detail.

The debate isn’t limited to just the comments sections either. I love following the bloggers and other points gurus on Twitter. There was a lot of anger after MMS made that post, and one of the Twitter users I follow made the following tweet:

FlyerTalkerinA2: “@MilMileSecrets What’s the first rule of Fight Club? We don’t talk about it….Never mind.”

MilMileSecrets: “@FlyerTalkerinA2 – Who said I agreed to the rules of Fight Club?”

If you’ve seen Fight Club, you know that it’s a reference to the secretiveness of the whole thing. Scottrick from Hack My Trip made a fantastic post on his philosophy towards these types of deals and whether or not they should be preserved and, if so, how. He also makes a Fight Club reference.

So the answer to the title of this post is an unequivocal YES, there is a code among points bloggers and the experts/elite of the points community. This code exists for many reasons, and sometimes they’re selfish reasons.

CAN YOU GET IN ON THE GREAT TRICKS?

“Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.”

Sadly, there’s isn’t anything specific you can do or one blog you can read to get all the good tricks. Because of the code, it’s very hard to figure out these tricks, and I’d say that figuring it out is the only way to actually get in on it. Million Mile Secrets writes about a lot of these deals, but not all of them and not all the time. Other ones come out slowly, and you’ll know it’s one of them if you read angry comments talking about the inappropriateness of the post. I can point to several examples in addition to the ones I noted above, but here’s one more.

If you’re really interested in becoming an expert and saving tons of money on travel, you’ll just have to put in the time. Read all the points blogs and the comments, and if you’re interested in a certain topic read every page of that particular FlyerTalk forum. It will take you forever, but just ask yourself how much money you want to save and how much time you have to devote towards saving money. It’s not worth it for many, but for others it absolutely is. Also, follow points bloggers and other gurus on Twitter. It’s a great forum to hear about the day-to-day problems they face and how they solve them. Yes 95% of tweets are useless, but the other 5% could be very valuable.

The Chicago Seminars and Frequent Traveler University are venues that the points bloggers and other frequent travelers attend to discuss a lot of deals, and have also been known as locations where certain “secret” items are discussed. It’s as much about the networking and relationships as anything else.

Finally, I think you’ll find that many people are very generous if you simply ask. Send them a direct message on FlyerTalk, MilePoint, or Twitter, or email your favorite points blogger. Many times they’ll be happy to help you along a little further, and if not the worst they can say is “no.”

I’ll leave you with one final Morpheus quote from The Matrix:

“I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.”

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If you enjoyed this post and the others on this blog, feel free to follow me via the link on the right side menu, on Facebook, and via Twitter @TravelSummary.