How We Went On A $25,000 Trip Halfway Around The World For Less Than $1000 (a.k.a. What You Can Do With Points & Miles)

I’ve written plenty about how I earn credit card points and airline miles, but gathering all those points and miles is meaningless unless you do something with them. We saved points for several years and managed to take an once in a lifetime trip. We could have taken this trip by flying in coach on the cheapest tickets available but why would you want an amazing trip to be ordinary?

….and no, I didn’t actually pay $25,000 for the trip.

Here’s the details of the best trip I ever planned (with some help).

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Snack Cart: The Most Important Part of the Flight?

I recently flew on Delta in Basic Economy and because of that, Sharon and I were separated for two of four of our flights. The experience wasn’t that bad but there was one thing that bugged me. In fact, I even wrote on a Facebook group after the trip just to vent:

Nodded off during the flight and I missed out on my Biscoff cookies (and the person next to me didn’t save me a pack).

I missed out on the Biscoff cookies. For those of you who have never flown on Delta and had these cookies, I’m sorry your life is not complete. It’s just something about being handed two cookies while soaring above the clouds that makes Delta Biscoff better than the other earthbound cookies.

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How to Donate Your Miles and Points to Support Hurricane Harvey Victims

I know watching the news stories about the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey can make you feel helpless. The scope of this event just causes you to feel numb and you want to do something but don’t know how you can help.

Luckily, most of the airline and hotel programs are making it easy to contribute in any way you can. Even if you don’t have cash to spare, you can donate those random points you have here and there to the recovery effort.  Face it, it’s better to donate them than redeem them for some magazines that you’ll never read. Personally, I have points with LaQuinta and Choice that I’m going to donate right now.

Here are the links to the program pages where you can make donations.

(Thanks to our reader John B. for the tip on this way that you can to contribute to the relief effort)

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How To Avoid Extra Credit Card Fees During International Travel

Going on an international trip is very exciting but it can also be very expensive. Using a credit card to pay for purchases when traveling internationally is often the best way to get a good exchange rate and the rate your bank gets will be better than the one you’ll get on your own if you exchange cash. Using a card also means that you don’t have to carry around a bunch of cash with you. However, many cards will add on a “foreign transaction fee” to any transactions made with anything except your home currency. Here’s an easy way to keep from paying that extra 2-3 percent on all of your purchases while away.

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How To Sign Up For Airline Frequent Flyer Programs

You should always sign up for an airline’s frequent flyer program. First of all, it’s free. In addition, having your information on file with the airline saves you some time when making a reservation. You can also put your Known Traveler Number (KTN) into your profile if you have enrolled for TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry, which you should do if you travel even somewhat regularly.

Here are the links to the programs from the major US Airlines along with how long the miles you earn are good for. Note that while many plans will claim your miles will “never expire,” they will deactivate your account, thereby cause you to lose any miles earned, if you don’t have a qualifying activity within a certain time frame.

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We All Thought United Was Bad. Be Happy You’re Not Flying on Ryanair

I cast a bit of shade at Ryanair when they were the only airline who didn’t respond to my Tweet about How I Could Make Sure I Would Sit With My Kids if I flew with them. I did find it quite funny that while the airline didn’t respond, one of their parody accounts tweeted back to me with this response.

Ryanair Parody

It turns out the CEO of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary, was saving his response for a larger audience. While on RTE Radio 1 this Tuesday, he responded to claims about his airline splitting up couples who purchased random seating assignments.

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I Asked Airlines How I Could Make Sure I Would Sit With My Kids and Here’s What They Said

After writing about the family who was split up in middle seats throughout the plane on our United flight to Chicago, I wasn’t expecting the response we got from our readers. We received a number of comments from readers with differing viewpoints. One one hand, we received two comments that I’m sure United would be just thrilled to read:

  • I won’t be flying with United. My kids won’t handle being separated from me.
  • Yup. Not flying United.

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