Majored in Miles

As a "student" of miles and points for the past five years, Dakota has traveled the globe by utilizing credit cards and loyalty programs. His love for travel continually drives him to creatively find new methods of accumulating points for free travel and helping others do the same.

Hotel Review: The Palace Hotel San Francisco

The Palace The Palace San Francisco is a Starwood Luxury Collection Property and is one of my favorite hotels in the world. If someone gave me the option to stay at the St. Regis or the Palace, I’d pick the Palace. This grand belle of the gilded age was built in 1875 and was the highest building in the city for many years thereafter, standing at eight stories. The hotel completed a major renovation a couple of years ago and it’s a night and day difference. Luckily for me, I work for a San Francisco based company, so I...

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Hotel Review: Hyatt Centric Chicago

Hyatt Centric Chicago When the Hyatt Centric brand was first introduced a few years ago, I didn’t really get the concept or see how it filled a gap in Hyatt’s portfolio of properties. I really like the Andaz brand and it’s been my “modern” choice when traveling for a while now; however, my company has a list of preferred hotels in each city that I must use, and the Hyatt Centric was one of the only decent options for my trip to Chicago a couple of weeks back. I booked the standard room and redeemed a Diamond Suite Upgrade...

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Act Fast: SFO to Colombo for $394 r/t – Easy Hop to Maldives

According to SecretFlying you can fly from San Francisco to Colombo, Sri Lanka for as low as $394 round-trip on China Eastern. Dates look pretty spotty, but this is a great chance to visit the Maldives for the price of a domestic flight. SecretFlying found the following available dates in September and October: “Example dates: 7th-13th Sep 19th Sep – 4th Oct 19th Sep – 11th Oct 27th Sep – 6th Oct 27th Sep – 11th Oct 27th Sep – 13th Oct” It looks like if you want to go to Male, Maldives from Colombo, you can book a separate...

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Points Strategies for Couples

Let’s face it, stashing points and making that first class award booking is difficult enough when traveling alone, but for couples, traveling on points can sometimes seem impossible. Since my wife and I got married in 2012, we’ve been traveling together a lot. I’ve come to learn that booking awards for two is a double edged sword. Having the ability to apply for two of every credit card is great, but when it comes time to book, finding two open seats on a plane, especially in premium cabins, can be quite the task. Today, I wanted to discuss some...

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3 Reasons to Still Love Southwest

With all the bad press Southwest Airlines has been getting over the last couple of weeks, I thought it might be nice to share why I still believe in “The Love Airline.” IT system issues left thousands of Southwest flyers stranded last week and I know it would be very easy for a lot of those customers to write off SWA and find another carrier, but here are 3 reasons you may want to reconsider and give Love a second chance. Point to Point Routing My parents met when they were flight attendants for Braniff Airlines back in the...

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Best Card for Status Matching

I’ve been an avid collector of points for roughly 5 years now and one important lesson that I learned quickly after taking my first free trip is this: Points can only take you so far, status does the rest. When I first started out, I had very few points, no status and I’d never sat in first class. The IHG Rewards card changed all of that for me. Secret weapon in the sock drawer The IHG Rewards credit card from Chase offers a lot of value for only a $49 annual fee. Not only do you get 60,000 IHG...

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Hotel Review: Park Hyatt Washington D.C.

The Park Hyatt Washington D.C. I’ve been sitting on this review for a few months now, but hey, better late than never. The Park Hyatt Washington D.C. is in a great location, just a short walk from Georgetown and not too far of a cab ride to the National Mall. I booked a standard room through the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts program hoping to be upgraded as a Hyatt Diamond. Upon arrival, I was told that I was upgraded to a Park Junior Suite, breakfast at the restaurant was included, but room service was not. I was...

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Hack to Open Cathay Award Space Through AA

While attempting to book two business class tickets returning from Thailand with AAdvantage miles this past week, I came across an interesting hack to force open Cathay Pacific award space. Knowing I wanted to fly Cathay, I began my search for Oneworld availability at BA showed 3 open seats in business class, but knowing they have a tendency to show phantom award space, I decided to check elsewhere. Qantas, the more reliable source, showed no availability in Business Class on the same day, however, I thought it may still may be worth a shot to call American and try...

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Why I’m Finished With Gift Card Arbitrage

***Update: GardCardRescue returned my $300 in gas cards to me without even opening the envelope. They just wrote return to sender on the front. So for those of you waiting, there still may be some hope if your cards haven’t been processed yet. This has been a bad month for those of us who manufacture spend though gift card arbitrage. We not only learned that GiftCardRescue is no longer buying gift cards, but that their assets have been frozen due to litigation (potential bankruptcy)  and will not be paying for the gift cards that they have purchased in recent...

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Will Cancelling A Card Lower My Credit Score?

When I was 19 years-old I did something really stupid, I canceled the first credit card I ever applied for. It was a no fee student card from Capital One that I wasn’t using so I thought I would cancel it to reduce my liability in case it was stolen. Looking back, I wish I could go back in time and punch that version of myself in the eye for being an idiot. If you’re reading this post, you may be asking yourself this question, “will canceling a credit card lower my credit score?” The answer: not if you...

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