Andrea Rotondo

Andrea Rotondo

Andrea M. Rotondo is a writer covering cruise news and luxury travel trends for Fodor’s, Conde Nast Traveler online, and other outlets like Cruise Critic, Onboard, and Cruise & Travel Lifestyles. She also helps travelers leverage their miles and points at Frequent Flyer Toolkits.

She belongs to just about every frequent flyer program. She’s earned Lifetime Gold status with American Airlines and is a Hilton HHonors Diamond. Chase Ink Bold and American Express Business Gold Rewards duke it out for Andrea’s nod as her favorite rewards credit card. Her preferred use of miles and points is for first-class travel to Southeast Asia and southern Africa and OneWorld is her go-to alliance. Miles and points have taken her around the world to destinations like Bali, Tahiti, the Maldives, Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Johannesburg. Follow her on Twitter: @luxtravelmavens or on Google+ ( https://plus.google.com/+AndreaRotondo ).

Andrea Rotondo Andrea Rotondo’s posts:

Best First-Class Flights for Couples: Long-Haul Flights to Asia

Best First-Class Flights for Couples: Long-Haul Flights to Asia

One of the cool things about amassing a zillion frequent flyer miles is actually using them to fly in first class to destinations you previously never thought you’d visit.

Asia is especially enticing when you have frequent flyer miles because you can finally make that long-haul trip in the comfort of the first class cabin. Maybe you’ll jet off to Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul or Singapore. If you’ve got Asia aspirations, we’ll tell you what to look for and how to plan it to ensure a happy and romantic trip.

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Comparing Air France and Air Tahiti Nui’s Business Class Cabins

Comparing Air France and Air Tahiti Nui’s Business Class Cabins

If you’re planning a trip to the South Pacific and want to fly into Papeete, Tahiti (PPT) in French Polynesia, your flight choices are pretty limited. It’s a long haul from the United States--Los Angeles to Papeete takes about 8.5 hours--so you'll probably want to fly in business class. Let’s compare two airlines that can get you from Los Angeles to Papeete in style: AirFrance and Air Tahiti Nui.

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Transferring Miles Between Accounts to Increase Your Balance

Transferring Miles Between Accounts to Increase Your Balance

One way to quickly build up a stash of frequent flyer miles is to take advantage of limited-time offers the airlines promote. Oftentimes, airlines like Avianca and banks like American Express will offer a bonus scheme when you transfer miles between accounts. That means you may earn a bonus when you transfer your miles to your husband’s account, or to a friend or child. Sometimes the deals aren’t worth it but when they are, you can leverage the promotion to earn plenty of free travel for yourself and potentially others. Let’s look at this method of earning loyalty currency.

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How to Pay Student Loans or Contribute to 529 Plans and Earn Miles and Points

How to Pay Student Loans or Contribute to 529 Plans and Earn Miles and Points

There is a fantastic new way to give the gift of education to any friend or family member. And, it’s even a method to help you pay down your student loan while earning miles and points. Gift of College is a college savings registry of sorts.

You can purchase gift cards from the company that the recipient (or you) can use to pay off a student loan, or establish or contribute to his or her existing 529 plan. For miles and points enthusiasts, it finally paves the way to earn valuable loyalty currency just for paying off your loan or helping someone else afford college. Let’s look at how the program works.

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New Year’s Resolutions for Travel Hackers

New Year’s Resolutions for Travel Hackers

You may not be a New Year’s resolution type of person, but you’ll actually do yourself a disservice if you don’t make a few promises related to your travel hacking hobby. Earning miles and points that will help whisk you and your family around the globe in style isn’t easy, and it takes planning and organization.

Before you sing “Auld Lang Syne” at the dawn of the New Year, make a few resolutions that may help you get where you want to go in the next 12 months. Here are some resolutions shared by us at RewardExpert. You may want to commit to them as well.

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5 Things You Might Not Know About Your Credit Score

5 Things You Might Not Know About Your Credit Score

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Your credit score is one of your most valuable assets and you should nurture it and protect it. You want a healthy credit score to help you accomplish all of your life goals, including getting a mortgage or car loan (with reasonable interest rates) or passing a potential employer or landlord’s background check.

You also want a high credit score so you can fully participate in the lucrative hobby of collecting frequent flyer miles, hotel loyalty program points, or bank points (such as American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, or Citi ThankYou points).

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Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping Mall Portal: A Primer

Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping Mall Portal: A Primer

If Southwest Rapid Rewards is your main frequent flyer program, you need to be aware of Rapid Reward Shopping as well. This online shopping mall acts as a portal to all of your favorite online retailers, from Kohl’s and Old Navy to JCPenney and Ulta Beauty. All you need to do to earn extra Rapid Rewards points is visit the portal and click on the store you wish to shop at. Then, once you make a purchase, you’ll be rewarded with a certain number of Rapid Rewards per dollar spent. It’s that easy, but we’ll step you through the entire process.

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Are You Booking Your First Award Tickets by Phone? Here’s How

Are You Booking Your First Award Tickets by Phone? Here’s How

You’ve been painstakingly saving those miles for a special trip and you finally reached your goal. You’ve got enough miles to book that award flight you’ve had your eye on. Booking award travel can be a bit intimidating if you haven’t done it before—especially when booking over the phone. But, have no fear. It’s easy to master the art of booking award tickets. Just use our handy script if this is your first time trying to book a free flight from your frequent flyer program.

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Delta SkyMiles Shopping Mall Portal: A Primer

Delta SkyMiles Shopping Mall Portal: A Primer

If you are a fan of online shopping and you’re a miles and points junkie, you have to get in the habit of using your favorite airline or hotel’s online shopping portal. Delta Skymiles Shopping is just such a portal, and we’ll show you exactly how to sign up so you’ll be rewarded with extra miles on purchases made through this venue. We’ll also show you how to spot deals at SkyMiles Shopping and how to know when to pass up that purchase.

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AAdvantage eShopping Mall Portal: A Primer

AAdvantage eShopping Mall Portal: A Primer

If you’re not leveraging your favorite airline’s online shopping portal, you are leaving miles—and possibly points—on the table.

Sure, it might be easy to log in to your favorite etailer to buy that pair of sneakers for your kids, but if you go the extra mile and make one additional click at the airline portal, you’ll be rewarded with a certain number of miles per dollar spent—and that’s on top of whatever bonus your credit card offers you for making purchases. Let us help you discover the value of online shopping portals. Today we’ll step you through American Airlines’ AAdvantage eShopping portal just in time for holiday shopping.

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Transferring Amex Membership Rewards to Hawaiian Airlines

Transferring Amex Membership Rewards to Hawaiian Airlines

If you’re amassing American Express Membership Rewards points, it’s because you know how valuable it is to have flexible points that can be transferred to a number of different airlines and hotel chains, or even used to pay down the cost of a trip booked through American Express’ travel portal. If you’ve got Membership Rewards points and you want to book a getaway to Hawaii, look no further than transferring those points to Hawaiian Airlines’ loyalty program: HawaiianMiles.

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Which Branded Credit Card is Best for Getting to Hawaii on Miles?

Which Branded Credit Card is Best for Getting to Hawaii on Miles?

When it comes to stockpiles of frequent flyer miles, it’s safe to say that many of those miles are earmarked for a special trip to Hawaii. The Hawaiian Islands are one of the most popular destinations in the United States and it’s a no-brainer to use miles to get there. The flights are generally fairly expensive, and long—even if you’re departing from the West Coast—so you’ll be tempted to book into or upgrade to a premium cabin, if possible. 

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Chase and Amex Travel Booking Portals: What’s the Deal?

Chase and Amex Travel Booking Portals: What’s the Deal?

When the travel hacking bug hits, most newcomers to the hobby only think about earning points that can be transferred to an airline or hotel in order to book an award. However, two major players in this field—Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards—offer so much more than a simple transfer of their points to an external travel loyalty program. Let’s delve into the travel booking portals from both of these companies so you know all of your options when it comes to using your hard-earned points.

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Don’t Miss the Benefits of American Express OPEN

Don’t Miss the Benefits of American Express OPEN

Do you have an American Express business credit or charge card? If so, have you delved into everything the company’s OPEN program offers? Probably not because it’s not as sexy as earning a ton of points via a sign-up bonus. But, you can definitely earn additional Membership Rewards points through the program so let’s talk about how you can benefit from some other really valuable Amex perks.

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How to Avoid Baggage Fees on JetBlue

How to Avoid Baggage Fees on JetBlue

Paying a fee to check your luggage on any airline can seem insulting. After all, you paid good money for your ticket and now you have to shell out more dough just to check your luggage. It’s a drag but it’s a reality in air travel today. JetBlue levies various fees for checked bags—regardless of if you booked a Blue, Blue Plus, or Blue Flex fare. We’ll tell you how to avoid those fees.

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How to Avoid Baggage Fees on Alaska Airlines

How to Avoid Baggage Fees on Alaska Airlines

Mileage Plan elite members can check a certain amount of luggage for free on Alaska Airlines flights. The rest of us may need to cough up some cash. Here’s a look at how much checked bags cost on Alaska Airlines and ways to skirt the fee whenever possible.

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How to Avoid Baggage Fees on Delta Airlines

How to Avoid Baggage Fees on Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines is not immune to the dreaded checked bag fee. If you aren’t careful, you could pay a ton when checking bags on your next Delta flight. Here are a few methods to help you avoid those extra fees.

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How to Avoid Baggage Fees on American Airlines

How to Avoid Baggage Fees on American Airlines

Paying extra to check your bag on any airline stinks, but it's the new normal these days. However, savvy travelers like you can get around these fees. We'll show you the ways in which you can avoid baggage fees on American Airlines flights.

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American Express Business Cards: Which Is Best for You?

American Express Business Cards: Which Is Best for You?

Many frequent travelers—especially small business owners—focus their loyalty on the American Express Membership Rewards program. That’s because of the myriad airlines that participate in its transfer program.

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How to Avoid Baggage Fees on United Airlines

How to Avoid Baggage Fees on United Airlines

MileagePlus elite members score free baggage allowance on United Airlines flights, but that’s not the only way to avoid these onerous checked bag fees. Let’s take a look at the ways you can save money by getting your bag checked for free on your next United flight.

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