Andy Shuman is a freelance travel blogger and the author of the Lazy Travelers Handbook series. He is also a miles and points aficionado with a strong knowledge of frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. Most of all, he is a travel junkie who wants to be on the road as much as possible.
Loyalty programs: American, United, US Airways, Delta, Alaska Airlines, Southwest, Jet Blue, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Iberia, LAN, Japan Airways, Air Nippon, Bangkok Airways.
Favorite program: American Airlines. It is still the best despite some shortcomings.
Favorite travel destinations: Latin America, Southeast Asia.
Most memorable trip: Argentina/Brazil 2005. Buenos Aires, Iguassu Falls, Oktoberfest in Blumenau and short resort stay in Camboriu.
Travel rewards credit cards: Chase Sapphire Preferred, Amex Platinum, Chase IHG Club, Citi AAdvantage, Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus, Barclays Arrival, etc. I’d better stop right here or it will take up the whole page.
Favorite rewards: Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can transfer your points to several airline and hotel programs, book travel, or redeem for cash. It’s a very versatile program.
The Swiss call the Matterhorn “the mountain of the mountains”, which is a particularly impressive designation, given its location in the Alps. This nearly triangular rock towers over beautiful Riffelsee Lake, and it is so famous that Disneyland decided to build a 147-foot-high replica in its honor.
Saudia, Saudi Arabia’s flag carrier, is a luxurious airline with outstanding service. Its loyalty program, Alfursan, is well-regarded, offering members some nice perks.
Although the program’s redemptions for miles are generally priced conservatively, there are a few excellent deals hidden in its award charts. In some cases, Saudia Alfursan will give you better redemption rates than its partner Delta Air Lines.
SriLankan Airlines, the nation’s flag carrier, serves 46 destinations in 23 countries, though it doesn’t yet fly to the Americas. Before joining the oneworld alliance in 2014, the airline revamped its fleet and improved its service. Recent reviews suggest that customers noticed and welcomed the changes.
Who Is the JAL USA Card Good For?The Japan Airlines USA card is good for people who want to collect JAL Mileage Bank miles, but may not fly the airline that often. With only one transfer partner, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), it can be difficult to accrue miles with the airline. This card allows members to earn on every purchase, plus it gives them the ability to collect extra miles while flying on JAL.
Lisbon might not be as popular as Rome, Paris or London, but it’s rich with culture, architectural beauty and history. The capital of Portugal is built on seven hills and has a lot to offer to visitors. And it’s much more budget-friendly than most of Europe’s capital cities.
Finnair, the flag carrier of Finland, dates back to 1923, making it one of the oldest airlines in the world. From its main hub in Helsinki Airport, the airline flies to 88 destinations in Europe, Asia and North America. In the United States, it serves Chicago, Miami and New York.
Air India is the country’s flag carrier, and its third-largest airline, after IndiGo and Jet Airways. It flies to 60 domestic and 31 international destinations in 19 countries across Australia, Asia, Europe and North America. In the United States, Air India flies to New York and Chicago.
Who Is the Virgin Atlantic Black Card Good For?The Virgin Atlantic Black Card is a great source of miles for anyone who flies on Virgin Atlantic. While Virgin Atlantic’s White Card has a lower annual fee, the Black Card has more benefits.
Mont Saint Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is often called the Wonder of the West. During high tides, its slender towers and sky-scraping turrets, encircled by stout ramparts and battlements, appear to rise out of the middle of the bay. In addition to being home to the abbey that is its namesake, this feudal town once served as an impenetrable fortification and jail.
TAP Portugal flies to 88 destinations in 38 countries, including New York and Miami in the United States. The airline has received several awards over the years for its excellent service, including the World’s Best Airline from Condé Nast Traveller magazine. Because it’s a Star Alliance member, its frequent flyer program, Victoria, can get you almost anywhere.
Who Is the Virgin Atlantic White Card Good For?Virgin Atlantic offers two credit cards to loyal flyers in the United States: the White Card and the Black Card. The White Card is good for those who are collecting Virgin Atlantic miles but don’t want to pay a big annual fee. The Black Card comes with a few more benefits, but also a higher annual fee and more conditions.
Taiwan is an island nation probably best known for its modern cities, but it also has beautiful tropical beaches, sea-skirting cliffside roads, mountain peaks, hot springs and tranquil lakes. Portuguese sailors who saw it for the first time in the 16th century were so impressed with its natural beauty that they called it Ilha Formosa, which means Beautiful Island.
Aeroflot, Russia’s flag carrier and largest airline, flies between Moscow and four U.S. cities: New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Miami. It also has an extensive network of routes in Europe and Asia, making the airline a convenient choice for connecting flights beyond Moscow.
You may not be familiar with it, but Malaysia Airlines is one of the largest airlines in the world. It’s a member of the oneworld alliance, and flies to 60 destinations in 28 countries. Unfortunately, its four U.S. routes were recently eliminated because of financial issues and restructuring.
Who Is the Citi ThankYou Prestige Credit Card Good For?Citi ThankYou Prestige is an upscale premium travel reward card that is comparable to the American Express Platinum card. It has many similar travel benefits, and the same hefty $450 annual fee. You should consider getting the Citi card despite the high cost since it comes with some outstanding perks, particularly for those who travel a lot.
Hyderabad sits at an ancient crossroads of commerce, and was once famous as a pearl and diamond trading center. Still known as the City of Pearls, its centuries-old shopping bazaars offer modern and exotic goods from all over India. This 400-year-old city on the banks of the Musi River is full of striking Qutb arches, royal palaces and minarets.
Air New Zealand is a global airline based in Auckland. It flies to four cities in the United States: Honolulu, Los Angeles, Houston and San Francisco.
Saudia, the flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, is the third-largest airline in the Middle East. Its main hub is Jeddah, with secondary hubs in Riyadh, Dammam, Medina and Abha. The airline flies to 80 countries, including destinations in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. In the U.S., it flies to Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando and Washington, D.C.