Gabi Logan is a freelance travel writer based in New York City, but she spends more than half of the year on the road, capitalizing on flight deals and airline awards along the way. Her travels tips and tales appear in national and international newspapers and magazines, including USA Today, the Dallas Morning News, Italy Magazine, and Porthole Cruise.
Loyalty programs: American, United, NWA, Delta, and KLM for nearly two decades. Member of Miles & Smiles, Jet Blue, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, British Airways, and AirTran.
Favorite program: Domestically, I love Virgin America, because you can get flights for very few points if you piggyback a sale.
Favorite travel destinations: Italy and Turkey.
Most memorable trip: It changes every year. Currently it’s Calabria, the toe of the Italian boot.
Travel rewards credit cards: The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express and the Chase Sapphire Ultimate Rewards card.
Favorite rewards: Chase Sapphire Ultimate Rewards. You can use your points towards any flight and get a 20% discount.
Thanks to its recent acquisition by Etihad, Alitalia is poised to be a force to be reckoned with. The beleaguered Italian national carrier has been the subject of bailout after bailout, but Etihad has now put it on a path to clean up its act financially and improve the in-flight and general customer experience.
Who Is the Capital One Spark Miles for Business Card Good For?Capital One has made a name for itself among consumers with splashy, celebrity-filled ads, but marketing isn’t the only way the company pushes the envelope. Capital One is constantly creating new credit card offers and reward programs, each with more perks than the last.
On its own, Air Canada can be a great airline to fly. It constantly garners awards for being the best airline in North America both from magazines like Business Traveler and Global Travel and industry organizations like Skytrax and World Travel Market.
In the world of points and miles, Aer Lingus is an oddity, like neighbor British airline Virgin Atlantic. It’s a major player with key partnerships with other major players, but it’s not a part of any of the big alliances, though it was formerly with oneworld.
Who is the Virgin America Visa Signature Credit Card good for?Virgin America previously had a partnership with Barclays for its reward credit cards, but in 2014 it changed to a lesser-known bank partner, Comenity. They now issue a card that is even more rewarding than before.
As South African Airways is a member of the Star Alliance, there’s no doubt that you can get to a lot of places with the airline’s Voyager miles. The question is: Would you want to?
Who Is the TD Aeroplan Visa Signature Card Good For?If you have any Canadian connections, you have a lot more options for Aeroplan credit cards. In the U.S., the Air Canada Aeroplan partnership is primarily limited to TD Bank, though you can transfer points from Starwood Preferred Guest or American Express Membership Rewards to Aeroplan.
Though it’s not as widely known and publicized as the Air France-KLM partnership, British Airways and Iberia merged back in 2011. They are technically one airline, even though they operate under separate brands.
Like Singapore Airlines, Icelandair serves a small island nation, but it has a big international reputation. The airline has carved a niche for itself in the U.S.-Europe flight market by offering free stopovers in Iceland and frequently featuring super-low cash fares.
Who is the United MileagePlus Explorer Card by Chase Good For?It’s a running joke with a kernel of truth that while all the other domestic carriers were going bankrupt and restructuring, United Airlines had to continue because its credit card was so profitable.
Initially a regional airline known for its unusual seating policies”first come, first served” Southwest has transitioned over the years into one of the main domestic airlines, especially after its recent integration of AirTran.
As New Zealand’s flagship carrier, Air New Zealand has great strengths domestically. Like its neighbor Singapore Airlines, this island-based carrier also covers a lot of ground beyond its shores.
Who is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card Good For?Though Southwest Airlines has grown through its acquisition of AirTran into one of the major U.S. carriers, its frequent flyer program and co-branded credit card are not for everyone.
Who Is the Delta Reserve Credit Card From American Express Good For?Delta has gotten its share of groans in recent years from points and miles enthusiasts for the difficulty involved in redeeming Delta miles, but now the airline has cleaned up the long-standing issues with its website and pledged to make more award seats available even at the lowest redemption level.
In the beginning of the year, airlines and partners like hotels and dining programs offer great bonuses so they can stimulate travel in the dead zone between New Years and February.
Like many aspects of Mexico’s tourist industry, Aeromexico and its frequent flyer program meet some, but not all North American travel expectations. For example, Aeromexico offers feeder co-branded credit cards with exceptional value, but it also requires you to call its frequent flyer program for things you’d expect to be able to do quickly and simply online.
Who Is the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard Good For?If you want to go to Hawaii with miles, signing up for the Hawaiian Airlines World MasterCard is a good way to get yourself and a companion there quickly. The card not only automatically gives you enough miles for a round-trip flight, but it also includes a certificate and an automatic discount on Hawaiian Airlines award flights.
No, Qantas is not an indigenous Australian word for the airlines trademark Kangaroo, like Singapore Airlines mythical Silver Kris bird. It is actually an abbreviation for the airlines earlier name, Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services. That gives you a clue as to how long Qantas has been in business.