I grew up in the Hudson Valley region of New York (near SWF), in the shadow of the greatest city in the world. I got to experience the benefit of award travel from an early age courtesy of my dad’s frequent flyer miles. He earned them all the old fashioned way by actually flying places for business multiple times per month. As a result, we usually got to fly somewhere neat for vacation each year. This combined with interrogating my father on each plane he flew on contributed to my avgeekery. To further my #avgeek credentials by even convincing my family to fly to SEA to visit the Boeing factory in Everett when I was 15 years old.

Now that I have two children of my own I want to provide them all the benefits of traveling the world. Since I don’t currently do a huge amount of business travel and I haven’t won the lottery yet, I rely on points and miles to help get us to where we want to go. I will be sharing stories of our travels as well as any tips and tricks I have learned along the way in maximizing value out of award travel.


First Flight: EWR-MCO, August 1989
Favorite Flight: ORD-FRA, Lufthansa 747-8 upper deck business class, September 2017
Current Home Airport: ERI
Favorite Airport to Connect Through: DTW
Favorite Airport to Depart From: BUF
Favorite Airport Lounge: PHL Centurion
Favorite Airplane: Boeing 777. I credit Discovery channel documentaries about this airplane for fueling my interest in engineering, manufacturing and aviation.
Least Favorite Airplane: CRJ-200 (the absolute worst)

Currently in my Wallet (with earn category and benefit/reason for holding):

Ultimate Rewards Cards:
Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x travel)
Chase Freedom (5x rotating categories)
Chase Freedom Unlimited (1.5x unbonused spend)

Membership Rewards Cards:
Amex Platinum (5x airfare, lounge access, Hilton/Marriott Gold status)
Amex Gold (4x dining and grocery stores)

Co-Branded Cards
Chase Southwest Premier (6k bonus points/year)
Chase United Explorer (checked bag, 2 UA club passes/year, extra award space)
Barclay AA Aviator Red (checked bag, reduced mileage awards, 10% rebate on redemptions)
Chase Disney (discounts on Disney merchandise in park)

Lifetime Travels:
Image courtesy GCMap.com