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Many, or most, airlines and hotel chains advertise that their miles / points ‘never expire,’ but that is only half-true. They may not expire, but they can permanently disappear from your account if you are not careful. This blog post tells what you can do.
In general, you need some sort of activity in your account to protect your miles and points. In a few cases, such as All Nippon Airways, your miles do expire and there is nothing you can do to prevent it…use them or lose them.
This handy chart from Million Mile Secrets shows which points (Membership Rewards, Starwood, Thank You, Ultimate Rewards) can transfer into which airline frequent flyer mileage plans (American, Delta, etc. etc.)
Many consider Starwood Starpoints to be the most valuable “currency” because they can be transferred into the most different airline frequent-flyer programs. Plus, for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer, you receive an additional 5000 frequent-flyer miles.
Priceline is famous for its Name Your Own Price (NYOP) program, which can often provide significant savings on hotel rooms. But, one of the cardinal rules is that NYOP reservations are NON-CANCELLABLE. However, this blog post reveals a trick that works.
The comments to this blog post are very instructive.
The idea is to call the hotel first and get them to agree to a cancellation. Then call Priceline, tell them the hotel has agreed to cancellation and give the name of the hotel person. A Priceline representative will call the hotel to verify, then refund your money.
Global Entry is a trusted-traveler program of the United States government. If you have a “Known Traveler” number from Global Entry, you can bypass the long passport lines that travelers face when returning from international travel. The U.S. is not the only nation with this type of program, and this blog post describes the comparable programs that other countries have.
As you read the blog post, you will realize that the U.S. Global Entry program is much less expensive ($20/year) than most others.
You need to schedule and attend an in-person interview to get Global Entry. Most major U.S. airports have enrollment centers, and a new temporary one is opening soon in London.
I have had Global Entry for several years, and I highly recommend it. GE not only lets you re-enter the U.S. quickly, but it also gives PreCheck which gets you through domestic airport security without the nuisance conditions (shoes off, laptops out, liquids out) that other flyers face.
Thomas Cook is a real airline, which previously flew mostly charters but is now branching out to scheduled service. It is associated with Condor Airlines, a low-cost carrier operating a few routes in the United States.
Thomas Cook flies a trans-Atlantic route from New York to Manchester, England.
Many of us like to take photographs while traveling, either with our phones or with a separate camera. Many of the best travel photos include one or more local people in the frame, but it can be intimidating to ask someone you don’t know (and may not even know their language) to pose. This blog post has 7 useful tips for including local persons in your vacation photos.
One of the tips that I always use is, do not make eye contact with a person that you will or just did photograph. I always pretend to look at something else after taking a candid photo, and I don’t recall ever being “caught.”
Well, except for that time in Shanghai…but the guys I photographed were engaged in a criminal activity and they were polite in “inviting” me to erase the photo (and making sure I had). Except for that time, it’s always worked for me.