FTU is a delightful information exchange. I learned a lot and reciprocated where possible. I owe several answers so am sharing them with you all:
Why do you fly Delta?
Because Delta works best for me at this point in time, given my personal situation. Diamond status is pretty sweet in many respects. And most of the very smart people at FTU are United flyers, I am not going to outsmart them, so best to till a different field.
Will you still fly Delta if the rumored big changes happen?
Since I am NYC-based, I could quite easily shift my travel to United with a status challenge. Then I would have United to love and hate instead of Delta. Since the year after the merger Delta has made no efforts to show they value me as a customer. Million miler status is nearly meaningless since they only grant pseudo-elite silver status, so shooting to finish 1M and get all the way to 2M is too far away to be sentimental. NWA inter-Asia 20k awards and booking those on nwa.com I am sentimental. Delta I feel little.
Where to look for cheap flights in Southeast Asia?
But how about China?
How to plan a trip to Bhutan?
You need an agent, going local is easy and cuts out the middleman. Only hard part is getting your bank to send a wire transfer to a bank account in Bhutan that has little more than a bank name and “Kingdom of Bhutan,” they will keep wanting more address info from you. See here for agents in Bhutan, North Korea and Iran. And a reader mentioned that the airline with the coolest tail in the business, Druk Air, now has online booking, removing a big headache.
What are your favorite countries that you have visited?
How do you book rental cars in the US?
Costco Travel first, then get a baseline from Hotwire and work Priceline. AutoSlash gets a lot of press and I understand that it is supposed to lower prices over time as they apply various discounts, but whenever I try them the initial sticker shock compared to Costco is too high and I have not had had the time to see them through to the end.
Why do you use cash back cards?
For me, I do not care about so-called ‘aspirational travel,’ in the sense that my aspirations are about the destinations I visit, not the plane seat that gets me there or the bed I sleep in. That’s just me. So I value a first or business class award little more than economy and have never redeemed for anything but economy.
Cash I value. Cash in the bank I value. Cash in my brokerage account that I can invest now and potentially have a large return I value. Cash that airlines/hotels cannot willfully devalue or even cancel I value.
Many investors would be thrilled with guaranteed 2% monthly returns. That is a rational calculation that travelers should weigh against the often emotional consideration of other types or earning and rewards, where much of the value is perceived, the old ‘how much would you actually pay for that $10,000 ticket?’ debate. If that percevied value is higher than the rational value of cash back, then go with the perceived.
Tell me more about the NY/NJ freeze.
email me or attend next year. New reader V.M. already had his first success this morning, TUesday (the capitalization is an inside joke for credit card junkies).
Tell me about the Chase Sapphire Preferred and British Airways credit cards, I haven’t heard much about those.
Just kidding, I made that up. But I did get to stroke my first ever Sapphire Preferred card, melted me like a Bill Clinton handshake. Though no surprise that it lost in the first round of the great debate.
See you all next year!