Monday, February 2, 2015

LA Times Travel: Avoiding Fees on Airline Award Tickets

After three years running The Points Guy, you could say I have a fair amount of expertise when it comes to airline miles and award tickets. So I decided to put some of that know-how to use and pitched a story to the LA Times Travel Section about avoiding fees and surcharges when booking award tickets.

It can be extremely frustrating to spend years scraping together the thousands of miles you need for an award hoping to travel for free only to find you have to pay hundreds of dollars in fees for everything from "fuel surcharges" to phone booking fees.

If you keep a few things in mind, however, you can avoid a lot of these and end up saving a lot of money. Find out my tips and those of other experts in my LA Times Travel article below.

Article: Avoiding Fees and Surcharges on Airline Award Tickets

Friday, January 30, 2015

Frontiers: Butchers & Barbers

The Houston Brothers have focused on bars until now - Pour Vous, La Descarga, Harvard & Stone - but this is their first venture where the food takes center stage...though the drinks are pretty fantastic as well.

The restaurant and bar are actually in a tiny former barbershop right amidst the hoi polloi of Hollywood Boulevard, though you will see nary a tourist snapping shots inside.

Instead, there's an accomplished little menu, some strong drinks, and a lively ambiance that should keep the crowds here all night.

Read my review here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Points Guy: Flying the A350

The newest aircraft to hit the skies is Airbus's A350. Qatar Airways was the launch customer with flights from its hub in Doha to Frankfurt.

Now you can find out how to fly this new plane and which airlines are going to be operating it, as well as the kinds of miles you can use to book awards on them with my latest TPG article.

Flying on the Airbus A350: Which Airlines and Miles to Use

Friday, January 23, 2015

HotelChatter: First Look at SIXTY SoHo's Gordon Bar

While I was staying at the SIXTY SoHo last week, I spent an evening at the hotel's new bar, The Gordon Bar.

It's pretty swank, with tons of cozy seating areas, a private room with a vertical garden on the wall, and delicious cocktails and nibbles.

Take a look around with my latest HotelChatter article here: First Look: The Gordon Bar at SIXTY SoHo

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

HotelChatter: Sneak Peek at SIXTY SoHo

I swung through New York City on a recent trip and got to spend two nights at the newly renovated SIXTY SoHo hotel. You old hands might recognize it as the former Thompson SoHo, but it's got some new branding, a lot of new furniture, and a new lease on life.

I covered the changes for HotelChatter, and you can read all about the rooms and the public spaces in my article here: Sneak Peek at Sixty SoHo's New Look

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Points Guy: 15 Cultural Hotspots to Visit in 2015

We came up with 15 for 2015 for my latest TPG post - some of the top cultural attractions opening this coming year.

Included is everything from the World Expo in Milan to the new Louvre in Abu Dhabi, Art Basel Hong Kong, and Latvia's new national library.

Check out the full list here.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Points Guy: Top Hotel Openings of 2015

A new year means new opportunities to earn and redeem hotel points - especially with a slew of exciting new hotels opening all over the world including a W in Bogota, not one but two Ritz-Carltons in Bali, and a JW Marriott in Venice, among others.

Check out my whole list of exciting new hotels to explore in 2015 here.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

QUEST: Luang Prabang

My other feature for QUEST's winter issue was a rumination on the time I spent in Luang Prabang during my trip there this past summer.

I cover the course of a day, from waking at dawn to greet the monks asking for alms to exploring the jungle on elephant-back, learning about the fair-trade coffee fields, and enjoying an authentic multi-course dinner of Lao specialties at Tamarind.

It truly is an amazing place, and I hope that comes across in my article.

The Experience: Luang Prabang

Frontiers: Stir Market

For my latest Frontiers restaurant review, I headed down to Beverly Boulevard to try Stir Market, a new gourmet grocery store and all-day eatery specializing in rotisserie items like chicken and porchetta.

They also have a few wines on tap and some delectable desserts, so it's an all-round nice, casual experience. Check out my full review here.

Monday, January 5, 2015

QUEST: A Week in Myanmar

Myanmar was probably my top destination from 2014. I spent an amazing week there exploring the sprawl of Yangon and the splendid Shwedagon Pagoda, traipsing the temples of Bagan and hiking to remote mountain villages in Mt. Popa, then plying the waterways of Inle Lake.

In my latest feature for Ker & Downey's QUEST Magazine, I take you through my itinerary day by day, along with my picks for what to do, where to go, and how to get the most out of your time in this wonderful country.

The Itinerary: A Week in Myanmar

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Points Guy: Top International First Class Airline Awards To Book With Points

A lot of points travel is aspirational - you want to use those points and miles to book tickets you would never otherwise be able to afford.

With that in mind, I put together this list of the top international first class seats out there - including those famous Singapore Suites and Emirates' amazing first class cabins - and how you can score a ticket in one of them using miles.

Top International First Class Seats You Can Book With Points

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Points Guy: Exciting New Airline Routes for 2015

Airlines are constantly changing and updating their route networks as new aircraft come online, others are phased out, and new airports open up to travelers.

2015 looks to be an exciting year for air travel as airlines introduce tons of new routes on the latest-generation aircraft. Some to look out for include Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong to Boston, EVA from Houston to Taipie, Delta from Salt Lake City to Amsterdam, Icelandair from Portland to Reykjavik, and Finnair's new routes from Helsinki to Miami and Chicago.

Check out my whole article on The Points Guy here.

Frontiers: Wine For Holiday Parties

With the holiday season well underway, you might well be wondering what to bring to all your holiday parties. Of course, wine is always a nice gift, but with New Year's comes something to celebrate, so you might be thinking about sparkling wines...Cava, Prosecco, Champagne and more.

To help you decide what to bring, and to get a few expert opinions, I wrote up this little piece for Frontiers. Hopefully it'll come in handy for your next hostess gift: Champagne for New Year's Eve

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Points Guy: Best Redemptions To Fly the A380

Among the #avgeeks out there, one of the feathers in their cap is to fly all the A380's out there, airline by airline. About a dozen international carriers now operate the double-decker super-jumbo, so it's easier than ever to experience this behemoth.

Here is my article with info on the airlines flying it and strategies for how to book award tickets using miles if you are interested in taking it for yourself.

Best Redemptions to Fly on the A380

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Frontiers: Dining Year in Review 2014

As the year draws to a close, it's time to look back at 2014 and discuss some dining trends...and one of the biggest in LA has been the advent of the gourmet market cum restaurant.

These little sundry shops with attached eateries have been cropping up everywhere and include such newcomers as Stir Market and GC Marketplace.

Read about the trend in my article here.