Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Points Guy: 10 Ways to Maximize Ultimate Rewards Points

There are currently some great credit card offers out there from Chase, so we wanted to post some ideas on how to maximize Ultimate Rewards points on The Points Guy.

The program has 11 travel transfer partners now including British Airways, Korean Air, Southwest, United, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, IHG Rewards and Amtrak, so there are a lot of great ways to reap huge values from your points.

Find out all the strategies in this post: 10 Ways To Maximize 70,000 Ultimate Rewards Points

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Points Guy: Ranking the Top Cash Back Credit Cards

The credit card game is about more than just points and miles for travel - there is a whole cash-back side to the market that is not only enormous, but can also be quite lucrative.

For this post on The Points Guy, we took a look at the top cash-back cards currently available and the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Ranking the Top Cash Back Credit Cards

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Frontiers: Zinque Restaurant Review

After a summer away from LA, I've been catching back up on the restaurant scene in town, and one of the places I checked out recently is the second outpost of a Venice wine bar called Zinque.

This one is right on the corner of Robertson and Melrose in West Hollywood, and has a delightful garden patio, an industrial-chic interior bar, and a menu of classic French dishes with some Mediterranean flair thrown in. The wine list is well-traveled and well-priced, and all in all, I think I might just have found my new Weho hangout.

Read my full review of the experience here: Zinque, Weho's Latest French Wine Bar

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Points Guy: Six Top Credit Cards for International Travel

To dovetail with my post on preparing for international trips on The Points Guy, I came up this post about how to pick a credit card to take with you when traveling abroad and what some of the top choices out there are. Beyond whether these cards charge foreign transaction fees, I took a look at factors like their travel delay and lost baggage insurance, purchase protection and more.

There are some of the usual suspects like the Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Preferred (which I personally carry) as well as some you might not guess.

Read the full post here: Six Top Credit Cards for International Travel

Monday, September 22, 2014

Los Angeles Confidential Magazine: LA's Best Korean BBQ

One of the cuisines that LA is best known for is Korean BBQ. Every street corner on Wilshire and Olympic from Rossmore to Vermont is crowded with these deliciously smoky joints and it can be hard to tell where to go, whether you're an adventurous foodie or a nervous neophyte.

Here are a few of the more upscale places for beginners that I rounded up for LA Confidential's most recent issue, with specials that include everything from duck crackling to dozens of side dishes.

Where To Find LA's Best Korean BBQ

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Points Guy: United BusinessFirst Transatlantic Review

On my recent trip to Italy, I flew United BusinessFirst from Washington DC to Rome and back, so for my latest post on The Points Guy, I reviewed the experience and all its perks...and shortfalls.

While US airlines are catching up to international competitors in terms of their premium offerings, there is still a lot to be desired. I enjoyed the lie-flat seat, but the cuisine was less than compelling on these flights.

Find out about the whole experience, and why the price was too good to turn down, though, in this post: Flight Review - United 767-300 BusinessFirst

Friday, September 19, 2014

JustLuxe: A Cultural Trip To Norway

This summer, I took a fantastic trip to Scandinavia, including a few days I spent in Norway. For such a small (well, population-wise) country, it's got a rich artistic heritage including such names as Ibsen, Munch and Grieg.

As much as cruising the scenic fjords, I was looking forward to exploring the haunts of these late legends and spent my time in Oslo and Bergen wandering their former homes and learning about their careers.

I profiled my trip along with where I stayed and what I saw in the JustLuxe article below, and I hope you enjoy!

From Oslo to Bergen: Following in the Footsteps of Norway's Great Artists

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Points Guy: Preparing for International Travel

Lately, I've been traveling for about six months out of the year, much of it internationally. Friends often ask how I manage it and how I do everything from paying bills while I'm away to figuring out which visas I need and how I choose the best credit cards to bring with me.

So for my next post on The Points Guy, I decided to compile my handy tips and tricks into a single article for others planning everything from a quick trip to Mexico to a months-long journey around the world. While seasoned travelers will find plenty of familiar information, I still have a few tricks up my sleeve, so there's helpful tips for everyone. Have a look at the link below!

How to Prepare for International Travel: Tips, Tricks and Advice

Monday, September 8, 2014

JustLuxe: Three Secret Italian Hotel Hidden Gems

I recently returned from a delightful 10-day trip to Italy where I had the chance to stay in some fantastic hotels in Rome, Florence and Venice.

Though these cities are among the most touristed in the world, there are hidden gem hotels that are close to the heart of the action but that feel like they are a world away from the hordes of travelers.

In Rome, I cover the Gran Melia, housed on the grounds of the villa of Emperor Nero's mother, Agrippina, while in Florence, the boutiquey Hotel Lungarno is a Ferragamo family venture with picture-perfect Ponte Vecchio views. In Venice, I called the Bauer Palladio (designed by the famous Renaissance architect, Andrea Palladio) home and enjoyed its bucolic gardens and postcard-worthy vistas of San Marco and the Doge's Palace.

Find out more and read my full article at the link below.

Three of Italy's Best Hotels For Avoiding Crowds While Staying Close To Top Attractions

Thursday, September 4, 2014

JustLuxe: Farm-to-Table Spa Treatments

Though you might think of the hottest new restaurant in town when you say "farm-to-table," the idea of homegrown or foraged ingredients has been permeating the spa world lately as well.

In fact, on a recent trip to Maui, I got to enjoy a fabulous facial at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua that included a face and scalp treatment using oils from keffir lime leaves grown in the property's chef garden.

That's just one example, but luxury spas all over the country and the world are looking to their own backyards for therapeutic plants and herbs and incorporating them into their treatments. In my latest JustLuxe article, I take a look at four that are close to home where you can sample the latest trend.

Four Resorts Offering Farm-To-Table Spa Treatments on the West Coast

Friday, August 22, 2014

Los Angeles Confidential Magazine: LA's Best Pizza

My other article for the September issue of LA Confidential is also Italian-themed, though this one focuses on a specific dish: pizza!

Who doesn't love a good pizza? Well, apart from the lactose- and gluten-intolerant? But even they can't seem to resist this delicious dish - hence all the spelt-crust, nut-cheese varieties you'll find around town. For my article, though, we decided to focus on some of the truly gourmet options out there in Los Angeles (including Milo + Olive, South End, Terroni and Stella Barra) and when you read it at the link below.

LA's Top Places For Gourmet Pizza

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Thrillist: 12 LAX Airport Hacks

LAX is like my second home. Over the years, as I've caught flights everywhere from Phoenix to Perth, and San Francisco to Santiago, I've gleaned a few useful hacks that save time, energy and money when traveling through my sprawling home airport.

So for my first Thrillist post, the editor asked me to write up a story with my best LAX travel hacks, and I threw all sorts of stuff in, including how to get lounge access (and free cocktails!), where the best restaurants are, how to get a discount on parking, and how to navigate the fastest security lines in some of the airport's 9 teeming terminals.

Get the benefit of all my wisdom, minus the hours of standing in line and the expense of testing various parking options right here: 12 Game-Changing LAX Hacks

Monday, August 18, 2014

Los Angeles Confidential Magazine: Regional Italian Dishes in LA

For the September issue of LA Confidential Magazine, we decided to cover Italian cuisine as the dining feature, and I personally wrote up a roundup of some of the best regional cuisine to be found in they city.

The interesting thing about Italian food is that, really, it is a made-up idea. There are so many regional variations, that there are, in fact, many different Italian cuisines depending on where you are (and where you eat!).

Included are some of LA's best-known Italian eateries, such as Valentino, Angelini Osteria and Drago Centro, as well as RivaBella, Mr. C Beverly Hills and more. Check out the full article here: Italian Food by the Region in LA

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Points Guy: What to do at Inle Lake, Myanmar

Although I did not originally intend to visit Inle Lake during my visit to Myanmar, after speaking with a few friends who had recently traveled there, I decided to change my plans and spend a few days there instead of in Mandalay. I'm so glad I did.

Inle Lake is in the central part of the country, and feels like stepping back in time to visit a more traditional way of life among the stilt villages and ruined temple complexes that line the lakes reedy waters.

This was truly one of the most interesting places I've been lately, and I spent a couple days out on the water meeting everyone from silk weavers and traditional fisherman, to Buddhist monks, rice cracker cooks, and more. Definitely worth spending some time here if you visit Myanmar yourself.

For all the details on what I did and how I booked it, check out my full post on The Points Guy here: Longboats, Monasteries and A Winery - Inle Lake, Myanmar

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Points Guy: What to do in Bagan

One of the destinations I was most looking forward to visiting on my recent round-the-world trip was the ancient city of Bagan in Myanmar.

This historic sight is home to over 4,000 Buddhist stupas stretching across a dry plain along the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy. It's surely one of the wonders of the world, and I was looking forward to exploring it in depth over the course of a few days.

I had the chance to wander the ruined temples there, see two glorious sunsets - one from the temples and one from the river - and then head farther afield to explore the mountain villages of Mt. Popa. It was really a highlight of my trip to a fascinating country.

Check out my full article on The Points Guy here: What to do in Bagan, Myanmar - Temples, River Cruises and Hikes