With good reason, The Points Guy has become one of the World Wide Web’s most-popular travel destinations. They’ve got everything the price and experience-conscious consumer needs to enhance any travel experience -- while saving money, earning points and providing insider tips and tricks. So, before you head out on that last trip of the summer, read our interview with Zach Honig, Editor-in-Chief. Bon voyage.
Tell us a bit about ThePointsGuy.com and why anyone should visit the site?
Our aims to help travelers experience premium-cabin flights and five-star hotels for a fraction of the price, providing tips to make the most of loyalty programs and credit card points.
What are some under-the-radar travel websites that guys should check out?
If you’re after deep-discount economy fares, I highly recommend following The Flight Deal on Twitter (or subscribing to website updated via RSS).
What are some of the “hot spots” to travel to right now?
While I haven’t been yet, I’ve heard great things about Croatia. Morocco is another recent hot spot, and while it’s less popular with tourists, I’m a big fan of Ireland -- but you really need to rent a car.
What’s the best credit card for Rewards Travel?
Overall, I like Chase’s Ultimate Rewards-earning cards best. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the best all-around card in my opinion, thanks to its outstanding travel perks and points earning, but it carries a $450 annual fee. Otherwise, I recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which has a much more reasonable $95 annual fee. Both cards let you earn points that you can transfer instantly to Hyatt, United Airlines and more.
What’s the smartest thing one should do when it comes to managing rewards points, etc.?
Consider consolidating rewards whenever possible. So, for example, rather than earning miles with American Airlines for AA flights and British Airways for BA flights, you can choose to collect miles for both flights in one program, since the airlines are part of the same alliance. It’s easier to book free travel using a big balance in one program than fewer miles spread between several loyalty programs.
What airport is your favorite and why?
I’m a big fan on Singapore’s Changi Airport. It’s clean, doesn’t feel too crowded and there are awesome amenities like a butterfly garden and swimming pool (that you’ll need to pay to visit). There are great lounges there, too and I can access several for free using my credit card perks.
Does one airline or hotel have the best rewards program?
I find the Starwood Preferred Guest Program to be the most rewarding when it comes to hotel chains, since the points are incredibly valuable and it’s very easy to redeem them -- but they’re much more difficult to earn than, say, Hyatt points, which you can accrue easily by transferring instantly from Chase Ultimate Rewards. As for airlines, I really like United MileagePlus. There are loads of redemption options, especially in business and first class on United’s international partner airlines, which tend to offer a better product than their US counterparts.
Quick advice on finding the cheapest flight?
Search on Google Flights! (Was that quick enough?)
What are the best travel apps people should have on their phones?
It may sound basic, but I use Google Maps an awful lot. I recommend preloading (or “caching”) specific cities before you head overseas (so you’re not dependent on a data connection). I also always download an airline or hotel chain’s own app before a flight or stay, since that’ll give me the ability to track confirmation numbers, check in, move my seat, etc. more easily than visiting a website and digging up my login details.
Is there anything that you always take along with you when you travel?
My Bose Noise Canceling Earbuds, The QuietComfort 20. I love the over-the-air version as well, but the earbuds are much more compact -- and they do an excellent job of blocking out noise from the plane and fellow passengers.
I’m traveling internationally for a trip, what are three tips for before/during the trip?
Got any travel tips we can add to this insightful interview? Please respond in the comments to share you thoughts.