Presentation on theme: "Travel Like Clooney Maximizing Deals and Rewards During Residency Interview Season Jack Short, M3."— Presentation transcript:
Travel Like Clooney Maximizing Deals and Rewards During Residency Interview Season Jack Short, M3
Travel is Rewarding in 2012 To drum up business in a down economy, airlines and hotels have killer deals Travel companies want your loyalty, and will reward you for it Traveling for interviews is the perfect opportunity to earn points and reward yourself
Travel Basics Always compare and book flights + hotels online Most companies charge extra if you have to book by phone New airfares are often released on Monday or Tuesday Monday is consistently the cheapest day to fly, Sunday and Friday are the most expensive Try to avoid 3 rd party websites and book direct with the airline Start with Kayak.com and Southwest.com
Getting the Best Fares Search early and often Farecast from Bing.com may be helpful Offers prediction as to whether fares will drop or fall soon If possible, avoid traveling on a Friday or Sunday The best fare is the one thats most convenient, no necessarily the absolute cheapest You have two airports, MCI and STL. Use them both!
Getting to the Airport Almost always cheaper and easier to drive to airport and park than to use MoX KCI – cheap and easy economy parking, $6/day STL – The Parking Spot offers a 20% off coupon online, all the time Columbia Airport is still limited service and expensive for most destinations
Airlines Always, always check Southwest separately, as their fares are not listed on other sites A low fare does not always mean a low final cost – check the fees Best to book direct with airlines If you ever fly an airline, always sign up with their frequent flier program at booking. Theyre all free!
Getting Felt Up by TSA Security may or may not touch your rude bits. Get use to it If youre running short on time, some airlines have an option to purchase priority boarding and an express security line Carry-on liquids limited to 3 oz. in a 1 quart ziploc? Not if you have any Rx, contact lens solution, medicated face wash, etc.
Fee Avoidance and Deterrence Fees are insane, so figure that in your math when comparing fares Most common first bag fee, $25-40 each way Fly with carry-on + backpack only, many good bags available for this Change fee typically $150 + fare difference Or just fly Southwest Zero bag fees for 2 bags, and zero change fees JetBlue, $0 bag fees, still has change fee Using an airline branded credit card can waive bag fees on Delta and United
Hotels Many more search options, but start with Kayak Hotwire, when used in conjunction with BetterBidding.com, is your weapon of choice Forum that maintains a Hotwire and Priceline list of hotels by state/region Allows you to identify the hotel based on location and amenities, as Hotwire will not tell you the name of the hotel until youve bought it in full Use TripAdvisor to make sure your hotel wont be a drop point for a Colombian drug cartel Best hotel rewards programs: Starwood Preferred Guest and Hyatt Upgrade $20 rule
Frequent Flier + Hotel Points Always sign-up for programs when you stay or fly, theyre free and lead to free rewards Optimizing your business with 2-3 programs will exponentially increase your reward potential and earn you perks The best deal in earning is with a branded credit card from your favorite airline or hotel Partner programs, such as Rapid Rewards Dining, provide other opportunities to earn points
Earning Points / Miles Miles or Points are typically only earned when you book direct with the company No points from Expedia, Hotwire, Priceline, etc. Use a top travel credit card to earn on everyday purchases, such as Step 2 registration Partner agreements with airlines and hotels may allow you to earn more per trip Earning Status with a company means big benefits free upgrades, waived baggage fees, points bonuses on purchases
Using Miles / Points Best deal is to use points with the company and not a partner program (gift cards, etc.) Southwest – Miles correlate with price of ticket Other Airlines – rewards are at set mileage levels Starwood – can book hotels for free reward nights, but also may use points + cash option Best deal in the reward world. Get very nice hotels for a small amount of points + a nominal cash payment ($20-$50 per night) Mind the expirations. Most programs points never expire as long as you have activity in 1-2 years. Buying an iTunes song with points counts as activity, as does getting a magazine with points, and so does using their credit card to earn miles
Best Airline Program – Luv Me Some Southwest Rapid Rewards Program – earn miles for flying, dining, and with card Credit Card – lookout for 50,000 miles with first purchase promo, equivalent to $800 in airfare Currently, promo is only 25,000 miles, or $400 Annual fee is $65 Often give drink coupons, free wi-fi, and other bonuses Never any bag or change fees Many non-stops out of KCI and STL
Best Hotel Program – Starwood Preferred Guest W, Westin, St. Regis, Le Meridien, Sheraton, and Aloft hotels Points + Cash option for booking May transfer points to airline miles 1:1 with a 25% bonus SPG American Express – best travel card in the industry 10,000 bonus points with first purchase, 15,000 additional bonus with spending in 6 months Totals 6 free nights in hotel ~$1000 value Annual fee waived for first year, then $65 (cancel by end of interview season to avoid this) Parents may sign up free for the program and transfer miles to you
Other Card Options Chase Sapphire Preferred – currently offering 50,000 chase points, equivalent to $625 in airfare May transfer these points 1:1 to many airline programs Annual fee of $95 waived for first year, must have excellent credit Capital One Venture – good overall miles earning card, but no significant bonus program to make this one worthwhile short term
When Things Go Wings Up Travel in winter sucks, so make it suck less If your flight is delayed or cancelled, dont go to the line at the desk agent. Get on your phone and call the airline Always ask about alternative airports Flying to LAX? Dont forget LA also has airports in Burbank, Orange County, and Ontario If possible, dont book the last flight out of a city Insist on vouchers or other compensation when nothing works out
Apps for Travel TripIt automatically tracks your travel plans, airport info, airline phone numbers, and itinerary Forward your confirmation emails to their server, and it syncs to your phone and iPad Airline apps can be useful, American, Delta, and Southwest Award Wallet tracks all your points accounts and warns you of any possible expirations TripAdvisor, Kayak, and Yelp all have mobile apps which are invaluable for travel Taxi Magic for cabs once out and about town
Websites ThePointsGuy.com maximizing your travel rewards FrugalTravelGuy.com tips and tricks for getting the best deals and points TripAdvisor.com hands down the best reviews for hotels, restaurants, and activities in a city BetterBidding.com identify hotels on Hotwire
Up In The Air Now that youve maximized your rewards, save some money on the interview trail, or put it towards a giant celebration trip after match day! Your best asset in travel is flexibility and knowing how to work the system when things dont go as planned Happy travels and Godspeed on the interview trail!