Ed Pizza: They could be better, but they sometimes disconnect on recording because of the old Toothblue.
Richard Kerr: Stay there, and get the off-property benefits, and I'm going to pay resort fee, taxes on the resort fee, and parking, and I'm going to moan about it the entire time.
Ed Pizza: The only Disney World property without a soul, the Walt Disney World Swan Reserve, is where I will be staying.
Richard Kerr: inaudible Thank you.
Speaker 3: Climb aboard. This is the Miles To Go podcast your source for the latest in travel news, reviews, and strategies you can afford to miss. Now, here's your host, travel expert and road warrior, Ed Pizza.
Ed Pizza: Hey guys. Welcome back to the Miles To Go podcast. Richard has been hopping around the country. A little stop in Memphis and just landed in LaGuardia on his way into New York city. We are recording. He is live from the 50 Bowery again. Welcome back, Mr. Kerr.
Richard Kerr: foreign language This is my Spanish I picked up in Memphis.
Ed Pizza: Nice.
Richard Kerr: They don't speak Spanish in Memphis. I don't know.
Ed Pizza: Hard to believe. We're going to talk a little bit about how enjoyable Memphis was for you in just a hot minute.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. The flight from Memphis to LaGuardia was actually the most enjoyable part about Memphis itself. Now, it was cool to see people. I was there for TravelCon, which has not happened in a couple years, but I got one of the ... The flight was long enough for one of the snack boxes. I hadn't had one of the American snack boxes up in first class yet. I had the protein box. It was actually pretty good. It was a steak sandwich, a salad, some granola, which was weird. It was hard to eat the granola without it going everywhere, and there's nothing to put it on, and then had the Milk Bar cookies were just out outrageously awesome. So, good job, American, on the little snack boxes. That was cool. It was like a 2 hour and 15 minute flight.
Ed Pizza: Interesting, because, all right, so Memphis LaGuardia is 963 miles, and, okay, yeah, DCA ECP is 769, because we did not get a meal on DCA to Northwest Florida International Airport.
Richard Kerr: I think it's 900 miles if I'm not mistaken.
Ed Pizza: Well, there you go. You are not. I didn't realize that Memphis LaGuardia was over 900 miles. So, there you have it.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. I was walking in Memphis.
Ed Pizza: Flying in Memphis, too.
Richard Kerr: That's not a song. It was Walking in Memphis is the song.
Ed Pizza: No, that's true. That's true. That's true. Can you name any other song by him?
Richard Kerr: By who?
Ed Pizza: Marc Cohn, Walking in Memphis?
Richard Kerr: No. Nobody else can, either.
Ed Pizza: Silver Thunderbird is another song of his. That's the-
Richard Kerr: Yeah, well, I'm not I'm as old as you.
Ed Pizza: That's true. Not as good-looking as me, either.
Richard Kerr: Debatable.
Ed Pizza: So, we're going to talk a little bit about the wonderful Sheraton you stayed at. We've got a transfer bonus that people should be looking into. We're going to talk a little bit about Project Sunrise, and we're going to talk about the severe distress that I have when I logged into my business partner's loyalty accounts here recently. Also got a couple listener questions that we're going to try and squeeze in. If you do have a question for us, don't forget that you can leave us a voicemail or a text at 571-293-6659. You can email us, email@example.com, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. He is @KerrPoints. I am @pizzainmotion. We would love it if you left us a five star rating and a review wherever you're listening, including Spotify now has ratings. So, how was your first paid Marriott stay of the year? Was this your first paid Marriott stay of the year?
Richard Kerr: It was, yeah, and in being fully transparent, I was a speaker at TravelCon, and Nomadic Matt, who puts that conference on, does a great job with it, and he picks up the hotel tab for speakers. So, the conference paid the rate, and they had a conference rate. So, it was not out of my pocket, but it was over a $200 rate when I looked at the details.
Let me tell you what, man, the Sheraton, downtown Memphis, whew, it was rough. Now, people are going to start listening to this and say, "He's biased. He's a Hyatt guy." It was my first paid Marriott stay of the year, so I was going into it with, like, hey, let's see. It's been a while since I-
Ed Pizza: Is it your first one of the decade? Just curious.
Richard Kerr: No, not the first of the decade.
Ed Pizza: No, I'm serious. Have you paid for a Marriott in the last two years?
Richard Kerr: Yeah. I've had two or three paid nights the last couple years-
Ed Pizza: Okay, all right, all right.
Richard Kerr: ... like somewhere where there's not a Marriott. But, I went into it with like, hey, let's see what's going on. I still have platinum status because of all the credit card nights and whatever, but dude, it was just bad. First of all, the rooms are from 1989, 1990. They have not been updated. It's like a 20 story hotel. I was on the third floor. My window looked into the crevice of the hotel. You couldn't see anything except the janitorial corner of the hotel. The plugs were also loose that I couldn't get my phone or computer charger to stay in unless you held it just right. I got in the shower, and the previous occupant's hair, a lady with long black hair who had stuck her hair on the wall was still on the wall. It was just-
Ed Pizza: Nice.
Richard Kerr: It was bad. This was after a room not being ready until 5:00 PM, when I landed at 11:00 AM, and I had a few meetings, which, hey, you're not guaranteed early arrival, but when I checked the website, the hotel was still half empty. Only this conference was staying at the hotel and nobody else. So, they had plenty of rooms available. Don't know what was going on. Probably the most egregious one, if you go to the website, they're still selling club lounge access rooms, but Ed, is their club lounge open?
Ed Pizza: Wait, how many guesses do I get?
Richard Kerr: You get one.
Ed Pizza: I'm going to go with no.
Richard Kerr: It's not open, no. So, you can't sell that and advertise that if your club lounge is not open, because I saw that and I sent them a message before check-in, like, sweet, club lounge is open. She's like, "No, it's still closed." I was like, "Well, you guys are selling club lounge rooms inaudible that's not ..."
Ed Pizza: Sorry.
Richard Kerr: Yeah, man. Then, I had given them my bag, because the room wasn't ready. I had to stand there with a couple other ladies, and we waited 20 minutes to find a bell staff, and we were trying to get changed for dinner. Then, last night, I was with a few people. We waited 25 minutes at the bar to try and get a drink, and we just never got a drink. It just didn't happen. It was just bad.
TravelCon is much more than points and miles people, but all the non-points and miles people were like, "What the heck is this hotel?" It was just bad. Then, the whole setup there, you have the Sheraton Downtown Memphis attached to the city convention center.
Ed Pizza: Right.
Richard Kerr: It's like 15 minutes from nowhere. You're not close to all the stuff on Beale Street and Front Street.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. inaudible-
Richard Kerr: It's like, we would try to eat lunch and dinner, and you got to get an Uber, and Uber and Lyfts in Memphis, dude, you couldn't get one. If you could, it was like 30 bucks to go a mile. It was nuts.
So, I mean, TravelCon itself, the conference in the convention center, and all the people back together again, that was awesome, but the logistics of ... It was just weird, man. When it was time to get lunch yesterday, you had a mass of 500 people walking a mile and a half down to the restaurants and stuff like we're inaudible kids. So, that hotel, and then, there's just a story after story, man. So, man, the Sheratan in my mind has always been a tired brand, and this thing just absolutely personified everything I thought a Sheratan was. It was just terrible. It was just bad.
Ed Pizza: We could make another joke about you at luncheon walking in Memphis, but we probably already let that one by.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. I did. It's been a long time since I've been in Memphis, which is weird because ... Sorry, I got to get my wine out of the fridge. You know, it's not too far away from me, but ...
Ed Pizza: Folks, that is podcasting at its finest right there.
Richard Kerr: Yeah, and I don't have my microphone, so everybody's going to think, why does he sound so weird this episode? Sorry, Jeremiah, or our producer. I hadn't spent a time there as an adult, so I wanted to see all the things, and I don't know, man. Memphis is like, you got Beale Street, which is bumping, but the rest of downtown is empty. It's-
Ed Pizza: They struggled. I mean, they struggled pre-pandemic, and I got to imagine it was worse in the pandemic, but it's just a ... There's not a lot of money down ... I mean there's money, but they don't spend it in downtown Memphis. The people that are rich that live in the outskirts and all that stuff, they don't come to downtown. It's been that way since, I remember hosting conferences there 20 years ago, and it was the same thing. There's big houses, but there's just not a lot of commerce downtown. It's a shame because the city definitely has some character, and there are some hole-in-the-wall restaurants that are awesome, and there's-
Richard Kerr: Found a couple of those, yeah.
Ed Pizza: There's obviously some great music at some of the joints downtown, but it's that there's just not enough support from the local community, unfortunately.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. It was just surprising. I did like to whole downtown this morning. At the time of recording, I probably walked three miles or so. Started at the pyramid that's a Bass Pro Shop, which if you haven't checked that out, ladies and gentlemen, that is the fine piece of Americana. Then, I walked, I actually took a Bird scooter from the pyramid all the way down to Lorraine Motel where-
Ed Pizza: Nice.
Richard Kerr: ... MLK was assassinated, which I thought was fantastic, seeing that piece of history. They've done a great job preserving that, and now it's a national civil rights museum. Unfortunately, didn't have time to go in and do the whole museum, but I've heard it's amazing. Seeing that corner of the balcony up on the third floor in front of room 306 where he was shot and killed, and there was this little video thing right outside that you can watch. Just really well done. That was cool to see, and then wander around Beale Street and all that, which we did for a few times.
I had some amazing hole-in-the-wall food, Gus's Fried Chicken, last night, Rendezvous Barbecue for lunch yesterday, downtown. Then, me and Lee Huffman from BaldThoughts took a ride out to a place called Central Barbecue that was about 15 minutes from downtown. So, Memphis has got a vibe, man, but just that walk from the Sheraton and the conference center to downtown, it's like 1960s government buildings that all feel empty, nothing going on, nothing in the storefronts. Just caught me off a little bit.
So again, the conference itself, the quality of speakers that Matt had there, saw some wonderful points and miles people I have not seen in a long time, was just great. I don't know. I just thought with FedEx, dude, which, by the way, when you go to Memphis, and you see the dozens, and dozens, and dozens of freighter FedEx sat there, stand lined up, it's really cool to see that. They got a brand new terminal building at the Memphis Airport. That's just lovely. You can get there 15 minutes before boarding, and you'll be fine. So, a lot of stuff going for it. I just thought it was weird how empty it was down there. So, I don't know, man, but plenty to check out.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, and for folks, I actually think I've been to Rendezvous Barbecue. I think it's a pretty decent joint. If you've never been to Memphis, it's definitely a different style of barbecue, and it's one that I like. They've definitely focused more on-
Richard Kerr: The rub.
Ed Pizza: ... on dry rub than sauces, which is always a big thing for me. I do like a good dry rub. Then, the pyramid, as you mentioned, yeah, you and I were texting back and forth about this earlier. So, I went and looked it up, because I didn't remember this, but I remember the University of Memphis used to play there, and I think the Grizzlies played there for a few years before they built the stadium downtown from, but do you know that, and talk about yesteryear, back in 2002, Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson fought in the pyramid in Memphis?
Richard Kerr: Now, ladies and gentlemen, when you walk inside, and it's a massive Bass Pro Shop, tracker boat shop. There's a Wahlburger, and there's two hotels in there, and then like every outdoor thing in the entire world. So, the people spotting this morning, on a Sunday morning when I rolled in about 10:00, was amazing. You're just asking yourself the entire time, what in the heck?
There's an observation deck in a restaurant. You can go up on top. I thought Memphis was like, if somebody was like, "Hey, should I check out Memphis?" If you fly in on like a Friday morning, and out Sunday afternoon, and you're ... I think it's like the perfect destination to go and check out for that amount of time. You get a lot of solid stuff done, and go out to Graceland, if you're an Elvis fan, or if you're just Americana fan.
Anyways, a lot going on there. I thought it was an incredibly interesting weekend, but truth be told, it was just awesome to see, and hang out, and chat with so many folks, and meet some new people that were just as die hard about travel as we are. So, that was cool.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. You're talking like three hours from Nashville. So, it's the sort of thing where you could fold it into a drive trip, as well. But, yeah, I wouldn't sleep on Memphis. It certainly wouldn't be tops on my list, but it would be a place that I'd take the kids at some point. Michelle's never been. I would definitely go back for a plate of barbecue.
So, let's pivot some of our travel stories. Let's, actually, real quick, before we do Project Sunrise and some transfer bonuses, let's cover a quick review and listener question, which, oddly related. Jay Mac says, "I listen every week, and they do a good job in most areas." They rag on you about mentioning the Bilt card too much, unfortunately, but inaudible-
Richard Kerr: This guy runs a loyalty program. Don't talk about it.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. Right after that, we have a question from a listener. I don't have a name on this one. They didn't leave their name, but this is area code 314. I think I've asked you this 7,462 times. They say, "Hi, guys. I love the podcast. Question for Richard. Are there any plans for Bilt to support mortgage payments? I wait in anticipation."
Richard Kerr: Is this the person that complained about me talking about Bilt too much, and then asked me a Bilt question?
Ed Pizza: No, this is separate.
Richard Kerr: I was like, wait a minute.
Ed Pizza: This is like, I literally got a review, and then an hour after the review, I got somebody asking a question about whether Bilt is supporting mortgage payments. Just very ironic.
Richard Kerr: It's fine. I got asked that 473,000 times this weekend at TravelCon, which, number one, means people are excited about it. We've heard it loud and clear. I've asked it myself. Right now, there are no immediate plans to support mortgages with the Bilt card. It's an entire different economies of scale in a different market. There's 90 million Americans that we need to go after that are renting every single month. So, maybe one day. We've talked about it, but it's not on the 2022, '23 road plan. So, that's the answer.
Ed Pizza: All right, so let's talk Project Sunrise. You know, this is-
Richard Kerr: Down south. Down under.
Ed Pizza: This is one of those things I wasn't sure was going to happen after the pandemic, and it's happening, but in a little bit of a different way. So, for those that aren't aware, Qantas came up with this idea prior to the pandemic, and that the goal was that they were going to fly from Sydney to New York nonstop, and they needed a special plane to do it. Well, they had planned to contract with Boeing to do it, and then that got nixed right before the pandemic. It appears that it's not coming back to life, but they have announced that they're going to do this with Airbus with some custom planes that can make that long of a flight. This would make it the longest nonstop flight in the world, longer than Singapore. Is Singapore landing in JFK or Newark?
Richard Kerr: Both. They have flights to both. JFK is the longest by, I think, four or five miles.
Ed Pizza: Right, and so this is going to be, if I remember correctly, I didn't look this up before we started, but as I recall, when they announced this originally, it was like 500 miles longer. So, it's just shy of 10,000 miles flown, which is going to be, I'm guessing, probably 20 hours?
Richard Kerr: Yeah.
Ed Pizza: 22 hours?
Richard Kerr: 20 hours in the air.
Ed Pizza: That's insane.
Richard Kerr: Yeah.
Ed Pizza: A day on a plane, literally almost, well, by the time you start boarding and get off that sucker, you're going to be-
Richard Kerr: It's a full day.
Ed Pizza: inaudible full 24 hour cycle, definitely by the time you clear security.
Richard Kerr: They did the test run before the pandemic, and it was Perth London nonstop, right?
Ed Pizza: Yeah.
Richard Kerr: That all the journalists went on, and they had doctors, and scientists, and they made you exercise-
Ed Pizza: Yeah, inaudible ...
Richard Kerr: ... and evaluate how they're feeling, and all that stuff. Yeah.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, yeah, yeah. My buddy Scott McCartney was on that flight. From what he said, it was pretty, pretty wacky. Get a little crazy, you know? 20 hours in the air. So, are you going to book it?
Richard Kerr: I mean, as of recording, in three days, I still have a ticket on JFK, Singapore nonstop that I booked in business class and that's 18 hours.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, well, yeah, because you can't cancel it because you can't get ahold of them.
Richard Kerr: I cannot cancel it, but now I'm literally going to go to JFK at some point this week in New York and just stand there at the ticket counter until they fix it.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, look at that. Look at that.
Richard Kerr: Until they give me my miles back, because this is so absurd. I mean, an inaudible thing like this, I'm always down for an adventure, and I'm far behind on ventures thanks to ye old COVID, as Ed would say. So, absolutely, I would book this thing, especially if you're trying to get to Australia. I mean, it's pretty convenient.
Now, you might go a little stir crazy. Really, I haven't read any details about the layout, but if they're thinking about putting regular economy seats on this, and not the premium economy spread that Singapore has on their ultra-long range, I don't know about that. No. I'm like, there's no way I'm flying regular economy with 33, 32-inch pitch in the seats for 20 hours, but I'll go for business class.
I feel like it's one of these things where everybody getting on the plane knows what they're doing, and by the end of it, you're going to have three or four new friends, because at some point you're going to strike up conversations and chat. Maybe they got an onboard bar or something like that. I think that would make it a lot of fun. That's what I would go into it with and have a great time. Som 100%, I would fly this, not in economy.
Ed Pizza: I should know this, because I thought when they ... So, the first time when they killed Singapore, Newark, I think it was Newark, when they killed Singapore, Newark a number of years ago, before they brought it back, they didn't have any coach seats on the plane. I think premium economy was the lowest you got, right?
Richard Kerr: Yeah. That was on the old gas guzzler, the A340 that flew Newark, and yeah, you're right. There was no regular economy seats on that plane.
Ed Pizza: Is there a regular economy on Singapore, JFK right now?
Richard Kerr: No. Both Newark and JFK are business and premium economy only.
Ed Pizza: Right, so it's a fairly light load on the plane. I mean, I expect that for Project Sunrise, as well. I mean, again, it's going to depend on yield, and, I mean, the plane that they're going to use, it's unclear how it'll be configured, but it's an A350-1000, so that means that they're likely adding two sections to it. So, it's going to be one heck of a long plane.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. I don't think they can fill it up. It'd be too much weight to do that long of a flight. So, yeah, I'd love inaudible like this, I'm super curious about it, that did have regular economy on the test flight that they ran, because it was just a test kind of deal, but yeah, Project Sunrise, I'm all in. I think Air New Zealand just announced that they're launching New York flights, right, and-
Ed Pizza: Yeah, and I don't remember what plane they were going to do that on. I mean, I think they have some A350s. Let's see, Air New Zealand flight, what we're talking.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. Actually, if you start typing in Air New Zealand, the first result's New York. inaudible
Ed Pizza: Yeah, and, I mean, I think when you talk about ultra-long flights like this, I mean, who's the-
Richard Kerr: They're going to fly 7879s.
Ed Pizza: 7879s, which is really stretching the range on that, but when I think about these sorts of flights, I mean, these are not really leisure flights. I mean, certainly somebody could buy a ticket on this from a leisure standpoint, but the only reason you'd really want to go nonstop between the two was because time was a factor, because I imagine they're going to charge a pretty hefty premium, because like Singapore, those Singapore flights to New York are insanely pricey. They're never cheap.
Richard Kerr: No.
Ed Pizza: So, yeah, maybe they end up putting some coach seats on there, but I just don't know who the target customer would be for them.
Richard Kerr: Let's see. Actually, I'm just looking at it real quick, what Singapore's charging for this nonstop. It's actually not too bad. It's $2,300 round trip in premium economy.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, but what are they going to charge for economy, like $1,600?
Richard Kerr: Well, I mean, there's not economy on the Singapore plane, so ...
Ed Pizza: Right, right. No, I'm just saying from a demand standpoint, how many of them could you actually sell? I mean, I guess if you made them 200 bucks, you could sell them, but inaudible-
Richard Kerr: Now, business class is 9,800, so there's your premium.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Richard Kerr: These are days all out through the summer. It goes up to 12K. 8,455 is the cheapest the entire summer, so that's significant airfare.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. I remember our buddy, Seth, Dots, Lines & Destinations, saying that from what folks he had talked to, Singapore didn't really care what the load was on the plane at any given day, because they knew there were going to be enough people paying five figure cash to sit up front, and they would do just fine. So, if it went out with empty seats, so be it.
Richard Kerr: Crazy Rich Asians, man. I think about that movie every time that I see this, the fares in Singapore.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. So, last thing on our list to cover today is a short transfer bonus. I want to ask you a question about, it's a quasi-listener question. My business partner, I got sick to my stomach when I looked at his points balances lately, and I'm rebalancing his cards. So, we'll do that in just a second, but I'm curious what you think of the current transfer bonus that Chase has to Virgin Atlantic. It's a 30% bonus.
I've got two schools of thought on it, and I think I know where you'll go with it. There's obviously large surcharges if you want to fly them to London, but the ability to get to Japan using Virgin Atlantic is also pretty intriguing. So, you know what I mean, when you think about that, if you had a big stack of Chase points right now, would you transfer in anticipation of one of those options?
Richard Kerr: Not speculatively, because I just already have way too many miles orphaned in programs. Soon to have Singapore miles orphaned again, but with this transfer bonus that goes to June 15th, ANA first round trip to Japan is 85,000 miles. Now, hopefully they open up soon. I saw a government recommendation for Japan said, "Looks like openings on the horizon." 85,000 ultimate rewards round trip first class to Japan is absolutely absurd. 93,000 ultimate rewards round trip from the east coast. So, that's 85,000 from the west coast of Japan, 93,000 from the east coast, or 39,000 one-way Delta ones, Europe, which, availability is super hard to find, but if you do find it, it's great. There's no fuel surcharges.
Ed Pizza: No, that's a good point. I didn't even think about the Delta one. You're right. But, as you say, it's very rarely available.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. You can find a few flights throughout the summer. Probably not this summer, but if you look in the fall, which by the way, man, even award pricing for this summer to get to Europe is just ... There's no such thing inaudible availability. It's nuts.
Ed Pizza: No. No, especially if you need to travel for a family, I'm glad I grabbed what we grabbed when we did, and one of these weeks we'll actually talk about my summer plans. It probably won't be this week, but I guess it'll be next week. It's crazy.
Richard Kerr: Yeah, but the other thing I love with Virgin Atlantic that I do, as an Atlanta resident, is the domestic nonstops with the 30% bonus are going to be fantastic. Now, you cannot book within 21 days of departure. Delta blocks out all Virgin Atlanta booking. So, you got to book at least three weeks in advance, which shouldn't be too hard, and it's not near as challenging as finding Delta One space to Europe. There's plenty of domestic availability, as long as you're not trying to fly like on a Thursday night from Atlanta to New York.
So, something else to look at. So, it's great. This is on top of other transfer bonuses we have right now to Flying Blue and the new promo awards that just launched, which I think includes Chicago and New York. So, if you're not familiar with or tracking these transfer bonuses, it's just fantastic stuff.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, so something to consider folks. This one comes up a couple times a year though, so, to Richard's point about being a speculative booking, I would book this in anticipation of finding seats for something I was thinking about, and if it didn't pass, I wouldn't be heartbroken, but I would say I'd want some sort of purpose or direction for what I was trying to do. Like, a friend of ours wanted to take their family to Japan for spring break. So, just start looking at availability before you push the button, because it is a one-way street.
Richard Kerr: Here's the Miles to Go exclusive here that you're not going to hear anybody else talk about
Ed Pizza: Miles to Go exclusive.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. If you're not following Virgin Red, you need to be. So, very soon, actually already, but it's been a soft launch here in North America, all of the Virgin brands are coming underneath the Virgin Red umbrella, including Virgin Atlantic Airlines. This also includes Virgin trains. This includes Virgin cruises now that are coming out of Florida.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. Those Virgin cruises are pretty sweet looking.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. Man, it looks awesome. Including all the other Virgin brands that are out there, Virgin trains over in Europe is great. What you can do is you can transfer points from any airline program or any credit card program into Virgin Atlantic, and those also become Virgin Red points. If you haven't checked out the Virgin Red website for some of the redemptions that are already live here in North America, you're really missing out.
So, this can actually make a Virgin cruise incredibly affordable, because, little secret here, the Virgin Red cruise prices to go book a free cruise with Virgin Red points, which are Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points, what you have to do is go ahead and merge your Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Red, or just opt into Virgin Red from your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. This can be a great deal. They have like a 12-night trans-Atlantic sailing on the Scarlet Lady, which is their new flagship, for like 80,000 points. With the 30% transfer bonus, that drops them down to what, 8, 16, 24, so, 56,000 points for 12-night cruise?
Ed Pizza: Look at that math on the fly.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. I mean, what a great deal, right? It's just Virgin Red. Virgin Points is a transfer partner of Bilt rewards, not Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, even though you can use your Virgin points for Flying Club. They have a great team over there that we're working with, and they're doing some amazing things, and there's a whole lot more to come, as far as Virgin Red goes. So, look at this transfer bonus as an opportunity to interact with Virgin Red for the first time and get some great deals. So, there's your Miles to Go exclusive?
Ed Pizza: I like the cruise angle, I really do, because it's very hard to pay for a cruise with-
Richard Kerr: Super hard, points, yeah. You got to use cash back inaudible or cash back raise. The cruise loyalty programs themselves are awful, for one.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, no, it's tough. You could go Venture, but I mean, you got to save up a ton of points. I mean, if you want to cruise well. If we want to go to the bottom of the ship like you do, that's not so bad.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. I'm a huge cruiser. I mean, we've been on two in the pandemic, and I've been jonesing to get on one of these Virgin cruises, or adults only, 18 plus. They include things that are just awesome.
Ed Pizza: Those ships look awesome.
Richard Kerr: The ships are fantastic. It's just a new generation of cruising. So, take a look at that, and if you go, make sure you get yourself a Virgin Red account. I mean, they have things like date night New York City that these curated experiences for like 30,000 points, right, so 21,000 points with this transfer bonus? They're legit things that they got hookups with. They're true to the cool, hip Virgin brand. So, everybody go check it out. It's cool stuff.
Ed Pizza: No, and I mean, they do some things that I like in terms of things I don't like about other cruise ships. So, things like wifi is included on the ships. I don't know what the speed's like, but you don't pay wifi.
Richard Kerr: I don't want that. See? I got to go with disconnect. inaudible
Ed Pizza: Whatever. Yeah. Some of us can't, but yeah, wifi is included, and then tips are included, too. So, I mean, it's a little bit of a different experience, and the ships look just awesome. All right, so, last up, I want ask your opinion. I'm pretty sure I know which way to go, but I guess, first, like just the nauseating story, my business partner, who spends just a ton of money on credit cards, big family, they're very wealthy. He asked me to help him book a trip. They're going to Antarctica this summer. So, he needed to get to Buenos Aires.
So, I started looking around. I was using point.me, actually, to help find flights. Found flights in American were the cheapest, and just for perspective on some of the things that Richard was talking about in terms of like ANA first class round trip, American Airlines, one way in business class to Buenos Aires, 110,000 Advantage points. So, yeah, pricey, but cheapest option. Then, that was when he asked me to look at his Marriott account, and he had four million Marriott Bonvoy points, and I just-
Richard Kerr: The seven digits.
Ed Pizza: My heart. Well, not just seven digits, but four million. My heart stopped. I mean, he must have 10 or 12 free night certificates just sitting in there, a bunch of them getting ready to expire. I cried.
Richard Kerr: He hadn't told him to go stay at ... There's not Hyatts where you staying at to get to those powerful Hyatt points?
Ed Pizza: Well, that's the funny thing because he has some ultimate rewards points, and so, I told him he should stay at Park Hyatt before they take off for their trip to Antarctica, because the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires is supposed to be really nice. I'd never been, but if heard great things about it.
Richard Kerr: I have stayed there and it is fantastic. Yes.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, and so, actually, I have a card on that account that he has all those ultimate rewards points on. He's always used those points, but I told him, like, "Look, I mean, I should transfer them to my account and book him a guest of honor booking," because free breakfast at a Park Hyatt for a week is like a couple of car payments for us normal folks.
But, I'm curious. So, he spends a ton of money in two categories, dining and sports tickets. You and I were talking earlier, and unfortunately, he buys his tickets directly from the team, so I don't think there's any way to really maximize the sports spending, because Saver is the only card that I know of, and you know of, as well, that really does anything with sports, but you got to buy your stuff through Vivid. So, that leaves dining, and then, obviously, everything else is like everyday spend. So, I feel like I want to put him into two cards, but I'm curious what your opinion is on somebody who spends a bunch of money on dining, but then just an absolute metric ton in everything else that's un-bonused, who likes to travel flexibly.
Richard Kerr: So, if you're a dining person, then all the ridiculous Amex offers that are out there for the referrals and whatever, or just an Amex goal for 4X points is fantastic. I mean, it's-
Ed Pizza: Yeah. Amex Gold was what I was thinking for the dining.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. If he's a dining guy, Amex Gold, you got to go for. For all the other un-bonused spend, and if he's going to Antarctica, you can't book that with points.
Ed Pizza: Nope.
Richard Kerr: So, you got to have something like a Venture X, or just regular Venture, for 2X on all un-bonused spend, and given the transfer partners that they have now to book a big trip, or if he just wants to erase some travel, I think if he had an Amex Gold card, and I think if he had a Venture X, then that'd be a pretty solid double combo for me, because then he can go in and get 10X on the hotels, or 5X on flights, or whatever.
Ed Pizza: That's exactly the two cards I was thinking. He's got a Sapphire Reserve, and he's got an Ink. So, I think I'd have him keep the Ink for some of the business stuff, because he can hit some of the bonus categories there. I would dump the Sapphire Reserve. I would dump the Amex cards. I don't know if he should keep the Ritz card or not, because they do actually stay at some Ritzes, so that one's iffy.
Richard Kerr: Dude, I hold onto that firmly every year for that 50 inaudible that you can now top up, as well as the $300, and really loose travel credits compared to the Amex Platinum. Then, if you stay at Ritzes, then the club lounge upgrades are money.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. So, I think I tell him to keep that, but, obviously, I would just spend on Ritzes at it.
Richard Kerr: Yeah.
Ed Pizza: I think I would dump the other Amex Card that he has with Marriott. I would dump Sapphire Reserve, keep Ink, and then I would add an Amex Gold, and a Venture X. Then, because he's not as tied to chains as you and I are. He picked Park Hyatt Buenos Aires because he knows how much I love Hyatt, but he was deciding between that and the Four Seasons. So, I just think for that sort of travel, where he's going to spend that sort of premium dollars on a room, it'd be better for him to be brand agnostic. So, I just want to make sure I wasn't being biased, because you know how much I love the Venture X card, but it really felt like for on bonus spend, that was probably the direction that I was going to send him.
Richard Kerr: I mean, plus the other stuff he gets, right. Is he D.C. based, is that-
Ed Pizza: No, he's Vegas-based, so he won't pick up a lounge, which is a little unfortunate, but he like-
Richard Kerr: Yeah, but still, you got primary car rental insurance. You got $300 travel credit. You got Hertz President's Circle. So, I mean, probably for guy that travels like that, at that level, some of that stuff's going to be useful, so inaudible-
Ed Pizza: Yeah. Yeah, I would think so. He'll definitely burn the travel credit. He'll probably never step foot in a Cap One lounge, because if it was for domestic travel, unlike you and me, he generally flies private, so, we're just schmucks.
Richard Kerr: Okay. I was talking about it last night, man, just if there is ever a day, for God knows why, a reason that I have that level of money, the time savings and efficiency of flying private, I get it. I get why people who have that much money to be able to roll up in a car, to roll on the plane, take off, land, get in the car, and beat everybody else who's flying commercial by four hours is like, it's money man.
Ed Pizza: Agree with you.
Richard Kerr: When people are like, "He's wasting money, flying," I'm like, "No, no, no. Flying private from an efficiency standpoint is clutch. That is awesome."
Ed Pizza: Especially on short legs. So, I'll go Vegas, Reno on his plane when, it's not occupied, and with no security clearances, and all that stuff, they pull the rental car right up on the tarmac. What are you drinking there? Did you switch from the wine to beer?
Richard Kerr: No, no, this is the half glass of-
Ed Pizza: It's a little bottle, a half bottle, okay.
Richard Kerr: The check in, when you spend as much time at 50 Bowery as I do, the good people here look out after you, and they gave a little half bottle of Robert Mondavi.
Ed Pizza: Mondavi, no Canvas? So, bonus points there.
Richard Kerr: Yeah, we've upgraded this. If you're a high loyalist, you know all about the Canvas wine, dude. I just can't drink it anymore. When a Georgia southern boy says, "I can't do anymore," then that's saying something.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, well, I can't tell you how many bottles of Campus I left behind hotel rooms across the country.
Richard Kerr: Man.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, I mean, it's only an hour flight to Reno, but I can literally be just about an hour, no security, rental car on the tarmac, the whole bit, in, out. I can be back for afternoon meetings, take off in the morning, go up there, quick lunch with the crew, head back down, and I'm in a restaurant by 2:30, 3:00. It's great. So, there are huge pluses to it, if you can afford it.
Yeah. So, you're up in New York now? What do you got on the travel docket for next week?
Richard Kerr: Well, for this week, I still have a flight to Singapore that I can't ...
Ed Pizza: No, see, nobody told Richard when Mother's Day is, so he blamed everybody else for this one, but he booked a flight to Singapore on Mother's Day. Good job.
Richard Kerr: Not on Mother's Day, four days before Mother's Day, which, obviously, I can't get back for.
Ed Pizza: Whatever. Were you going to be in Newton, Georgia, on Mother's Day?
Richard Kerr: No, I wasn't.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, so, that was not a good idea.
Richard Kerr: To my point, this was raised at the time of booking, and nobody had a problem with it. Now, a few weeks later, it was brought up and I was like, this is why we talk about it. Anyways, so that's not going to happen, but I'm still fighting a month later to get my miles back.
We got some camping, I think in May, in the middle of may. Then, I'm taking Thomas down on the daddy, son trip to Disney right in after the middle of May, because I took daughter back in February. Now, I'm taking Thomas. I finally found a use for these Marriott points, because every hotel around Disney was like 500 bucks a night for a motel room, and I just wasn't going to do it. So, we found some availability at the Swan Reserve and redeemed some of these Marriott points I've been holding on for literally years, at this point. I got the fifth night free. So, we'll stay there, and get the on-property benefits, and I'm going to pay resort fee, taxes on the resort fee, and parking, and I'm going to moan about it the entire time.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, and probably moan about it on the podcast afterwards, because I'm coming down to do the same thing, as well, which is, we probably could have covered this earlier, but I don't know that it needs more than 30 seconds. You can now top up your Marriott certs, as well, and it works. So, I topped up two Marriott certificates that were expiring, and if all goes as planned, I will actually be in Disney at the same time as you at the-
Richard Kerr: That's right, we got the Guardians of the Galaxy annual pass holder preview, the new ride in Epcot, for-
Ed Pizza: We do.
Richard Kerr: ... everybody following Disney World.
Ed Pizza: And the only Disney world property without a soul, the Walt Disney World Swan Reserve is where I will be staying.
Richard Kerr: It's the same here, and I had my expiring suite night upgrades I've been holding on to for three years finally applied, so these things better freaking clear.
Ed Pizza: They won't, but the nice thing about the Swan Reserve is there are like 25 different room types you can apply your suite upgrade to, and they tell you, like, "For every one you click, you got a greater chance of being upgraded," and still won't clear. Nothing will happen.
Richard Kerr: I don't know. They got a lot of suites there, man, so I think I looked through five different types. We'll get a little bit of stuff going on. I got to book flights, actually, which is great, another time to put my top tier Frontier 100K status to use, where Thomas and I are going to fly round trip to Orlando for like 90 bucks, all in, including checked bags, seat selection, the best seats, all that stuff, like such a great deal. So, looking forward to that, especially at a time when airfare is just absolutely outrageous.
Ed Pizza: So, I know that you're very cheap. Sorry. You're very inaudible-
Richard Kerr: That's a good deal, man. Why would you fly Delta for a 15-minute flight-
Ed Pizza: No, no, inaudible-
Richard Kerr: ... when it's $195 per person each way, compared to 40 bucks for Frontier?
Ed Pizza: I'm agreeing with you 100% on Frontier. I'm on board with it. I was going a different direction, a slightly different direction.
Richard Kerr: Just going to lob this grenade at you first.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, different grenade, different grenade. So, I know you might hate to lose this money, but I propose a $25 bet to the charity of your choosing or my choosing, and the bet is whether your suite night awards will clear.
Richard Kerr: I mean, I have no confidence. There's a lot of suites there and it seems to be open now.
Ed Pizza: You had a lot of confidence 30 seconds ago, and now you're like, "I don't know."
Richard Kerr: No, but inaudible I put a tweet out like four days ago. It was like, "Hey, hotel looks pretty empty up," and everybody was like, "None chance." I was like, come on. I thought one of the benefits of the Swan Reserve is how many suites that they had, because it's literally just a convention resort hotel. It really is nothing Disney, except for some reason you get on-property benefits, so-
Ed Pizza: So, what I heard is you don't want to make a bet.
Richard Kerr: We'll do the bet.
Ed Pizza: All right.
Richard Kerr: We'll do the bet. 25 bucks to the charity of the winner's choice. I think my suite upgrades will clear. Now, will they clear into an actual suite? I don't know, but they'll clear, because you can select a pool-view room as a suite upgrade.
Ed Pizza: So, pelotonia.org, that's the cancer charity that I'm currently supporting. That's where you'll be donating your $25 in a few weeks, so ...
Richard Kerr: All right. You're sending $25 to the Thomas and Mary college fund charity.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, that will never happen. All right. Well, you need to go get some soup dumplings, because you haven't had dinner. So, get your britches out of here. It's funny, I feel like I say this every week, we are still chasing Summer and Julian to record with us. Summer is like, "Super, super. Yes. Yes. I'm in." Julian is persona non grata right now, so we're waiting for him to confirm so the four of us can get back together and record an episode. I promise I'm going to discuss my summer travel plans before summer, but until then, we've got Miles to Go.
Speaker 4: The Miles to Go podcast is produced in association with Crooked Path Productions.
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