Speaker 1: You're listening to the Miles to Go Podcast, the go-to source for travel tips, news, and reviews you can't afford to miss. Now, here's your host, travel expert Ed Pizza.
Ed Pizza: Hey guys, back on the Miles to Go Podcast and we are back in the world of travel. I mean, we never really left but there were some pretty bleak months there, where travel just really wasn't front and center in our minds, or at least it wasn't in mine.
Now that we're back in the throes of it, there are just so many questions. I find them popping up, for me, on a daily basis. And I'm getting them from you guys on a daily basis. So I figured it was time to dedicate a show to answering as many of your questions as I can.
And who better to do that with than KerrPoints himself, Mr. Richard Kerr. Good to have you back, man.
Richard Kerr: What's up, man? Always good to be here.
Ed Pizza: It is. Are you back in the state of Georgia at the moment?
Richard Kerr: I am. Flew home from New York City last night. And let me tell you, Memorial Day weekend, it was packed. I have not seen... Well, I've seen New York like that before.
But Atlanta Airport last night when I landed, for the first time in my life, again, being here for 22 years out of my 34 on the planet, I had to wait for a second Plane Train to get from the A Concourse to baggage claim.
Ed Pizza: Really?
Richard Kerr: I've never had to wait on a Plane Train that was full, in my life. And when you got to baggage claim, the entire curb in baggage claim area was just a zoo, it was madness. And I was like, "Wow, this is out of control."
And then New York was a dumpster fire. Thursday night before Memorial Day weekend, a lot of folks trying to get out of New York City. If you were the TSA at New York Airport, I know New York Airport doesn't control the TSA, but if you were the airport manager, I would probably go to the TSA manager and say, "Hey, can we ensure that we have PreCheck open for all the people trying to get out of town on a holiday weekend?"
Did they have PreCheck open last night at New York? No. no, they didn't. So, absolute madhouse everywhere last night.
Ed Pizza: So I'd point out two things about what you just said. First off, you misspoke. You said that New York was a dumpster fire last night. New York is a dumpster fire. It doesn't crosstalk-
Richard Kerr: I've been reading all about like, "Hey, LaGuardia is better now apparently." It's not in the Delta terminal by the way. "Hey, New York's better now." It's not in Terminal B. Maybe over in United land it is but-
Ed Pizza: It's really not. There's so many people in United land. Yes, they painted some walls and there are some things that look a little nicer, but there's four billion people. It's crazy.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. It was just not... The flight itself, Delta, pleasant flying. But the airport experience yesterday, wild. Travel is not only back but it is roaring.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. And I also just want to clarify too. And I understand that you're a veteran of Atlanta Airport so I don't want to question your judgment here, other than to say, it's like a seven-minute walk from the A Plain Train station to the terminal. Just walk, man.
Richard Kerr: Riddle me this, Pizzarello, let me... Sorry, I'll expound upon this. So when I go to New York City, I always take the subway, the train, I rarely pay for a rideshare, which means when I'm going from the office to New York, I got my suitcase and my backpack on top of my suitcase.
Ed Pizza: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Richard Kerr: Actually having this text exchange with my wife yesterday. I got to get a new suitcase, my wheels are busted. Walking the sidewalks destroyed... Finally, the wheels on this T.J. Maxx whatever special suitcase gave out, so they crosstalk-
Ed Pizza: There's your first problem.
Richard Kerr: They were not going to roll anymore. So when I got to Atlanta yesterday, I very much wanted to get on the moving sidewalk and walk, but the wheels... The squares that used to be wheels would not allow it.
Ed Pizza: Ladies and gentlemen, do not buy your suitcases from T.J. Maxx.
Richard Kerr: We can talk for an entire podcast about that as well, because this one has served me very well, but inaudible another episode.
Ed Pizza: inaudible Or you could buy... I'm biased, but you could buy a suitcase from Briggs & Riley and then just never buy another suitcase again. And they repair them for free for life.
Richard Kerr: So a lot of discussion lately on the warranty for these things and it just being exactly what I would expect these days. I have no expectations or confidence in any brand, and it just being a huge headache to get anything fixed.
So I'll just keep buying $70 suitcases that last three years. I'll get another suitcase from 70 bucks that lasts three years and we'll keep going so I don't have to visit a Briggs & Riley store or mail it in, beg them to please fix it. No, I'll just go to T.J. Maxx.
Ed Pizza: I've had my Briggs & Riley suitcase in for repairs in 12 or 13 years, and both times were super easy. One time I took it to the store, they replaced the wheels, I left. The other one, I had cracked the frame of it, probably because my kids used to sit on it while I pulled them through the airport.
And they offered me a credit if I wanted to buy a new suitcase. I said, "No, I really like the design. They don't make it anymore." They repaired the frame, shipped it back to me. crosstalk
Richard Kerr: And where's the Briggs & Riley store here in Newnan, Georgia?
Ed Pizza: Don't live in Newnan, Georgia, brother.
Richard Kerr: Okay. All right, T.J. Maxx it is. Proved my point.
Ed Pizza: One of these days you're going to be right, this is not going to be one of them. Anyway, this is a Q&A-
Richard Kerr: What are we talking about?
Ed Pizza: We're a solid five minutes in and we have answered absolutely nobody's questions other than the fact that we are two boneheads.
Richard Kerr: Yeah.
Ed Pizza: Yes, the answer to that is yes.
Richard Kerr: Fly into New York, but do not fly out of New York. I think that's going to be my new strategy going forward.
Ed Pizza: And as you said, always take the train to the airport inaudible.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. Yeah.
Ed Pizza: Okay. So a quick reminder for folks; if you do have a question, we'd love to answer it. Shoot me an email, email@example.com. Or you can find me on social media, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all @pizzainmotion.
And look for a texting option shortly for your questions, to make it even easier. All right, you ready to get started, man?
Richard Kerr: Are there people listening live? Who did you just tell that to?
Ed Pizza: There are people listening, they are not live, but we're working on that.
Richard Kerr: Okay.
Ed Pizza: We're working on that.
Richard Kerr: Send us questions, we'll answer it to you three days from now when we get it.
Ed Pizza: No, we're going to do it in another Q&A show when I drag you back on again next week. That's the way this is going to work.
Richard Kerr: All right.
Ed Pizza: And we have RV questions, but we're not going to start with the RV questions.
Richard Kerr: Fair enough.
Ed Pizza: All right, so first up, since we're talking, since we're just getting back into things, let's get back into it with a question about what's open for vaccinated folks.
So Han Chicago on Twitter asked us, he says, "Italy and Greece have opened up to vaccined Americans, but what two or three countries in Asia do you think will be first open to vaccinated Americans without requiring us to quarantine on arrival?"
And the follow-up question, "Approximately when do you think that'll be?" And right before Mr. Kerr and I start recording, I did look this up. It looks right now, we talk about Southeast Asia, right now it appears that the Maldives is open with a negative COVID test.
Richard Kerr: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ed Pizza: And it appears Singapore is if you apply for a safe travel pass, which neither one of us have any idea what that is, but I'm imagining it probably isn't easy.
Richard Kerr: No. I think Singapore has been locked down since the get-go.
Ed Pizza: So where do you think in Asia is going to be first to open up? Who's going to loosen up the string?
Richard Kerr: With no quarantine and with... I don't know man. It's not going to be a developed country. It's probably going to be... It's going to be an underdeveloped country where they just cannot last any longer without tourism.
And I know there are people already way into the hurt locker. I actually have a friend that's been in Thailand throughout the entire pandemic and his stories of people who have just ghosted the cities and they've gone back to the countryside. I think it's going to be somewhere like an Indonesia.
Ed Pizza: I was just going to say, I'm thinking Bali or something like that.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. Something like that is going to be first. I don't think there's ever, in the next two or three years, going to be no strings attached. There's going to be proof of COVID vaccine, whatever form that takes, or test upon departure, test upon arrival, test three days after arrival plus vaccine. That kind of deal.
Ed Pizza: Yeah.
Richard Kerr: But for whatever reason, Indonesia is probably my guess. No education behind that whatsoever except they're just going to want the tourism back as soon as possible.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. And I think that if somebody else was going to follow along, I could see Thailand jumping on this.
Richard Kerr: Yeah.
Ed Pizza: That's the other one that's sort of out there. The Philippines, I don't know. Look, certainly I think countries like Japan are going to be far down the list, but I think Vietnam, Cambodia, Bali, those are places that I think I could see it coming back, especially just because of how some of those places really rely on not just American dollars but Western dollars in general.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. All the Australians, in some case, they keep those places alive. So I would expect in the next six months we'll see something loosen, assuming that there's no crazy strains or variants that come out. So again, my answer, Han, is: I don't know, man. I really wish I knew, but I don't.
Ed Pizza: I don't think it's going to be Australia anytime soon.
Richard Kerr: No, no.
Ed Pizza: They got the bubble with New Zealand. I feel like Australia is going to be one of the last, not because... Well, it's the other way around. I think Australians will be able to visit, they're just not going to because the restrictions to get back into the country are still going to be so onerous for a while that I think people aren't going to want to do it.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. And in the meantime, Australia and New Zealand have been living the good life. Good buddy Jody Nichols, expat down in Sydney, he's been posting pictures of his family out and about since last September, living the good life.
And we've seen the pictures out in New Zealand of the sporting events and concerts because they did things right. And I don't think they certainly don't want to open themselves up to all the knuckleheads like Americans coming to ruin it for everybody.
Ed Pizza: We are knuckleheads, aren't we?
Richard Kerr: Yeah.
Ed Pizza: All right. So we're going to veer left for just a second into credit cards. Definitely an integral part of how we all earn our points and miles.
So this is a question from the Award Travel 101 Facebook group, who was nice enough to let us post a thread there to answer some questions.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. I know those guys.
Ed Pizza: You know those guys?
Richard Kerr: inaudible
Ed Pizza: And if you're not in the AT 101 Facebook group, I don't know why not, but tons and tons of helpful people there. Richard lived there for a couple of years. He pitched a tent, the whole bit. But great people there to answer questions, not just the moderators but there's so many helpful people there.
And there's always questions as well because we got a bunch. So let's talk a little bit about... We've got George from AT 101 asks, "What's the best use of American Express membership rewards points to get from the West Coast of the U.S. to Europe?"
They said they're fine taking a train to their final destination if it means a good flight for them. And I'll be honest, this is the first couple of years I'm really back into membership rewards. I was out of the program for a long time, so you definitely have more experience than I do.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. I think ANA is going to be your best bet there; roundtrip on the Star Alliance partner, no fuel surcharges depending on who you pick, as little as 88,000 roundtrip in business. I think that's the entire U.S.
Maybe they have the U.S. divided, I can't remember. But incredibly affordable, no fuel surcharges, and free economy at something ridiculous like 40,000 roundtrip. Even if those numbers aren't exactly right, it's still going to be your best bet for roundtrip transfer to ANA and fly a United, fly an Air Canada, something like that.
Ed Pizza: I'm curious what you think about Air France-KLM here as an option.
Richard Kerr: Fuel surcharge is just too much there. It's like 200 bucks per person each way. So for a family, nope, not going to happen. The unfortunate part, if it's just me flying, then maybe I'll suck it up and pay that. But for a family, it's just going to be too expensive.
Economy is probably a little bit less but it's still going to be several hundred dollars, so that's why I skip them some of the time, although the program itself does have some nuances that make a great use for the routes.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. And so from my standpoint, I think the other thing I'd throw in there, and mostly just from an ease-of-view standpoint, because I am the lazy one when it comes to booking points and miles; I feel like if I could find connecting flights where I wasn't having to return from London and have to pay the premium departure tax, I'd also give some thought to British Airways here because I like their product and I definitely like the schedule that they have out of a number of West Coast Cities.
Although, to be honest, I haven't looked and seen what came back post-pandemic. But I think British Airways has some good schedules and some good planes that serve the West Coast of the U.S.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. If you really want to dig in, you haven't done this in about a month or so, but whatever Delta's making available to Virgin Atlantic, if you can fly Salt Lake City to Paris using Virgin Atlantic points, there's no fuel surcharges and it's a fantastic inaudible.
Seattle, if you're ever on the West Coast, Seattle to Europe on Delta using Virgin points. Again, space is going to be hard to find. Much, much easier in economy, main cabin, then business, but that's probably something work digging into for a few minutes.
Ed Pizza: And then one last question from Georgia, "True or false: Alaska Airlines is the height of airlines, small footprint but the best in the U.S." That says true or false. I'm curious what you have to say on this one.
Richard Kerr: I say false, simply because the footprint of Alaska, you can't really compare it to Hyatt. Regardless of where you are, there's some use of Hyatt, versus Alaska. I'm in Atlanta but want to fly to Seattle, great. Otherwise, this is completely useless to me.
The miles are great. I like to earn those whenever I can. Never to fly on Alaska because I don't need to go to Seattle too often, so I'm going to say false. I'm sure great product, love the mileage plan program, but not a comparison to Hyatt just because you can't compare those footprints.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. I agree. I think Alaska and JetBlue both have strengths as airlines, but there are so many cities that they're weak in. From my home airport, Washington Dulles, I can't rely on really either one of them to get pretty much anywhere.
Still like both airlines very much, but they're not functional just based on the sort of connected network they have.
Richard Kerr: Somebody's got to explain to me the obsession with the mileage plan upgrade. So the entire fleet, except for what they acquired from Virgin America, which is going away I think; so 737, which means first classes, a recliner seat that's-
Ed Pizza: Yeah, those little bench recliners from the '70s.
Richard Kerr: Like whatever. But people obsess over these upgrades and booking the upgradeable fares. Do we really want to be in the front of a 737 that bad? That's an honest question. That's not like I don't... Somebody explain to me the fascination with that.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. United's got some of their older Continental 737s that have those older seats like Alaska has, like American used to fly all that. They're all fine. The United ones, the padding has worn out completely, I don't know about that on Alaska.
I think Alaska has really engaged crew and I think that's where they get folks who are passionate about the brand, because the people that they interact with are very engaging.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. I'm sure if I lived in Seattle, I'd fly them all the time to earn as many Alaska miles as possible, but I just keep reading about, "I got these upgrade certs, I can't find the upgradeable fare." I'm like, "It's the front of 737, do we really care that much? I don't know."
Ed Pizza: All right. Well, it wouldn't be a Q&A with you if we didn't talk RVs for just a minute. So Doug from the Award Travel 101 group asks, he asks it for you. I guess maybe he doesn't know that I have descended into the world of RVs as well.
Richard Kerr: inaudible
Ed Pizza: He said, "We'll be taking our first RV trip renting from El Monte in June. What's the most important extra item we should purchase to improve the experience?" That's part one. I'll stop there for a second.
Richard Kerr: I don't know, man. What kind of RV? Where are you going? What kind of camp site are you booking? The number one thing I would purchase to make it more enjoyable, a really comfortable camping chair. I don't know.
Ed Pizza: Yes.
Richard Kerr: That's literally... Get yourself a bomb camping chair to sit by the fire or sit inaudible and be comfortable, because that's my happy spot at night. Besides that, without any other details, I can't tell you a certain accessory or anything.
Ed Pizza: No, I think chairs are a huge part of it. I also think, if it's possible, to add, if they have kids, add a hitch. If they hitch on the back of the RV, add a bike rack, take the bikes for the kids. I think that's another winning camping moment.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. No, super easy. The camping trip we took down to Alabama beach a couple of weeks ago was the first time all four of us had bikes and that my youngest, my daughter could ride without training wheels.
So it was the first time we could go on family bike rides around the camp ground and 100% clutch. So yeah, bring your bikes for everybody. That was awesome.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. And I agree on the chairs. I like to throw money at things more than Kerr does. We bought a pretty awesome fire pit called a Breeo.
Richard Kerr: Yeah, that's cool.
Ed Pizza: B-R-E-E-O, which also serves as a sear plate and a grill for our cooking. And it's a smokeless fire pit, so we're pretty jazzed about that. They're not cheap but man, very well worth the investment in my opinion.
Second part of Doug's question says since he likes collecting points rather than cashback, what is the best credit card or stacking offer to use for gas? And talk about right up your ally.
Richard Kerr: Best credit card for gas. Again, such a personal question. New kid on the block is the Wyndham business card for 8X. So if you guys are going on a two-week trip where you're going to be filling up whatever kind of... Again, don't know what kind of RV or tow vehicle you have, but 8X Wyndham points per dollar is a pretty solid offer.
Besides that, you got a Business Platinum. What is that, 5X now on gas? That's huge. 5X Amex points per dollar. 10% back is what it is, but I would look into a few savings programs if I were you first.
So sign up for fuel rewards, sign up for GetUpside, tell your friends and family to sign up with your referral link, at least get yourself a dollar off per gallon the first fill-up. Besides that, depends on what the code is for travel for your card.
So Wyndham Business Platinum. If you got that, sign up for a couple of gas-saving programs like fuel rewards, GetUpside, and then GasBuddy, which is incredibly useful. It'll tell you the local prices around where we are to find the cheapest gas.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. And I remember researching El Monte when we were starting out in the rental world. If I remember correctly, they only rent Class Cs. So in essence, like Winnebago, if you will.
Richard Kerr: Yeah.
Ed Pizza: So you're going to burn a lot of gas.
Richard Kerr: A lot of gas.
Ed Pizza: A lot of gas in those. You're also going to have to remember to be really well-prepared so you don't do like I did the first time where I set the whole camper up and then I realized I didn't have hamburger buns for the hamburgers. I had to unhook everything and go get hamburger buns.
From my two cents on this, I know you said you want to collect points, I think I would just say... I'd really think about the potential for cashback here, even though I know you want to collect points. The Costco card's a great example of one that's 4% back on cashback.
But I also think if your... Some of the... Like the Bank of America cards, if you have money with Bank of America you can get that up to over 5% cashback on a specific category, and you can change that category ever month. So I think there are some pretty lucrative cashback opportunities.
Maybe put the massive rental fees from El Monte on the credit card to earn your points, and you put the gas on some of this cashback.
Richard Kerr: Yep. Agree there.
Ed Pizza: All right, let's veer out of the RV world, not that it isn't terribly exciting, but I know there are some people who are listening who are like, "Man, I can't believe these guys are out there RVing." Well, maybe that's just me saying that.
So how do you feel about paying for your taxes with a credit card? Want to try and tackle that one?
Richard Kerr: Yeah. inaudible actually a question I was asking Ed this morning. A couple of things here I would think about. If you're just doing it for points' sake, probably not worth it because what's the lowest fee now? 1.89%? Is that still true? I don't know off the top of my head. I think there was a change.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. They're all high. And I think I've seen them as high as 3%.
Richard Kerr: Yeah.
Ed Pizza: And there are some that are down the high ones.
Richard Kerr: So if you're going to do 1.89%, common sense dictates you at least need to be using a 2% cashback card or a card that earns points worth two cents or higher to you. So that's the very bottom.
And if it's not 1.89%, whatever the cheapest is, I think there's still one out there that's less than 2%. Second thing is where it could be useful if you've got the baseline is if you've got to hit a huge spin threshold. So if you got an Amex Platinum card, or a Spark Cash card that requires 20 or 50 grand in spend, you have a big tax bill, then sure, it can make sense, you'd trigger a huge bonus.
In my case, you're flying back and forth Atlanta and New York City all the time, I'm only Delta Silver right now. I am American Executive Platinum but they have cut nearly every single flight between New York and Atlanta and given that over to their partners JetBlue, which is unfortunate. So my Executive Platinum is basically worthless to me now.
And flying Silver back and forth is just not getting me the things I need with Delta like a Comfort Plus seat on an old 737 would be nicer but really I'm after the free same-day changes that start at Gold and above, so I need Delta status.
I don't care about upgrades on an hour and a half flight, I care about the convenience factor of reaching an agent, same-day changes, and getting a more comfortable seat. So to me, paying a tax bill on my Reserve card to get bonus MQMs to quickly get me up to Gold so I can start traveling with a little bit less stress is what I'm after.
And paying taxes is an avenue to do that, so that's a unique situation where I think it can make sense. But if you're like, "I got a Chase Freedom card and I want to pay 40 grand in taxes on that," it's probably not worth it.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, I think it depends. So one of the examples that Reed used to ask this question, he talked about earning 1.5 American Express membership rewards points. So I'm assuming he has the Biz Plat card and he's charging $5,000 or more.
I don't love it, but I think that's a potential avenue. So when you work out the math, he said the way the math worked out for him, it was going to cost him 2.5% to pay his taxes. And that's high, don't get me wrong.
If he's earning 1.5 American Express membership reward points, I don't quite value them at two cents, but for easy math let's just say it's two cents. So you're earning 3% back when you're paying 2.5%. I think the only way I'd consider doing that is if I knew that it was highly likely that I was going to use those on one of the membership rewards partners where I was going to redeem for a premium cabin.
Because, sure, that I don't think you're going to get the value. I definitely don't think you're going to get that out of the couple of domestic partners, don't think you're going to get that transformed to hotels.
I think it's really just if you thought you could score a business class ticket, you're probably going to do okay from a value standpoint but you're never going to kill it.
Richard Kerr: I would just say no, the answer to me is no, because you're basically floating cash out there until one day you hope to redeem for hire. And even at that point it's probably going to be marginal. To me, no, I wouldn't do that.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. I think your balance definitely plays a role here. If you've got a really big balance, then I probably wouldn't do it because you've got enough for your next redemption. If you've got a really small balance, I wouldn't do it.
If you were close to where you needed to top off, or I think your example of MQMs, I think if there's another goal out there and it helps you reach a milestone, sure. If you're going to spend $10,000 on taxes and that $10,000 is now enough for you to get a business class redemption and you're going to cash them in the next 90 days, rock on. I can live with that. Short of having a very clearly defined goal, I'm probably a no.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. Concur.
Ed Pizza: Ooh, is that the C-O-N-K-E-R-R version?
Richard Kerr: Emphasis on the Kerr.
Ed Pizza: Quick aside for you guys, if you're enjoying the show so far, please take a minute, leave us a five star rating and review on whatever platform you're listening. We have a link in the show notes that makes it super, super easy to do.
The other way that you can help is to tell a friend, those are the best ways to help us grow the audience, we really appreciate that. All right, let's dive back in.
So I've got a question from Angie, again, in the Award Travel 101 Facebook group. If you're not there, I don't know. She says she's planning on New Zealand for 2023, which I love. I was there right before the pandemic started. In fact, literally took off on the runway when the government was announcing they were closing the borders to Europeans.
She wants to know what points she should be stocking up on, knowing that things change all the time and stuff devalues. She had mentioned that ANA was one of her potential hopes to get there. But what do you think she should be stocking up on if New Zealand is what's on her roadmap?
Richard Kerr: Yeah. My answer to these kinds of questions is always flexible currency. We don't know what the world's going to hold in 2023. We don't know what the programs are going to change. I think we're going to see a lot of changes based on the billions of points and miles that are now on the books that the programs need to get off.
So keep earning your inaudible rewards, keep earning your membership rewards and you'll have a plethora of options to make it happen. The one thing that I would throw out there, because they're difficult to earn, is any chance you get an opportunity to keep that American miles stash useful is something to keep an eye on because they do fly to New Zealand, you can fly Air Tahiti Nui through Tahiti to New Zealand using American miles and it's just difficult to earn them.
So if can pick up a couple of cards over the next few years, get those signup bonuses, keep them in your back pocket in case something pops up, maybe that's the only other thing I would recommend besides flexible currencies.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. And I would echo, Air Tahiti Nui, that was actually one of the flights that I had booked to get me back from New Zealand when I was there. I don't remember if Fiji has restarted service, but that would be another potential use of your American miles. Because pre-pandemic they were doing LA to Fiji and then they serve multiple airports in New Zealand.
Richard Kerr: Flew from Auckland to Nadi on the flight years ago.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. And I know they serve Auckland. I know they serve Christchurch. I think they used to serve Wellington. So depending on what sort of a New Zealand trip you're planning, I think one of the benefits to Fiji is that you've got multiple connecting points there.
Not that you definitely want to go to one place over the other. I think it's more just when you're talking about trying... Like Richard's comment on flexible currency is spot-on. I think to expand that even further, if you want to make your flexible currency even more flexible, find more destinations, because now you've got more potential permutations.
And so Fiji's one of those airlines that has multiple points where they're dropping folks off in New Zealand, so you've got multiple opportunities on a daily basis to find the flight you're looking for. And I also think from a flexible currency standpoint, here I would absolutely be focusing on Ultimate Rewards. I'm biased. I like them better than membership rewards. But there are some pretty banging properties that are part of the Hyatt family in New Zealand.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. Park Hyatt opening up, right?
Ed Pizza: You got the Park Hyatt opening up. Now, I spent some time in Auckland and it was fine. I think getting out and around the country is the way to go if you're going there. And so there's a few properties that are not technically Hyatts but are like member sister properties from small luxury hotels of the world and stuff like that, in Christchurch, in Queenstown and places like that that look beautiful.
And so I think that's a great opportunity to transfer points from Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt. There's a property there that I had an eye on for a little while called Eichardt's Private Hotel. Looks like it's right on the water by the mountains in Queenstown. Looks unbelievably incredible.
So I think that's another potential avenue. And as Richard said, once you're in the Ultimate Rewards family, you've got options with United, there's a bunch of different ways to get you from here to there. So I think if New Zealand's on the radar, I think flexible currency, and for me specifically, Ultimate Rewards is where I would be looking at.
Richard Kerr: You better have a lot because whenever New Zealand opens up, everybody's going to want to go there. I might even pick a different target and save that for '25 or something like that.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. I wonder how many points you're going to need in 2025.
Richard Kerr: inaudible all the points.
Ed Pizza: All right. So another AT 101 question, Maymay asks, "What are your favorite..." I can't talk today. "What are your favorite-"
Richard Kerr: Did she say that?
Ed Pizza: "What are your favorite family-friendly hotels?" That's a tongue twister, that's a lot of Fs. So where are your favorite family-friendly hotels? And I don't know if you can include your favorite one from Orlando if they don't actually have award inventory for the next year.
Richard Kerr: We keep picking the scab, don't we?
Ed Pizza: I love picking the scab with you, I do.
Richard Kerr: Favorite family-friendly hotels anywhere in the world? Is that the question?
Ed Pizza: Both domestic and international, yes, so fire away.
Richard Kerr: Oh, man, so Hyatt Residence Club, definitely. Like the one down-
Ed Pizza: Absolutely.
Richard Kerr: Everybody else talks about Hyatt Regency Coconut Point. Look y'all, skip that nonsense and go next door to the Hyatt Residence Club.
Ed Pizza: Yes.
Richard Kerr: Get a full condo, get a full kitchen, save yourself a gajillion dollars cooking meals, eat when you want. The Lazy River is 20 times better than what's at the Hyatt Regency. There's a Kids Club over at the-
Ed Pizza: And you can still the Hyatt Regency pools.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. Which is cool, but it's always a madhouse over there.
Ed Pizza: Sure.
Richard Kerr: So Hyatt Residence Club Coconut Point is where it's at. I think it's 20,000 points a night. You can call them and work a little something to get the full two-bedroom like we did. Anyways, do that. Skip that Regency nonsense.
That's probably one. Again, Hyatt Residence Club Sedona was baller. Love that view out there in the pool.
Ed Pizza: I didn't know you've been to that property. I have too. I love that property.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. We went out there when the kids were young, and super young, I remember my daughter screamed the whole time in the crib in that place and my son threw up on himself and me on the flight home on Southwest from Phoenix.
Ed Pizza: Well, you really have fond memories of Sedona, don't you?
Richard Kerr: Yeah. Anyway, sitting out there looking at the inaudible, that was awesome. I don't know man, to me, it's a couple of things. We're actually facing this next week. I'm taking the kids with me to New York City next week, they'd never been.
So finding space, finding a suite at the age that where we're at, finding a pool, and finding free breakfast so we can wake up and not hunt and pick and pay a gajillion dollars. So if there's a place I can somehow finagle my way into a suite, if it's got a pool that's heated - Grand Cypress, looking at you, heat your pool, everybody's talking about it lately - and we have breakfast on property, then that's a great family resort.
Now, it is referencing at the beginning of this question Marriott's Vacation Club Harbor Lake in Orlando. Tremendous property, no resort fee, no parking fee, Putt-Putt course, two pools, water park, water slide, pirate ship pool, activity inaudible, that's awesome.
Great location, and they've just zeroed out award inventory for the rest of the year. They're just like, "Nah, we're not going to participate anymore." And of course, Marriott's not going to hold them accountable.
So that is the place and the only place today in the last three years I've redeemed Marriott points for I think, except for a one-off hotel stay or something. That was number one, but it's very quickly going to the bottom now.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. I would tend to agree. And I would echo your sentiment on Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. I don't care as much about the temperature in the pools because I'm just going to sit poolside with my laptop and act like a nerd anyway.
Richard Kerr: You're going to work. That's the most Ed answer inaudible, "Wherever I can sit and work is great."
Ed Pizza: Yes, if my wife were here now, she would absolutely tell you that there are multiple times and probably multiple pictures of me working with my laptop by the pool. And if I want to talk internationally for just a second, I would say there are two properties, used to be three because there was a really awesome property that's part of the Marriott collection in Greece, in a little town called Vouliagmeni.
It's no longer part of the Hyatt program. Oh, sorry, the Marriott program, called the inaudible. But there's two Hyatts that I think are exceptional for family travel. First is... And they're not going to be the two most popular for everybody listening in the cities that I'm going to mention.
First off is Hyatt Regency Paris. And everybody's going to say Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, which I think is an excellent Hotel.
Richard Kerr: That's not a family hotel.
Ed Pizza: What? The Park Hyatt Paris?
Richard Kerr: Yeah.
Ed Pizza: No, I know it's not. That's what I'm saying. I said the Hyatt Regency Paris.
Richard Kerr: Yeah.
Ed Pizza: I'm saying everybody else is going to say Park Hyatt Paris. But it's not really a family hotel. It's a very nice hotel, they treat you well, all that stuff. But Hyatt Regency Paris, a couple of things, first off, they've been great for upgrades over the years for us, which I love.
Stayed there a couple times and got really awesome upgrades, including the Presidential Suite once. And then they've been redesigning their rooms so that the rooms all now have an extra day bed. And so for families with kids, getting rooms with higher occupancy in cities like Paris can be tough.
And so that extra day bed is totally clutch, not only for just the ability to have a place for a small kid to sleep but just in terms of total number occupancy for a room. So that's one.
The other one that I would mention is another, again, not the first Hyatt people would think of when they think of this destination, and that's Hyatt Regency Sydney. I love Park Hyatt Sydney, views are beautiful, they've taken great care of me when I've been there and we've had some nice properties overlooking the opera house, all that stuff.
But the Hyatt Regency Sydney, first off, immediately confirmed connecting rooms for me prior to booking, easy to use a suite upgrade. They have an incredible lounge there. Two different split things; you've got an American breakfast and dinner and then there's always Asian options for breakfast and dinner, so there's a big spread.
And we were there for just about a week in 2019. And by day two, the staff in the lounge had memorized all of our kids' preferences, both for daytime and nighttime. So whenever they walked in, they knew exactly how they wanted their tea or how they wanted their hot chocolate or how they wanted their eggs.
And they pampered our kids for seven days. Our kids loved it. Views are great from the lounge, all that stuff. But more importantly, they made our kids feel incredibly welcome. And so our kids just absolutely love that hotel more than the few nights we stayed at the Park Hyatt Sydney.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. I stayed there for two nights. That lounge is actually very special to me. That's where I signed my first ever business deal, was in the lounge of the Hyatt Regency Sydney.
Ed Pizza: Really?
Richard Kerr: Yep.
Ed Pizza: I didn't know that.
Richard Kerr: I've got a picture there of me signing the deal. I agree with you, the staff, I remember what she looks like but I don't remember her name, but she was so welcoming and friendly. I had a great stay there as well, before I went over to Park Hyatt, so I love that property. It's a good suggestion.
The key thing I want to reinforce, Ed said to everybody, if you've got young families and you've never been to Europe, because we haven't been able to go the last year and a half, is look at your room occupancy limits.
Ed Pizza: Yes.
Richard Kerr: They enforce it, unlike here in the U.S. And many times you can find yourself in a very tough and expensive spot if you think that you're going to get around the stated room occupancies in Europe. Don't make that mistake.
I think Tony in Award Travel 101 has a horror story from a couple years ago. She didn't ignore it, but I don't remember the exact story now, but she ended up switching hotels, buying a second... Just, ladies and gentleman, find out the room occupancies and don't try and get around it.
Ed Pizza: I love Tony and I can't wait to hear that story but you're absolutely right, you can't fudge room occupancy. And even at the St. Regis Rome, I remember the first time we stayed there, beautiful upscale property.
And there was somebody that was checking in the same time we were, and they were whatever the top tier status was at that point. I think it was still an SPG property back then. And they had too many people for the room and the guy was being extremely polite with them about it, but it was... He said, "Sorry, we have a fire code. We can't do it."
Richard Kerr: That includes infants as well. So there's no you get a free infant, no. If you got somebody with lungs and a heart, they count. And Ed doesn't have a heart so he doesn't count.
Ed Pizza: And yours is filled with Coors Light.
Richard Kerr: Yeah, that's true.
Ed Pizza: So there you have it. All right, well, I'm going to close it with one fun one because I can't help it, just because I have to say this over and over again. Between Bankrolls on Twitter asks, "Are you planning to sell your RVs? And when is Richard going to have his own podcast again?" So I'm going to let you go first on these questions.
Richard Kerr: I don't have any plans to have my own podcast. Ed does all the hard work and I just get to show up and talk, so it's the best way to make it happen. I really enjoy podcasting. I love shooting the breeze, I love having a platform to chat, people to get to know me, hopefully to teach folks a few things and interact.
It's a lot of fun. So I don't have any plans to start my own podcast. And I love talking here with Ed. Selling the RV is a great question because my life has taken a right-hand turn, a 90-degree turn if you will, very quickly over the last couple of weeks. And all my grand plans for these RV trips I had for this summer are going to be a little iffy.
And I just don't know how much I'm going to be able to use it, which was something that I always thought about once life changed or picked up. Love it, don't have any plans to sell it right now. But looking at my schedule, it's the end of May now, if I get into the end of July and I haven't been able to use this thing, I'm not going to keep paying for it. So no promises.
It would be really sad because I'm like Ed, I really do enjoy it, my kids really enjoy it. I'm sure I'll hang onto it for a few months. But if I'm not able to use it when the weather's great, then I'm not going to keep paying for it, so I don't know. I hope that day doesn't come, but my calendar sure looks a lot different now than it did a few weeks ago.
Ed Pizza: Man, that is one heck of a left-hand turn because I thought for sure this was the softball question of you're going to own your RV forever and I'm going to be doing everything I can to burn it down and file an insurance claim.
Richard Kerr: I do not want to sell it. My kids love it. Funny story, yesterday we have... Well, I'm out of town, we found a very nice young lady to come and help my wife with the four and six-year-old who are a handful at times.
And my son was making cookies with our young lady yesterday and he asked the babysitter, "Hey, when do you go to sleep?" And she said, "Oh, I go to sleep about 9:00 or 10:00." And Thomas apparently went, "Yeah. On camping trips, dad lets us stay up till 10:00."
Number one, that's not true, man. But number two, they love it so much. I don't want to sell the thing. But you know Ed, I'm not one to waste money. So I'm not just going to sit here and pay something I'm not using, so I hope that day doesn't come. But that's my short answer.
Ed Pizza: I know you're not one to waste money, that's for sure. And I almost had a friend of mine who's been a guest on the show, Stephanie Rosenbloom, who is an excellent travel writer for the New York Times.
She and I were talking the other day and she reminded me that she is from the Midwest, and so she has experience with pickup trucks and RVs, and she said that her and her husband were going camping and I'm like, "Look, you want to come steal it out of the driveway? I'll apologize to the kids and we'll figure it out."
So I'm still looking for a way out, but my kids absolutely love it. So I'm going to suffer through a two-week trip. Well, I won't suffer but I will absolutely hate the parts of setting it up and breaking it down when we have to move and when the heater doesn't work and when the hot water heater doesn't work and when things leak and all that stuff that I can't stand.
But we're going to make some great memories with the kids, and hopefully those memories will be.... Those great memories will be more powerful than the memories of me crawling underneath the toilet to try and stop it from leaking inaudible when Richard and I were in Tabor City, North Carolina.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. We had a great time down in Alabama for five nights. We went to the beach, went to a Yogi Bear in the middle of nowhere and had the most insane people watching I've had in a long time. It was great.
Going to try to make something happen over July 4th, but I just don't know what's inaudible, just knowing what the world is going to throw at us.
Ed Pizza: And if you don't hate hearing Mr. Kerr on the podcast, then Tweet, Facebook, all the Insta, TikToks that you can to tell them to keep coming back on the Miles to Go Podcast every single week with us so we can keep having him on here.
So if you guys show the love to Mr. Kerr, I feel like I can continue to convince him to grace us with his presence.
Richard Kerr: Not too much love. Some of y'all are crazy.
Ed Pizza: Some? All. All right, man. Well, before we kick you out, tell folks where they can find you.
Richard Kerr: Yeah. Find me @KerrPoints, K-E-R-R on Twitter and Instagram is typically where I hang out these days. And a lot of exciting things to come this summer. I'm going to keep teasing that. We'll talk about it eventually, yeah?
Ed Pizza: Yes. And we are going to talk about it first on the Miles to Go Podcast.
Richard Kerr: It's going to be good.
Ed Pizza: We're going to be teasing just little bits and pieces. All right Mr. Kerr, thanks for joining.
Richard Kerr: Anytime, man.
Ed Pizza: That's a full wrap on this week's episode. You can find links to everything we discussed today in the show notes. A big thanks to all of you for tuning in to this week's show.
If any of you have questions or suggestions for a future show, you can drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on social media, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all @pizzainmotion. And you can find me blogging daily at pizzainmotion.com. Until we upload again, we've got miles to go.
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