Select Page

Ed Pizza: This week's episode of the Miles To Go podcast is brought to you by the new Wyndham Rewards Earner cards, designed with road trippers and road warriors in mind. Apply today, and you could earn up to 45,000 bonus points, enough for up to six free nights at of hotels by Wyndham around the world. Whether it's the no-fee Wyndham Rewards Earner card, the $75 annual fee Earner Plus card, or the $95 annual fee Earner Business card, Wyndham Rewards has a card that's right for you. Plus with up to eight X points on eligible hotel stays and purchases, up to five X points on marketing, advertising, utilities purchases with the Earner Business card, and up to four X points on restaurant and grocery purchases, your next gateway could be closer than you think. Earn like you mean it every day and get the free nights faster with the Wyndham Rewards Earner cards. Terms and conditions apply. Learn more at wyndhamrewardscreditcard.com.

Stephanie Rosenbloom: 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, welcome back to the Miles to Go podcast. Today, we're talking about how to recreate a bit of that aspirational travel right at home, and we're also going to be touching on a unique opportunity to earn status on an airline you might not have been paying enough attention to. I feel like I've started almost every episode with some version of, "Hey, while we're all still trapped inside," over these past six, seven, eight months, this week's guest really took that to heart, seeking out ways to make it feel as if she was in some of her favorite destinations around the world. Spoiler alert. Some of these are my favorites as well. Stephanie Rosenbloom has been a travel writer at the New York Times for over a decade, with a significant portion of that time focused on travel, which is where I got to know her.
She's also the author of Alone Time, Four Seasons, Four Cities, and The Pleasure of Solitude. We had Stephanie on the show when the book was released and we have her back on the show today to talk about her recent works that are part of a new collection at the New York Times, titled Around the World at Home. And they certainly have me a pining for an airplane, Steph.

Stephanie Rosenbloom: Me too.

Ed Pizza: It's just one of those things where... Gosh. I mean, the level of detail in the article really just brought me back to how much I enjoy getting lost in a city somewhere else in the world.

Stephanie Rosenbloom: Yes. And I think that was part, just in the writing of it. I mean, I'm glad that that came through, but in the writing of it, I was hoping, even if you don't do any of the things that are talked about in the piece... It's like anything that you read. It's sometimes just the act of reading something, can take your mind there, and that alone is relaxing and enjoyable and can be a lot of fun.

Ed Pizza: And I love that you started this series with Paris, one of the iconic cities that's featured in your book Alone Time. The part that excited me the most... You might recall that my daughter's a huge fan of Paris.

Stephanie Rosenbloom: I do, yes.

Ed Pizza: And the article really brought her right back there when I shared it with her, just like when she read Alone Time. And I think it really shows not just obviously your ability to write, but also your love for Paris as a place. You can go through the article and not really necessarily key in on, say, the Eiffel tower or the Arc de Triomphe, but just the way that the city can swallow you up into its little bits of culture.

Stephanie Rosenbloom: Yes. Yeah. I mean, part of the joy, I think, of Paris, whether you're going for the first time or whether you've been there many times before, is just simply walking around, right? Obviously they have world-class museums and restaurants, but the feeling of the city just comes over you when you're walking, and this can be whether it's a beautiful sunny day or it's a chilly winter afternoon. You get that feeling walking by Gothic churches and these hipster brunch spots, and everybody's just spilled out onto the streets. The tinkling of silverware that you hear on the quieter blocks and the trees and just walking along the sand, all of that atmosphere, I think, is something that you can recall, whether you're there or whether you're at home. So much a part of that city to me is not one specific thing, it's the vibe of the city that you get as you move through it.

Ed Pizza: Yeah. And I think, for me, at least, food is always a big part of how and why I travel, and I have these memories that are attached to it. And I found I didn't have to get very far into the article to really pull me back to my first Paris trip, because the first time I went to Paris, I really can't remember if it was a friend's recommendation or if it was a recommendation from the hotel. But I said, "Hey. I want to go somewhere, and I obviously authentic, I think, French baguette, but I don't want to go where the tourists go," and the recommendation... I guess it almost certainly probably had to be from the concierge at the hotel, they sent me to Eric Kayser, and it was... I wish I could remember how long ago it was.
It was a while ago, and it was one of those things where it was just a little tiny corner store where most folks were there to get sandwiches for lunch. It wasn't anything fancy, but I have that memory of seeing that the fact that there was nobody in line whose native language was English. These were all native French speakers, and they were there on their lunch break to grab lunch, and that really keyed into me that I was somewhere that wasn't a line of tourist people getting the normal treatment.

Stephanie Rosenbloom: Yes. Yeah. And I mean, Eric Kayser now has many, many shops in France than around the world, but that was one of my favorites when I was working on my book. That was a place that I would go every morning just to get a croissant or anything that looked delicious, but usually just that. It didn't need anything else. There was no need to put anything on it or have anything with it. It was gone in two seconds, even though I tried to slow myself down, but just wonderful, wonderful breads, and just a real delight. Not just the taste, also, but the smell.

Ed Pizza: Yeah. And I think you're a little bit lucky. Lucky might not be the right word because New York's definitely an odd place right now.

Stephanie Rosenbloom: Yeah.

Ed Pizza: But if I remember correctly, he has a few shops in Manhattan, which might make it a little bit easier for you to create the boulangerie effect in your kitchen right now.

Stephanie Rosenbloom: He does, although I have, and I don't want to misspeak, but I think they may have closed, unfortunately, due to the pandemic.

Ed Pizza: Oh, no.

Stephanie Rosenbloom: Yeah.

Ed Pizza: Oh, gosh.

Stephanie Rosenbloom: I don't want to say that that definitely happened, and I know that it was temporarily the case, and I think that may have happened.

Ed Pizza: Yeah. That would be a shame.

Stephanie Rosenbloom: It would be terrible. Yeah. It would be a shame, because it was exciting to have... although there is that thing. I don't know if you experienced this, but that moment where when you discover a place that you really love somewhere, and then it's thrilling that it's coming closer, or there's an outpost near you, but at the same time, there's something about it only being in this one place in the world, or these one or two places in the world, because there was something special about it that it just... I don't know. For me, when things start to be everywhere... I don't know. It changes.

Ed Pizza: Yeah.

Stephanie Rosenbloom: It changes a little bit. On the other hand, of course, I wish them all the success in the world because they make wonderful, wonderful bread. Yeah. I don't know what the current situation is with New York and in particular, with those restaurants.

Ed Pizza: And there's so many chains that are going through that, but I think one of the things that's a central theme to your piece, How To Pretend You're In Paris Tonight, is the small visual cues, or... If we're talking about the other senses, whether it's taste or smell, using things that are more readily available to you in your current location to bring you back to those memories in Paris.

Stephanie Rosenbloom: Yes. I mean, for sure one of the things for me was... I mean, there are two things. One is music and one was actually something... it was very funny. We were talking with the editors about what people think of when they think of Paris, and obviously fashion is one of those things, which is an interesting moment to talk about fashion because where are we going? Who am I getting dressed for, except for myself? I'm certainly not putting on a show here, but I will say we were talking about that, and I said, "Oh. One of the things that is a big part of just being in France and just watching people, because you can spend the better part of a day sitting on a bench somewhere, just watching everybody go by," and we were talking about elements of clothing and fashion, and of course, scarfs came up and I remembered many, many years ago... I think I actually first picked it up... I was in France, but Cosmopolitan had done a thing on how to tie a scarf.
But it was this beautiful interactive video that they did where they showed you... I mean, it was an insane amount of ways. It was at least two dozen ways on different ways to do this. And it was just honestly, as just a piece of digital media, it was beautifully done, but it was also really cool and lots of fun. That's one of the things that is in the piece that you can check out and is actually something you might use because you can actually, if you're somewhere where it's a little chilly or this time of year, you can play with that when you're on your socially-distanced errands or walks. That was one thing. Music was another thing. For me, that's a very, very big thing about creating a sense of place, what you're listening to when you're at home.

Ed Pizza: Well, yeah. And I think when you talk about having that absolutely right song that brings you back to a place that you've been, I think it can absolutely create that atmosphere. For me, I also love to cook, though I don't get nearly enough time to do it, and that combination of music that brings me back to somewhere I've been, along with the smells of a place are really things that bring me back from a sensory standpoint to places that I've really enjoyed over the years.

Stephanie Rosenbloom: Yeah. The New York Times Cooking had put together... This was before the series was even happening, had a lovely French cooking collection through their app and on the website, and has all sorts of recipes from France. And to our earlier point about Eric Kayser, he has a really fun YouTube channel. It's a Maison Kayser YouTube channel, and you can see him making breads and frankly, that is just one thing I will not attempt to do, but just simply, I loved watching him do it because he has such... He's doing it with such gusto and he's so joyful, and you see the flour just puff in the air, and it's just delightful to watch. This goes back to that idea that, maybe I'm not going to do everything, but sometimes just bathing in it, whether you're watching a video or reading a book or looking at photos or listening to music, all of that puts you in that frame of mind.
And actually something interesting happens because it's not just about pretending, I think, to be in that other place. It's merging that sense of the other place with right where you are. You're not trying to pretend the reality isn't what it is, but I think there is something about infusing my New York life with a little bit of that Paris life and the blending of those two things creates like a third moment, a third place for me. And I really love that. I love that being in two worlds at the same time.

Ed Pizza: And it's funny you say that because there was a line in the article that really... If there was a spot to put a pin in, for me, it really epitomized my travel style, and given, I did fail French in high school, so no grading me on pronunciation, but you said, "When visiting, I like to be a flâneur, a stroller with no destination." Such a visual thing for me, because it's not always possible, especially because I normally travel with my kids, and so there's certain scheduled things that you have to respect with children, but I love my first day somewhere to be completely unplanned, and the goal is to walk out the front door of my hotel, and as I'm walking out the front door, that's when I'm deciding if I'm going left or right, and there's nothing else on the schedule. And that comment from you really brought me back to... Paris is just one example of a number of cities I've been to where, gosh, it's so encouraging to folks to say, "Hey, just have that unplanned day where you're there to be a part of the culture."

Stephanie Rosenbloom: Yeah, absolutely. And that's the lesson I think, to take, in your own hometown or wherever you are, and that's... For me, this moment has been all about getting to better know my own hometown, my neighborhood, walk around, experience it, go down streets that I normally would not go down or just spend time in places outdoors that I might not otherwise have spent because we're here and it's an opportunity. And that idea that being a flâneur is limited only to a place like Paris, is not true.

Ed Pizza: No, it really isn't, and I think you tie that up well in the article about making sure that you're getting out in your current surroundings and exploring, because there are those bits right now that, while we can't be far away, we can certainly try to recreate the discovery, and it's something that you touched on in your book about trying to rediscover your hometown. We all go away to explore the world and I'm certainly guilty, just like many others, of living in the DC area. I never find myself downtown looking at the city and spending time in the Smithsonian or the American History Museum, those sorts of rich cultural events that we have, because I know I can always go.
And so I just bypass it and say, "Gosh, if I could only be in Istanbul this week."

Stephanie Rosenbloom: That's right.

Ed Pizza: And I know I can't, but I did see when we first set up that we were going to talk, that you had released the piece on Paris. And I do see now that you've got a second piece in the series out on Hawaii. You did mention that there are some other stories coming. Any hints that you can give readers on where we can expect to find you imagining in the future?

Stephanie Rosenbloom: Yes. The hint will be that... as on the East coast, the winter sets in and things get a little chilly, we're going to help you get cozy and embrace the season. We will not try to outrun it. We did Hawaii for Thanksgiving, which is great fun and a way to bring some of those traditions to your own table at any time of year. But for the winter, we're going to take you somewhere that really embraces the season, and knows how to enjoy it. Knows how to thoroughly enjoy it.

Ed Pizza: I can't wait for that. And for me, I've still never been to Hawaii, and I feel like this comes up way too much on the show, and I get criticized quite a bit for it. I mean, certainly I enjoyed the Paris piece, but it was fun to also read an article for a place I hadn't been to, and look forward to some of those things that I would say warrant the normal top five or top 10 things that people mention when they plan a Hawaii trip. I'm certainly looking forward to using it as a roadmap when I feel safe enough to hop on a plane and fly somewhere, and I have feeling based on the current state of travel restrictions that Hawaii's likely to be available to me a lot sooner than maybe some other places that I want to visit in the world.

Stephanie Rosenbloom: Sure. And I think one of the things with the series is that part of the idea there is to say to people, "This is not about, here's what you can do until you can go." A lot of this is just things to enjoy, even if you never go. That's the point, is to also say, "Oh, these are really cool recipes. These are wonderful films or books or things," and certainly will enhance going. There's all that wonderful research around anticipating a trip and planning for a trip well in advance of actually going, boosts your enjoyment even before you're actually buying a plane ticket or going there, but there's also that piece, which is, it's just fun to cook up these recipes or read these books just on their own, even if for you, it's just the Hawaii of your mind.

Ed Pizza: Yeah. Well, you've just added another page in my notepad of trips that I'm planning and why they're high on my list, and gosh knows we've had so much time to do that planning.

Stephanie Rosenbloom: Yeah. It's true.

Ed Pizza: It makes me want to get back out there. Stephanie Rosenbloom, I am super happy to have had you back on the show. Again, we'll have links in the show notes to the Paris and the Hawaii article, but tell folks where they can find you when you're not hopping on the podcast.

Stephanie Rosenbloom: Sure. You can find me at stephanierosenbloom on Instagram, and you can find me on nytimes.com. You can just search Google for my name and NY Times, and all the articles will come up right there.

Ed Pizza: And maybe, just maybe, someday, I've been encouraging her to join us in the blogosphere to share some words on a daily basis, so we'll still cross our fingers and hope that that happens, to hear a bit more from Stephanie on an ongoing basis.

Stephanie Rosenbloom: Thank you. I'm trying.

Ed Pizza: Thanks for coming back on the show. Stay tuned, guys. On the other side of the break, we'll be talking with Frontier Airlines about a unique opportunity that can save you plenty of money in 2021.
Back on the Miles To Go podcast. We haven't talked much about airline status lately. That's really a by-product of the fact that I haven't been on a plane since March, like thousands of road warriors are used to board a plane every week for work. As we head into 2021, most airlines have frozen status, meaning that elite members really aren't losing their status right now.
But if you think about it, many routes have disappeared off the map. That may make it a lot harder to focus on your airline of choice in the near future. Frontier Airlines, an airline we don't talk about a ton on the podcast, has a status match opportunity right now that may be one of the most valuable status matches we've seen in a long time, and it's an interesting distinction since elite status on a bigger carrier may be more valuable in total, but this status match is a really interesting opportunity, and I'm going to explain a bit more about that in the final two pennies, but for now, I learned that the Frontier status match, which was due to end last week, has been extended. And I'm joined right now by Tommy Langhauser, senior manager of loyalty, and co-brand at Frontier Airlines. Tommy, welcome to the Miles To Go podcast.

Tommy Langhauser: Thanks, Ed. Happy to be here.

Ed Pizza: Yeah. So when you and I started talking about the status match, you mentioned that Frontier had extended it because of the demand that you'd seen from customers. Tell me some more about that.

Tommy Langhauser: Yeah. So when we first put this out, it was very well-received to the point where we didn't know what to expect, but we have continued to see volume come in and matches come in each day and we felt it was just a no-brainer to keep it out there and really make sure that we can hit as many customers as possible with it.

Ed Pizza: Yeah. And I think it's an interesting time of year. We're at the end of the year, where road warriors like myself would normally start making these decisions for next year. Those decisions might be delayed a bit right now because a lot of us aren't flying, but we're still thinking about what we're going to do next year, and the status match opportunity that you guys have out now is for three different levels of status, and I think where it's most interesting, especially for road warriors, just given the pain points of trying to move to a new program, is your ability to match immediately to either the 50K elite level or the elite 100K level in the Frontier program.

Tommy Langhauser: Yeah. We didn't really want to put a barrier on it and make it where you had to match down. We really wanted a one for one, and that's why we opened up the availability for our 50K and our 100K to be matched in, with essentially, their equivalent, and in some cases, a little bit better than their equivalent on some of the other programs.

Ed Pizza: Yeah. As you say, better than equivalent. I'll use United as an example because it's my primary airline, and on United, as well as on American, the platinum and platinum pro levels, which are typically 75K levels, match to this elite 100K level. And for me, I think one of the biggest things there is the WORKS bundle, which I'll go into in a little bit more detail, but let's talk a little bit about what a 100K status might offer to a road warrior right now that would be appealing to them to jump on the status match.

Tommy Langhauser: I think the biggest thing with the elite 100K status is, when you're shopping our website, it includes Discount Den, so it includes our fare club, so you get the lowest fare possible and that's it. That's all you pay. There's no got yous there because like you mentioned, it does come with the WORKS bundle, which includes refundability as well as all of the ancillaries that you'd normally hate to pay us for. But not only that, it also extends to you and anyone else on your booking. So you and eight others can take advantage of that status as long as you're flying with them.

Ed Pizza: Yeah. And I think that's the big key that we're going to dig into a little bit more at the close of the show, is that ability to extend it to everybody on your reservation, up to eight, obviously. As a family of four, paying for seat assignments and checked bags and all that stuff across a family of four can really add up. And that's the other side of the teeter-totter, if you will, for Frontier having these unbelievable fare sales, where sometimes I can grab a ticket for 12 bucks to get to Orlando, to go. Disney world.

Tommy Langhauser: Yeah. And I mean, we love the fact that we're able to offer those fares and welcome people to take advantage of them.

Ed Pizza: So let's talk a little bit about the why. I mean, personally, I thought we'd see more, I don't want to use the word poaching, but I thought we'd see airlines trying to go after top tier elite. So I thought I'd see American going after United, United going after Delta, and we haven't seen a ton of that yet. I mean, maybe we'll see more of that in the new year. I mean, this is a pretty direct shot at the larger airlines that Frontier competes with, and essentially you're saying, "Hey, for a $49 fee, you can match over to our top tier status." Why now, and why does Frontier feel like this is a compelling offer?

Tommy Langhauser: So many people in the industry, I think, agree with Frontier that leisure demand's going to recover first, and we know that our program is focused on that leisure customer, the frequent and the infrequent. And we really feel that it's a good opportunity to provide some real dollar savings to customers that may not have seen that on their traditional airlines in the past or in the future, and don't expect to see it. So there are alternatives out there, especially when it comes to domestic travel and leisure travel here in the US.

Ed Pizza: Yeah. No question that leisure travel is rebounding more quickly, and I think that that's one of those things where... Obviously I have my eyes set on the 100K status because I'm a road warrior on a consistent basis, but I think the ability to match into even the elite 50K status is pretty appealing for a family, especially because... You mentioned Discount Den before. The elite 50K status comes with a 50% discount for a Discount Den membership, but it also comes with a couple of other key benefits, like family seating, which I think when you combine that with things like kids fly free, you've got a really compelling proposition there for somebody to step into 50K status. And if they're traveling as a family, and this goes back to when you guys revamped the program a couple of years ago, you've got family pooling of miles and kids fly free and family seating, all these things that are geared towards the family, that really make it worth considering a Frontier for an upcoming leisure trip.

Tommy Langhauser: Yeah. And when we were redeveloping the program, it was really going to be focused on the family and we wanted it to have that step up of, yes, the family pull-in is your base level of the family side of it, and then the family seat and that book-in which is an immense value for customers that want the best seats on the plane at book-in, and then as we've already touched on, the family status with the elite 100K.

Ed Pizza: I guess the only question really left here as we close in on the end of the year is, how much longer do you think you guys are going to keep this out there?

Tommy Langhauser: So we don't have a set a date to turn it off, but I would expect us run it until roughly the end of the year for now, and then we'll be exploring all options to bring it back possibly in 2021 as well.

Ed Pizza: Awesome. Well, Tommy, thanks for being on the show. For folks who are thinking about this, I would say jump on it before it runs out with that earlier December 1st deadline extended just a bit. I was able to get my status match done last week to the elite a 100K level, and you wouldn't want to miss out on this one by a day or two, if Frontier decided to pull it. Tommy, thanks so much for being on the show.

Tommy Langhauser: Thanks for having me, Ed. Enjoyed it.

Ed Pizza: We'll be right back, on the Miles To Go podcast.
Okay. Back to wrap up this week's show with the final two pennies, and I wanted to take a quick minute to remind folks about our sponsor this week, the new Wyndham Rewards Earner credit card. I'm planning to add the Earner Business credit card in my wallet shortly, to start earning five points per dollar on a slew of small business expenses, and that Earner Plus card is a great card for personal use. Also, if you've listened this far, I imagine that means you liked the show, and so I have two quick favors ask. First, if you can click the link in the show notes and leave us a five-star rating and review, that would be really helpful. And second, please tell a friend and help us grow the audience.
Okay. I mentioned just a few minutes ago that I thought the Frontier status match may be the most valuable status match we've seen in a very long time. To be clear, that's not to say that Frontier elite status is the most valuable. That's really in the eye of the beholder. If you're bound for Europe, Frontier Elite 100K status, isn't going to get you there, but it is possible for a family of four to take a family vacation for a hundred dollars in airfare on Frontier, given how crazy some of their fares are. It's not a hundred dollars per person, but a hundred dollars total. I'm talking, 10, $12 fares pop up regularly on Frontier. Of course, then you have to tack on all the add-ons. It's easy to spend a hundred dollars per person in add-ons such as carry-on bags, checked bags, seat selection, even a personal item. If it's over a certain size, it gets charged on Frontier.
And even if you purchase their bundled packages, like the WORKS to save money and have flexibility with your ticket, that can set you back a hundred bucks per person. Across a family of four, that adds up really quickly. That's why I think the status match is so valuable. The free Discount Den membership means free access to kids fly free and discounts for everyone in the family. And the fact that everyone in your party gets the WORKS bundle for free is a huge money saver. A business traveler could save thousands of dollars in a normal year between regular travel and a vacation or two with their family. That's why I think you should seriously consider this match opportunity if you do plan to travel in 2021.
That's a full wrap on this week's show. We've got plenty more good stuff coming your way this month, including our biggest giveaway in 2020, just in time for the end of the new year. I think you're really going to like it, but we're not there just yet. We've still got Miles To Go.

 

How can you enjoy the scents, tastes and cultural experience of Paris while stuck at home in quarantine? Stephanie Rosenbloom, NY Times travel writer, tells us how on today’s show.

And, there’s a limited time status match offer that could be really lucrative for you in 2021, and it can extend to your entire family.

If you enjoy the podcast, I hope you’ll take a moment to leave us a rating. That helps us attract more listeners!

This week’s episode of the Miles to Go is brought to you by the NEW Wyndham Rewards Earner Cards. Designed with road trippers and road warriors in mind, apply today and you could earn up to 45,000 bonus points, enough for up to 6 free nights at thousands of Hotels by Wyndham around the world.

Whether it’s the no-fee Wyndham Rewards Earner Card, the $75-annual fee Earner Plus Card or the $95-annual fee Earner Business Card, Wyndham Rewards has a card that’s right for you. Plus, with up to 8x points on eligible hotel stays and gas purchases, up to 5x points on marketing, advertising and utilities purchases with the Earner Business Card, and up to 4x points on restaurant and grocery purchases, your next getaway could be closer than you think.

Earn like you mean it every day and get to free nights faster with the Wyndham Rewards Earner Cards. Terms and conditions apply. Learn more at wyndhamrewardscreditcard.com.

Hope you enjoy the show!

If you have a suggestion for a future show find me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and let me know what you’d like to hear about!