…And we’re off! – 26/27 May 2019!

Our ten week adventure begins. Yes, 10 weeks. Countries to include, Netherlands 🇳🇱 (our favorite), France 🇫🇷, Austria 🇦🇹, and Germany 🇩🇪. One of us will be spending 6 weeks in an archive in Rouen France, the other will be nursing a broken proximal humerus 🤕 on the coast 🤗. Together we will be exploring, as able, different parts of these countries.

We tend to explore areas that may not be on the typical travelers journeys. Yes, we do hit the more familiar ‘tourist’ sites, but rather we like to see, and more so experience, that which we find along the way.

The following posts will mostly be photos and some random comments, thoughts and musings, and perhaps a bit of pontificating along the way.

Thank you for joining us! – the 2 Travel Guys, Michael and John.

p.s. from John: I know it’s July, And, I finally have the posting app able to talk with WordPress on my iPad. (Slow internet and xml/rpc errors.) Now, I have a lot of catching up to do!!

Airline Loyalty Programs

Airline loyalty programs offer consumers rewards such as free flights and free upgrades depending on how many miles one has earned and one’s status level. But the most difficult decision is which one to choose. There are many factors that can inform such a decision, but ultimately you will have to fly in order to accumulate miles and to reap the rewards.

For the casual traveler who flies once or twice a year, it takes a long time to earn enough miles for reward travel, especially if the flights taken are under 500 miles. There is also the issue that miles will expire if you don’t travel frequently enough. Depending on the airline, some miles expire after 18 months of inactivity; others are more generous with a 36 month window. This means that if you don’t take a qualifying flight within this timeframe, all the miles you have earned disappear forever.

There are ways to retain your earned miles without flying. This involves applying for and being approved for an airline-branded credit card. Each of the major U.S. airlines has at least one branded credit card, some have multiple, which allow you to earn miles for daily purchases. While most of these do carry an annual fee, you should consider this fee the cost of doing business. The fee is usually less expensive than if you had to buy more plane tickets to make up for the expired miles.

The decision of which program to join can seem daunting, but there are some significant factors to consider. First, is your home airport (the one from which you will depart most) a hub for any of the major carriers? For example, if you live in or around Atlanta, you might choose Delta. If you depart from Denver, you might choose United. Some cities, like New York and Los Angeles, are hubs for multiple airlines. Thus, you have a choice in those cities. If your home airport is not a hub or you choose an airline whose hub is elsewhere, chances are that you will need to connect to get to where you are going. And depending on the airline, that’s not always a bad thing as it allows you to earn more miles and segments flown.

Second, which airlines fly to where you want to go? Not all airlines serve all airports. There’s no reason to pick an airline if it doesn’t fly to the cities you want to visit. Within the U.S. this is rarely a problem, as the majority of airports are served by at least two airlines. International travel is another story. While all major carriers serve the main international cities, some airlines specialize in certain regions. For example, American has many flights to Central and South America, while United has many flights to the Asia Pacific region.

Once you decide while loyalty program fits your needs best, you should maximize your daily spending by getting the airline-branded credit card that corresponds to your airline. Most of these credit cards offer one mile per dollar spent and two miles for every dollar spent on airline websites. I say websites because airlines, in addition to booking travel, will also allow you to book hotels and rental cars on their websites. Therefore, eligible purchases made directly with the airline and paid for with the airline-branded credit card count for double miles. As always, check with the credit card company for its current offerings and terms. The miles earned

with these credit cards count toward reward travel, which is the ultimate goal of many travelers. These miles, however, do not count toward elite status, which is solely earned by flying.