Award Travel 101 Podcast Episode 24: LIVE From a Lounge Award Travel 101 Podcast Episode 24: LIVE From a Lounge

Award Travel 101 Podcast Episode 24: LIVE From a Lounge

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The Award Travel 101 podcast is back with Award Travel 101 community moderator Mike Zaccheo LIVE from the Polaris Lounge. If you want us to air your question, send us an email or reach out to us in the Award Travel 101 Facebook Community.

Shoutout to Thrifty Traveler Premium for partnering with this episode of the Award Travel 101 Podcast

Finding award space can be tough. Wouldn't it be amazing to get alerts when lie-flat business class space opens up? Thrifty Traveler Premium does just that.

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Some recent examples include:

  • Lie-flat business class seats to Tokyo for 60K each way
  • Business Class to Europe for 50K each way
  • Or try the new “Nerd Alert” feature that identified Emirates First Class for just $610 where you could shower in the sky

You can even find their guide on “Best Day to Book Flights.” Use the promo code ‘AT101’ for $10 off your first year at

Award Travel 101 Podcast Show Format

We break each show into six sections:

  • Question/Win of the Week — asked or shared by members of the Award Travel 101 community
  • News & Enhanced Offers
  • What Bonuses Did We Get — which will tell you what credit cards we're working on and why
  • Trip Updates
  • Highlight Feature
  • What You Didn't Know — a feature dedicated to a big or small tip that will help you better maximize the value you receive from your rewards.

How to Listen to the Award Travel 101 Podcast

You can find us anywhere you listen to other fine podcasts including:

Previous Episode Show Notes

Award Travel 101 Podcast Episode 24 Show Notes

Post of the Week (From the Award Travel 101 Group)

Susie Buckwald posts about a New York Times article about packing efficiently. The author laments about overpacking, airlines charging for checked bags, overstuffed carryons, and a chaotic boarding process. For us in the miles & status field, we don’t pay to check bags but that doesn’t mean we need to. We had so much interaction and many great comments on the post. Are you #teamcheck or #teamcarry?

News & Enhanced Offers

We're breaking away from our normal discussion on credit card offers, asking if it's worthwhile to chase or keep top-tier American Airlines status now that benefits that once were only available to Executive Platinum members are now available to all. Is Platinum Pro the new sweet spot?

Trip Updates


  • Headed to Paris for a meeting then London for two nights (Waldorf Hilton using Hilton Free Night Awards) including a Ted Lasso tour and historic bar crawl.
  • Work has an economy-only policy so used an upgrade to Premium Plus and waitlist into United Polaris to Paris (CDG).
  • 15k United MileagePlus miles for waitlist to Premium Economy for return from Milan (MXP)
  • Two Hilton certs for Waldorf Hilton normally 80k or 500£ per night
  • 12.5k AA for British Airways (BA) from London Heathrow (LHR) to Milan (LIN). Access to British Airways First check-in, security, and lounge thanks to Oneworld Emerald status


  • 19K AA miles for “Player 3” and me for an impromptu NYC trip and was upgraded 20 minutes. What did we end up doing?
  • Great weekend with “Player 2” at the Ritz Carlton using a credit card Free Night Award and 11K points
  • Getting ready for Mexico. As this episode drops, I’ll be packing up for our trip to the Riviera Maya. Booked using 37.5K United miles per person round-trip (booked in one-way segments).
  • What does United 1K status provide, and how will I try to get upgrades (for all)?
  • Andaz Mayakoba — how did I get a beach suite with a plunge pool?

What Bonuses Did We Get?

Mike: AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® for 70K (currently 50,000 miles)

Joe: also got 70k bonus on AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® for “Player 2”

Highlight Feature: Airport Lounges

Mike's joining us LIVE from the Polaris Lounge in Newark (EWR), where he discusses the ways to gain lounge access via cards, status, or select airline tickets. What are some of your favorites?


(Starting 2/1/25, Reserve Card members get 10 Delta Sky Club visits yearly. Spend $75,000+ on the card between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24 for unlimited visits, and each calendar year thereafter – Learn more.)


  • Star Alliance Gold (e.g. United Gold & above) — business class lounges
  • OneWorld Sapphire (e.g. AAdvantage Platinum) — business class lounges
  • OneWorld Emerald (e.g. AAdvantage Executive Platinum/Platinum Pro) — first class lounges
  • SkyTeam Executive Elite (e.g. Delta Gold & above) — business lounges

Only Available Via Premium Ticket

  • Polaris Lounges (Business)
  • Chelsea Lounge JFK (First)
  • Greenwich Lounge JFK (Business)
  • British Airways Concorde Room (First)

Airline First Class lounges

  • Lufthansa
  • Etihad
  • Swiss
  • Air France La Premiere
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Emirates
  • Singapore
  • British Airways

What You Didn't Know

Two new features of our sponsor Thrifty Traveler Premium. Thrifty Traveler Premium has introduced two new features: Never lose notices again and “Nerd Alert”.

Where To Find the Award Travel 101 Community

For questions, you can join us in the free 96,000+ member Award Travel 101 Community.

  1. If you want to jump into more intermediate and advanced strategies, our Award Travel 201 community ($89.99 annually) is filled with those who want to dig into the weeds, looking for more outsized value.
  2. To book time with our team to discuss how to better your earning and burning strategies, check out Award Travel 1-on-1.
  3. You can also email us at
  4. Meetup sold out, but you can waitlist.
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AwardWallet Tip of The Day
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