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Welcome to the Award Travel 101 Podcast Sponsored by Fuel Rewards


Founded in 2013, the Award Travel 101 Facebook group teaches members how to travel the world using points and miles. Today, our community of over 50,000 people from around the world share, teach and learn how to travel anywhere on any budget. More than just a recap on award travel news and strategy, the Award Travel 101 Podcast offers a glimpse into the stories and lives of our Award Travel 101 community members. Each week we will update this page with the latest episode information and show notes.

  • Episode 0 – Intro to the Award Travel 101 Podcast
  • Episode 1 – How To Win Your Battle With Points and Miles
  • Episode 2 – Marriott Bonvoy And The Struggle Bus
  • Episode 3 – Meet A Points and Miles Addict Who's Afraid of Flying
  • Episode 4 – Can I Redeem Miles for Ambulance Rides?
  • Episode 5 – Marriott May Bonvoy You But Still Get The Points
  • Episode 6 – Never Pay Full Price For Gas
  • Episode 7 – What Happens to Points After Death?

 

Episode 0 – Intro to the Award Travel 101 Podcast

For our very first episode, you'll get to learn more about Award Travel 101 founder Richard Kerr. From falling in love with travel after moving overseas as a teenager, to joining the Navy. Find out how starting a family lead to learning how to maximize award travel redemptions and eventually running a Facebook group as his full-time job!

Today’s episode timestamps:

  • 1:03 — Richard's introduction to travel
  • 2:30 — Richard takes off to the US Navy
  • 3:45 — Points and miles enter the picture
  • 5:20 — The founding of Award Travel 101
  • 7:28 — Richard moves to points and miles as a full-time job
  • 8:50 — The Award Travel 101 podcast is born

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Episode 1 – How To Win Your Battle With Points and Miles

“Three days after you leave the hospital with a broken back, and chemo, and serious multiple myeloma, you decide you're going on this around-the-world trip?” 

The Award Travel 101 community is built around sharing and learning knowledge on how to travel the world with points and miles. A side effect of the community has been the stories of people that meet and interact every day and their stories made possible by a Facebook group. This week we introduce you to Mr. Ike Stanfield of Texas who is currently battling aggressive multiple myeloma cancer. In February 2019, Ike posted to Award Travel 101 that he was cashing in his points and miles and taking a solo trip around the world to Singapore, Delhi, and Doha in first and business classes.

During the show, Ike walks us through some of his daily battles that might delay his determination to see his bucket list destinations. Despite the fact that Ike broke his back just one week before he was supposed to leave for his trip, he persevered through pain and surgery and still completed his around the world points and miles trip. Make sure to listen to his inspiration and words of wisdom as he walks us through each part of his two week adventure.


Today’s episode timestamps:

  • 3:30 — Meet Ike
  • 8:45 — Ike's health diagnosis
  • 12:30 — Ike's around the world itinerary
  • 17:00 — Getting treated well at the Hilton Singapore
  • 19:30 — “What did you reflect on while you were there?”
  • 22:30 — Ike's advice for those facing challenges
  • 28:30 — Ike's words of wisdom

Today's Guest


Ike Stanfield is a retired American Airlines employee from Corpus Christie, Texas. In 2017, he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and has undergone and continues to undergo multiple forms of treatment to battle his disease.

 

Resources

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Episode 2 – Marriott Bonvoy And The Struggle Bus

“The blogs are being told policies before Marriott reservation agents even know whats going on and certainly before front desk agents.  No one knows what’s going on.” 

The Marriott and Starwood merger has been anything but smooth and leadership of the combined portfolio continues to display tone deaf responses to loyal customers. This week Richard and Ed Pizzarello discuss the continuing struggles of the new Marriott Bonvoy program, how it got to where it is, the current state of trying to be a Marriott Bonvoy loyalist and what Marriott can do to right the ship.

Today’s episode timestamps:

  • 1:12 — Happy Travel Day
  • 2:21 — Bonvoy Merger Disaster
  • 3:51 — Problems attaching award certificate for an award night? Points advance bookings and more
  • 5:19 — Marriott is broken master thread
  • 6:55 — New Bonvoy Co-branded card discussion
  • 7:34 — Marriott's tone deaf responses
  • 10:33 — Has anyone never needed a passport to make a hotel reservation? Probably not
  • 18:07  — What could Bonvoy and Lolo Jones have in common?
  • 20:18  — “Bonvoyed”
  • 24:00 — Is there hope? What Marriott needs to do to improve

Today's Guest

Ed Pizzarello founded the Pizza In Motion blog on the Boarding Area network. He's considered one of the preeminent voices in the loyalty program space and is a successful entrepreneur.

 

Resources

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Earn Instant Gold status when you join Fuel Rewards. Save 5 cents/gallon on every fill-up. Terms and Conditions apply, max 20 gallons per fill-up.

 

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Episode 3 – Meet A Points and Miles Addict Who's Afraid of Flying

“I was a few rows behind anyone with my kids and I just jumped up and ditched my kids and ran to the nearest person and sat down and said “Can I please hold your hand?! I'm just so afraid!”

Do you get nervous flying? Or, even worse, do you let that fear keep you from traveling?  This week Richard chats with Toni Southam, a long time Award Travel 101 moderator and Paul Borish, a licensed counselor who specializes in helping those with a fear of flying. In the episode Paul and Toni offer some different ways to tackle this fear and other resources to help find what can work best for you. Tune in to hear Toni share what it’s like to be both a points and miles addict and afraid of flying.

Today’s episode timestamps:

  • 2:20 — Meet Toni, mother of four and points and miles pro.
  • 4:54 — Meet Paul, a licensed counselor who specializes in travel anxieties.
  • 7:43 — What's a typical flight like for Toni?
  • 11:52 — How can you separate rational and irrational fears?
  • 15:30 — How did Toni's first flight after working with Paul go?
  • 19:43 — Paul describes a typical timeline for recovery.
  • 22:30 — Tactical Breathing
  • 24:35 — What kind of emotional support animal is Paul?

Today’s Guests


Paul Borish, MA, is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and long time travel hacker in PA.  In his private practice, he specializes in treating fear of flying (aviophobia) and other travel related anxieties. Utilizing a combination of tele-counseling and in person services, Paul works with clients all over the globe.

Utilizing the motto, “Whatever it Takes,” Paul works with each client to assess and then treat their specific fears, phobias, and anxiety. Those who have not succeeded through traditional counseling, weekend workshops, self-help books, and DVDs have found success and met their goals working with Paul. To learn more about his services, or to schedule a free 20 minute consultation, check out his website travelerspsych.com or reach him by email at paul@travelerspsych.com

Toni Southam is a moderator for the Award Travel 101 community and travels internationally with a family of six using points and miles. Despite her love for travel and points, her biggest fear is heading to the airport and taking a flight. Paul has been coaching her to help her anxiety.

 

Resources

Thanks to Our Sponsor

Earn Instant Gold status when you join Fuel Rewards. Save 5 cents/gallon on every fill-up. Terms and Conditions apply, max 20 gallons per fill-up.

 

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Episode 4 – Can I Redeem Miles for Ambulance Rides?

“Your child strapped to an ambulance gurney is a sight no parent wants to see.”

This week is a special episode where Richard, as promised, shares a glimpse of what life is like when you run a Facebook group for a living. Tune in to hear the recap of a day which included a surprise ambulance trip to the hospital for his two year old. More than just the fear of the unknown (diagnosis), there’s a fear of finances. Richard highlights the importance of not only having a financial plan, but a support network you can turn to when you find yourself in need.

Today's episode timestamps:

  • 3:00 — Signs of concussions
  • 7:05 — A sight no parent wants to see
  • 10:15 — The cost of health insurance
  • 14:15 — The power of community and a support system
  • 16:30 — Wrapping Mary up in bubble wrap & Recap

Resources

Thanks to Our Sponsor

Earn Instant Gold status when you join Fuel Rewards. Save 5 cents/gallon on every fill-up. Terms and Conditions apply, max 20 gallons per fill-up.

 

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Episode 5 – Marriott May Bonvoy You But Still Get The Points

“We have one complaint came from a member who had over 1,300 nights with Marriott…That's an average of $266,000 they have spent with this company and due to tech glitches they lose lifetime status and benefits? It's a bait and switch.”

If you've said or heard the phrase “I've/You've been Bonvoyed”, chances are high you've been burned by Marriott's problem-plagued SPG merger and new program rollout. The stories of former Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Ritz-Carlton members missing nights, points, waiting for hours on hold, and more are endless. This week Richard is joined by Mister M, Shubhayan Mukherjee, co-founder of Bonvoyed.com! Yes folks. You know that there are more than just a few customers on the fringes that are upset when a website launches dedicated to helping members get the support they aren't receiving.

Today's episode timestamps:

  • 1:30 – Starting out on a positive note with some of the good parts of Marriott Bonvoy
  • 12:00 – Three ways to use those Marriott Bonvoy Points
  • 13:50 – The Mysterious Mister M
  • 16:22 – Bonvoy'd goes viral
  • 18:00 – The problems are everywhere
  • 25:00 – Is there an entitlement issue?

Resources

Thanks to Our Sponsor

Earn Instant Gold status when you join Fuel Rewards. Save 5 cents/gallon on every fill-up. Terms and Conditions apply, max 20 gallons per fill-up.

 

Never Miss an Episode

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Episode 6 – Never Pay Full Price for Gas

“Let me show you how I make a profit when I head to the pump a lot of the time these days.”

This week Richard has got a jam packed episode with more information than you'd ever think you'd want to know about buying gas. To start things off, he's got his list of the top programs, stacks and apps that not only get you super cheap gas, but could actually pay you for filling up! He's also joined by Daniel LittleGeneral Manager & Head of MarketingNorth America for Shell. The both get to chat about the history of fuel loyalty programs, the differences between programs in different countries and some previews of what's to come from the Fuel Rewards program.

Today's episode timestamps:

  • 2:03 – How Richard makes a profit filling up his tank
  • 5:13 – A new type of gas payment
  • 11:40 – The gas app no one knows about
  • 18:35 – What's unique about Fuel Rewards
  • 23:50 – Technological updates for Fuel Rewards
  • 26:55 – Is it worth driving out of our way to save a few cents a gallon?

Today's Guest

Dan Little, General Manager and Head of Marketing North America, for the Retail Division of Shell Oil Products US (SOP US) is responsible for overseeing Shell’s retail marketing programs in North America, including the development and implementation of Shell’s branded fuels product portfolio, consumer loyalty and payment programs, retail technology platforms, including the mobile payment and connected car initiatives, and the supporting brand advertising, communications and digital marketing activities

Resources

Thanks to Our Sponsor

Earn Instant Gold status when you join Fuel Rewards. Save 5 cents/gallon on every fill-up. Terms and Conditions apply, max 20 gallons per fill-up.

 

Never Miss an Episode

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Episode 7 – What Happens to Points After Death?

“My husband and I were saving up for a big trip for our family. Over half of the points we were planning to use would be from his accounts. Due to his unexpected passing, are all those points gone or can we still use them?”

What happens to our points and miles after we die? On Feb 6th, Greta Anderson posted that very question in our Award Travel 101 Facebook group. Her husband passed unexpectedly at the age of 43, just days before leaving for one of two trips they were planning with points and miles. Greta so graciously shares her experience with Richard on how to secure not only your loved one's points and miles but also how to protect their identity.


Today's episode timestamps:

  • 1:10 – New features at AwardWallet
  • 3:45 – What's AwardTravel Advanced?
  • 9:05 – What happens to points and miles after you die?
  • 14:30 – A hotel program going above and beyond vs. one doing the bare minimum
  • 20:20 – Protecting your credit and identity of those who have passed
  • 27:00 – The importance of passwords and wills

Resources

Thanks to Our Sponsor

Earn Instant Gold status when you join Fuel Rewards. Save 5 cents/gallon on every fill-up. Terms and Conditions apply, max 20 gallons per fill-up.

 

Never Miss an Episode

Subscribe in iTunesGoogle PodcastsStitcher, or Spotify

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Welcome to the Award Travel 101 Podcast
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