About Andrew

Andrew's work as a government employee has forced him to learn to find humor in every situation, which he believes is the key to enjoying travel. An aviation geek who had never flown in a premium cabin prior to winning a trip to Finland from One Mile at a Time, Andrew now uses miles, points, and elite status to up his globe trekking game. His favorite animal is the golden retriever.

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Nerd Alert: Airline Management Simulator Games

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Lucky is a self-described AvGeek, but even he has his limits. He makes fun of me for playing an online airline management simulation called AirwaySim. But in my opinion, this computer game is great fun for anyone who loves airlines, even if you moved out of your mom’s basement years ago.

Basically you run your own imaginary airline, typically competing against other players who are managing their own fake carriers. You buy or lease aircraft, establish routes, set fares, hire staff, advertise, and even make fuel hedging contracts.

There are variable weather and economic conditions that add another dimension of complexity to the simulation.

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How I’m Maximizing The 5x Transportation Bonus This Quarter

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I’ve had the Chase Freedom® Card for several years, since before I even started reading One Mile at a Time. It’s one of the two no-annual-fee cards I actually use (the other is The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express).

The 5% cash back the Freedom Card offers on rotating quarterly categories (up to $1,500 a quarter) is actually 5x Ultimate Rewards points for those of us who pair it with a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

This quarter (January through March), the bonus categories are gas stations and local commuter transportation. Gas stations often sell gift cards for future fuel purchases or other things, and many people meet the bonus that way.

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Weird Travel Anxieties

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Friend of the blog Andrew B is back, this time discussing travel anxiety. Yes, this is the same Andrew who won the trip to Helsinki several years back, and who wrote the hilarious “Airbus To Megabus” trip report last year.

Travel-related anxiety is a pretty common thing. Many people still panic when they board a plane, even though they rationally know that flying is incredibly safe.

My main travel fear is unusual, though: I am afraid of sleeping on airplanes. Of course, it’s mostly unavoidable for longer flights, so I do end up falling asleep. But every time I do, I worry about what might happen.

Why? Because I talk in my sleep. And it’s pretty weird.

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Review: Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Dubai

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Don’t ask me why I chose to spend my Labor Day weekend in Dubai. The average high temperature in late August/early September is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and with the heat index it can feel like 120.

The good news is that this isn’t a peak tourism time in the UAE, since most sane people wouldn’t voluntarily endure this kind of heat. Hotel occupancy rates are low, so rooms are cheap. That combined with the fourth night free benefit from my Citi Prestige card meant that my dollar (or dirham) could go a lot further than usual, which inspired me to splurge.

On my first two trips to Dubai, I was my usual budget-minded self and stayed at an Ibis and a Holiday Inn, which were perfectly fine, but this time I wanted to really experience the over-the-top glitz for which the city is (in)famous.

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Review: Minute Suites DFW

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Recently I went on an amazing weekend trip to Mexico City with Tiffany and her husband. On the way back, I had a very brief overnight in Dallas: my flight from Mexico City arrived at DFW at about 9 pm, and my flight to DC left the following morning slightly after 5 am. I wanted to maximize my sleep, since I planned to work the following day.

For a while I’d been very curious about Minute Suites, which offers rooms for short stays inside security in Terminal D at DFW Airport (they also have locations at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and at Philadelphia International Airport).

I really wanted to like Minute Suites for two reasons: one, I think it’s a really great concept; and two, Ben was very skeptical about the whole thing and I was dying to prove him wrong for once.

A few years ago I stayed for a few hours at Yotel in Terminal 4 of London-Heathrow Airport, and I loved it. The design was brilliant, and the room (or “cabin”) was small but very comfortable.

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Mexico City: Andrew’s Thoughts

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In the last two posts of this trip report, our friend Andrew B will be sharing his experience on the trip to Mexico City. Yes, this is the same Andrew who won the trip to Helsinki several years back — we’ve been friends ever since. This whole trip was his idea, so it’s only fitting he write the final installments. Below are his (typically hilarious) thoughts.

I’d been hoping to visit Mexico City for a while. I was a little anxious about the potential diplomatic implications of inflicting my poor Spanish skills upon our neighbors to the south, but when there was a great airfare on American from DC to Mexico City, I couldn’t resist.

Usually I pride myself on finding inexpensive places to stay that are still reasonably comfortable. On this trip, however, since I was going to be staying by myself in a country I’d never visited before, I figured I would splurge on a place that would offer a little more pampering than the 3-star options I usually choose.

I had about 60,000 IHG points to spend, which I’d earned from the signup bonus on the IHG Rewards Club Select credit card. The Intercontinental Presidente Mexico City looked lovely, and I figured it was time to try one of IHG’s upmarket properties after having stayed in countless Holiday Inns. I booked a room for 2 nights at 30,000 points a night.

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From Airbus To Megabus: A Trip Of Contrasts

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The hardest part of this trip was explaining to my friends why I was traveling from Dubai to Doha to London to LA to New York to Austin, Texas in the span of 3 days. The typical response was a look of horror and disgust, combined with a confused question, like, “why would you do that?”

My justification for this madness is threefold:

1. I love airplanes and flying.
2. I’ve never flown Qatar Airways or British Airways first class before, and I’ve been itching to try American’s first class service between LAX and JFK, so this is a great way to have new experiences while earning a bunch of miles.
3. The fare was only about $1,700, or 90 percent less than it would normally be. To me, $1,700 is a lot of money, but considering the usual price, it seems like an amazing deal. When I thought about it this way, how could I afford not to go?

For this trip, I had to meet Ben and Tiffany in Dubai. With Tiffany’s help, I booked an award ticket in Etihad’s business class on a 787-9 from Washington-Dulles to Abu Dhabi. As a business class passenger, I took advantage of Etihad’s complimentary chauffeur service from my home to Dulles, and from Abu Dhabi to Dubai.

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