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Andrew Kunesh

Former Content Contributor

69 Published Articles

About Andrew Kunesh

Andrew was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and now splits his time between Chicago and New York City.

He’s a lifelong traveler and took his first solo trip to San Francisco at the age of 16. Fast forward a few years, and Andrew now travels just over 100,000 miles a year, with over 25 countries, 10 business class products, and 2 airline statuses (United and Alaska) under his belt.

Some of his favorite business and first class products are on Lufthansa, SWISS, Hong Kong Airlines, JAL, and Qatar Airways. But don’t worry: he still takes the occasional Spirit and EasyJet flight when the price is right.

Andrew started collecting points and miles when studying at DePaul University and soon started freelancing in the space. He frequently writes about miles and points and books award tickets for a handful of clients.

His work has appeared in a number of points and miles publications around the net, including Credit Karma and The Points Guy. Andrew currently is the Senior Money Editor at CNN Underscored.

To keep up with the latest trends, Andrew obsessively keeps up-to-date with points, travel, and personal finance news. He also attends a few points and miles conferences every year, with his favorite being CardCon.

You can catch Andrew posting about his travels on Instagram and Twitter.

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Countries Visited

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U.S. States Visited

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite

Alaska MVP Gold 75K (via a status match from United Platinum)

Star Alliance

Lufthansa—just can’t get enough of the first class terminal.

That’s a tough one, but I’ll have to settle for Qatar Airways. You really can’t beat the rose Champagne.

8.1 cents per point flying BUD-FRA-ORD in Lufthansa first class.

American Express Membership Rewards

The Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express® Gold Card, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Andrew's Latest Articles

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The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Points and Miles [Express Version]

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Points and Miles [Express Version]

Getting started with miles and points can be tricky. After all, with so many cards available, where do you start? Don’t get too overwhelmed — in fact, armed with the right knowledge, you can be flying for free (in business…

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The Ultimate Guide To Avoid Paying for Baggage Fees [2024]

The Ultimate Guide To Avoid Paying for Baggage Fees [2024]

Let’s be real: baggage fees are one of the biggest travel annoyances. We all know this scenario. You’ve already paid (or used points) for your ticket, packed your bags, and requested time off. You’re super excited to jet off to…

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Capital One Miles Program Review – Earning, Redeeming, and Transfer Partners

Capital One Miles Program Review – Earning, Redeeming, and Transfer Partners

In 2018, Capital One joined the transferable points game by adding transfer partners to its Capital One Venture and Spark Miles cards line. This added more value to an impressive, existing lineup of credit cards and instantly made the mileage…

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The Ultimate Guide to Points and Miles for Business Owners

The Ultimate Guide to Points and Miles for Business Owners

If you’re a business owner, you know that the saying “you have to spend money to make money” rings true. After all, being a business owner comes with countless expenses like office space, web hosting, shipping, salaries, and payments to…

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How To Earn 100k+ Citi ThankYou Rewards Points [in 90 Days]

How To Earn 100k+ Citi ThankYou Rewards Points [in 90 Days]

Citi ThankYou Rewards is one of the major transferable rewards programs, and it provides members a great way to accumulate lots of points that can be redeemed for luxury travel experiences in business and first class. But before you can…

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Renting a Car Without Car Insurance — A Look at Non-Owner Car Insurance

Renting a Car Without Car Insurance — A Look at Non-Owner Car Insurance

Strangely enough, renting a car can actually be harder for those without a car of their own. It all boils down to car insurance. When you rent a car and you already have a car in your driveway, you can use your…

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The Easiest Ways to Use Your Amex Platinum Card’s Membership Rewards Points

The Easiest Ways to Use Your Amex Platinum Card’s Membership Rewards Points

With a 2.2 cent per point valuation, American Express Membership Rewards points are the most powerful transferable points out there. But with so many transfer partners (and other ways to use points) there’s no doubt that redeeming Membership Rewards points…

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Determining When to Use Points and Miles to Book a Flight

Determining When to Use Points and Miles to Book a Flight

Using points and miles to book your flights is great. Not only do you save money, but you can use your points to book flights that may not be feasible when paying cash. Think about flights in Singapore Suites, Emirates…

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9 Awesome Ways To Spend 100,000 Amex Platinum Card Points

9 Awesome Ways To Spend 100,000 Amex Platinum Card Points

There’s no doubt that a welcome offer from The Platinum Card® from American Express is a huge deal. Think international business class, free domestic airfare, and stays in luxurious hotel suites. But with so many options on how to redeem your…

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Airalo eSIM Overview and Review — The Perfect Mobile Data Solution for Travelers?

Airalo eSIM Overview and Review — The Perfect Mobile Data Solution for Travelers?

Having access to the internet when you travel can be an absolute godsend. You can use it to navigate around new cities, find new places to hang out, and keep in touch with friends and family. Plus, remote workers can…

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Uber, Lyft, Via — Picking A Rideshare Subscription Service For Your Commute

Uber, Lyft, Via — Picking A Rideshare Subscription Service For Your Commute

Competition in the rideshare industry is heating up — and with that, the rideshare giants are looking for ways to retain loyal customers. Over the past year or so, we’ve seen rideshare companies like Lyft, Uber, and Via add subscription…

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Earning Rewards With Lyft: 10 Perks and Benefits for Lyft Passengers

Earning Rewards With Lyft: 10 Perks and Benefits for Lyft Passengers

Lyft has been a big player in the rideshare industry for a while, providing an alternative to traditional taxis, Uber, and other car-hailing services. It brands itself as a cheaper alternative to taxis and a friendlier alternative to Uber. Unlike…

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Oops: Some of the Upgraded Points Staff’s Worst Travel Mistakes

Oops: Some of the Upgraded Points Staff’s Worst Travel Mistakes

The Upgraded Points staff prides itself on being a group of well-informed, enthusiastic travelers. However, there’s no doubt that we’ve all made our fair share of travel mistakes over the years – some of which have cost us money, points,…

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38 Valuable Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card [$5,000+ Value]

38 Valuable Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card [$5,000+ Value]

There’s no doubt that the Chase Sapphire Reserve® took the travel credit card world by storm when it launched in 2016. The card was one of the first to offer 3x points on dining and travel purchases, extend a huge…

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6 Best Ways To Earn Lots of Citi ThankYou Points [2024]

6 Best Ways To Earn Lots of Citi ThankYou Points [2024]

Citi ThankYou Points often seem to fly under the radar compared to more well-known transferable currencies such as Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add a stash of ThankYou Points to your…

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The Best Ways to Book Fairmont Hotels & Resorts With Points and Miles

The Best Ways to Book Fairmont Hotels & Resorts With Points and Miles

Fairmont Hotels is one of the more overlooked global hotel brands. It has over 70 properties in 24 countries worldwide and recently beefed up its loyalty program after it was acquired by Accor, a global hotel and hospitality company. This…

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28 Best Ways To Earn Lots of American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

28 Best Ways To Earn Lots of American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

American Airlines is the world’s largest airline with the biggest fleet and highest revenue of any airline company in the world. This translates to the airline not only having a strong route network from its various U.S. hubs, but also…

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Apple’s AirPods Pro: A Frequent Flyer’s In-Depth Review

Apple’s AirPods Pro: A Frequent Flyer’s In-Depth Review

Noise-canceling headphones have long been a necessity for frequent flyers — and it’s easy to see why. Think about it: when you’re flying on a long-haul flight from the U.S. East Coast to Japan, the plane engine noise is bound…

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How To Earn 100,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles [in 90 Days]

How To Earn 100,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles [in 90 Days]

Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan program is an award-winning airline loyalty program that allows members to earn and redeem miles for travel on both Alaska Airlines and its suite of Oneworld partners like American Airlines and British Airways and non-alliance partners…

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10 Ways to Use British Airways Avios Without Huge Fuel Surcharges

10 Ways to Use British Airways Avios Without Huge Fuel Surcharges

British Airways Avios are some of the easiest airline points to earn. The program is an American Express transfer partner, Chase transfer partner, Capital One transfer partner, and Marriott transfer partner — and a co-branded credit card from Chase that…

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The 11 Best Credit Cards for Cell Phone Insurance Protection [2024]

The 11 Best Credit Cards for Cell Phone Insurance Protection [2024]

Cell phones — we all have one, but let’s be honest: they’re crazy expensive. In years past, flagship smartphones would sell for $600 to $800 depending on storage size, but now you’re more likely to pay upwards of over $1,000….

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Find out about other members of the team

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Ashley Onadele

Content Contributor

Ashley discovered a love for travel in college that’s continued as her family has grown. She loves showing parents how they can take their families on trips using points and has contributed to numerous publications and podcasts.

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Brandon Brunner

Former Content Contributor

Brandon was born and raised in California and really didn’t travel much growing up, even outside of his own state. While attending college, he was constantly looking to find the cheapest fares to any destination abroad, and quickly learned about the motto- “Chase the fare, not the destination”. Luckily, his first international flight was to Costa Rica (under $300 roundtrip) where that “Pura Vida” lifestyle (and Imperials) hit him hard, and he knew he had to see more.

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Brian Graham

Former Content Contributor

Brian’s first ever airplane ride was in a private turbo-prop jet. He was merely an intern boy trying to make a good impression, but it turns out the plane made an impression on him.

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Carissa Rawson

Senior Content Contributor

Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business Insider, Forbes, and more.

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Caroline Lupini

Former Content Contributor

Caroline Lupini always enjoyed traveling, but it became her goal to do as much as possible after a 3-week trip around Europe in 2011. In March 2014, Caroline left her job and embarked on nearly full-time travels. 

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Charlie Page

Former Content Contributor

Charlie is a Senior First Officer and has been an airline pilot for nearly 15 years. He currently flies long-haul on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner after 10 years buzzing around Europe on the A320. He got into travel and aviation from an early age, fortunate enough to be taken on some great family holidays.

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Cherag Dubash

Content Contributor

Cherag was born in a family associated with aviation and was hooked on to planes since the age of 3, the time he undertook his first flight on an Airbus A310 from Mumbai to Dubai.

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Chris Hassan

Social Media & Brand Manager

Chris holds a B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management and managed social media for all Marriott properties in South America, making him a perfect fit for UP and its social media channels. He has a passion for making content catered toward family travelers.

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Christy Rodriguez

Travel & Finance Content Contributor

After having “non-rev” privileges with Southwest Airlines, Christy dove into the world of points and miles so she could continue traveling for free. Her other passion is personal finance, and is a certified CPA.

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Dan Miller

Content Contributor

Realizing that it wasn’t all first class flights and 5-star hotels, Dan started the Points With a Crew blog in 2014, with the aim of helping families (especially large families) to use miles, points and credit card rewards to take that trip that they might have thought they couldn’t afford. He has spent over 10 years covering developments in the travel rewards credit card space. His expertise extends to all things personal finance, including student loans, budgeting and real estate, and his work has been featured in sites all over the Internet, including NerdWallet, Forbes, Business Insider, Rocket Mortgage, CreditCards.com, Bankrate, Turbotax, Credit Karma and Intuit Mint.

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David Slotnick

Former Content Contributor

Born and raised in New York, David still remembers his first flight when he was only four years old: a U.S. Airways trip from New York-La Guardia to Palm Beach, Florida. He formed his love of travel around that and other family vacations, including to England at age eight and Namibia when he was 13. During college, a four-country trip around Europe with a friend cemented his passion for seeing the world.

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Erin Miller

Content Contributor

An experienced points hacker, Erin is Alex’s partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points with in-depth guides and relationship management. Erin’s work has been cited in multiple major publications.

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Greg Stone

Content Contributor

Greg got bitten by the travel bug at a young age while traveling with his Dad on business trips to Asia. He took over the family business in 2012 and uses it to maximize his loyalty points earning. His obsession with earning and burning loyalty rewards points allows him to travel over 100 days every year.

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James Larounis

Senior Content Contributor

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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Jeff Brownson

Former Content Contributor

Since discovering miles and points in 2010, Jeff has traveled to over 35 countries, flying in first class, business class, and sometimes even in coach. Whether he’s staying in a hostel dorm, or in a luxury suite at a 5 star hotel, Jeff is constantly looking for the best deal to make travel as close to free as possible.

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Julian Kheel

Content Contributor

Julian Kheel first learned the ins and outs of credit card rewards and travel loyalty programs while flying more than 200,000 miles a year as a TV producer and director for World Wrestling Entertainment. With over 15 years of professional experience studying travel loyalty programs, Julian has served as CNN’s Senior Editor covering travel and credit cards, as well as the Editorial Director of The Points Guy, and has worked as a consultant for the Big 3 U.S. airlines.

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Lindsey Olander

Former Content Contributor

Currently based in New York, Lindsey spent her childhood in Connecticut dreaming of far-off places. Her first flight was to Disney World at age 11. Her second flight was for a high school field trip to Italy, though travel as a career didn’t stick until she studied abroad in London during college and discovered the true power of her passport. Since then, she’s worked as a travel editor at Jetsetter and Travel + Leisure, where she reported on everything from African safaris to hot hotel openings to, yes, Disney World.

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Lukas Picton

Former Content Contributor

Lukas escaped his hometown south of Sydney and moved to the big smoke immediately after high-school, but the bright lights of the city weren’t enough, and he soon set his sights on more exotic international destinations and has been in love with travel ever since.

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Michael McHugh

Former Content Contributor

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Michael took his first international trip in 2013 with friends to the Bahamas. Although he didn’t travel much in his younger years, on that trip, he caught the travel bug and has been hooked ever since.

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Nick Ellis

Editor & Content Contributor

Nick’s passion for points began as a hobby and became a career. He worked for over 5 years at The Points Guy and has contributed to Business Insider and CNN. He has 14 credit cards and continues to leverage the perks of each.

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Senitra Horbrook

Writer

Senitra Horbrook is a frequent solo traveler who began using points and miles in 2012. Formerly credit cards editor at The Points Guy, Senitra has also contributed to Forbes Advisor, AwardWallet, Insider, among others.

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Spencer Howard

Former Content Contributor

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience.

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Stephen Au

Former Senior Content Contributor

Stephen is an established voice in the credit card space, with over 70 to his name. His work has been in publications like The Washington Post, and his Au Points and Awards Consulting Services is used by hundreds of clients.

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Susan Wright

Former Finance Contributor

While writing about finance and insurance isn’t something that keeps most people awake at night, it is what Susan Wright has focused on for more than 25 years. As a financial copywriter, Susan has an eye for money-related details such as credit and savings, and she loves to pass along helpful information to consumers. Susan holds 11 financial industry designations (including CLU, ChFC, RHU, REBC, ADPA, CITRMS, CIPA) as well as several licenses.

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Victoria M. Walker

Senior Content Contributor

Victoria holds a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the Howard University School of Communications and is an award-winning journalist, travel reporter, and the founder of the “Carrying On with Victoria M. Walker” newsletter.

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Chris Dong

Editor & Content Contributor

Chris is a freelance writer and editor with a focus on timely travel trends, points and miles, hot new hotels, and all things that go (he’s a proud aviation geek and transit nerd). Formerly full-time at The Points Guy, his work can now be found at AFAR, Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, The Washington Post, and Lonely Planet, among others

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Brett Holzhauer

Content Contributor

Brett is a personal finance and travel junkie. Based out of Fort Lauderdale, he’s had over 100 credit cards and earned millions of credit card rewards. He learned the tricks of the trade from his mom, and has taken many steps forward. He wasn’t exposed to much travel as a kid, but now has a goal of reaching 100 countries in his life. In 2019, he sold all of his possessions to become a digital nomad, and he says it was one of the best decisions he ever made. He plans to do it again at some point in his life.

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Daniel Ross

Senior Content Contributor

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points Guy, and more.

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Christine Krzyszton

Senior Finance Contributor

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, detailed content for UP.

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Katie Seemann

Senior Content Contributor and News Editor

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, Forbes Advisor, and Fortune Recommends.

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Ehsan Haque

Content Contributor

Ehsan is an avid traveler who has traveled to 100 countries, diligently using points and miles to fund his journeys. Currently, he holds 32 active credit cards and earns over a million points and miles annually, primarily using them for luxury hotels and long-haul premium cabins.

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Jessica Merritt

Editor & Content Contributor

A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little cash as possible.

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Amar Hussain

Senior Content Contributor

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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Michael Y. Park

Editor

Michael Y. Park is a journalist living in New York City. He’s traveled through Afghanistan disguised as a Hazara Shi’ite, slept with polar bears on the Canadian tundra, picnicked with the king and queen of Malaysia, tramped around organic farms in Cuba, ridden the world’s longest train through the Sahara, and choked down gasoline clams in North Korea.

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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

With years of experience in corporate marketing and with a nonprofit, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and reviewing thousands of UP articles in the process.

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Ryan Smith

Content Contributor

Ryan completed his goal of visiting every country in the world in December of 2023 and now plans to let his wife choose their destinations. Over the years, he’s written about award travel for publications including AwardWallet, The Points Guy, USA Today Blueprint, CNBC Select, Tripadvisor, and Forbes Advisor.

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Alex Miller

Founder & CEO

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business, The New York Times, and more.

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Lori Zaino

Senior Content Contributor

Lori is an intrepid traveler who loves creating itineraries that exude “luxe on a budget.” She’s written for CNN, NBC, The Infatuation, and more, and loves to muse about points-fueled trips to Sri Lanka, Sicily, and Myanmar.

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Juan Ruiz

Senior Editor & Content Contributor

Juan has extensive experience in writing and editing content related to credit cards, loyalty programs, and travel. He has been honing his expertise in this field for over a decade. His work has been featured in various prestigious publications, such as USA Today, CNN Underscored, Forbes and The Points Guy. Juan is the visionary behind JetBetter, a premier award booking concierge service.

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Stella Shon

News Managing Editor

With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in The New York Times, USA Today, and more.

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Kellie Jez

Director of Operations & Compliance

Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s compliance operation.

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Jarrod West

Senior Content Contributor

Boasting a portfolio of over 20 cards, Jarrod has been an expert in the points and miles space for over 6 years. He earns and redeems over 1 million points per year and his work has been featured in outlets like The New York Times.

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