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Christy Rodriguez's image

Christy Rodriguez

Travel & Finance Content Contributor

86 Published Articles

About Christy Rodriguez

Christy lives in San Diego with her husband and daughter. Her study abroad to Italy in college ignited her passion for travel.

Luckily, her husband worked at Southwest Airlines, so they were introduced to the exciting world of “non-rev” travel. This allowed her to visit over 30 countries – mostly on standby. After he left that role, she dove into the world of credit card rewards points so that they could keep traveling for free!

The card that started it all was the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which she still has to this day. 2-3 other cards round out her wallet (currently in rotation is The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card).

Having a baby hasn’t changed much – she can’t wait to show her daughter this beautiful world! (She also has no clue how lucky she is to only fly in business class so far.)

Besides travel, Christy’s other passion is personal finance. She holds a B.A. in Accounting and an M.S. in Finance, both from Texas A&M University. She is also a Certified Public Accountant.

She knows it’s absolutely achievable to have an “exceptional” credit score while earning tons of rewards on your card. In fact, her credit score has consistently stayed above 800 since beginning this journey in 2009.

You can follow Christy on Instagram.

Countries visited icon

Countries Visited

US states icon

U.S. States Visited

Marriott Bonvoy Lifetime Platinum Elite

I have no allegiance, however I current have a Southwest Companion Pass

Star Alliance

Yet to be discovered!

Singapore Airlines

2 seats in Singapore business class from SFO-Singapore nonstop (17 hours!) to celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Christy's Latest Articles

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After Tons of Flights With My Toddler, Here’s What’s in My Travel Bag

After Tons of Flights With My Toddler, Here’s What’s in My Travel Bag

Being a mom of an 18-month-old and a frequent traveler, I’ve had to quickly become knowledgeable about strategically packing when traveling with a child. By far, the most significant adjustment was toddlerhood. No longer content to be held in a…

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What Is the Security Code or CVV on a Credit Card?

What Is the Security Code or CVV on a Credit Card?

When shopping online or over the phone, you may be confused when asked to provide the card’s CVV, or card verification value. CVV and CSC, or card security code, are both terms used interchangeably, but they are one of the…

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What Is the Minimum Age To Be an Authorized User on a Credit Card?

What Is the Minimum Age To Be an Authorized User on a Credit Card?

If you’re looking into the minimum age to add someone as an authorized user on your credit card, you’re probably thinking about getting a credit card for your child on your account. This can have some excellent benefits, including teaching…

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Can You Fly With Marijuana? Legalities and Risks [2023]

Can You Fly With Marijuana? Legalities and Risks [2023]

How high can you get when you’re high? Marijuana is legal in 23 states, 3 U.S. territories, and Washington, D.C. As 8 additional states have decriminalized its use, the substance is technically still illegal, but state authorities won’t prosecute people…

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Best Places To Exchange Money [Best Rates, Fees, and Convenience]

Best Places To Exchange Money [Best Rates, Fees, and Convenience]

When planning a trip abroad, being able to pay for expenses is bound to be a primary concern. While using a credit card for your purchases can give you the best rate, we know it’s not always possible to pay…

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What’s a Good APR for a Credit Card [And How To Get It]

What’s a Good APR for a Credit Card [And How To Get It]

In an ideal world, APR wouldn’t matter because we would pay off our credit card balance each month. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t doing so. According to the Federal Reserve, in 2022, 40% of Americans with a credit card carried…

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Can I Pay My Car Payment With a Credit Card? [Pros and Cons]

Can I Pay My Car Payment With a Credit Card? [Pros and Cons]

When considering the best ways to maximize your earnings on your credit cards, you might think about what you spend the most on each month. For example, rent, groceries, or utility bills might come to mind. But what about your…

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When Is the Best Time To Pay Your Credit Card? [Helpful Tips]

When Is the Best Time To Pay Your Credit Card? [Helpful Tips]

Have you ever wondered if there is a “best” time to make your monthly credit card payment? For most people, simply paying your credit card by the payment due date is sufficient to avoid late fees and avoid damage to…

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When Were Credit Cards Invented? A Brief History of Credit Cards

When Were Credit Cards Invented? A Brief History of Credit Cards

As you swipe your credit card repeatedly throughout your day — at the grocery store, gas station, or to grab a coffee — you might not think much about it. Credit cards offer a secure and quick way to pay…

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Do Credit Cards Have PINs? How To Protect Your Money in 2023

Do Credit Cards Have PINs? How To Protect Your Money in 2023

When you use your credit card, you generally don’t need a PIN (personal identification number) to make a purchase. But there are a few instances where you might need a PIN for your credit card, such as getting a cash…

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How Long Does a Bankruptcy Stay on Your Credit Report?

How Long Does a Bankruptcy Stay on Your Credit Report?

Bankruptcy is a process that helps individuals or a business eliminate all (or a portion of) debt. While bankruptcy might give you relief from debt, including credit card debt, you’ll face some pretty severe long-term impacts due to this action….

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Can You Buy a Money Order With a Credit Card?

Can You Buy a Money Order With a Credit Card?

Most money orders are purchased using cash or debit cards. But what if you don’t have the cash in your account and need to send your family member money or pay for something on Craigslist? You might be wondering if…

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What Does a Negative Balance on a Credit Card Mean?

What Does a Negative Balance on a Credit Card Mean?

f you’ve logged on to your credit card account and been surprised by a negative balance on your card, you might be wondering what it means. The good news is that you have nothing to worry about — a negative…

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Safe and Legal: The Complete Guide To Flying With a Gun [2023]

Safe and Legal: The Complete Guide To Flying With a Gun [2023]

If you’re overwhelmed with the thought of traveling on an airplane with a gun, you might be surprised to know that it’s actually quite simple to travel with a firearm if you take the time to plan ahead. As long…

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What Is a Cash Advance on a Credit Card? (And How To Get One)

What Is a Cash Advance on a Credit Card? (And How To Get One)

If you’ve ever wondered if you can withdraw cash from your credit card, you might be interested to learn more about cash advances. While there are significant fees associated with a cash advance and we generally don’t recommend taking one,…

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Can I Get Cash-back From My Credit Card?

Can I Get Cash-back From My Credit Card?

You might be wondering if there’s a way to get cash-back from your credit card. Many credit card companies offer cards that allow you to earn a small percentage back on every purchase you make. These rewards build up over time,…

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TSA PreCheck: Everything You Need To Know [Application, Benefits, Costs & More]

TSA PreCheck: Everything You Need To Know [Application, Benefits, Costs & More]

Anyone who’s been through airport security knows how much of a hassle it can be to simply reach your departure gate. But, as many of you probably know, having TSA PreCheck can make the airport-security experience much more tolerable. For…

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The Best Ways To Get Out of Credit Card Debt [Detailed Guide]

The Best Ways To Get Out of Credit Card Debt [Detailed Guide]

If you’re carrying credit card debt, you’re not alone. In fact, over 50% of all open credit cards have a balance¹ and among cardholders with these unpaid balances, the average amount of outstanding debt was $6,569.² Obviously, the main goal…

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Ultimate Guide to Service Dogs on Planes [2023 Airline Rules]

Ultimate Guide to Service Dogs on Planes [2023 Airline Rules]

Recently, the Department of Transportation (DOT) overhauled the rules regarding assistance animals on planes. The good news? Both service animals and psychiatric service animals (PSDs for short) are still protected and therefore are allowed to accompany their handlers on the…

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TSA Rules for Food in Your Carry-on & Checked Luggage [2023]

TSA Rules for Food in Your Carry-on & Checked Luggage [2023]

Whether you like to plan healthy meals while you’re traveling, you have small children, or you have medical reasons for needing access to food during your flight, questions related to what food you can bring in your carry-on are extremely…

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Average Credit Card Interest Rates – Statistics by Issuer, Card Type & More

Average Credit Card Interest Rates – Statistics by Issuer, Card Type & More

Here at Upgraded Points, we’re firm believers in not carrying a balance on your credit cards. Interest charges can easily outweigh rewards, so paying your balance can maximize the benefits you receive. But if you’re like 25% of rewards credit…

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Find out about other members of the team

Alex Miller Picture

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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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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Andrew Kunesh

Former Content Contributor

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 “Travel With Vikkie” newsletter.

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Juan Ruiz

Compliance Editor & Content Contributor

Juan has been involved in credit cards, loyalty, travel, and personal finance for more than 10 years. He has worked for several outlets including The Points Guy and Forbes and was previously Editor-in-Chief at Money Under 30.

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