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James Larounis

Senior Content Contributor

553 Published Articles , 1 Edited Article

About James Larounis

Jamie first got hooked on miles and points during a high school choir trip to Europe, where he flew in Lufthansa first class (thanks to his dad’s then US Airways miles) because economy was sold out.

Years later, he started The Forward Cabin blog to teach friends and family about miles and points and delve deep into the inner workings of airline and hotel programs.

He’s helped organize Frequent Traveler University, where he’s spoken in depth about the loyalty programs of American AAdvantage, Amtrak Guest Rewards, Kimpton Inner Circle, Marriott Bonvoy, and World of Hyatt. In addition, he helps run the twice-a-year Loyalty Summit, a professional conference attended by heads of loyalty programs at major airlines, hotels, and credit card issuers.

Highlighting his knowledge of airline customer experience, Jamie was featured in American Airlines’ “Elevate” training program presented to all frontline employees in 2016 talking about the essentials of customer service.

Among several media spotlights, he’s spoken at Princeton University and the New York Times Travel Show, been quoted in Condé Nast Traveler, The Fiscal Times, Forbes, New York Magazine, The New York Post, The New York Times, Skift, and Travel and Leisure Magazine, been featured on CNN, written for InsideFlyer and Road Warrior Voices/USA Today, and makes occasional guest appearances as a featured expert discussing the travel industry on major cable news media worldwide.

One of the largest projects Jamie is involved with is business development at SELECT black card, where he is responsible for new benefit acquisition in the travel sector. Through his relationships, Jamie was able to sign major brand relationships with Celebrity Cruises, Hawaiian Airlines, Hyatt Hotels, Priority Pass, Royal Caribbean, Silvercar, Tumi, and others.

Jamie holds a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Mary Washington and is a certified Advanced Life Support provider with the Commonwealth of Virginia. In his spare time, he volunteers as an emergency medical technician on an ambulance, leads community CPR and first aid classes, and is on the board of directors of his local Rotary Club. His proudest accomplishment is earning the Eagle Scout award with the Boy Scouts of America.

You can follow Jamie on Twitter and Instagram.

Countries visited icon

Countries Visited

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U.S. States Visited

World of Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite

American AAdvantage Executive Platinum

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Qantas first class (A380)

Qantas business class (B747)

4,500 British Airways Avios from Longreach to Brisbane, Australia

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James's Latest Articles

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Purchase U.S. Open Tickets With American Express Presale [May 28 to June 1]

Purchase U.S. Open Tickets With American Express Presale [May 28 to June 1]

If you want to attend the U.S. Open Tennis Championships this year in Flushing, New York, and you have an American Express card, you can get first dibs on tickets thanks to an Early Access sale starting this week. You’ll…

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Costco Selling $500 Southwest Airlines eGift Cards for $429.99

Costco Selling $500 Southwest Airlines eGift Cards for $429.99

If you plan on flying Southwest Airlines anytime soon, Costco has a great deal for you. The warehouse wholesaler chain is again offering $500 Southwest Airlines eGift cards for only $429.99, a $70 savings — let’s take a look. Discounted…

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Buy Marriott Bonvoy Points With up to a 50% Bonus [Ends July 24]

Buy Marriott Bonvoy Points With up to a 50% Bonus [Ends July 24]

Marriott Bonvoy is offering a bonus of up to 50% when you purchase Marriott Bonvoy points through July 24, 2024. This offer is targeted and will vary based on your account, but it likely won’t make sense for most people…

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Marriott Bonvoy Escapes 20% Off Hotels Sale [Book by May 26]

Marriott Bonvoy Escapes 20% Off Hotels Sale [Book by May 26]

If you’re looking for a last-minute getaway, Marriott is running a sale on paid rates for travel between May 27 and June 16, 2024. As a Marriott Bonvoy member, you can save 20% on your booking at select properties in…

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United MileagePlus Offering Up to a 100% Bonus When Purchasing Miles [Targeted]

United MileagePlus Offering Up to a 100% Bonus When Purchasing Miles [Targeted]

United Airlines MileagePlus members can take advantage of a new promotion when buying miles. Offers vary depending on the amount of miles you purchase, but you can purchase them with up to a 100% bonus. This promotion is valid through May…

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[Expired] Earn 50,000 Points With Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy Offer [Book by May 24]

[Expired] Earn 50,000 Points With Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy Offer [Book by May 24]

Update:The offer mentioned below has expired and is no longer available. Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy is the hotel giant’s answer to Airbnb, offering the ability to book entire apartments, condos, homes, villas, and more. In short, they’re ideal…

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Kimpton Hotels Shares Social Password for Summer 2024

Kimpton Hotels Shares Social Password for Summer 2024

Kimpton Hotels, a brand under the IHG portfolio, regularly offers the ability for guests to earn cool giveaways, prizes, and stay perks simply by saying a rotating “social password” when checking in. The brand has just released its password for…

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Is Amtrak Northeast Regional Business Class Worth It?

Is Amtrak Northeast Regional Business Class Worth It?

The Northeast Regional train is the backbone of Amtrak’s operations. It operates from the Virginia cities of Roanoke and Newport News to Boston, with many intermediate stops in between. As a lifeline of the Northeast Corridor, the train makes important…

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Battle of the DFW Airport Hotels: Hyatt Regency vs. Grand Hyatt

Battle of the DFW Airport Hotels: Hyatt Regency vs. Grand Hyatt

If you need to book an overnight stay near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, there are 2 hotels on the airport property: the Hyatt Regency DFW International Airport and the Grand Hyatt DFW. Each property has a different price point and…

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How To Find American Airlines Systemwide Upgrade Availability — Best and Worst Routes

How To Find American Airlines Systemwide Upgrade Availability — Best and Worst Routes

If you’re a top-tier American Airlines elite member, you’re probably familiar with systemwide upgrades (SWUs). While earning a “free” upgrade to a fancy seat may seem like a dream, redeeming these certificates can be challenging as there is often little…

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Marriott New York JFK Airport [In-Depth Hotel Review]

Marriott New York JFK Airport [In-Depth Hotel Review]

Marriott New York JFK Airport is a relatively new airport hotel near New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). It’s a modern hotel that offers a clean, convenient stay before a flight and a regular shuttle service to the…

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Get $40 Back After Spending $180 at Delta [New Amex Offer]

Get $40 Back After Spending $180 at Delta [New Amex Offer]

Do you fly often with Delta Air Lines? Do you have The Platinum Card® from American Express in your wallet? If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, make sure to check your Amex Offers before booking your next…

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New Hilton Amex Offers: $240 Back at Hotels and Resorts [Stackable With Existing Benefits]

New Hilton Amex Offers: $240 Back at Hotels and Resorts [Stackable With Existing Benefits]

There are new Amex Offers with some terrific deals for those who are considering staying at a Hilton-branded hotel or resort. These targeted offers require you to spend a certain amount at specific properties to receive a statement credit or…

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How To Book the Alaska Airlines Milk Run [2024]

How To Book the Alaska Airlines Milk Run [2024]

The world-famous Alaska Airlines “Milk Run” is a must-do adventure for an aviation geek. It’s definitely something to add to your bucket list if you’re a plane enthusiast, though it can be a bit tricky to book if you don’t…

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[Expired] Iberia Selling Gift Cards at up to 10% Off [Ends May 14]

[Expired] Iberia Selling Gift Cards at up to 10% Off [Ends May 14]

Update:The offer mentioned below has expired and is no longer available. It’s very rare that airlines discount airfare, but for a limited time, you can purchase gift cards for travel on Iberia Airlines at up to 10% off. Depending on…

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I Flew to Juneau, Alaska for 48 Hours. Here’s Everything I Did.

I Flew to Juneau, Alaska for 48 Hours. Here’s Everything I Did.

Did you know that Juneau, Alaska, is one of just 2 state capitals in the U.S. that isn’t connected to the outside world by any road? The other one is, of course, Honolulu, Hawaii. Juneau is a breathtakingly beautiful city…

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How To Get From Harry Reid International Airport to the Las Vegas Strip [2024]

How To Get From Harry Reid International Airport to the Las Vegas Strip [2024]

Harry Reid International Airport is the only major commercial airport serving Las Vegas. It’s an incredibly busy airport, filled with people vacationing and hoping to win big on the Las Vegas Strip, as well as business travelers attending major conferences…

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[Expired] Save 10% at All IHG Hotels With New Chase Offer [Expires May 21]

[Expired] Save 10% at All IHG Hotels With New Chase Offer [Expires May 21]

Update:The offer mentioned below has expired and is no longer available. If you have a Chase credit card, be sure to check the Chase Offers section of your card account to see if you were targeted to save 10% off…

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Purchase IHG One Rewards Points With an 80% Bonus [Targeted]

Purchase IHG One Rewards Points With an 80% Bonus [Targeted]

IHG One Rewards’ latest promotion allows members to purchase points with an 80% bonus, bringing the overall cost down to 0.56 cents per point. Let’s take a look at the details of the promotion and how you can maximize it….

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How To Get from Los Angeles International Airport to Los Angeles [2024]

How To Get from Los Angeles International Airport to Los Angeles [2024]

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is one of the busiest airports in the U.S. and serves as a primary gateway city for flights to the South Pacific and Asia. It’s a massive complex with multiple terminals, tons of traffic, and…

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American Airlines Pet Policy: Flying With Dogs, Cats, and More [2024]

American Airlines Pet Policy: Flying With Dogs, Cats, and More [2024]

When flying with a furry friend, you’ll encounter various rules and restrictions, so it’s important to understand the requirements that apply to you. American Airlines’ animal transportation program has numerous fees and rules to keep in mind, with many intricacies…

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Find out about other members of the team

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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 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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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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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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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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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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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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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