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Michael McHugh

Former Content Contributor

63 Published Articles

About Michael McHugh

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.

Michael first caught wind of the points and miles game in 2014 while at a bar in Washington, DC where the conversation amongst friends was quickly derailed because of an alert on a friend’s phone about a mistake fare.  That’s where the love affair with points and miles began.

Michael’s first points and miles redemption was a trip to Southeast Asia where he flew Cathay Pacific from Newark to Bangkok (connecting through Hong Kong).

By day, Michael works as a solar energy developer where he develops utility scale solar projects in the U.S. By night, Michael works as a Senior Points Contributor at UpgradedPoints and runs his travel blog Points With Q.

At Upgraded Points, Michael specializes in points redemptions. He has vast knowledge of award programs and helps show readers how to receive the most value through booking award flights around the world.

Follow along with Michael in Houston and on his travels on Twitter and Instagram.

Countries Visited: 15
U.S. States Visited:
32
Highest Hotel Status: Marriott Bonvoy Platinum
Highest Airline Status: American Airlines Gold
Favorite Airline Alliance: Star Alliance
Favorite Business Class: Delta One
Best Redemption Value: 10.4 cents per point flying Delta One to Europe
Favorite Type of Points: Chase Ultimate Rewards
Top 3 Cards in Wallet: Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Blue Business Plus, Citi Premier

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Countries Visited

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U.S. States Visited

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Michael's Latest Articles

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10 Best Paris Hotels to Book With Points [for Max Value]

10 Best Paris Hotels to Book With Points [for Max Value]

Known for its art, culture, fashion, and gastronomy, Paris is a city that attracts all types of travelers. This beautiful city is home to many iconic sights including the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, and Notre-Dame….

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The 10 Best San Francisco Hotels to Book With Points [for Max Value]

The 10 Best San Francisco Hotels to Book With Points [for Max Value]

Known for Alcatraz, cable cars, Chinatown, the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Mission, the Presidio, Russian Hill, Victorian houses, world-class restaurants and bars, and “Karl” (the year-round fog), San Francisco is one is the U.S.’s iconic…

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10 Best London Hotels to Book With Points [for Max Value]

10 Best London Hotels to Book With Points [for Max Value]

The capital of England and the U.K. is likely one of the first cities a first-time international traveler from the U.S. will visit. London is an old city that mixes the old with the new well. From sightseeing to Michelin-starred…

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14 Best Hotels in Los Angeles To Book With Points [for Max Value]

14 Best Hotels in Los Angeles To Book With Points [for Max Value]

Los Angeles is a destination with enviable weather that’s great to visit year-round. It’s a city at the center of the film and TV industry with a food scene that alone makes it worth a trip. If you have never…

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The 10 Best Chicago Hotels to Book With Points [for Max Value]

The 10 Best Chicago Hotels to Book With Points [for Max Value]

The Windy City is a summertime destination that is hard to resist. From June to August, it is simply hard to beat walking around downtown Chicago or cruising around the lake with the sun shining. Chicago is known for its…

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Top 9 Best Washington, D.C. Hotels to Book With Points [for Max Value]

Top 9 Best Washington, D.C. Hotels to Book With Points [for Max Value]

There’s just something special about when you hop off the plane at Reagan National Airport (DCA) or the train at Union Station. You can feel that the air is different in the nation’s capital — a feeling similar to when…

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9 Best New York City Hotels to Book With Points [for Max Value]

9 Best New York City Hotels to Book With Points [for Max Value]

New York City is one of the most iconic cities, not only in the U.S. but in the world. The Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square, Broadway shows, food, and fashion are just a few reasons why you should…

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The 15 Best Marriott Luxury Hotels To Book With Points for Maximum Value

The 15 Best Marriott Luxury Hotels To Book With Points for Maximum Value

The Marriott Bonvoy program is one of the most popular hotel loyalty programs in the world. It also has some of the most luxurious brands, including The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, and The Luxury Collection. With this series, the goal is…

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The 5 Best Hilton Luxury Hotels To Book With Points for Maximum Value

The 5 Best Hilton Luxury Hotels To Book With Points for Maximum Value

As one of the big 3 hotel programs, Hilton Honors is impossible to ignore if you’re an award traveler. And if you’re a Hilton loyalist who’s saved up hundreds of thousands of Hilton Honors points, you may aspire to book…

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The 14 Best IHG Luxury Hotels To Book With Points for Maximum Value

The 14 Best IHG Luxury Hotels To Book With Points for Maximum Value

You generally don’t hear much about the IHG One Rewards program, especially if you’re new to points and miles. While it gets less attention than Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, and World of Hyatt, that’s no reason to write it off….

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The 10 Best Hyatt Luxury Hotels To Book With Points for Maximum Value

The 10 Best Hyatt Luxury Hotels To Book With Points for Maximum Value

With Hyatt luxury hotels, one thing is apparent: the value you get by booking expensive hotels with a relatively small number of points. That’s simply not the case with other luxury hotel brands. Trust us, we know. This article is…

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The Benefits of Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status [Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador]

The Benefits of Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status [Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador]

Marriott Bonvoy elite members appreciate 2 things, among many, about the Marriott Bonvoy program — the hotels’ global footprint and unique properties. Knowing that you can find a hotel no matter where you travel brings peace of mind for leisure…

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The Best Ways To Fly to Greece With Points and Miles

The Best Ways To Fly to Greece With Points and Miles

Located in southeastern Europe with its fifth-century B.C. capital in Athens, Greece is a mountainous country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean. The country is known for historic sites, such as the Acropolis and Parthenon, as well as picturesque…

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The Best Ways to Fly to the Czech Republic With Points and Miles

The Best Ways to Fly to the Czech Republic With Points and Miles

Castles, pilsner beer, and hearty cuisine are likely what comes to mind when you think of the Czech Republic. The capital of this central European city is located in Prague with most places that you’ll want to see within a…

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The Benefits and Perks of Hilton Honors Elite Status [Silver, Gold, and Diamond]

The Benefits and Perks of Hilton Honors Elite Status [Silver, Gold, and Diamond]

The Hilton brand was founded in 1919 when Conrad Hilton purchased his first hotel in Texas. Since then, many things have changed with the brand, including the introduction of the Hilton Honors loyalty program in 1989. Serving both business and leisure…

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The Benefits of IHG One Rewards Elite Status [Silver, Gold, Platinum & Diamond]

The Benefits of IHG One Rewards Elite Status [Silver, Gold, Platinum & Diamond]

IHG Hotels & Resorts, headquartered in England, is an established hotel brand dating back to the 1700s. The brand has nearly 6,000 hotels across over 100 countries, similar to the footprint you’ll find with the Hilton and Marriott brands. The…

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The Best Ways To Fly to Sweden With Points and Miles

The Best Ways To Fly to Sweden With Points and Miles

Along with the Scandinavian countries of Denmark and Norway, Sweden is a country with many islands, lakes, forests, and mountains. The northern lights, fishing, hiking, and skiing are what Sweden is known for, in addition to its capital city of…

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The Best Ways to Fly to Argentina With Points and Miles

The Best Ways to Fly to Argentina With Points and Miles

The Andes Mountains, tango dancing, Mendoza wine country, and Patagonia are just a few of the many things that you can explore on your trip to Argentina. With so much to offer, you may be wondering how best to use…

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The Best Ways to Fly to Croatia With Points and Miles

The Best Ways to Fly to Croatia With Points and Miles

With a sprawling coastline along the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is a country located in eastern Europe. Bordered by Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro, Croatia has a mix of influences that can be seen through its medieval cities,…

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The Valuable Benefits of Hyatt Elite Status [Discoverist, Explorist, Globalist]

The Valuable Benefits of Hyatt Elite Status [Discoverist, Explorist, Globalist]

Elite benefits and excellent customer service are 2 things that many travelers look for in elite status with a hotel brand. When traveling, you want the peace of mind to know that a hotel brand has your back if things…

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The Best Ways to Fly to Ireland with Points and Miles

The Best Ways to Fly to Ireland with Points and Miles

Situated west of Great Britain, Ireland is an island in western Europe with its capital located in Dublin. The country is home to delicious Guinness beer and incredible medieval castles. Ireland is nicknamed “Emerald Isle” due to its green landscape…

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Ashley Onadele

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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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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

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Daniel Ross

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Dan Miller

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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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Ryan Smith

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Spencer Howard

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Stephen Au

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Susan Wright

Former Finance Contributor

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Jarrod West

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Juan Ruiz

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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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Jessica Merritt

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Chris Hassan

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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

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Ehsan Haque

Content Contributor

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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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Michael Y. Park

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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

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Amar Hussain

Senior Content Contributor

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Katie Seemann

Senior Content Contributor and News Editor

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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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