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Michael Y. Park

Editor

23 Published Articles , 268 Edited Articles

About Michael Y. Park

Michael Y. Park is a journalist living in New York City. For both work and pleasure, he’s traveled to over 60 countries, including having snuck 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. He is a survivor of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on Lower Manhattan, and photographs from his experience have been displayed at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum and at exhibits about the event. He worked at a restaurant helmed by chef Anthony Bourdain, who once threatened to cut off his hands. Justifiably.

Park’s written or edited for The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, the Points Guy, New York Post, New York Magazine, Toronto Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Reuters, Epicurious, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Food and Wine, Oyster, Architectural Digest, People, Men’s Journal, Blender, Details, Rodale’s Organic Life, and other publications, on everything from space chimps to Elmo bongs to serial killers and from inside prisons. In addition, he was the former head of the travel section for LIFE magazine and digital managing editor for the world’s largest publisher of history magazines.

He’s reviewed hundreds of hotels, resorts, and properties, from the infamous “Murder Hotel” in Times Square to the very suite of Costa Rican rainforest retreat where Beyonce and Jay-Z sequestered to allegedly mend their marriage, and has taken forms of transportation from dogsled to dugout canoe. His reporting on the airline industry led to the release of a flight attendant from ICE detention and ultimately led to congressional hearings. He always travels with an extension cord.

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Michael Y.'s Latest Articles

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15 Things You Should Know About Going to Versailles in 2024

15 Things You Should Know About Going to Versailles in 2024

The Palace of Versailles, the final home of the prerevolutionary French kings and queens, is another of France’s bucket-list tourist sites and one of the most visited destinations in the world. It’s pretty much one of the first things Americans…

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10 Things Every American Should Know About Visiting the Eiffel Tower

10 Things Every American Should Know About Visiting the Eiffel Tower

Whether it’s just a side trip during the Olympic Games or the highlight of your trip to Paris, the Eiffel Tower is on pretty much everyone’s bucket list, making it both the world’s most cliched tourist visit and something you…

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9 Reasons Why Disneyland Paris Is Better Than Disney World — And 3 Reasons It’s Worse

9 Reasons Why Disneyland Paris Is Better Than Disney World — And 3 Reasons It’s Worse

Being a parent can be tough. Being a parent taking your kid to a Disney park can be even tougher. And being a parent taking your kid to a Disney park in a country where you don’t really speak the…

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The Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. [In-Depth Review]

The Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. [In-Depth Review]

There are only a handful of hotels that have earned a place as an ingrained part of popular culture — The Plaza in New York City, for example, or Raffles in Singapore. But arguably, only 2 have actually altered the…

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Disney Hotel Cheyenne at Disneyland Paris [In-Depth Review]

Disney Hotel Cheyenne at Disneyland Paris [In-Depth Review]

One of the most fascinating aspects of travel for me, coming from a globally dominant culture, is seeing what pieces of Americana we dismiss as kitsch or lowbrow that other people throughout the world embrace wholeheartedly and without irony (such…

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Air France Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class Review [IAD to CDG]

Air France Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class Review [IAD to CDG]

Airline: Air France (AF)Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ERFlight #: AF0051Route: Dulles International Airport (IAD) to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)Date: April 23, 2024Duration: 7 hours, 48 minutesCabin and Layout: Economy class, 3-4-3 configurationSeat: 40J, 40K, 40LCost: 20,000 Flying Blue miles per adult each way (or from $600 cash) A…

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American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Economy Class Review [LGA to DFW]

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Economy Class Review [LGA to DFW]

Airline: American Airlines (AA)Aircraft: 737-800Flight #: AA1056Route: LaGuardia Airport (LGA) to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)Date: April 5, 2024Duration: 3 hours, 9 minutesCabin and Layout: Economy class, 3-3 configurationSeat: 28E, 28FCost: 12,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles each (or from $166 cash) Sometimes, we fly for work; sometimes,…

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Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club at LaGuardia Airport [Review]

Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club at LaGuardia Airport [Review]

LaGuardia Airport’s been the butt of jokes in New York City for as long as anyone here can remember, from its too-short runways that seem to dare pilots to dip their toes in Flushing Bay to terminals that leave confused…

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[Expired] Earn a 30% Bonus When You Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Virgin Atlantic

[Expired] Earn a 30% Bonus When You Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Virgin Atlantic

Update:The offer mentioned below has expired and is no longer available. The Atlantic Ocean just got about a third smaller: You can currently get 30% more Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Virgin Points when you transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points…

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Saratoga Casino Hotel in Saratoga Springs, New York [In-Depth Review]

Saratoga Casino Hotel in Saratoga Springs, New York [In-Depth Review]

If you’ve ever read an E.L. Doctorow novel or caught an episode of “The Gilded Age,” you may know Saratoga Springs as the ultimate playground for posh Americans in the late 19th century. It was an elite retreat known first…

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Marriott Albany [In-Depth Hotel Review]

Marriott Albany [In-Depth Hotel Review]

Albany! If the mere mention of the state capital of New York doesn’t send a shiver of excitement down your spine, then, well, congratulations, you’re a perfectly normal human being. Despite its storied history, central location, and obvious political importance…

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Alaska Airlines Is Completely Overhauling Its Award Charts Starting … Now

Alaska Airlines Is Completely Overhauling Its Award Charts Starting … Now

The biggest award chart change of 2024 (so far) is upon us! The highly anticipated revision to Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan charts is going into effect starting today and through March 24, 2024, according to One Mile at a Time….

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[Expired] [Award Alert] Fly From LAX to Paris for 20K Miles on Air France in Early 2024

[Expired] [Award Alert] Fly From LAX to Paris for 20K Miles on Air France in Early 2024

Update:The offer mentioned below has expired and is no longer available. A week after New Year’s Day, you’re probably going to be out of Champagne. So why not get your refill in Paris? If you’ve got the Flying Blue miles,…

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American To Add High-Speed Wi-Fi to Nearly 500 Regional Aircraft

American To Add High-Speed Wi-Fi to Nearly 500 Regional Aircraft

American Airlines has good news and bad news for flyers who just can’t stay off their laptops and phones. The good? AA is rolling out high-speed Wi-Fi to almost 500 regional, third-party-operated aircraft starting next year — which means that…

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Hilton Grand Vacations To Buy Bluegreen Vacations

Hilton Grand Vacations To Buy Bluegreen Vacations

The vacation ownership company Hilton Grand Vacations has agreed to acquire Bluegreen Vacations Corporation in a $1.5 billion deal, both companies announced today, November 6, 2023. “Bluegreen Vacations … boasts key lead-generating strategic partnerships that will broaden our reach and…

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Spirit Airlines Set To Cut All Denver Flying From Early Next Year

Spirit Airlines Set To Cut All Denver Flying From Early Next Year

Spirit Airlines is giving Coloradans a big lump of coal for the winter holidays: It will leave Denver International Airport in early January. “We’re forced to make some tough choices,” Spirit spokesperson Thomas Fletcher said in an emailed statement to…

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Etihad Opens Flagship Premium Lounges at New Abu Dhabi Terminal A

Etihad Opens Flagship Premium Lounges at New Abu Dhabi Terminal A

Fresh off the official launch of the huge Terminal A at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), Etihad Airways opened the doors to its new flagship lounges in the terminal on Monday, November 6, 2023. “The lounge is a hugely important…

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Review of Sesame Place in Philadelphia [Tickets, Rides, Dining]

Review of Sesame Place in Philadelphia [Tickets, Rides, Dining]

It’s not every day you go to a puppet-branded, SeaWorld-operated amusement park in the northern Philadelphia suburbs, but when you do, you want to make sure you’re getting the best deal you can — and that you’ll actually enjoy it….

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[Expired] American Express Unveils Member Week With Limited-Time Offers

[Expired] American Express Unveils Member Week With Limited-Time Offers

Update:The offer mentioned below has expired and is no longer available. This year’s American Express Member Week will run from October 9 through October 13. The company’s annual promotional week gives holders of personal, small-business, and corporate American Express credit…

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Le Mount Stephen in Montréal, Canada [In-Depth Hotel Review]

Le Mount Stephen in Montréal, Canada [In-Depth Hotel Review]

Toward the end of this summer, I realized I had a bundle of expiring American Airlines AAdvantage miles that I needed to use before September. More pressingly, I was out of Montréal bagels. I took my family to the 5-star hotel…

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The Ultimate Travel Guide to Muskoka in Ontario, Canada — Best Things To Do, See & Enjoy!

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Muskoka in Ontario, Canada — Best Things To Do, See & Enjoy!

Outside of Canada, Muskoka has remained one of those unicorns of international travel — a (relatively) untouched, natural recreational wonderland only a couple hours’ drive from a major airport. Plus, everyone there is still pleasant, even with tourists. It’s become…

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Find out about other members of the team

Andrew Kunesh Picture

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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Brandon Brunner Picture

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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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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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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Kathryn Schroeder

Compliance Associate

From credit cards to high-yield savings accounts, debt management and avoidance, CDs, and insurance, Kathryn has or does edit it all, and more. Just don’t expect her to always be at home while working. All she needs is four things — her computer, phone, passport, and wallet — and she can get her work done from anywhere. She does pack clothes, of course, but they’re easily replaceable if anything goes amiss (and she has baggage insurance with two of her credit cards).

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Ryan Smith

Senior Editor & 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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Nick Ellis

Senior 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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