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Spencer Howard

Former Content Contributor

51 Published Articles

About Spencer Howard

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

Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class!

Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal).

Spencer has put that knowledge to use by booking some of the top premium cabin award flights in the sky. Fortunately for his friends, he helps them figure out how to travel too 😉

Spencer has been a guest speaker in multiple shows on YouTube touching on maximizing points – Geobreeze, Waller’s Wallet, Every Passport Stamp, and Miles Talk. In addition, Spencer has been on multiple podcasts such as Beyond The Lens podcast, Miles to Memories, and Saverocity Observation Deck where Spencer discussed airline cancellation policies, award trends, and more. He runs Straight to the Points, an award-seat alert platform.

Spencer graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in political science and now works in Washington, D.C.

When he’s not searching for fun award redemptions, you can find him playing softball on the National Mall, watching Notre Dame football, or enjoying a fine bourbon.

Countries Visited: 21
U.S. States Visited: 17
Favorite First Class: Garuda Indonesia
Favorite Business Class: KLM (787-9)
Best Redemption Value: Emirates First JFK-DXB-BKK-DXB-MXP-JFK
Favorite Type of Points: ThankYou Points
Top 3 Cards in Wallet: Bank of America Asiana, Chase Ink Business Plus, Citi Access More

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U.S. States Visited

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Spencer's Latest Articles

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8 Best Ways To Use 100k Chase Sapphire Preferred Bonus Points

8 Best Ways To Use 100k Chase Sapphire Preferred Bonus Points

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the most popular credit cards on the market and has been for several years. Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to both airline and hotel partners for award flights and hotel stays….

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Points.com: A Complete Guide to Buying Points & Miles

Points.com: A Complete Guide to Buying Points & Miles

Once you realize the amazing trips you can take by redeeming miles and points for award flights and hotel stays, you inevitably are more aware of ways to acquire more. This often leads to wondering whether buying miles or points…

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22 Best Ways To Earn Lots of Southwest Rapid Rewards Points [2023]

22 Best Ways To Earn Lots of Southwest Rapid Rewards Points [2023]

Southwest Airlines is the world’s largest low-cost carrier, but it does not have any airline partners. This means the points you earn for its Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program are only redeemable on Southwest flights. So, how fast can you…

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23 Best Ways To Earn Lots of United MileagePlus Miles

23 Best Ways To Earn Lots of United MileagePlus Miles

United Airlines has one of the most popular frequent flyer programs in the U.S., and there are some great ways to earn United miles for award flights. In fact, the number of ways to earn miles with the United MileagePlus…

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28 Best Ways To Redeem Citi ThankYou Points for Max Value [2024]

28 Best Ways To Redeem Citi ThankYou Points for Max Value [2024]

Citi has an assembly of cards that earn Citi ThankYou Points, and one of the best ways to use these points is to transfer them to airline programs — that’s how you’re going to get the most value. Unfortunately, not…

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United Global Services: All the Benefits & Everything You Need To Know

United Global Services: All the Benefits & Everything You Need To Know

Many people earn elite status with United Airlines every year. Some road warriors might even earn United MileagePlus Premier 1K, the highest status level available to most travelers. However, an unpublished tier with United tops them all: United Global Services….

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17 Best Ways To Redeem United MileagePlus Miles [for Max Value]

17 Best Ways To Redeem United MileagePlus Miles [for Max Value]

The United MileagePlus program has a couple of good things going for it: It doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges to award tickets, and you can use United miles to book award flights with its Star Alliance partners (the largest airline…

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19 Best Ways To Earn Lots of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles

19 Best Ways To Earn Lots of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles

Alaska Airlines began offering flights from Anchorage, Alaska in 1932. Today, the airline offers flights to over 115 destinations across U.S., Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica and is part of the Oneworld alliance and partnered with many other airlines operating…

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Best Chase United Credit Cards: Comparing the Benefits & Perks

Best Chase United Credit Cards: Comparing the Benefits & Perks

Chase offers 6 co-branded cards with United Airlines: 4 personal cards and 2 business cards. When we talk about Chase cards, we often focus on how to earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points. However, there are several benefits that come with the…

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Best Ways To Book Etihad First Class Using Points [Step-by-Step]

Best Ways To Book Etihad First Class Using Points [Step-by-Step]

When Etihad rolled out The Apartments, it took first class flying to the next level. Considered by many to be the best first class experience in the world, The Apartments defined luxury flying. However, in 2020, Etihad grounded the aircraft…

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Best Ways to Book Delta One Business Class Using Points [Step-By-Step]

Best Ways to Book Delta One Business Class Using Points [Step-By-Step]

Considered a leader among U.S. legacy carriers, Delta Air Lines has developed a wonderful premium cabin product in Delta One. Currently, you can fly Delta One to over 60 international destinations.  While Delta One it’s not a true first-class product…

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24 Best Ways To Redeem World of Hyatt Points for Maximum Value

24 Best Ways To Redeem World of Hyatt Points for Maximum Value

While Hyatt doesn’t have as many properties as Marriott or IHG, it does have some amazing hotels and a competitive award chart. It is also expanding aggressively, and its portfolio is growing quicker than ever before. Like other hotel brands,…

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5 Best Ways To Redeem the Southwest Companion Pass With Rapid Rewards Points for Max Value

5 Best Ways To Redeem the Southwest Companion Pass With Rapid Rewards Points for Max Value

The Southwest Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program offers some outstanding redemptions for travel around the U.S. and international locations. While these redemptions are a good value on their own, you get the greatest value when redeemed with the Southwest Companion Pass. If…

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United Polaris – The Seat, Amenities, Routes, Lounges & Booking Options

United Polaris – The Seat, Amenities, Routes, Lounges & Booking Options

United Airlines began rolling out its Polaris product in late 2016 when it outfitted business class cabins with new food and amenities and opened its first Polaris Lounge in Chicago. Since then, United has had repeated delays in expanding its…

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Airline Change and Cancellation Fees for Cash Tickets — And How To Avoid Them!

Airline Change and Cancellation Fees for Cash Tickets — And How To Avoid Them!

Changing or canceling flights is probably not your idea of a good time. Who wants to cancel a flight, especially if it’s taking you on vacation?! But when plans change, knowing your options for updating flight plans is key. To…

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Chase Refer-A-Friend: Earn up to 200,000 Chase Points [Every Year!]

Chase Refer-A-Friend: Earn up to 200,000 Chase Points [Every Year!]

Long considered one of the most valuable and flexible points currencies, miles and points enthusiasts are always happy to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. One reason the points are so valuable is that you’ll have flexible redemption options such as…

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Full List of 113 Synchrony Store Credit Cards [Includes the Best Cards]

Full List of 113 Synchrony Store Credit Cards [Includes the Best Cards]

While you might not hear of Synchrony as often as Chase, Citi, or American Express, they provide over 100 credit card options to consumers. Many of these cards are linked to popular brands including Amazon, eBay, and PayPal. Some of these…

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The 5 Best Southwest Airlines Credit Cards: Comparing Benefits and Perks

The 5 Best Southwest Airlines Credit Cards: Comparing Benefits and Perks

Chase provides co-branded credit cards with Southwest Airlines: some for consumers and others for small businesses. While Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards get a ton of press, there is also some great value to be found in their Southwest Airline…

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Known Traveler Number: Here’s What You Need To Know [2024]

Known Traveler Number: Here’s What You Need To Know [2024]

If you’re new to TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, you may be wondering what a Known Traveler Number (KTN) is, how it works, and why there’s a KTN box when booking flights, but there isn’t one for your TSA PreCheck…

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Redress Number: What Is It and Do I Need to Apply for One?

Redress Number: What Is It and Do I Need to Apply for One?

TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are both very popular programs that can help you breeze through airport security checkpoints. You might have even heard of Mobile Passport or CLEAR — but have you heard of a Redress Number? While a Redress Number won’t…

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What To Do If You Get an SSSS on Your Boarding Pass

What To Do If You Get an SSSS on Your Boarding Pass

One of the most frustrating parts of flying can be the time it takes to get through security screening at TSA checkpoints. First, you have to deal with long lines; then you have to take out laptops, take off jackets…

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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

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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