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Stella Shon

News Managing Editor

92 Published Articles , 660 Edited Articles

About Stella Shon

Stella was born in Los Angeles but grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she lived for nearly two decades. Stella attended college just a stone’s throw away from her childhood home, graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Heels!) with a bachelor’s degree in media and journalism. She also studied abroad at the Sorbonne in Paris, which then fueled her desire to continue seeing the world using travel rewards.

Stella now calls New York City home. With three airports practically in her backyard and plenty of airfare deals to be found, Stella easily flies 100,000+ miles every year.

She has been a points and miles enthusiast for more than six years, and her work has been featured in media outlets like CNBC, Travel + Leisure, The New York Times, ValuePenguin, The Points Guy, LendingTree, Slickdeals, MoneyUnder30 and USA Today. Most recently, Stella was a corporate communications analyst at JetBlue.

Stella carries a dozen credit cards in her wallet but always reevaluates her points and miles strategy. Some of her favorite trips—all paid for with her credit card rewards—include a five-day trip trekking through Morocco, a week campervanning in Iceland with her mom and a 48-hour jaunt to Antigua, Guatemala.

Recent redemptions included: ANA first class from Chicago to Tokyo for 60,000 points, Delta One from New York-JFK to Honolulu for just $300 (thanks to a regional upgrade certificate) and some R&R in the Dominican Republic.

You can follow Stella on Instagram and Twitter.

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Countries Visited

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U.S. States Visited

Hilton Honors Diamond, World of Hyatt Globalist

American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum Pro, Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion, JetBlue Mosaic

Oneworld

All Nippon Airways (ANA) – 777-330ER

Singapore Airlines

Award mistake fares exist—a one-way lie-flat business class seat EWR-CDG-CMN for 12.5k EVA Airways miles on TAP Air Portugal.

Chase Ultimate Rewards and Bilt Rewards

Stella's Latest Articles

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The Wells Fargo Autograph Journey Is My New Favorite Travel Card — Here’s Why

The Wells Fargo Autograph Journey Is My New Favorite Travel Card — Here’s Why

While I’m often on the road, I don’t classify myself as a one-size-fits-all traveler. I greatly appreciate the luxuries of flying business class to Europe, but I’ll happily save money by staying at an Airbnb with a group of friends….

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I Booked a Virgin Voyages Cruise With Points — But There’s a Catch

I Booked a Virgin Voyages Cruise With Points — But There’s a Catch

There are so many extraordinary travel experiences bookable with points — from luxurious flights in the sky to boutique 5-star hotels. But one thing that’s sorely missing is the ability to book cruises for good value. A few times per…

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New Sailing Added: Book a Virgin Voyages Cruise for Just 74K Points

New Sailing Added: Book a Virgin Voyages Cruise for Just 74K Points

Earlier this month, Virgin Voyages released a few awesome sailings bookable with points for a limited time. At the lowest price point, travelers could book a 5-night Caribbean cruise for 115,000 points — for 2 sailors. There is no doubt…

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[Expired] [Award Alert] Wide-Open Business Class Availability to Paris From 38K Points

[Expired] [Award Alert] Wide-Open Business Class Availability to Paris From 38K Points

Update:The offer mentioned below has expired and is no longer available. You can now bring the whole crew to Paris because we just found tons of business class award space from several U.S. airports. Here’s your chance to burn your…

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[Expired] [Award Alert] Wide-Open Business Class Availability to Chile From 50K Miles

[Expired] [Award Alert] Wide-Open Business Class Availability to Chile From 50K Miles

Update:The offer mentioned below has expired and is no longer available. With the latest business class deal our team has discovered, traveling to Chile has never been simpler. South American giant LATAM operates a few nonstop routes from the U.S. to Santiago,…

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5 Things To Know About the New Tru by Hilton Brooklyn Hotel

5 Things To Know About the New Tru by Hilton Brooklyn Hotel

If you’re planning your next trip to New York City — whether for work or pleasure — there’s a new hotel that should be on your radar. The recently opened Tru by Hilton Brooklyn Hotel is a rare find in…

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New 75,000-Point Welcome Offers on Both Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve Cards

New 75,000-Point Welcome Offers on Both Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve Cards

Chase has brought back higher welcome offers on its most popular travel credit cards. It‘s been well over a year since Chase has brought bigger-than-normal welcome bonuses to the table: The opportunity to earn 75,000 Ultimate Rewards points gives travelers…

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Hyatt Finally Displays Hotel Award Category in Search Results

Hyatt Finally Displays Hotel Award Category in Search Results

Most award travelers can agree that World of Hyatt has one of the best hotel loyalty programs out there, as it’s the lone major chain to still publish an award chart. However, one pain point is that it takes several…

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[Expired] [Award Alert] Wide-Open Business Class Availability to Singapore for 87.5K Points

[Expired] [Award Alert] Wide-Open Business Class Availability to Singapore for 87.5K Points

The world’s longest flight is bookable with miles right now — across many dates early next year. Singapore Airlines is one of the top-rated carriers in the world, and it has an impressive business class product. This is easily one…

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Hilton Honors Enhancing Loyalty Program Through New Brands and Partnerships

Hilton Honors Enhancing Loyalty Program Through New Brands and Partnerships

There’s a lot happening in the world of Hilton Honors. This major hotel chain has worked overtime to open new hotels, launch brands spanning from lifestyle to luxury, and introduce new partnerships in its portfolio. What exactly does all of…

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This One Perk Makes the Chase Sapphire Reserve the Best Travel Credit Card for New Yorkers

This One Perk Makes the Chase Sapphire Reserve the Best Travel Credit Card for New Yorkers

If you live in New York and travel often for work or leisure, I’d argue there’s one credit card that is a cut above the rest — and that’s the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. This card is packed with a long…

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Earn 170K Amex Points With the Amex Business Platinum Card [Current Public Offer Is 150K]

Earn 170K Amex Points With the Amex Business Platinum Card [Current Public Offer Is 150K]

Earning a welcome bonus offer can be your one-way ticket (or potentially even more!) to an endless number of destinations worldwide. Currently, American Express is offering an extraordinary welcome offer on its premium business credit card: The Business Platinum Card®

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[Expired] [Award Alert] Wide-Open Award Availability from U.S. to Australia in Business Class for 109k Points

[Expired] [Award Alert] Wide-Open Award Availability from U.S. to Australia in Business Class for 109k Points

It’s not often we see business class availability to Australia. Our team has just found tons of seats open on Qantas — even enough to bring the whole family — for dates into next March. Here’s what you need to…

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Stay 3 or 4 Nights, Get 1 Free: The Ultimate Guide To Getting a Hotel Night at No Extra Cost

Stay 3 or 4 Nights, Get 1 Free: The Ultimate Guide To Getting a Hotel Night at No Extra Cost

While there’s no such thing as a free lunch, there is a way to stretch the value of your hard-earned points at thousands of hotels worldwide. Several major hotel loyalty programs will offer the fifth night free (or even the…

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Find the 150K Amex Business Gold Card Welcome Offer [Current Public Offer Is 70K]

Find the 150K Amex Business Gold Card Welcome Offer [Current Public Offer Is 70K]

Are you a business owner looking to maximize rewards for your day-to-day expenditures? Enter the American Express® Business Gold Card, which stands out as a points-earning machine. This card offers a unique rewards rate tailored to where your business spends…

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Chase Freedom Unlimited’s Welcome Bonus Offer History [Since 2020]

Chase Freedom Unlimited’s Welcome Bonus Offer History [Since 2020]

If you think you can’t earn outsized rewards from a card with a annual fee, think again. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is the perfect example of a card with excellent earning potential, all for a annual fee. But knowing when…

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[Expired] [Award Alert] Wide-Open Award Availability to Tulum From 8.5k Miles

[Expired] [Award Alert] Wide-Open Award Availability to Tulum From 8.5k Miles

Tulum’s new airport officially opens tomorrow for international flights, and almost every U.S. airline is launching routes to follow. Travelers will no longer have to endure the 2-hour drive between Cancun and Tulum thanks to this convenient airport option. Along…

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[Expired] Delta Amex Card Welcome Offers of up to 100k SkyMiles [Is It Worth It?]

[Expired] Delta Amex Card Welcome Offers of up to 100k SkyMiles [Is It Worth It?]

The offers mentioned below have expired and are no longer available. Delta’s family of cards comes with elevated welcome offers that could score you up to 100,000 SkyMiles, significantly boosting your mileage balances. But with these new welcome offers came…

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[Expired] [Award Alert] Wide-Open Business Class Availability to Istanbul for 51k Miles

[Expired] [Award Alert] Wide-Open Business Class Availability to Istanbul for 51k Miles

Update:The offer mentioned below has expired and is no longer available. If Türkiye is on your bucket list, you’ll want to take a closer look at these business class deals we found to Istanbul. There are currently up to 3…

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Chase’s Ink Business Unlimited and Cash Cards: Up to 75,000-Point Welcome Offers

Chase’s Ink Business Unlimited and Cash Cards: Up to 75,000-Point Welcome Offers

As a business owner, having the right credit card at your disposal is crucial. You’ll not only get to draw the line between your personal and business expenses, but there’s the added bonus of earning rewards on those purchases. Chase…

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[Expired] [Award Alert] Excellent Availability at Zemi Beach House in Anguilla with Hilton Honors Points

[Expired] [Award Alert] Excellent Availability at Zemi Beach House in Anguilla with Hilton Honors Points

Update:The offer mentioned below has expired and is no longer available. Looking to plan a warm-weather vacation and have plenty of Hilton points in your account? We just found lots of standard room availability at the opulent Zemi Beach House…

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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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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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Lindsey Olander

Former Content Contributor

Currently based in New York, Lindsey spent her childhood in Connecticut dreaming of far-off places. Her first flight was to Disney World at age 11. Her second flight was for a high school field trip to Italy, though travel as a career didn’t stick until she studied abroad in London during college and discovered the true power of her passport. Since then, she’s worked as a travel editor at Jetsetter and Travel + Leisure, where she reported on everything from African safaris to hot hotel openings to, yes, Disney World.

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Lori Zaino

Senior Content Contributor

Lori is an intrepid traveler who loves creating itineraries that exude “luxe on a budget.” She’s written for CNN, NBC, The Infatuation, and more, and loves to muse about points-fueled trips to Sri Lanka, Sicily, and Myanmar.

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Lukas Picton

Former Content Contributor

Lukas escaped his hometown south of Sydney and moved to the big smoke immediately after high-school, but the bright lights of the city weren’t enough, and he soon set his sights on more exotic international destinations and has been in love with travel ever since.

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Michael McHugh

Former Content Contributor

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Michael took his first international trip in 2013 with friends to the Bahamas. Although he didn’t travel much in his younger years, on that trip, he caught the travel bug and has been hooked ever since.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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