39 episodes

A Milenomics Production-- News related to Points and Miles. Tips & Tricks on how to Earn More miles, Maximize Credit Card Rewards, and Travel more than ever before.

Milenomics ² Podcast - No Annual Fee Edition Sam Simon and Robert Dwyer

    • Leisure
    • 4.4 • 43 Ratings

A Milenomics Production-- News related to Points and Miles. Tips & Tricks on how to Earn More miles, Maximize Credit Card Rewards, and Travel more than ever before.

    TravelStories Episode 22: Talking New Zealand and Australia

    TravelStories Episode 22: Talking New Zealand and Australia

    Planning a trip to New Zealand and Australia? Are you wanting to craft the perfect blend of flights, hotels, and attractions and create an unforgettable journey? Then don’t miss out on today’s valuable insights from our special guest, Joe Cheung! Joe shares his recent family adventure, covering everything from Air New Zealand flights, the Skycouch, and hotel bookings in Auckland to experiencing the FIFA Women's World Cup. He also delves into the logistics of renting a car, exploring the Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves, A380 seats and flights, and provides an in-depth look at their stay in Sydney. Tune in to discover Joe's strategies for finding New Zealand and Australia travel awards, why not all Koala encounters are made equal, and so much more!

    Key Points From This Episode:

    [00:20] Introduction to today’s topic and special guest.

    [02:40] A quick recap of Joe’s trip to New Zealand, Australia, and California. 

    [03:35] A travel story about Air New Zealand: why Joe decided to fly with them.

    [07:20] Joe expands on his experience with the Air New Zealand Skycouch.

    [10:40] Leveraging his occupation as a travel agent.

    [12:50] Joe talks about a different aspect of being a travel agent that he doesn't handle.

    [15:10] Auckland: booking the hotel and the technicalities of the family rate.

    [18:45] Thoughts on the Park Hyatt Auckland.

    [20:00] Making use of the concierge (and whether it’s necessary) to book the family rate.

    [21:14] How they got the FIFA Women’s Soccer World Cup tickets.

    [23:38] His final thoughts on the World Cup.

    [26:15] Joe shares what his experience was like driving in New Zealand.

    [27:30] Logistics surrounding the car rental process.

    [28:30] More on the Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves Glow Worm Tours they took in Auckland.

    [31:00] Driving on the other side of the road.

    [33:15] Other day trips and attractions and why they went to Sydney.

    [35:00] Economy is good for the soul.

    [37:15] Finding 3+ seats in business is a challenge!

    [38:20] The nice thing about the A380.

    [40:25] More about the seats on the A380 (premium economy).

    [41:20] Getting the Business Class Pajamas. 

    [42:10] Joe takes us back to their stay in Sydney.

    [44:00] His take on the choice between the Park Hyatt and the Hyatt Regency (Sydney).

    [45:30] The Asian food experience in Sydney.

    [47:30] What stood out about their time at the Taronga Zoo Sydney.

    [49:55] Why the koala experience is not worth it, according to Tim.

    [51:04] Trevor shares about the Healesville Sanctuary in Zoo in Badger Creek, Australia.

    [52:12] Joe’s final notes on Sydney, and surrounding attractions.

    [55:40] Thoughts on taking an extended driving trip through Australia.

    [56:40] Joe’s strategy and the timeframe for finding awards to get to NZ and Australia.

    [1:01:48] Why high balances do help.

    [1:05:20] A quick revisit on the premium economy window seats for the A380.

    [1:09:58] How to find Joe.


    “The [Air New Zealand] Skycouch, for those who don’t know, is you can pay extra and the seats have footrests that can come all the way up so that you basically have a couch — they give you bedding and exclusive use of the couch.” — @asthejoeflies [0:07:20]

    “Economy is good for the soul sometimes.” — @TktweetsKim [0:35:05]

    “For our listeners who are doing their Australia planning, just be aware, that not all Koala encounters are created equal. Do your research!” — @TktweetsKim [0:50:47]

    “I think [finding awards] for Australia and New Zealand it’s about patience and nerves of steel because you will almost never find the exact dates you want.” — @TktweetsKim [0:59:34]

    Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

    Miles to Memory Podcast

    Joe Cheung on Instagram

    Joe Cheung on X

    Joe Cheung Email

    As the Joe Flies


    Air New Zealand

    Air New Zealand Skycouch


    Virgin Atlantic

    Park Hyatt Auckland


    • 1 hr 11 min
    M² No Annual Fee Episode 69: Partner Awards & More

    M² No Annual Fee Episode 69: Partner Awards & More

    We're back with a great talk between Robert and I on the following:

    0:22 Follow Up: Alaska Status Match (last discussed Ep 68)

    06:13 Amex Churnability and Employee Offers

    Cards used to be much more churnable

    Popups abound now. Wish there was a way to get rid of them by force

    15k for $4k is the new thing

    Business Platinum (link)

    Business Gold (link)

    Blue Business Plus (link)

    Be sure to use the correct link for the card you're adding it to, data points say using a mismatch won't work.

    9:39 Main Topic: Partner Awards


    ITA/Virgin Atlantic/FlyingBlue

    Alaska Partner Award Consolidated Charts

    Discuss: The lottery element in these, the lack of “wide open” availability, and the eternally evolving complexity of it all

    22:54 Tip of the Week: Book JAL Premium Economy w/Alaska Miles

    Reasonable in miles and only $20-$55 in fees (no fuel!)

    If you'd love to hear over 200 more episodes consider subscribing to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/milenomics

    • 28 min
    TravelStories Episode 21: Travel Banter

    TravelStories Episode 21: Travel Banter

    Travel Stories Episode 21: Travel Banter

    We’re trying something different today a different format for Travel Stories that we like to call Travel Banter. We start by exploring aviation-themed films and series that have impacted us over the years. From the beloved cult classic The Terminal to Up In the Air, we cover a wide range of air travel themes and tropes. Trevor shares his unique Southeast Asian travel itinerary, why he hasn’t visited Vietnam yet, and Tom shares his experience with pricing in Abu Dhabi. We also speak about our experiences with kid-friendly and kid-prohibitive rules at Hyatt and Marriott hotels around the world, sharing our opinions on their convenience and comfort levels for everyone involved. Finally, we explore the impact of deregulation on international airlines and the period in history where Southwest Airlines was the number one distributor of liquor in Texas. Join us for a casual conversation about all things travel. Thanks for listening! 

    Key Points From This Episode:

    [00:00] Famous films about aviation and how good they may or may not be. 

    [03:15] The comedic retelling of View From the Top available on Audible. 

    [05:51] Why The Flight Attendant is misleading in its content, which is not really aviation-related.

    [06:38] The French film, Jet Lag, and why it’s fun to watch. 

    [09:33] Airport disaster movies of the 1970s. 

    [12:10] An unconventional travel itinerary from Singapore to Malaysia, and then to Bangkok.

    [17:48] Why Vietnam is not included in this particular travel itinerary. 

    [19:13] Selecting a hotel based on credit and previous experiences. 

    [21:41] Returning to Abu Dhabi and a comment on its pricing. 

    [24:19] Thomas’s biggest problem with the Middle East’s luxury hotels.

    [26:36] Trevor’s experience at the JW Marriott in Cairo. 

    [28:24] Why no kids are allowed at the Marriott in Jordan. 

    [28:37] Singapore Grand Hyatt’s rules around children and adults. 

    [32:06] Singapore’s relationship with rules and how it differs from the USA.

    [35:27] The time when hijackings were extra common pre-9/11.

    [37:15] When Southwest airlines was the number one distributor of liquor. 

    [38:10] How deregulation affected international airlines including KLM. 


    “Chinese food is expensive and luxury hotels are cheap; both are true in Abu Dhabi.” — @TktweetsKim [22:37]

    “In the Middle East, families traveling is so much more common. Not that people don’t travel as families in the US, but I just think it’s even more common than it is here in the US.” — @TktweetsKim [27:50]

    “I would gladly accept the occasional ruler on my hand in the event that I made a mistake with my phone on speaker in an airline lounge, if I knew that everyone else had to succumb to the same fate.” — @tmount [33:41]

    Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

    Up in the Air 

    The Terminal


    Passenger 57


    Air Force 1

    View From the Top



    The Flight Attendant

    Jet Lag

    Red Eye

    The time Southwest became the largest liquor distributor in Texas

    Thomas Kim on X

    Trevor Mountcastle on X

    • 41 min
    TravelStories Episode 20: Travel Horror Stories

    TravelStories Episode 20: Travel Horror Stories

    Halloween Episode – Travel Horror Stories

    Episode 20: Show Notes

    While it may not be horror like Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers, today’s episode will definitely send chills down the spines of travelers as we share our experiences of when travel went horribly wrong. It’s easy to fall victim to scams in foreign countries as your unfamiliarity with the region makes you stick out as a prime target. So, we begin our conversation by assessing some scams to be wary of during your travels, including transportation disasters that could’ve been avoided with the right knowledge. Then, we discuss how theft is more common at airports than we may think, how to travel with money in a safe way,, and all the debacles we’ve experienced with layovers and missed flights. Finally, we’re given a quick lesson in devaluation and why you should always book first and ask questions later, before ending with a shoutout to the SkyMiles frenzy of September 2023. 

    Key Points From This Episode:

    [01:01] Travel scams to be wary of.

    [03:36] How Thomas was duped by a taxi driver in Shanghai. 

    [05:49] Avoiding disaster in Doha.

    [07:00] How to evade being scammed by transportation services.

    [10:35] Daylight robbery in Europe.

    [15:35] What to look out for regarding theft in foreign airports, and some travel money tips.

    [20:30] Problems we’ve encountered just before takeoff, and the trouble of MCTs.

    [27:51] The TAM Lounge in Rio de Janeiro, and the layover debacle that followed.

    [32:20] Why you should always be flexible and provide booking agents with multiple options.

    [33:15] More layover horror stories. 

    [42:38] How Tom missed his first-ever transatlantic flight.

    [45:18] A lesson in devaluation.

    [48:18] An honorable mention of the SkyMiles craziness from earlier this year.


    “These are some of the things where hopefully people can learn from some of our mistakes. It’s not all perfect; you don’t get to be an experienced travel person [without] encountering some travails.” — @TktweetsKim [0:47]

    “I think the problem with us in particular is that airport’s are our second home. For some of us, this is the area where we thrive and we enjoy it. So sometimes, you have to calibrate a little – you can still enjoy the place, just have your eyes and ears open.” — @TktweetsKim [20:13]

    “Be flexible; learn from your mistakes; learn from all these bad experiences and hopefully you don’t repeat them.” — @TktweetsKim [45:10]

    Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:


    Alaska Airlines 

    LATAM Airlines

    Air Canada 

    Air France 

    Episode 27 - Alaska breaks Trevor's heart 



    The Milenomics Podcast Network

    Thomas Kim on X

    Trevor Mountcastle on X

    • 49 min
    TravelStories Episode 19: Converting a Maldives Skeptic

    TravelStories Episode 19: Converting a Maldives Skeptic

    Episode 19: Show Notes.

    This week we talk all about the Maldives. Join the conversation as we take a deep dive into Trevor’s recent family trip to the Maldives, including a detailed look at his flights to and from, his thoughts on Virgin Atlantic food, and hear him tell about the worst mistake (of the entire trip!) he made. With a bit of strategic thinking, we dive into the primary topic of the episode with all things about the Maldivian experience. Trevor chronicles their experience with the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, from the butler at the airport to the welcome at the hotel, and more! He highlights why the overwater villa was the best redemption (of points) he’s ever made, recounts the champagne sabering tradition, and shares other uniquely Maldivian experiences. In essence, the Maldives offers a foolproof recipe of unparalleled natural beauty, luxurious accommodations, exceptional service, and serene tranquility that makes it an extraordinary destination for an unforgettable vacation! Tune in now to find out more!

    Key Points From This Episode:

    [00:00:17] Our topic for this week’s episode: The Maldives!

    [00:00:50] The structure of week’s episode.

    [00:01:20] We jump right in and discuss the flight (and travel) options. 

    [00:03:15] Trevor highlights his experience flying from Newark to Singapore.

    [00:04:00] Bulkhead or bust: the difference a bulkhead makes in when flying most Singapore aircraft.

    [00:06:30] The food, flight attendants, and IFE.

    [00:07:00] Thoughts on non-stop or stopovers, if they had to do it again.

    [00:08:55] The next leg: Singapore to Maldives.

    [00:09:15] The flight options back home and what they ended up doing.

    [00:11:11] Using some Travel Hacker cred. 

    [00:12:40] The cost of an upgrade (which they did at the terminal).

    [00:14:10] He talks about their overnight in Mumbai and the flight with Virgin Atlantic.

    [00:17:35] Dealing with unruly passengers.

    [00:18:30] The food on Virgin Atlantic from India (‘Virgin Atlantic: In-Flight Food’)!

    [00:20:00] The worst mistake of his entire trip: skipping a meal.

    [00:21:15] A quick note on cabin crew on Virgin Atlantic.

    [00:22:00] Moving on to the main event! The Maldives.

    [00:22:59] The reason Trevor decided to do the Maldives, now.

    [00:23:20] Why the Sheraton is not the Maldives experience.

    [00:24:30] Trevor chronicles their experience with the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort.

    [00:27:14] He equates the experience to the first season of The White Lotus.

    [00:27:22] More about their arrival and Welcome at the hotel (and the kids club offerings!)

    [00:27:40] The “Stuffed Animal” and why it makes the best kind of advertising.

    [00:29:30] The overwater villa: the best redemption Trevor has ever made. 

    [00:31:30] A compliment to the staff in Maldives and the charm it adds.

    [00:33:00] More about the amenities and activities on the island.

    [00:34:15] The recipe that makes for an amazing Maldives vacation (according to Tim!)

    [00:35:23] The St. Regis tradition: a champagne sabering ceremony.

    [00:36:59] His overall experience: a feeling of overwhelm.

    [00:37:15] Other special, and uniquely Maldives, experiences.

    [00:41:00] The Maldives as a Mecca for Miles and Points people.

    [00:42:35] Realizing that a vacation to the Maldives will be expensive.

    [00:45:55] Guess the fare!


    “[The Maldives] is one of those places where you don’t know until you know!” — @TktweetsKim [0:22:49]

    “The Sheraton is not a Maldivian experience, it’s alright, but it’s not why you are flying halfway around the world.” — @tmount [0:23:22]

    “[The overwater villa] was probably the best redemption that I’ve ever made. Just based on the enjoyment we got out of it.” — @tmount [0:29:42]

    “There are not enough words in the alphabet or at least that I know in the English language, to convey just how pristine the [Maldivian] water is!”

    • 49 min
    Milenomics² No Annual Fee Edition Episode 68: Jetblue and Alaska Status Match Discussion

    Milenomics² No Annual Fee Edition Episode 68: Jetblue and Alaska Status Match Discussion

    We're doing things a little different with today's episode. You'll notice that at the top of this episode we call out episode 206 (not Episode 68). This conversation took place as the first 20 or so minutes of our subscriber podcast episode 206. Robert and I discussed it after we released that full episode and we're cutting just this conversation into a mini episode here today.


    0:21 Status Match Opportunities

    JetBlue (Direct Link)

    Capped at 30,000 applicants with Delta Medallion status

    Matched status last [only] through end of 2023 *unless* you have Barclays JetBlue card -or- accrue enough pro-rated Tiles to requalify

    Detailed info on Mosaic nuances are hard to discern from JetBlue (Mosaic info page) and the latest iteration of the program is so new it seems not many people have really kicked the tires on it. So I asked them some questions on Twitter.

    Companions: Up to 8 people on an itinerary can get free same day changes and complimentary Even More Space seats at check-in (Mosaic Level 2) or booking (Mosaic Level 3). 8 is better than 2 with Delta!

    Move to Mint upgrade certs: Can only use 2 per itinerary. If you have more than 2 people on the itinerary, nobody gets upgraded, even if you have adequate certs. Processes at check-in if Mint seats are open. Kinda lame if you ask me.

    Mosaic 3 includes…wait for it..Founders Card Blue! I thought the idea with Founders card is that it provides perks for travel programs, but this is the other way around? These programs are starting to circle back on themselves. Get this: If FoundersCard identifies you as a prior member they deny the membership and try to sell you a renewal. What an operation.

    Move to Mint certs expire earned through this expire Dec 2023.

    Can’t get Barclays credit card so I’d need 24 Tiles by the end of 2023 to requalify. That’s $2,400 spent on JetBlue flights, vacations, or Paisly (ugh).

    Alaska (Direct Link)

    Pretty generous mapping and all you have to do to keep status through 2024 is have a BofA Alaska Visa

    Far out upgrades, certs, reciprocal benefits with AA/OneWorld - I’m interested.

    “A member may only receive one status match for the lifetime of their account.” Will they enforce this? Is it time to allow them to create a new Alaska account for me when I apply for a BoA business card? Hmm…

    • 22 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
43 Ratings

43 Ratings

K Paley ,

Careful, thoughtfully-developed contentq

Although these two are not winning Oscars for their dramatic performances, they might warrant Nobel prizes for their thorough, thoughtful, and helpful travel content. In a world filled with hard sells and endless referral links, this podcast will be a breath of fresh air.

E.V.ddie ,

Trevor is a wet blanket

Even the free (no annual fee) show used to be very good when Sam and Robert hosted it. Over time it became watered down and more vague. Then recently it was farmed out to Trevor Mountcastle and Tom Kim. They used to have a podcast that was ok. Trevor can be really weak as a host. Maybe with the right co-host it might work but without super interesting and useful content like best resources used for travel hacking, the show isn’t very interesting. Listen to the Travel Horror Stories episode 15 and how often Trevor talks about himself. It’s odd to listen to someone say I, me, and we so often. It’s annoying but also bizarre. If he was a guest saying here’s my travel tips and given a segment, great. But to continually host the show? He’s either talking about himself or waiting patiently to do so. It would be the same if you were sitting next to him at dinner, on a plane, in a taxi or on this podcast. I wonder if he realizes this? Of all the interesting travel people out there Sam and Robert choose these two?

M1ke S ,

Best Mike’s and points content out there

I have been listening to these guys for years, and hands-down, for me, this is the best miles and points content available. They’re rapport is so good, and you can tell that they put a lot of time and effort into the production of the podcast. The sound quality is excellent and the contant is well researched and topical. The podcast is always quite entertaining, and I can’t wait each week for the new episode. Their premium content on Patreon is also well worth the fee. I make more points than I can spend now, and it is becoming increasingly effortless. Thanks so much Sam and Robert and for putting this together, creating an amazing community and sharing their wisdom and experiences.

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