Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Name: Brian Kelly
Occupation: Blogger, The Points Guy
Hometown: Long Island, NY
Website: The Points Guy
Bio: Brian Kelly is The Points Guy. A former Wall Street road warrior, he spent several years working in recruitment for a major investment bank, traveling over 125,000 miles annually, and spending well over fifty nights a year in hotels. His passion for travel and knowledge of the frequent flyer miles and points system has allowed him to fund a luxury travel lifestyle while spending less cash than he would to fly coach and stay in hostels. These days, Brian is a full-time travel blogger on The Points Guy and continues to travel the world, most recently for whirlwind weekends in Istanbul and Dublin, a January trip to China, and an upcoming jaunt to Singapore, Hong Kong and Bali.
How often do you fly? I get anxious if I don’t have at least one flight a week, which makes it easy to maintain elite status on several carriers.
How many countries have you been to? 45+
How many continents have you been to? Five, all but Australia and Antarctica.
Favorite American city? New York
Favorite international city? Madrid
Least favorite country? Mexico (Tijuana is the only place I’ve been, but there’s a lot more exploring to do, with Mexico City on my to-do list).
Favorite airline? British Airways. Love the bespoke service in first class, as well as hobnobbing with celebrities such as Madonna on a recent trip.
Favorite aircraft type? 747-400 (Upper Deck, can’t wait for the 747-8 to come out).
Aisle or window? Aisle—You try being 6”7 in a middle or window seat.
Favorite airport lounge? BA Concord Lounge at Heathrow, great plane watching, wine & spa.
Favorite U.S. airport? Memphis International (Only for the stopover BBQ options).
Favorite international airport? Amsterdam (with day lockers, it makes it easy to go in to the city on long layovers).
Favorite hotel? Park Hyatt Tokyo (The views are almost as good as the impeccable service).
Favorite cruise line? I’ve only been on two cruises in my life, so I don’t have a favorite, but I look forward to taking a small luxury cruise in the near future.
Favorite island? Kauai
Favorite fancy restaurant? Gramercy Tavern, never a letdown.
Favorite hole in the wall? La Manduca de Azagra in Madrid.
Favorite travel movie(s): Not a big movie fan to remember one that stood out, most movies I watch are on the plane.
Favorite travel show(s): No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain.
Favorite travel book(s): Don’t read travel books, but I do like Nomadicmatt.com. I admire his engrained sense of travel as a way of life.
Five things you bring on a plane? Bose QC15 Headphones, Macbook Air, iPad with lots of TV shows, ear plugs/eye mask, Lunesta (for the long-haul flights).
What do you always seem to forget? Converters
Favorite travel iPhone app(s): Starwood Hotel App, always shows if I’ve been upgraded in advance.
Most embarrassing/worst travel moment: When I was living in Madrid, I wanted to impress my friends with my newly learned Spanish so I ordered another mojito (otra mojito), but the bartender thought I said ocho mojitos and brought back 8 mojitos. I made the best of it and gave the drinks to my new friends!
What’s your dream destination? Antarctica. To actually set foot on it.
Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: FlyerTalk.com, it’s where I got my start as the miles and points guy. Even though it is sometimes unorganized, there are a lot of great ideas being exchanged.
Best travel tip: Put together a cohesive points and mile strategy. Don’t think that points and miles worthless. They’ve allowed me to travel the world like I never thought possible. All it takes is a couple of the right credit cards and promotions and you’ll be on your way.