Edition 9 | Not Your Typical Thanksgiving Email
Also: How to save on flights after you book.
Happy Thanksgiving and welcome to (much-delayed) Edition 9. You may notice a slight rebrand—TMT is now The Modern Traveler!
It’s the same ethos of travel content—intertwining luxury travel, local experiences and points & miles—just with fewer syllables in the name.
While I consider myself The Modern Traveler, it’s easy for anyone to be that person, too. Let’s dive into the rest of the email, one that’s probably unlike anything else in your inbox today.
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IN THIS EDITION.
Finding connection through travel during the holidays.
Recapping The Travel Summit and Thompson Central Park.
Holiday deals: What I have my eyes on.
How to save on flights after you book.
1. Finding meaning via travel: Holiday edition.
First, shoutout to anyone that reads this and doesn’t feel all the warm and fuzzy sensations of Thanksgiving that is so often associated with the holiday.
Some may be traveling to immediate family and relatives—and have to grin and bear it just to maintain the illusion of connection. Or, perhaps, you’re traveling to (or with) chosen family. Or maybe you’re traveling solo to find meaning within yourself.
I think what makes this time of year difficult for some is the assumption of what you should be doing. That’s the thing: there is no right way to spend the holidays.
Last year, I spent my Thanksgiving solo in Mérida, Mexico in the Yucatán, with a rich Mayan and colonial heritage. I did an Airbnb Experience checking out some hidden cenotes and had lunch with a lovely local Mayan family. (I highly recommend Oscar’s tour if you are going to Mérida.)
I indulged in the spa at the $1,500-per-night Chablé Yucatán (my hack to enjoy hotel facilities without paying a nightly rate is to book a spa treatment). And I stayed at the Hyatt Regency, an older but well-maintained property, on points.
More and more, I find travel to be necessary as a means to stay creative, forge connections, and stay sane in a world that often feels like one giant clusterf***. But the desire to travel feels innately personal, too, especially when it happens during the holidays.
2. Recap of The Travel Summit + Thompson Central Park.
The Travel Summit
Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking at my first paid engagement at The Travel Summit in Toronto. My topics included two areas near and dear to me: 1) Credit cards for beginners and 2) Diversity, equity and inclusion in travel.
I met hundreds of fellow travelers (several of whom already subscribed to this newsletter!) and it was an incredible weekend of networking, bonding, and feeling that this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.
Thompson Central Park Recap
The Thompson is a property that exemplifies the almost-hackneyed, but still very relevant phrase location, location, location. Besides Central Park, the hotel is a short stroll from attractions like Museum of Modern Art and Radio City Music Hall.
But inside, there’s a lot to be excited about—especially when it comes to design. Take Parker’s, the hotel’s newly-opened lobby lounge. The space is draped in a canopy of cascading greenery, elevated by a flood of natural light from central skylights. Rooms are also pretty gorgeous and spacious for New York City standards (highest floor rooms have Central Park views).
Looking to redeem points? You will need to shell out between 21,000 and 29,000 points per night for a base-level King Room, making this a Category 6 property in Hyatt’s lineup.
Pros: Great location, beautiful design, not a bad value on points.
Cons: The club lounge is not open to elites and is only for guests of “Upper Stories,” a hotel-within-a-hotel experience that you can’t be upgraded to. Construction noise facing 57th St.
3. Shopping? Take Note of These Deals.
Get $40 for signing up for Rakuten.
You have to sign up before Dec. 1 and spend at least $40 within 90 days. Rakuten is a shopping portal—go to Rakuten first and then shop as you normally would online. It’s as easy as that. (I also get $40 if you use the link above.)
Use (one) credit card point on Amazon.
Chase, Citi and Amex all have targeted promotions going on now to save up to 50% off an Amazon purchase when you use points to pay. You only need to use one point, and you’ll want to do that because using points on Amazon isn’t a great value.
Bilt double points promotion.
Between Nov. 25 and Dec. 1, Bilt is offering double points on everything (except rent). 6x on dining, 4x on travel, and 2x on everything else. If you’re interested in a no-annual-fee Bilt credit card, you can sign up using my referral link here.
Hyatt 20% promo code.
Use promo code “UNLOCK” for 20% off stays if you book by Nov. 30, 2022.
Monos 40% off Black Friday deal.
I’m only noting this because I’m in the market for a new suitcase and I prefer Monos over Away. You can use my referral link for $20 off here.
4. Save on flights after booking.
Reminder that if you book a non-basic economy ticket, airlines in the U.S. do not charge a change fee anymore. That means if the price of your ticket (in miles or cash) happens to go down, you should get the difference in cost back to your account.
Delta makes this incredibly easy—you can just hit “change flight” in your reservation to periodically check the cost of your existing flight. Keep in mind: you have to do this yourself. The airline won’t tell you if your flight decreased in cost.
In my case, I noticed the price went down by 8,000 miles close to departure time. However, if I had paid in cash and noticed the price went down, you won’t get a refund—you’ll get a credit for future travel for the difference in cost.
Happy Thanksgiving, Modern Travelers.
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