Carissa is a native Californian whose taste for travel began during her 7 years in the U.S. Air Force. A former Arabic translator, her first serious journey overseas was to Jordan, where a 6-month deployment taught her a lot about people and a little about award travel. What started as a curiosity quickly became an obsession, and soon she had launched her own website teaching others how to travel for free.
After years of running her own blog, she joined up with The Points Guy full-time to write about the best in rewards travel, flight deals, and the ever-elusive elite status. Since then she has contributed to many different websites, including The Balance, Business Insider, and Forbes.
When she isn’t writing about award travel, you’ll often find her scanning fare calendars and searching mattress runs, usually from some sort of Priority Pass lounge. She is a United 1K member and a soon-to-be Hyatt Globalist, though her heart will always lie with Hilton.
Carissa is a firm believer in value for money, whether that means she’s legging it on a $200 cash fare to Europe or sipping Champagne up front courtesy of an award flight. She’s also made good use of upgrade certificates and even, when she’s feeling fancy, redeemed miles for a premium cabin upgrade.
You can follow Carissa on Twitter.
Countries Visited: 51
U.S. States Visited: 36
Highest Hotel Status: Hilton Honors Diamond
Highest Airline Status: United MileagePlus 1K
Favorite Airline Alliance: Star Alliance
Favorite First Class: Cathay Pacific
Favorite Business Class: United Polaris
Best Redemption Value: Alaska Airlines via Cathay Pacific to the Middle East
Favorite Type of Points: Chase Ultimate Rewards
Top 3 Cards in Wallet: Chase Sapphire Reserve®, The Platinum Card® from American Express, and Citi Prestige® Card