The Short Final

Dominic is a full-time consultant who aims to bring you news and inspiration about the best travel experiences, destinations, and industry insights without all the unnecessary fluff. Focus is on American AAdvantage and Starwood / Marriott loyalty programs.

The Ultimate Capri Travel Guide

Capri is a beautiful island roughly 30-40 minutes off the coast of Naples, Italy. The island has gorgeous landscapes and is truly one-of-a-kind. A common misconception is that you have to spend a bunch of money to vacation on Capri. This is absolutely not the case. Capri is able to be enjoyed by any budget! Getting There Fly into Rome –> Train to Naples –> Ferry to Capri Rome’s Fiumicino airport (FCO) is Southern Italy’s main international airport and serves most destinations in the United States. I’d recommend flying into Rome and taking a train to Naples from Termini Station. When you land, transfer to Termini Station via the Leonardo Express (from FCO). Once at Termini Station, you have a couple of options for trains to Naples. The two main companies are Trenitalia and Italo. I’ve taken Italo twice and have had great experiences. Tickets are relatively inexpensive and run anywhere from 25 euros for basic economy to around 70 euros for top class. I recommend the Prima class as it feels upscale, has great legroom, but isn’t totally unfortunate looking. If you opt for the Trenitalia option, be sure to choose the Frecciarossa train for expedited service (equivalent of the Acela on Amtrak). A business class Frecciarossa ticket can be as low as 29 euro! Once you are in Naples, you’re going to want to get to the...

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Reflections on 2017 With Travel Update

Short post alert! If my memory serves me correctly, it was around 2015 when I decided to start Award Bandit, a tiny award-booking service. At the same time, I thought it would be advantageous to start a blog in conjunction with Award Bandit called The Short Final. My goal with the blog was to share success stories (and failures) from clients and also showcase travel deals and “hacks”. I ran the business and the blog for about five months. The blog failed miserably, I thought. But in reality, I learned that NO blog is going to be my idea...

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HURRY: Book Alaska-American Airlines Awards Before 2018

For as long as I can remember, booking Alaska Airlines awards on American Airlines flights was one of the best moves you could make due to the favorable value. Unfortunately, this partnership is ending in 2018 and us travelers have until December 31, 2017 to book awards at the current reduced levels. On January 1, 2018, things take a turn for the worse as Alaska Airlines will be bringing rates back to reality. I did some quick math and it looks like award redemption rates will be increasing by an average of 17%! Additional Provisions and Important Notes Off-peak...

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5 Great Last Minute Holiday Gifts For Every Traveler

T’minus one day and counting until Christmas. If you are fresh out of ideas and are looking for some inspiration, here are my five favorite travel items that I don’t leave home without. Tumi Alpha Bravo Briefcase I absolutely love my Tumi Alpha Bravo briefcase. I travel a ton for work and need a bag that’s reliable, stylish, and high-quality. This bag delivers. Some of Tumi’s other bags are a bit big and bulky so I like that this particular one is nice and slim. I’m able to comfortably fit my laptop/charger/mouse, iPad Pro, and Bose QuietComfort headphones. Blue...

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An In-Depth Guide to Earning Elite Status on American Airlines

American Airlines’ AAdvantage program has its quirks and downfalls (like horrible award space), but I’ve noticed some considerable improvements and I think generally the airline is great to fly. I am absolutely terrified of how life will be when I lose my Executive Platinum status at the end of January 2018. I know, I’m being dramatic and elitist. My EP status has saved me numerous times with same-day flight changes, free upgrades on almost all flights, top (or near top) of the standby list privileges, group two boarding and much more. I opened my American app yesterday and was...

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Should You Use an Award Booking Service?

I often see questions about whether award booking services are worth the investment. The short answer is ‘it depends’ and it truly does — are you too busy to research an award or are you just too inexperienced? If either or both of these scenarios apply to you, I would say yes, an award booking service is worth the money. If you have the experience, have done your research, but simply cannot find any award space for your trip I would say hold off on the award booking service. The reason is because if you have experience with booking...

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Why You Should Visit Puerto Rico

Destinations like Turks and Caicos, Aruba, and Exuma Bay (Bahamas) garner much of the tourism attention in the Caribbean. I’ve always wondered, why isn’t Puerto Rico as popular? Is it because of the financial instability? The presence of nicer beaches on different islands? What is it? I’m not sure what the answer is, but I can tell you Puerto Rico is absolutely stunning and you should place it at the top of your Caribbean travel list — especially if you are a United States citizen (due to there being no customs clearance). This past May my girlfriend and I...

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Interview With Zach Honig of

Update: As of 8/31/2017, Zach is assuming the role of Editor-at-Large at TPG.    I hope all of you enjoyed reading the first installment of Musings on Travel. If you haven’t, check it out here! This week I’m pumped to have Zach Honig, Editor-in-Chief of, here to answer a few questions for us. Zach is a newly-minted Million Mile flier with United and his Instagram photos are some of the best I’ve come across. Zach is calculated in his posts and the way he runs TPG’s content — and it shows. The site’s content is relevant and beneficial for...

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Interview with Brian Cohen of The Gate

My Curiosity… I’d like to start off this post by sharing a bit about myself. I’m a normal guy with an 8:30-5:30-wheneverthejobgetsdone job who sometimes spends way more time away from home and checking work e-mail than is necessary. I also happen to love travel as it is often the only time I get to really unplug. I don’t have a huge stockpile of points/miles and never fly remotely close to 100,000 miles annually as is seemingly the prerequisite for a reputable travel blogger (eye roll). I suspect this is a similar story for you. I write this blog...

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UPDATE: American Airlines Resuming Philadelphia-Zurich Flights

Last week I told you that American Airlines would be introducing flights from Philadelphia (PHL) to Budapest (BUD) and Prague (PRG), as well as resuming its Philadelphia (PHL)-Zurich (ZRH) route. Some fine details were unclear, but now we have some additional information. Philadelphia – Budapest Frequency: 1x; 7 days per week Route effective: May 4, 2018 Equipment: Boeing 767-300ER AA #96 Philadelphia (PHL) –> Budapest (BUD) 6:25PM – 9:35AM +1 Day AA #97 Budapest (BUD) –> Philadelphia (PHL) 11:35 AM – 4:00 PM Philadelphia – Prague Frequency: 1x; 7 days per week Route effective: May 4, 2018 Equipment: Boeing 767-300ER AA...

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