Tag Archives: rewards

woman in gondola in venice

Wendy Wants To Amp Up Your Trip!

Wendy wants to add a surprise WOW Moment to your itinerary —  custom-designed for you, and complimentary!

A WOW Moment is an exclusive insider experience that helps make a trip extraordinary.  (Here’s a sampling.)  Each WOW Moment is totally different. They vary depending on a range of factors, including the country you’re headed to, the timing of your trip, logistics, availability, and more. 

After two qualifying trips, Wendy will email you a WOW Moment gift certificate, which you can then redeem on a future qualifying trip before the certificate’s expiration date. Read the “Program Rules and FAQs” below so that you know how the process works and you don’t miss out.


1. How do I earn a WOW Moment?
2. Which trips qualify?
3. How do I redeem my WOW Moment gift certificate?
4. Do WOW Moments expire?
5. Does a trip qualify if it’s arranged by someone Wendy is testing for The WOW List?
6. Why is Wendy giving travelers WOW Moments anyway?

1. How do I earn a WOW Moment?

You return from two qualifying trips and submit reviews of those trips within 90 days of  your return date.  Shortly after submitting your second review, you will be awarded a WOW Moment gift certificate for use on a future trip. We automatically email you the gift certificate; you don’t even have to ask for it!  Every set of three qualifying trips earns you a WOW Moment certificate to redeem during a future qualifying trip.
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2. Which trips qualify?

A trip will qualify if 3 criteria are met:

1. You must use Wendy’s questionnaire form when you contact the Trusted Travel Expert (TTE). That’s how Wendy learns about your trip so that she can monitor it, and that’s what registers you as a V.I.P. traveler. To reach Wendy’s questionnaire, browse The WOW List to find your ideal TTE, then click the black CONTACT button below that TTE’s listing, and you’ll reach Wendy’s form.  If you don’t use that form—if your initial contact with a TTE is by phone, for example, or via the TTE’s website—that trip will not qualify. The only way Wendy can ensure you end up with an extraordinary trip is if she’s in on your trip planning from the start.  NOTE: The WOW Moments program launched on October 18, 2015. Any trips that began with a form filled out before October 18, 2015, do not qualify.

2. You must review your trip within 90 days of your return date. Shortly after you get back, Wendy will invite you to review the services of the TTE you used. You have the choice of submitting a private review—for Wendy’s eyes only—or a public review that will be posted on WendyPerrin.com for everyone to read. It’s your honest reviews that determine who Wendy keeps on The WOW List and who gets removed.

3. The trip (the portion arranged by a TTE) must be five nights or longer.  A small segment of a trip—say, a day tour or a two-night stopover—is not the same thing as a trip. Wendy’s mission is for you to experience the magic of a start-to-finish journey arranged by a WOW Lister.  Complete trips—which we are defining as at least five nights in length—allow a TTE to shine and embellish your trip with special touches as your itinerary unfolds.  And Wendy and the TTE need at least five nights to work with in order to add a WOW Moment to an itinerary; otherwise time is too limited, and opportunities are too few, to work a meaningful surprise into your trip.

Are you traveling with friends?  Would the couple or family you’re traveling with like this trip to count toward a future WOW Moment for them too?  If so, one member of the other couple or family must submit Wendy’s questionnaire form at the start of the trip-planning process, the same way you did, and mention that you are traveling together. Have your friend go to the WOW List, search for the TTE you’ve chosen for your trip, click the TTE’s CONTACT button, and fill out the questionnaire.

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3. How do I redeem my WOW Moment gift certificate?

After you return from your second qualifying trip, and if you’ve submitted a review for each trip within 90 days of your return date, then you will receive by email a WOW Moment gift certificate for use on a future trip.

Redeem that certificate the next time you contact a Trusted Travel Expert (TTE) on The WOW List:  When you submit Wendy’s questionnaire form, a box will pop up where you can input your certificate number. 


1. Certificates cannot be redeemed on trips that are already in the works. We need to know at the start of the trip-planning process—meaning, at the time you submit Wendy’s questionnaire form—whether the itinerary will include a WOW Moment.  When a TTE has already made lots of plans for your trip, there is often no opportunity left to squeeze in a WOW Moment!

2. Redeem your certificate for a WOW Moment in the destination/specialty that the TTE is listed for on The WOW List. If somebody is listed for, say, Argentina, that signifies that Wendy is confident that that person can deliver a WOW Moment in Argentina. It does not signify the ability to deliver a WOW Moment in Peru or Colombia!

3. Do not redeem your certificate on a trip arranged by someone who is being tested for The WOW List. See FAQ #5 below: “Does a trip qualify if it’s arranged by someone Wendy is testing for The WOW List?”

4. Each certificate covers two people: the traveler who earned it, plus one travel companion. (If a WOW Moment certificate was earned by parents and children traveling together on both trips, and the family would like to enjoy the WOW Moment together, please write to info@wendyperrin.com.)

5. Are you traveling with friends who would also like this trip to count toward a future WOW Moment? If so, one member of the other couple or family must submit Wendy’s questionnaire form for the same Trusted Travel Expert at the start of the trip-planning process and mention that you are traveling together.

6. Only one certificate may be redeemed per trip.

7. Remember, the WOW Moment is a surprise. Travelers do not get to pick their WOW Moment!

8. WOW Moments vary significantly, depending on your destination, trip timing, and TTE.

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4. Do WOW Moments expire?

 When your certificate arrives in your inbox, you have one year from that date to redeem your certificate. That means you have one year in which to book the trip; it does not mean you have only one year in which to take the trip. (WOW Moment gift certificates that were awarded early in the history of the program had no expiration date.)

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5. Does a trip qualify if it’s arranged by someone Wendy is testing for The WOW List?

Perhaps you weren’t even aware that there are numerous destination specialists whom Wendy is testing behind the scenes for possible inclusion on The WOW List, pending feedback from the travelers she sends to them.  Travelers who can’t find the person they need on The WOW List write to Ask Wendy, and that’s when Wendy often recommends one of these WOW List candidates.

Trips arranged by a WOW List candidate count toward a WOW Moment, as long as they meet all the other requirements listed in #2 above.  But Wendy does not recommend redeeming a WOW Moment gift certificate on a trip arranged by a WOW List candidate—for the obvious reason that Wendy does not know yet whether that person can deliver a true WOW Moment, since that person is still being tested.  In such cases, Wendy advises waiting and using your certificate on your next trip arranged by a full-fledged TTE on The WOW List, so please write to info@wendyperrin.com so we can postpone your certificate expiration date.

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6. Why is Wendy giving travelers WOW Moments anyway?

First, Wendy wants to thank you for trying out her unprecedented WOW trip-planning system. Since its launch in September 2014, many of you have provided constructive feedback to help Wendy iron out the bugs and improve the system as it develops.

Second, Wendy wants to encourage you to use The WOW List in the way that is most beneficial to you, and she wants to incentivize you to submit a review every time you use a travel specialist who is on The WOW List or being tested for it. It’s your reviews that determine who earns a spot on, or gets removed from, the List. It’s your reviews that keep The WOW List up-to-the-minute accurate and reliable.

Third, Wendy is well aware that, as travelers continue to use TTEs for trip after trip, their standards and expectations grow higher and higher with each trip. WOW Moments are a way to ensure that your TTE-designed trips just keep getting better.
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If you have any other questions, please write to info@wendyperrin.com.

Happy travels!

travel planning with a credit card passport map and phone on table

The Best Credit Cards for Travelers

Whether you’re actually traveling or working your way toward a trip, the right credit card can be a big help in getting you there.

There are three things that rewards credit cards can do for you, and it’s important to know why you’ve taken a particular card, and to use it accordingly.

Some are best for the initial bonus miles. They’ll give you a ton of points for taking the card, but there’s not really a reason to keep the card after you’ve earned the bonus.

Some are best for ongoing spending. They reward you with valuable points, and lots of them—bonuses for spending on travel, dining, groceries, and the like.

Some are best for the valuable perks. If you fly an airline a lot but not quite enough to earn elite status, the airline’s co-branded credit card will give you many of the same perks, such as priority boarding and free checked bags. Still others get you lounge access or special discounts on airfare. You want to carry these cards, but you don’t necessarily want to put spending on them.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card became the ‘it’ card on the market when it launched three years ago with a 100,000-point sign-up bonus, though that’s been dialed back to a still-generous 50,000 points. Ongoing spending is rewarded generously with triple points on travel and dining. The points can either be used to purchase airfare directly at 1.5 cents in value per point or transferred to a variety of airline and hotel frequent-flier programs. And though the annual fee was just increased to $550, the card’s perks are still generous: a $300 travel credit, credit of the application fee for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS, and a Priority Pass Select card with unlimited visits and privileges for two complimentary guests each time, providing lounge access in over 30 U.S. airports and to about 1,300 airport lounges around the world. In terms of travel protections, you’ll get primary collision-damage coverage when you rent cars, along with coverage for lost bags and long flight delays (something Citibank cards lack), and there are no foreign-transaction fees. However, along with the increased fee there have been some nips and tucks to the benefits: The trip cancellation coverage no longer includes when a travel provider goes bankrupt; you’re limited to two guests in airport lounges, they no longer give points on the spending that’s rebated to you as part of the $300 travel credit, and they no longer give you the travel credit twice in your first year. On the other hand, the card now offers Lyft benefits (ten points per dollar) and a complimentary DoorDash DashPass for discounted food delivery.

Here are some of the best cards in each category:

Cards With the Best Bonuses for Signing Up

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: You’ll earn 80,000 points after spending $4,000 on the card within three months. This isn’t the biggest number bonus you’ll ever see, but the points are among the most valuable out there, transferring to airlines including United, British Airways, Air France KLM, Emirates and Singapore, and to hotel programs including Hyatt and Marriott. The card has a $95 annual fee.

If you have a small business, then the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card will be very tempting. You’ll earn 100,000 points after spending $15,000 on purchases within three months of opening your account. This card earns the same transferable points as the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve, so they transfer to various airlines and hotels.

Cards that are Best for Ongoing Spending

All of these cards earn flexible points that can be transferred to a variety of different airline or hotel programs. That way you aren’t locked into a single program—you can choose where to put your points once you know where you’d like to travel and who has the best award availability at that time. The flexibility of points alone makes them more attractive than airline-specific credit cards, and they often earn points at a faster rate, too.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: The card earns a valuable currency that transfers to several airline and hotel programs, and it also earns triple points on all travel and all dining. It’s a Visa card, so it is accepted almost everywhere, and there are no foreign-transaction fees either.

American Express Gold Card: American Express renamed the “Premier Rewards Gold” card and really improved it. It earns 4 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and supermarkets (the latter on up to $25,000 in spend annually), and 3 points per dollar with airlines. It has a $250 annual fee, which is somewhat offset by a $120 annual dining credit with certain food delivery services and restaurants and $120 annual Uber credit.

Capital One Venture X: The cards above all earn well in spending bonus categories. Consider the one that best matches your own spending patterns. But use it only for spending in those categories! You don’t want to earn just 1 point per dollar on the rest of your spend. If the opportunity cost of $1 in spending on a rewards card is $1 in spending on a 2% cash back card, then you’re effectively buying points at 2 cents apiece when using the rewards card for un-bonused spending. That’s too expensive! Earning with a card like Capital One Venture X for all of the rest of your spending makes sense, since it earns 2 points per dollar on all charges—and the points can either be redeemed directly against paid travel or transferred to airline and hotel loyalty programs. This card has a $395 annual fee, but comes with a $300 annual travel credit for bookings made at Capital One Travel (whether hotels, airline tickets, etc.) plus 10,000 bonus miles every account anniversary and comes with a Priority Pass membership for airport lounge access as well as access to Capital One’s own airport lounges. They have a partnership that provides Hertz Presidents Club status, and authorized users of the card come at no annual fee—and these cards are entitled to Priority Pass and Hertz status as well.

Cards With the Best Perks and Benefits

Generally, airline co-branded credit cards are worthwhile for the benefits if you fly one airline most of the time but don’t fly enough to earn elite status. You’ll get waived checked-baggage fees and priority boarding (so you can avoid having to gate-check your carry-on when the plane runs out of overhead-bin space). With United’s card you’ll also get two annual airline lounge passes. These cards aren’t as rewarding as the others on this list, though, for your ongoing spend. So consider getting them for the benefits, but put your spending on other cards.

American Express Platinum: This card is great for lounge access. It gets you into Delta lounges when flying Delta, as well as into American Express’s own network of Centurion lounges and it comes with a Priority Pass Select card, which provides access to lounges around the world (but not credit at Priority Pass airport restaurants). You also get National Car Rental’s Executive status (that means you can pick from better cars when you rent), Hilton’s Gold status (good for upgrades and breakfast), and Marriott’s Gold status (which enables you to avoid unfortunate rooms and get 2pm late checkout). You also get an annual credit of $200 for airline fees, an annual Uber credit of $200 and an annual credit of $100 at Saks; $240 Digital Entertainment Credit; $179 CLEAR credit; $300 Equinox credit and more. That all, to me, makes this card’s $695 annual fee worth paying.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature: This Bank of America card comes with the unique benefit of a $99+tax companion ticket that isn’t like most companion tickets in travel—it really is good for any seat on any of their flights. If you pay for an economy ticket on Alaska, you can book a companion for only slightly more than $100. I consider the companion ticket to be worth the card’s $75 annual fee, since it’s good throughout Alaska’s route network—even for trips between the U.S. East Coast and Hawaii.


Be a smarter traveler: Use Wendy’s WOW List to plan your next trip. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.

wallet full of credit cards

Best Credit Cards for Canadian Travelers

Using the right credit card is a smart way to maximize your travel booking power, and there are several that we recommend every traveler have in his or her arsenal. Some cards come with sign-up bonuses, others offer the potential to earn valuable points you can trade for hotel stays and flights, and others reward you with cash back.

We regularly update our Best Credit Cards for Travelers list, and every time we do, we are gently reminded by our Canadian readers that our advice is very useful…unless you live in Canada. That’s because Canadians can’t apply for a U.S. credit card unless they have a U.S. bank account and a U.S. address. In the interest of serving all of you globetrotters who reside in Canada, we reached out to our old friend and miles-and-points expert Gary Leff, who writes View from the Wing and founded BookYourAward.com.

“The Canadian card market isn’t quite as lucrative or competitive as the U.S. market,” Gary explained. “And it’s also somewhat in flux, because Air Canada is going to be ending its relationship with Aeroplan (the frequent-flier program that it spun off) and starting its own new program. As a result the value of accumulated unused Aeroplan miles is likely to fall. As a result my three favorite Canadian cards are American Express products.”

Here are Gary’s picks for the best credit cards for Canadian travelers:

• Starwood American Express: This has been a go-to in the U.S. for me for 16 years and is pretty similar in Canada.

• Gold Rewards: This one earns Membership Rewards points, which transfer to a variety of airline mileage programs (different programs than the U.S. cards have access to).

• Simply Cash Preferred: For cash back, this one gets you 2% rebates.

If you have any questions (for us or Gary), let us know in the comments below. And be sure to follow Gary on ViewFromtheWing.com for the latest insider info and explanations of the world of miles and points.


Photo credit: Plant Hide


Be a smarter traveler: Read real travelers’s reviews of Wendy’s WOW List and use it to plan your next trip. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter @wendyperrin, and Instagram @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.

The Great Wall of China

WOW Moment: A Helicopter Ride Over The Great Wall of China


We take our jobs very seriously here at WendyPerrin.com—to report on and recommend the best travel solutions and trip-planning help out there. After all, if we’re wrong about anything, we must answer to you—an audience of the most experienced and discerning travelers around. That’s why the review process is such an integral part of Wendy’s Trip Support System. In fact, it’s the main reason we ask all of you who use The WOW List to use the black CONTACT buttons on it when you contact a Trusted Travel Expert. That way, we can stay in touch with you and, after your trip, find out how everything went. Your feedback is enormously helpful to your fellow travelers—and, in turn, their reviews are enormously helpful to you, when you come back to use The WOW List again.

But don’t listen to us when we tell you the benefits of using Wendy’s WOW system to plan your trips. Listen to Lisa and Scott Dettmer, frequent travelers from the Silicon Valley area who’ve been using Wendy’s travel specialists for years. They recently returned from their latest adventure, arranged by Mei Zhang, Wendy’s Trusted Travel Expert for China. Since this was the Dettmers’ third trip using the WOW system, they earned something special: a surprise insider experience curated by Wendy and added to their itinerary for free. We call these WOW Moments, and anyone who uses our trip-planning system can earn one if they simply use our WOW List buttons and review their Trusted Travel Expert after their trip. (Here’s more info on how to get your own WOW Moment).

We’re not sure all of you have heard about WOW Moments yet, so we called up Lisa and Scott to let them share, in their own words, their experience working with Wendy’s Trusted Travel Experts, and what they thought of their WOW Moment surprise.

Q: How often do you two travel?

Lisa: We do one significant trip each year—like a two-week, far-away trip—and then we do quite a few smaller trips throughout the year. Our first trip [using one of Wendy’s travel specialists] was to Africa when Wendy was at Condé Nast Traveler. The planning worked so well, and the trip was so tailored to our needs, that I’ve continued to use her specialists throughout the last four or five years. Every single time we’ve had just wonderful experiences. I wouldn’t plan a trip without doing it that way—because it works.

Q: You recently returned from China. Was this a special trip?

Scott: We wanted to approach it a little differently. We didn’t want a traditional tourist approach to China, and it was nice that [Mei and her team] were able to do something we thought was unique and customized to our preferences.

Q: Can you give an example?

Scott: We like to hike and be outdoors, and we like animals, and a lot of travelers would not think you would go to China to have those experiences. Most think it’s going to be an urban experience: You’ll see the Great Wall, the terra-cotta warriors, and the Forbidden City, and that’s it. But WildChina delivered. Lisa’s experience of being up close and personal with a panda made the trip for her, and the other was being able to hike out into the forest in the southwestern area of China to find the endangered snub-nosed monkeys and hang out for hours watching them play around in the trees. They did a nice job of giving us the urban experience and the rural experience.

Q: Walk me through your WOW Moment: What happened?

Scott: It was a ton of fun and a great surprise, and the lead-up to it was amusing. We were in Beijing and had already gone out to one portion of the Great Wall, at Mutianyu, and had a great visit there. The next day I was supposed to visit my office in Beijing, but when our tour guide found out that I wasn’t going in, he started making a bunch of texts and phone calls. Then he said, “Since you’re not going to the office, we would really like to take you to another portion of the Great Wall.” We thought, “Well, we’ve already seen the Great Wall.” I should back up and explain that our guide was such a gentle and accommodating guy—really nice—but now he was like, “No, I think you should go to this other section of the Great Wall.” So we said, [adopts a skeptical voice] “Okay…I guess we’ll follow your good judgment.” [Laughs]

Lisa: That morning I started to put on my tennis shoes, thinking we’re going to hike, and our guide gets this big smile on his face and says, “Oh, you won’t be needing your tennis shoes.” And as soon as he told us that, he told us this was our WOW Moment.

Scott: I have a special affinity for helicopters because I started taking lessons in the past year—and we went up in one of the types I’ve flown, or kind of flown. [Laughs] And what a kick! Flying over different portions of the Great Wall! It certainly is a very different perspective. And to see the wall winding in its serpentine terrain across that mountainous terrain—it was gorgeous. The guide got to go up with us, and he’d never been up in a helicopter before. It was a ton of fun, and everyone had giant smiles.

Q: Lisa, you’re the one who worked with our Trusted Travel Expert to plan the trip. Did you have any idea what the WOW Moment was going to be?

Lisa: It was a total surprise, and that makes it really fun. I’d thought the WOW Moment was another thing that wasn’t in the original itinerary: WildChina had added in a sidecar ride through Shanghai. So, in my mind, since we’d never talked about what the WOW Moment would be, I assumed that’s what it was—I thought we’d already had it. So [the helicopter ride] was really a surprise, even though I was the planner of the trip!

Q: What’s your take on working with a Trusted Travel Expert to plan a trip? We’d like your honest opinion.

Lisa: It was neat that we felt like [Mei’s deputy] Jenny Zhao was constantly monitoring us throughout the trip and always knew where we were. She was our air-traffic controller on this trip. We also appreciated her on-the-spot analysis of our options: At one point, the weather was going to be pretty cold, and they were predicting snow in an area that was a significant drive away, and we thought maybe we should not do that portion. So we contacted Jenny to talk about alternatives, and she very quickly did the research to let us know what our options were. She encouraged us to go because if we canceled it we’d miss out on [a connecting portion] of the trip, and this way we could use the day to relax if the weather wasn’t that good. But it was a lovely day: We went on a hike with our guide, and we are so glad we didn’t make the changes. She encouraged us to stay the course, and that worked out really well.

Q: What should other travelers know about Wendy’s WOW system?

Scott: Our view is why wouldn’t everyone in the world do this? Using the sort of approach we do with your organization and with the local travel experts—why wouldn’t everyone do that? It makes so much sense. It really is terrific.

Lisa: For me, it was doing one trip and making a mistake before I found Wendy. One time we went to Belize, and I booked us at a resort that had just recently opened. It looked awesome on the website, but we got there and they had not worked out the kinks yet. It was an expensive trip, and it was really a bummer because that would never have happened with a Wendy specialist. I did a couple trips where it felt like we spent a lot of money and took time, and they were fine but they were not great. And then we did our first Wendy trip, and I was amazed. It’s not that it’s more expensive [to use one of Wendy’s Trusted Travel Experts]. I feel like it’s a great deal: the resources that the travel specialists provide and for what we spend on these trips. If I think about the total trip cost, it’s so worth it to have that guaranteed. Basically, it’s a guarantee that the trip is going to be successful, that the places we stay and the activities are going to be good. I feel like it’s an insurance policy for us.


Wendy Wants To Amp Up Your Trip!

On every third qualifying trip, Wendy will add to your itinerary a surprise WOW Moment. A WOW Moment is an exclusive insider experience that helps make a trip extraordinary. Each WOW Moment is totally different. They vary depending on a huge range of factors, including the country you’re headed to, the timing of your trip, logistics, availability, and more. You can read a sampling of the more over-the-top WOW Moments (those most conducive to editorial coverage) here. Learn which trips qualify, and how the process works, here: Wendy Wants To Amp Up Your Trip!