How Many City Blocks Are in a Mile? [2022]

I’ve traveled all around the world to many cities, both large and small, and the difference in city layouts has always interested me. When strolling through cities, I’ve often wondered, “exactly how many of these city blocks are in one mile?”

The number of blocks in a mile might seem like an easy question to answer, but in reality, it varies between each city or even direction. One city might only have nine blocks per mile while another might have 30 blocks per mile. It all depends.

In this article, I will explain what a city block is, discuss grid plans, and answer how many blocks are in a mile. 

What is a city block?

A city block (also known as a block) is an area of land that is surrounded by streets. Each city will have different sizes and shapes of blocks. Some blocks might be square and some might be a rectangle, but blocks are often the product of grid planning.

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Grid plans created blocks

A grid plan is simply a city development strategy that has streets running at right angles with each other. 

The whole point of a grid plan is to have buildings built between roads utilizing space efficiently. Buildings are typically cheaper and more efficient to build when using right angles for streets. This also allows land not to be wasted. Take a look at The Great American Grid and how varied some of the city grid layouts are. 

Infographic by Paul Knight

Each city, no matter the block size, is created via a grid plan for the efficiency for building while also allowing upward expansions.

Grid plans make it easy to walk and drive for residents of the city without the need for navigation since city roads should bear the directions of a compass. 

Building regulations can become standardized when angles are all the same throughout the city.

Therefore, each city has a signature city street network orientation where most city streets bear the direction of a compass. Take a look at the polar histograms by Geoff Boeing.

History plays a role

Grid plans typically take place at the creation of the city. Some cities might overhaul their whole network of roads, but a city might use the same layout of roads as the beginning of the city’s creation.

However, events in a city’s history can shape the way grid plans are played out.

Take a look at Boston. The reclamation of land from the harbor and suburbs created roads that spread different directions than Boston proper roads. Why?

Those reclaimed areas had roads that weren’t following Boston’s grid plan. During the Boston expansion, Boston left those reclaimed roads creating a network of roads that weren’t consistent.

Another example would be Charlotte and how roads go in every possible direction. It’s a city where people have to use landmarks to navigate the streets. The city ended up using spaghetti-like roads throughout the city from old farmland paths. It was also because of the lack of future-proofing the city for expansion, unlike other cities like New York or Chicago.

Blocks are all shapes and sizes

Blocks can vary between cities. There might be more blocks in one city than another city. Moreover, there could be varying sizes of blocks in a single city. Blocks can be any shape, they don’t have to be exactly a square or rectangle. Sometimes blocks can even be a triangle. 

In addition to the different shapes and sizes, the number of blocks might vary based on the direction you go. It might just depend on the perspective you look at the blocks. 

How many blocks are in a mile

From our sample size below using major cities, the average number of blocks in a mile would be 20.3 blocks. However, blocks can vary dramatically between each city or even direction. So, it’s best to use specific cities as examples.

New York City

Probably the most famous city that comes to blocks would be New York City (NYC). NYC is not only the biggest city in the United States but everything in the city is measured by how many blocks it is to get somewhere. Even the streets can show the number of blocks it is to your destination. 

And the story of how the grid plans in NYC came into fruition is not only interesting but created the most perfect block structure ever.

NYC blocks all became reality when the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 came about. With the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, the iconic rectangular blocks not only were created but also became a trend throughout modern city planning. You could say the NYC grid plan is created for perfection because of its consistency. 

However, the direction you travel in NYC will determine the number of blocks in a given mile. Here are the number of blocks based on direction:  

  • North-South: 31 blocks
  • West-East: 9 blocks 

The number of blocks when traveling north or south will be higher. Thus, traveling 20 blocks north will be less distance than traveling 20 blocks east. 

Travel tip: If you were staying in NYC and want to tour around, you might be interested in our top 10 completely touristy things to do in NYC article.

Washington DC

Washington DC is a lovely city to eat, visit the neighborhoods, and learn all about history in. Washington DC to this day is one of my favorite cities for museums, especially the ones located by the National Mall.

Washington DC blocks differ in size where some blocks will be slightly bigger than others. The number of blocks per mile come out to:

  • North-South: 16 blocks
  • West-East: 24 blocks

Washington DC is definitely no NYC, but still walkable with a decent amount of blocks per mile. 

San Francisco

One of my favorite West Coast cities would be San Francisco. From all the places you can eat to the diverse neighborhoods, you can find something that you love in the rolling hills of San Francisco. 

San Francisco blocks aren’t crazy different lengths like NYC, but still slightly different in the direction you go. The number of blocks per mile are:

  • North-South: 24.8 blocks
  • West-East: 17.6 blocks

Travel tip: If you find yourself in San Francisco, you might be tempted to walk, as I have for miles. However, as it’s so hilly, you might be better off riding the Cable Cars or taking an Uber to your next destination. 


Boston is an underrated city and I think worth a visit at least once in your life.

It holds lots of history and food hotspots that aren’t really known but should be. Boston also holds a unique competitive market for aviation with many long-haul flights from foreign and American carriers all competing for a spot. 

Blocks in Boston are very much like NYC, longer in one direction than another. The number of blocks per mile in Boston is:

  • North-South: 31 blocks
  • West-East: 12.2 blocks

Unlike most modern American cities, Boston’s grid plan is not the most organized. Charlotte and Boston have streets going in almost every direction, instead of the usual grid plan that other cities use.

Boston caters to almost every direction, with its disorganization, making it truly special because of its unique history of reclamation of land and annexation of neighboring suburbs. Many Bostonians are more used to using landmarks to navigate their city.

Travel tip: If you hit up Boston, don’t forget to visit Acorn Street, try some baked beans, plus everything else like arts, food, and culture that make Boston a great place to visit. 

Boston acorn street


Detroit is more than a Delta hub — it’s a beautifully diverse city that is now trendy with art, culture, and food hotspots all emerging from the rubble that was created by the great recession. 

Detroit in terms of the number of blocks in a mile is similar to NYC:

  • North-South: 9
  • West-East: 30

As you can see, if you are traveling north or south, the number of blocks to reach a mile is far less as each block is longer. Yet, traveling west or east, the number of blocks will be greater per mile. 

What makes Detroit an interesting city for grid plans is how Detroit’s two separate orthogonal grids. Basically meaning one is slightly rotated compared to the other. Almost like an overlap. It’s using both NYC’s blocky grid plan and Paris’ rounding grid plan to make a grid plan influenced by those two cultures.


Chicago, the Windy City, is known for being the biggest midwestern city and a very walkable tourist destination, at least in downtown. 

The direction you go in Chicago won’t have a huge difference for the number of blocks in a mile:

  • North-South: 18.3 blocks
  • West-East: 20 blocks

Chicago is a very walkable city for being flat and super consistent with its blocks. Even when there is a foot of snow on the ground with high winds and 0-degree temps during the winter, you might be surprised how the city keeps on moving.


The city that you probably have visited if you have flown Delta is Atlanta. Atlanta, however, is far more than just Delta’s headquarters, it’s also known for being a musical hub and city culture hotspot for the South. 

If you’re traveling in downtown Atlanta, you will admire the perfect square block almost at every corner you go to. Each mile has:

  • North-South: 18 blocks
  • West-East: 18 blocks

No matter what direction you head, you will just need to know that it’s 18 blocks per mile in Atlanta. So, next time you have a layover or want to visit Coca-Cola, you will now know how many blocks it will take to get somewhere in downtown Atlanta.  


Portland, is the land of micro-breweries and hipster vibes and one of the most interesting cities on the West Coast. You will never be disappointed with the eats you find, as franchises aren’t hipster enough while also drawing in some of the best drinks you might find in all of the USA.

Portland has almost perfectly square blocks with the same number of blocks in a mile no matter what direction you go. As they are smaller blocks, it feels more like a town instead of a city. Portland blocks per mile are:

  • North-South: 32 blocks
  • West-East: 32 blocks

Finding yourself in Portland will not only be enjoyable for amazing eats but also for the hipster culture. It’s definitely a great place to visit, no matter the generation you are in. 


Miami is the destination where every teenager wants to go to for spring break and every EDM festival is held. It’s truly an American Airlines captive hub, but also the gateway city to South America. The city is also filled with many great eats that are influenced by South America and North American dishes, but also a nice young sunny vibe to the whole city with art everywhere.

Miami blocks do vary the direction you go, but as it’s sunny year-round, you won’t have to worry about the distance you are going. Miami blocks per mile are:

  • North-South: 21 blocks
  • West-East: 12 blocks

Travel tip: If you end up hitting up Miami, don’t forget to visit the Florida Keys that are nearby. It’s not only tiny islands with a more laidback vibe but also easily accessible via a short road trip. 

Hilton Aspire Card
Hilton Cabana Miami Beach.

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is not only Utah’s capital by also a gateway to many nearby mountains for skiing and snowboarding. You can find not one but many nearby mountains that allow you to enjoy the slopes during the day and then the Salt Lake City life at night. 

Another lovely thing about Salt Lake City is the fact that blocks are a perfect square. So, the number of blocks in a mile for Salt Lake City is:

  • North-South: 10 blocks
  • West-East: 10 blocks

Travel tip: If you end up visiting Salt Lake City with your ski or snowboard equipment, you will most likely fly Delta as it’s one of their hubs. So, knowing baggage fees for Delta will probably benefit you. 

Final word

Knowing how many blocks are in a mile will help not only calculating the distance when you walk or drive but also a fun trivial night answer to wow all your friends. 

UberXL Guide: (Cars List, Requirements, & Rates) [2022]

Uber has exploded in popularity over the past few years and now there are several options to get around the country and the globe with Uber. You can choose to go the cheaper routes with services like Uber Pool and UberX or you can make your experience more premium by going with services like Uber Select or Uber Black.

But what about UberXL? Is it different from UberX or Uber Black SUV? 

In this article, I am going to tell you everything you need to know about UberXL, including how much more expensive the price/costs are, the UberXL cars list, and all of the requirements. I’ll also compare it to UberX and Uber Black SUV.

What is UberXL?

UberXL is a type of (more expensive) Uber fare that offers SUV or minivan vehicles to accommodate up to six riders. This fare is designed for groups/families and also for individuals who need extra space to store their luggage to and from the airport.

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How to use UberXL?

To use Uber XL, simply log into your Uber app and proceed as if you were going to book an ordinary UberX ride.

Select the destination that you will be heading to and once you do that, if UberXL is available you should see it listed under the menu for choosing a ride, as seen below. (In some cases you may need to swipe up to see UberXL.)

Since UberX is the default option you just need to select the “UberXL” option and then confirm your ride and you’re all good to go!

Uber app showing Uber XL option
Simply input your Destination and you will see the option to select UberXL if it is available.

How much more expensive is UberXL vs UberX?

UberXL will likely be around 30% to 40% more expensive than UberX.

Below are some data points that I used to arrive at this figure.

I did a test booking from my house to my university in Rochester Hills, Michigan which is about 15-20 minutes away. Here is what the rates look like:

  • UberX: $16.62
  • UberXL: $23.62
  • Uber Black: $46.94
  • Uber Black SUV: $65.83
  • Uber Select: $36.84

So, as you can see, UberXL is more expensive than UberX. In fact, the price is about 30% more expensive.

However, when you factor in the fact that it’s up to six riders per UberXL, you can significantly save some money by selecting one UberXL versus multiple UberX rides if you have a group of five or six people. Remember, UberX is designed for up to four passengers.

Related: Is Uber Available 24/7?

When I did another test booking for UberXL at a different time and destination, we can see it’s quite different from UberX. In this case, the price is 38% more expensive, so the price increase is not always a constant percentage. 

This quote was from my house to Detroit Airport (DTW), which takes 50 minutes to one hour. But again, it could be more efficient than booking two Uber rides with a large group or family.

  • UberX: $62.79
  • UberXL: $100.21
  • Uber Black: $181.51
  • Uber Black SUV: $251.95
  • Uber Select: $140.68

Don’t forget that they’ll also be expecting a tip which will add more to the cost (related: To tip or not to tip?).

And if you want to find out more about how Uber fares are calculated, click here.

Is UberXL worth it?

The short answer is yes, but only if you have a group of 5 to 6 people or have tons of luggage that takes up lots of room.

Comparing UberX and UberXL, you get a significant upgrade with UberXL in vehicle size. While UberXL vehicles won’t be luxurious, you will be guaranteed a vehicle with tons of room in both the seat and trunk. Even though the price is almost double of UberX in some cases, it’s perfectly worth it for space if you need or desire it.

However, if you don’t need the extra space, UberX is still perfectly fine as UberXL drivers are on the same level as UberX drivers. Meaning, they aren’t specially trained or held at a higher standard than UberX (unlike drivers for premium Uber options like Uber Select, Black, and Black SUV).

The Turo comparison

After a recent trip to Hawaii we compared the prices for Uber versus Turo.

One of the things I found was that UberXL could be very expensive compared to Turo, especially when you are talking about a group of five since five person vehicles can be pretty cheap to rent and UberX is not available.

So depending on your circumstances, it might be cheaper to rent a Turo vehicle for a day. Just something to consider.

What vehicles qualify for UberXL? (car list)

2008 or newer

First, many different types of cars are limited by the year. Some areas allow models that go all the way back to 2008 but some areas can require you to have newer models such as those ranging from 2013 to new.

2022 Update: Uber now says that UberXL vehicles must be a 2002 or newer.

UberXL models

UberXL doesn’t require certain models of vehicles. The only requirement for vehicles, besides the year, would be to be able to sit up to 6 riders and 1 driver along with luggage.

Additional requirements

  • 4-door vehicle
  • Good condition with no cosmetic damage
  • No commercial branding
  • At least 21 years of age
  • Valid US driver’s license
  • Proof of personal Auto Insurance
  • Proof of vehicle registration
  • Pass a vehicle inspection if your vehicle is 5 model years or older

As you can see, the requirements are nothing too special and are very standard for baseline ridesharing vehicle requirements.

Plus, these requirements are exactly the same as UberX too. UberXL drivers are held at the same standard as UberX drivers, meaning ratings cannot be below 4.6 or Uber will kick the driver off the platform.

Examples of UberXL vehicles

  • Kia Sorrento
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Dodge Grand Caravan
  • Chevrolet Traverse
  • Dodge Durango
  • Ford Explorer
  • Buick Enclave
  • Cadillac Escalade
  • Hyundai Santa Fe

These are just examples of UberXL vehicles and certainly more vehicles are allowed to drive for UberXL. Expect anything that can fit 6 riders.

A typical UberXL vehicle will be an SUV or van.

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How expensive are UberXL vehicles?

If you are like me you might be wondering how expensive the UberXL vehicles are on average. Maybe you want to know how expensive the car is you are going to be riding in or maybe you want to drive an UberXL vehicle and need to know the price.

I’ve looked up some prices for these vehicles that can give you an idea of how expensive they are. The prices are for the base model. If you are considering being an UberXL driver then you might want to get a car more equipped so that you and your riders have more features. So just keep that in mind.


  • 2020 Buick Enclave MSRP: $40,000


  • 2020 Cadillac Escalade MSRP: $75,195


  • 2020 Chevrolet Traverse MSRP: $29,800


  • 2020 Dodge Grand Caravan MSRP: $28,535
  • 2020 Dodge Durango MSRP: $30,495


  • 2020 Ford Explorer MSRP: $36,675


  • 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe MSRP: $25,900


  • 2020 Kia Sorento MSRP: $27,335


  • 2020 Toyota Highlander MSRP: $31,350
Image source: Chevrolet

UberX vs UberXL

It all comes down to size, and size matters for UberXL. If you want space for yourself to spread out or are traveling with a group of 6 that needs one Uber or you have tons of luggage that takes up a lot of room, an UberXL vehicle will be best.

Some examples of cars that you will find for UberX:

  • Dodge Charger
  • Toyota Prius
  • BMW 3 Series
  • Kia Sorento & Optima
  • Ford Escape
  • Nissan Maxima
  • Toyota Camry
  • Honda Accord
  • Ford Escort
  • Hummer H3
  • Ford Fusion
  • Ford Crown Victoria
  • Nissan Altima
  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Chrysler 200 & 300

As you can see, there are some good vehicles in there like the BMW 3 Series, but many vehicles won’t be roomy at all. While riding in a BMW would be great, the 3 Series is about the size of a Toyota Prius. So, this just verifies that the vehicles you get as an UberX rider can be small.

Driver qualifications will be the same for both UberX and UberXL. When a driver applies to Uber, the car determines if he or she can serve UberX or UberXL passengers.

Sometimes, you can see UberXL drivers drive as UberX since the driver has the ability to change the class it’s in, but the UberXL driver will be paid less as an UberX driver, even if they are driving an SUV or van.

Both UberX and UberXL drivers have to have a rating of 4.6 or above. Drivers range from amazing to okay with the rare bad driver. I personally haven’t had a bad UberX driver, but have had bad Uber Select and Uber Black drivers. But that may not be the norm for many people.

Tip: If you ever left something in the car, you can read our article about Uber Lost and Found.

UberXL vs Uber Black SUV

This is a very unfair comparison, but UberXL and Uber Black SUV will be very different experiences.

The big differences will be Uber Black SUV vehicles will be hand-selected and have to be a specific model, or at least be greater in value and luxury than the least expensive vehicle on the list. Here are some models of vehicles you can expect to ride in when you order an Uber Black SUV.

  • Cadillac Escalade ESV
  • Ford Expedition Limited/Platinum
  • Audi Q7
  • GMC Yukon XL
  • Infiniti QX/56/60/80
  • Lincoln Navigator
  • Nissan Armada
  • Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
  • Chevrolet Tahoe/Hybrid
  • Toyota Sequoia
  • Lexus LX/GX
  • Lincoln MKT
  • GMC Denali/Hybrid
  • Porsche Cayenne
  • Chevrolet Suburban

As you can see, the list is small, curated, and only allows premium luxury vehicles. Every Uber Black SUV has to have an all-black interior and exterior. Seats have to be leather. And on top of those requirements, all Uber Black SUV drivers have to have a limo license.

Meanwhile, UberXL only requires the driver to be above 21 with a clean driving record. Nothing else. So you can see the vehicles and the driver will differ greatly as UberXL will be casual while Uber Black SUV would be for all business.

The only similarity you can see between them is the number of riders in one vehicle, and both UberXL and Uber Black SUV allow 6 riders plus 1 driver.

Image source: Infiniti

Final word

UberXL is valuable if you need the space for either luggage or for people. It’s still very much like UberX in the service department, which isn’t bad. At least you know the type of vehicle size you will get when you order UberXL, unlike UberX which is very random most times.

This article was originally published by Steve Smith.

Bulkhead Seats & Bassinet Explained: Pros and Cons [2023]

Bulkhead seats are typically coveted by many for different features like the added legroom, but to some bulkhead seats are nothing more than a fake premium economy seat with numerous disadvantages (and annoyances). In this article, I go over the pros and cons for bulkhead seats along with some insight into airplane bassinets and how bulkhead seating can vary with different airlines like Singapore Airlines.

What is a bulkhead seat?

An airplane bulkhead seat is the very first seat in a division between two cabins. Sometimes the seat will be behind a wall, a seat in a different cabin, or a different type of division between cabins.

Bulkheads on aircraft will usually be considered a wall in front of seats or when cabin classes change. For example, the economy class seat behind first class will be regarded as a bulkhead seat.

a dividing wall or barrier between compartments in a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle.

Traditionally, bulkheads look like the pictures below — it’s simply a seat that is right after the wall in the cabin.

Cathay Pacific A330-300 business class seat 20k bulkhead
Delta CRJ900 first class seat 1A bulkhead wall.

However, bulkheads come in different shapes and sizes. Bulkhead seats are not defined by a wall, but also a change in class. Typically you can find this on regional aircraft like a 737, A320, A319, CRJ, E170, E190, etc. You can see what I am describing in the picture below.

Delta CRJ900 Comfort+ seat 5C and 5D behind first class seats 4C and 4D.

As you see above, these two bulkhead seats on this Delta CRJ are entirely different, yet the seats are still considered bulkhead seats.

The differences will be different for each airline and aircraft as seat configurations will vary. For example, the economy seat behind the first class cabin has more legroom and allows the passenger to store their personal item under the seat in front of it. However, for a bulkhead seat facing the wall, no floor storage is allowed. Therefore, you cannot have your items readily accessible.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Bulkhead seats pros and cons

There is a famous post on FlyerTalk from 2006 about bulkhead seats are the worst. Then there are the commenters below that argue why bulkhead seats are the best seats on the plane.

In the end, it really depends on the airline and aircraft configuration. Many variables come to a bulkhead seat being the best seat or one of the worst seat on the plane.

Pros of a bulkhead seat

Just like everything in life, there will be pros, but it’s up to you to decide what you value for the right seat for you.

Sometimes greater legroom

Bulkhead seating can offer more excellent legroom compared to the other seats in the same cabin. This can be true for any cabin bulkhead seat. Now, this isn’t guaranteed as each airline and aircraft will have a different configuration, but it’s typical to see more legroom compared to other seats in the same cabin. Typically, the legroom will be about 3 to 7 more inches than regular seats.

No one reclines in your face

You’re relaxing watching a film or working on your laptop and then suddenly the person in front of you reclines…. right in your face. This is where bulkhead seats make a huge difference. No one will recline into your headspace.

You will get served sooner

Depending on how the airline serves passengers, if you’re seated in a bulkhead seat, you will most likely be served first as flight attendants start from the lowest number row and move towards the back of the plane. This means you can get your snacks, meals, and drinks served sooner rather than later. And in those cases where they run out of certain items, you probably won’t get stuck with the slim pickin’s. 

Closer to the front

Bulkhead seating typically is in the front of the cabin. This means you can deplane much quicker than the passengers behind you. However, widebodies bulkhead seating might be in the middle of the cabin too. 

Easier to exit your seat

No matter if you’re seated in the aisle, middle, or window bulkhead seat, being able to stand up with more significant room and no worries about hitting the seat in front of you are much better than squeezing yourself out avoiding the person seated in front of you.

Cons of a bulkhead seat

Just like everything in life, there will be cons, but it’s up to you to decide what you value for the right seat for you.

No luggage storage

Most economy bulkhead seats will not have any floor storage. For example, when there is a wall you’re not allowed to store any piece of luggage on the floor as it would block you in an evacuation. However, in some cases, if your seat is a bulkhead seat behind another seat, as shown above, then you can store your luggage.

Economy seats have less width

In economy, the IFE (also known as inflight entertainment) will be stowed during seat armrest along with your tray table. This means you have less width and an armrest that you cannot move.

Proximity to lavatories

Most bulkhead seats will be close to lavatories. This can cause more foot traffic by your seat causing more noise and disruptions, so keep your noise-cancelling headphones handy. Also, don’t forget the smells that might come from the lavatory…

Proximity to the galley

Being close to the galley is nothing special, and to me, I hate the noise and light the galley generates. Everything from the flight attendants preparing for meal service to the light from the galley seeping past the curtain that is not closed. And then there is the added con of US carriers not having a noise dampening curtain that barely blocks any light just to save a buck.

Sometimes less legroom

Some bulkhead walls will limit the amount of legroom you have. Of course, it depends on the airline and aircraft configuration, but this can be common with foreign carriers that don’t charge extra for bulkhead seats.

Airplane bassinet seats

Airlines, especially foreign airlines, will prioritize bulkhead seats for parents traveling and in need of a bassinet. Bulkhead seats give the parents flying a with a lap infant under 20lbs the ability to reserve a bassinet, a detachable cot, so the parents don’t have the hold the infant for many hours on hand.

Airplane bassinets allow the parents to give the infant room to spread out in the bassinet and relax, along with the parents. Plus, there are accessories for bassinets that allow it to be easier for the parents to block the cabin lights and noise for the infant to sleep.

There are a few safety restrictions when it comes to infants flying in a bassinet. The infant must be 20lbs or less, cannot have the infant use the bassinet during take-off, landing, and heavy turbulence (related: Turbulence Maps). In reality, bassinets aren’t so safe as they aren’t fixed to the plane and are attached by a few mechanisms or velcro. This is why you cannot leave your infant in the bassinet unattended.

Cathay Pacific A330-300 business class seat 11k bulkhead bassinet

Bassinet seats must be reserved prior to departure when there is a lap infant on the reservation. The best way to do this is by calling the airline as they will reserve it since some airlines don’t have the ability for you to reserve it online.

To learn more about bassinets and if an airline offers it, I suggest checking with the airline directly by calling, checking SeatGuru as it will label seats on airline’s aircraft if they have a bassinet option or not, or check out the blog post by Have Baby Will Travel.

Bulkhead makes a difference for some airlines seats

This is particularly true in business class. Airlines like Singapore, Qatar, Delta, and China Eastern business class differ from non-bulkhead seats because the footwell and pitch are greater.

Take Singapore Airlines business class seat for an example as this is a regular non-bulkhead seat:

Singapore Airlines A350 business class seat 21k

Then now taking this Singapore Airlines business class bulkhead seat:

Singapore Airlines A350 business class seat 11k bulkhead

As you can see the footwell and the length of the bulkhead seat is better for the non-bulkhead seat. The non-bulkhead seat, you can see the footwell is to the side and pretty narrow. However, the bulkhead seat allows you to stretch out without a limited footwell as the bulkhead seat has an ottoman.

Singapore Airlines A350 business class seat 21k
Singapore A380 business class
Singapore Airlines A350 business class seat 11h bulkhead

Of course, I am just using Singapore Airlines as an example, but as I wrote above, bulkhead business class seats have a slightly wider footwell and are longer on other airlines.

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Bulkhead vs emergency exit row seats

You might have heard about exit row seating and possibly saw the amount of room exit row seats have compared to regular economy. 

Compared to bulkhead seats, exit row seats come with a lot of legroom (typically, 3-9 more inches than a regular economy seat) and still allow you to store your personal item under the seat in front of you on US carriers. For most foreign carriers, you cannot store your personal item under the seat in front of you.

Southwest Airlines 737 max 8 exit row 16 economy

Sometimes, exit row seats have the same seat width as regular economy seats. This means you don’t have to worry about a tighter experience and the armrest is moveable. This doesn’t hold try all the time as it depends on the airline and aircraft.

Here is an example of an exit row with moveable armrests:

Delta A320 exit row 16 economy

And here is an example of an airline with fixed armrests:

Garuda Indonesia 737 exit row 31 economy

Yet, with anything about flying, there is a catch about exit row seats. Some exit row seats aren’t reclinable. Thus, you must check particular seat maps on SeatGuru to see if the exit row seat you want to reserve can recline or not. The good thing about no reclining is that the seat in front of you cannot recline into your personal space because it’s the exit row.

To be able to reserve an exit row seat, you need to be able to speak English or that carriers country’s native language if it’s not English. You must be 15 years or older. You cannot be pregnant or have any disabilities as in an event you must assist in an evacuation. These type of restrictions limit the type of people sitting in these seats. 

Asiana Airlines A320 exit row diagram

Comparing bulkhead to exit row seats, you might be thinking to yourself, both offer pros that give more benefits and cons that limit things that you can and cannot do. Both bulkhead and exit row seats are charged as a premium, but you can select both at check-in.

For me, I prefer exit row seats. Exit row seats typically offer more legroom than bulkhead seats behind a wall and keep the seat width most of the time (depending on the carrier and aircraft configuration.)

How to choose the best airplane seat

No matter what class, selecting the best seat on the plane is essential for comfort and privacy.

Daniel wrote an article with 17 tips for finding the best seat on a plane. He writes tips and tricks of identifying the “best” seat in the cabin you selected. Plus, he highlights how different type of people will want a different type of seat and location.

Final word

Bulkhead seats, like anything about flying, cannot be consistent over different airlines. Each airline and aircraft will be slightly different in terms of privacy, comfort, noise, and light when it comes to bulkhead seats. I hope this summarizes bulkhead seats and helps you decide if bulkhead seats are right for you.

Priority Pass DCA Lounges Guide (Bracket Room, American Tap Room) [2020]

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is one of the most conveniently located airports in the the DC area. It makes easy coming and goings to and from the capital of the United States. Luckily, Priority Pass has you covered to fill your food cravings with two restaurant offerings. 

In this article, I talk about Priority Pass options at DCA and what you can expect. I will also go over options beyond Priority Pass that might help frequent fliers access lounges across the nation.

What Priority Pass lounges are at DCA?

There are two Priority Pass restaurants at DCA:

  • Bracket Room – Terminal B
  • American Tap Room – Terminal C

Notice how there are no proper lounges available in any of the terminals at DCA. Luckily, most of the time Priority Pass restaurants are gonna fill you up with much better food than many Priority Pass lounges in the USA. 

Down below, I go into more details about both Bracket Room and American Tap Room.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

How to get Priority Pass

You can get Priority Pass by purchasing a club membership but I always recommend considering credit cards that offer you a Priority Pass Select membership.

These cards would be cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Platinum Card from American Express. HOWEVER, some cards don’t offer Priority Pass restaurant access. That means, a card could advertise a Priority Pass Select membership, but without access to restaurants via your Priority Pass card. 

Cards offered by American Express do not allow access to Priority Pass restaurants. However, cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve do allow Priority Pass restaurants.

DCA terminals

There are four terminals at DCA airport. Terminals A, B, B/C and C. Below is a list of airlines going out of each terminal.

Terminal A (Gates 1-9)

  • Air Canada
  • Frontier
  • Southwest

Terminal B (Gates 10-22)

  • Alaska
  • Delta
  • United

Terminal B/C (Gates 23-34)

  • American 
  • JetBlue

Terminal C (Gates 35-45)

  • American

Getting between terminals at DCA

DCA is a tiny airport, with only 45 gates, you would have thought all the gates are accessible past security (aka airside), but that is incorrect. The only terminals that are connected are terminals B/C and C — gates 23-45 are all accessible airside. Terminal B (gates 10-22) and terminal A (gates 1-9) aren’t connected airside.

If you wished to go to other terminals from terminal A, you will need to exit and then go through security again to access other terminals. 

However, don’t assume that a TSA agent will allow you to enter other terminals with a boarding pass for another airline in a separate terminal. Some TSA agents will deny you entry if you are departing from another terminal. For example, if you want to access Terminal B and you are flying Southwest out of Terminal A, you might be denied passage by a TSA agent.

Bracket Room – Terminal B


  • Airside – after Security Control, turn right. The Bracket Room is located opposite Gate 12.


  • 05:00 – 21:00 daily
  • Please note that the restaurant may exceed their seating limit at certain times of the day & access to the restaurant is at their sole discretion.


  • Cardholders can use their lounge visit entitlement to receive $28 USD off the bill. Each time you receive the $28 deduction, it represents a single lounge visit within the Cardholder’s existing lounge.

If you bring along one guest they will also receive a discount so you’ll get a total $56 off your bill. Getting $56 off for a meal during an airport visit is a pretty great deal to me so while it’s not lounge access — this is actually a pretty sweet deal.

  • Only 1 card per visit per Cardholder will be accepted at point of registration.
  • To be eligible, Cardholders must present a valid card before placing an order.
  • The discount is non-transferable & cannot be exchanged for cash substitute or refund if the final bill is lower than $28 per person.
  • The cardholder is responsible for the balance if total final bill exceeds US$28 per person. Any remaining balance cannot be used towards gratuity.

What is the Bracket Room like?

The Bracket Room is a sports lounge eatery. There are dozens of TVs across the establishment that will cater to traveling sports fans that need to catch the game while they are on the go. If you want to grab a couple of drinks or bite to eat while watching the game, the Bracket Room would be ideal. However, for families with younger children, you might find the menu and atmosphere to be less kid friendly than other establishments. 

What does the Bracket Room server?

  • Breakfast (omelette, eggs benedict, egg sandwich, waffles, etc.)
  • Wings
  • Tacos
  • Burgers
  • Chicken and waffles
  • Hot dogs
  • Greens
  • etc.

You can look at the full menu here.

As you can see, the Bracket Room offers a nice selection for breakfast, but for lunch and dinner, don’t expect anything more than standard bar food. For me, I would personally get either eggs benedict or chicken and waffles. The $28 credit per person (not including tip) can cover everything on the menu with a drink. If you just wanted drinks, you could easily get three different types of drinks covered by the credit.

If you ask me, it’s definitely not a bad deal.

American Tap Room – Terminal C


  • Airside – after Security Control, near Gates 35-45.


  • 05:00 – 22:00 Sunday – Friday
  • 05:00 – 19:00 Saturday
  • Please note that the restaurant may exceed their seating limit at certain times of the day & access to the restaurant is at their sole discretion.

Each Priority Pass member and guest will get $28 off the bill.

If you bring two guests, cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve offer the member and two guests a discount, so you would be able to get $84 off the entire bill (excluding gratuity.) 


  • Cardholders can use their lounge visit entitlement to receive $28 USD off the bill. Each time you receive the $28 deduction, it represents a single lounge visit within the Cardholder’s existing lounge.
  • Only 1 card per visit per Cardholder will be accepted at point of registration.
  • To be eligible, Cardholders must present a valid card before placing an order.
  • The discount is non-transferable & cannot be exchanged for cash substitute or refund if the final bill is lower than $28 per person.
  • The cardholder is responsible for the balance if total final bill exceeds US$28 per person. Any remaining balance cannot be used towards gratuity.

What is the American Tap Room like?

The American Tap Room is a classic American restaurant that offers bar food with a selection of drinks. Compared to the Bracket Room, you won’t find many high quality options or breakfast food. Think of the American Tap Room to be the cheaper establishment of the two. However, if you’re in the mood for some beers, this is the Priority Pass restaurant to go. 

It’s definitely less family friendly than the Bracket Room, but with very simple dishes, the kids will be happy while you watch the game on a TV. 

What does the American Tap Room server?

  • Wings
  • Bavarian Pretzels
  • Greens
  • Sandwiches
  • Burgers
  • Limited breakfast items (Chicken and waffles, omelette)
  • etc.

As you can see, the options at American Tap Room are fairly limited for food. However, you can find that the alcohol menu is fairly bigger than the Bracket Room menu. If you had the option between the two Priority Pass restaurants to get hammered at, the American Tap Room will serve you better.

You can look at the full meny here.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

Will Priority Pass get you into any lounges at DCA?

The short answer is no. Priority Pass will not get you into any lounges at DCA. However, I would argue that Priority Pass restaurants are better for foodies and drinkers.

You see, most airport lounges, especially in the United States, will offer some of the weakest buffets and drink selections. It’s sometimes like eating rabbit food as the offerings are small and cheap in quality that it wouldn’t be worth visiting a lounge for a meal. Restaurants offer legitimate meals and drinks made to order, not rabbit food. 

At the restaurants above, you can actually eat a meal that will fill you up with extra credit for dessert or a drink… maybe two drinks, but it all depends on the items you order. Because it all depends on the items you order, this creates a more personalized experience for each customer.

I for one would rather go to a restaurant to eat a good meal or have a couple mixed drinks instead of going to a crowded lounge fighting for the weak buffet offerings. 

Certain cards can get you into lounges at DCA

If you really wish to get into lounges at DCA, you will need to hold certain speciality credit cards flying certain airlines. Below I go over a few credit cards that can get you into lounges.

American Express Platinum 

The Amex Platinum is one of the top cards out there for elite status. It comes equipped with elite status with Hilton and Marriott, lounge access to Priority Pass (excludes restaurants), Centurion, and Delta Sky Clubs. Other benefits like the Uber credit and airline credit can virtually make the annual fee go away.

So, if you are flying Delta Airlines, you can access Delta Sky Clubs with the Amex Platinum. Sky Clubs are great if you wish to relax or get some work done without a restaurant environment. When you aren’t in the mood to eat an entire meal, this is a great card. 

Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard

  • Earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after spending $40,000 in eligible purchases that post to the cardmember’s account during a calendar year
  • Admirals Club access
  • Priority check-in, airport screening, and early boarding
  • First checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit
  • 2X miles on every American Airlines purchase
  • $450 annual fee

The Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard is a unique card as it offers benefits like priority check-in, airport security, Admirals Club access, and early boarding. Those three alone are benefits of having elite status.

Similar to other cards, the card only allows access to Admiral Clubs when flying American Airlines. However, for frequent AA travelers, this card could make a world of difference in airports across the country.

Final word

Sometimes the best lounge experiences are at restaurants eating or drinking till you cannot anymore. However, if you wish to work, you might find the Priority Pass options at DCA to be lacking, especially for frequent DC travelers. 

11 Best Minimalist Backpacks (Travel, Laptops, & More!) [2020]

I typically stay in hotels for 300 nights a year and keep a very minimalist lifestyle with just a carry-on suitcase and backpack (sometimes a briefcase instead of a backpack). Keeping only items I need without any unnecessary items is part of my minimalistic lifestyle and minimalist backpacks come in handy often.

The backpacks you will see below are minimalist backpacks I would personally use to travel the world nonstop. Some of the minimalist backpacks will be for everyday life, activities like hiking, or for trying to get as light as you can get. In addition to covering their features, I will go over what you should look for in a backpack so that you can choose the perfect match. 

What are minimalist backpacks?

A minimalist backpack is like any other two-strap backpack, but with a design that is more simple than a regular backpack and with fewer organizational pockets and a slimmer, more compact design. 

Instead of having a huge bulky backpack, a minimalist backpack will be designed for only the basic space you need. Minimalist backpacks aren’t designed to carry everything you own. In fact, minimalist backpacks might not be for you if you prefer to stuff your backpack full.

Luckily, minimalist backpacks can come in many shapes and sizes, so down below, you will most likely find one that you will work for you. 

To me, minimalist backpacks are typically more fashionable than other bulkier backpacks, but still bigger than sling backpacks, which are basically glorified fanny packs.

What are the best minimalist backpacks?

Minimalist backpacks come in many different shapes and sizes. Still, the best one for you will depend on your personal preferences. There are a few factors that you will want to consider when buying a minimalist backpack:

  • Size
  • Material
  • Special compartments
  • Straps


Minimalist backpacks are usually defined by their smaller size and more straightforward design, but the sizes of each backpack might be different.

Some minimalist backpacks can hold 15″+ laptops. That means you could still have a minimalist backpack but pack in your more massive 17″ gaming or editing laptop. However, most minimalist backpacks may only be able to hold a 15″ laptop and a couple of smaller types of chargers.

If you are someone who likes to bring your whole office or gaming set-up with you on the go, pay very close attention to what the maximum size is for electronics that can fit properly in the bag.

Luckily, most minimalist backpacks will be able to hold a laptop, tablet, chargers, phone, documents, and reusable water bottles with some extra room to spare. 


For me, the material being used for any type of product is essential. So, when it comes to a backpack, like a minimalist backpack, it will be as important as any other factor.

Why is material so important?

Well, it’s because quality material can last much longer than cheaper material. For example, a cheap backpack will last a shorter amount of time than a backpack that is backed with a lifetime warranty.

Many bags advertise that they are waterproof when, in reality, the actual bag is just water-resistant. While the fabric that makes up the bag is waterproof and would not allow water to penetrate the fabric, that does not mean that the entire bag is waterproof.

An authentic waterproof bag could be tossed into a lake, and water would not seep inside the bag. But the backpacks in this article are not those types of bags. 

Special compartments

Minimalist backpacks, or any type of backpack for that matter, will have specific compartments for specific needs. You might find a compartment that holds a power bank and a hole for a charger. You might find another compartment that holds a tablet and another holding a laptop. 

Compartments can offer more protections for devices or items as they will be secured in place instead of floating around in your bag. So, always be on the lookout for compartments that could serve your unique needs. 


As I will talk about below, the type of strap you have is super important for comfort and for relieving strain. Most backpacks allow you to alter the length of the straps allowing you to position the backpack higher or lower on your back.

The padding of the straps is a crucial player for longterm comfort. Not every backpack will have a lot of padding. This is especially true for the fashion-oriented bags, which basically compromise comfort for style.

If you are going to be wearing your bag a lot and traveling through hot or humid environments, then you might also want to find the straps that have an excellent mesh padding that can help you stay cool.

Are backpacks healthy?

Back in June of 2004, Harvard Medical School did a short article named Bad backs and backpacks. It focuses on backpacks causing stress to the spine and shoulders of children, but the same goes for adults as well. Verywellfit verifies explaining anyone any age can gain back problems when wearing backpacks improperly. 

Research has found that backpacks that are too low can cause back problems later on in a young adult or child’s life. While backpacks worn the wrong way as an adult can cause back issues more immediately as muscles and bones are weaker. So, it’s best to keep the backpack two or three inches over your waist. Otherwise, your shoulders will carry most of the weight if the backpack is too low.

Luckily, all the backpacks below are easy enough to adjust for the best placement on your back. 

Overloading your backpack can also cause problems in your future unless the backpack can carry the weight evenly instead of on your shoulders. See, most backpacks are designed for a certain amount of weight. If it exceeds the weight it’s designed for, the backpack can still function, but it won’t be optimized for carrying the weight. Hence, if you are hiking, you need a backpack that is designed with enough capacity. Otherwise, it will put a strain on your shoulders and spine. 

Using a hop strap can help carry heavy loads to distribute the weight more evenly. 

The best minimalist backpacks

Lenovo Laptop Backpack B210

The Lenovo Casual Backpack B210 is the cheapest minimalist backpack on this list, being less than $20. It’s also an Amazon Choice with over 300 reviews and four and a half stars. It’s not just a random cheap backpack, it’s also made by Lenovo, which is a massive name in the PC manufacturing space (they own IBM). 

Inside the backpack, you have two small compartments suitable for chargers or any other accessories. Then you have the 15.6″ laptop sleeve. You will then find no other compartments in the whole backpack, not even additional outside pockets in the front or the back of the backpack.

The material is water-repellent with reviewers supporting the claim of how durable the bag is. With regular wear and tear, you won’t have to worry about stitching coming undone. Even with a low retail price, the straps are well-padded and comfortable, with reviewers complimenting the soft feel of the bag for everyday use. 

Lenovo Urban Backpack B810

If the Lenovo Casual Backpack B210 wasn’t to your liking because of not having enough pockets or the design isn’t flashy enough, you need to check out the Lenovo Urban Backpack B810

It is almost three times the price of the Casual edition by Lenovo, but this Urban edition sports more organizational compartments, while also keeping the durable, sturdy water-resistant material that is used on the Casual edition backpack. 

You can find a 15.6″ laptop sleeve, front pocket for smaller accessories, side zippers for easy access without taking your backpack off, and a glasses loop. The straps and back of the backpack are padded with mesh allowing it to feel colder than non-meshed backpacks. Reviewers all agree that the backpack is comfortable to wear for everyday use and durable enough for regular use.

In terms of design, I like the leather accents. It allows the backpack to have a more premium feel, but without breaking the bank. Plus, the leather will wear better over time, unlike fabric. 


The BAGSMART Backpack is another great addition if you don’t want to break the bank on a backpack. The price is usually around $30 coming in three colors. It’s a rolltop backpack, where you can open the backpack from unrolling the top. However, you can also access all the contents of the backpack from the back. So, there are two ways to access the inside of the backpack, making it easy to store things that might not fit as easily from the top of the backpack.

Even though this is a minimalist backpack, you can hold multiple college size textbooks, numerous devices, and everything else you might need during your day. In terms of storage, it’s one of the biggest backpacks here being able to hold multiple devices with sleeves for a 15.6″ laptop and 12″ tablet. It also has zipper compartments for valuables, two front zipper pockets to hold small little accessories, and a side pocket for a water bottle.

The material is a water repellent, tear-resistant, and anti-scratch polyester. There is padding for the laptop sleeve, tablet sleeve, and on the back of the backpack, the back padding is a soft mesh allowing airflow. For the straps, they aren’t a mesh material, but padded and adjustable. There is also an extra strap on the back to go around a luggage handle. This back luggage strap is essential to me, so I don’t need to wear a backpack when I am rolling around my suitcase in an airport or hotel.

JOHNNY URBAN “Milo” Backpack

The JOHNNY URBAN “Milo” Backpack is an eco-friendly minimalist backpack made out of recycled PET bottles. It comes in four colors, and out of the four colors, the pink one is my favorite. You might have noticed this backpack is by far the most urban minimalist design out of all the backpacks on this list. 

The material is probably the most unique quality of this backpack. The material is made out of 100% recycled PET bottles making it both eco-friendly and sustainable. You might think eco-friendly material might have some downsides, but this backpack is still water-repellent with tight quality stitching. The back and straps aren’t a mesh material but are both slightly padded. There is also a strap for suitcase handles. 

You can find a laptop sleeve supporting up to a slim 15″ laptop. On the front of the backpack, you can find one zipper pocket for small accessories. Then in the inside of the backpack, you can find little pockets for other smaller accessories. If you care about stuffing your backpack with everything, do take note this backpack is on the smaller side.

JOHNNY URBAN “Alec” Rolltop Backpack

The JOHNNY URBAN “Alec” Rolltop Backpack is bigger than the “Milo” backpack listed above, and it’s even more minimalistic. And again, the material is what makes this backpack unique. It’s made out of 500D tarpaulin. 500D tarpaulin is exceptionally durable, lightweight, and water-resistant. It’s actually more water-resistant than most backpacks on this list. 

As the material is unique, it’s going to feel different too. Different as in less comfortable than some of the backpacks on this list. On the back, six soft meshed pads allow airflow to keep your back cool and still semi-comfortable, even though the material is slightly rougher than other materials. You will also find the straps to be adjustable, but thinly padded. This means if you are carrying around this backpack for extended periods of time, it’s not gonna feel as comfortable.

However, the style of the backpack is excellent. You will notice no opening for accessing the insides of the backpack except the top. Inside of the backpack, you will find a 15.6″ laptop compartment and few other pockets for devices and accessories. If you prefer to have no laptop compartment, you can take out the laptop compartment leaving the insides of the backpack even bigger.

Oscaurt Anti-theft Backpack

If you prefer a minimalist backpack that is tech-oriented and anti-theft, then the Oscaurt Anti-theft Backpack should be on your radar. It’s offering tech-friendly features like a USB pass-through for your phone, discreet pockets, and zippers for preventing theft. 

What shines about this backpack is the number of compartments it has. You will find 15.6″ laptop, tablet, phone, power bank, pen, water bottle, wallet, etc. compartments all inside this backpack. You can find any pocket for any type of situation, device, or accessory. 

This backpack offers a unique EVA back material for protecting your laptop in the event of a drop. You will also find reflective material on the front of the backpack. Plus, the backpack is water-repellent making it good enough for those potential downpours. In regards to the straps, you will find mesh padding on the straps, making them comfortable but also breathable for long days of wearing this backpack.

Zrui Slim Backpack

The Zrui Slim Backpack is another tech-friendly anti-theft backpack with a lock, but slimmer with a briefcase-like side handle for easy carrying.

On this anti-theft backpack, you will find locks that require codes to access the contents of the bag. You will also find that the zippers are all hidden, so they will be hard to access unless you physically take off the backpack or move the straps. You can find secret compartments in the straps too, which allow easy access for items like money or cards but are still hard to access for anyone not wearing the backpack. 

Inside the backpack, you can find 15.6″ laptop, phone, tablet, pens, wallet, etc. compartments. What I love about this backpack is the fact that you can carry it on its side with its handle, plus there are three ways to open the backpack. Opening it up on a 30, 90, or 180-degree angle. This allows you to access all the contents of the bag in any type of way you wish. 

There is also a USB passthrough for charging your phone with your power bank inside your bag.

Briggs & Riley Kinzie Street Medium Backpack

The Briggs & Riley Kinzie Street Medium Backpack is basically a Rolls-Royce of backpacks. Briggs & Riley is hailed to make some of the best bags in the industry. It’s kind of like Rimowa, but specializing in fabric and not metal. Each Briggs & Riley product has an industry-leading lifetime warranty. 

There is a 15.6″ laptop compartment that is separate from the main part of the backpack. In the main part of the backpack, you will find compartments for a tablet, umbrella/water bottle, pen, cards, glasses, document, etc. On the outside of the backpack, you can find a small zipper RFID blocking pocket on the back of the backpack for passport, money, or cards. On the side of the backpack, you have another small zipper pocket for small devices or accessories. 

The material is top grade, and if you want something that will last for a lifetime, this is your bag. Not only do you have stylish leather accesses throughout the bag, like on the handle, you also have a proprietary Tartex body fabric that is water-repellent. Then on top of that, you still have a lifetime warranty. So you don’t have to worry about it breaking down and needing to buy a new bag, you just send it into Briggs & Riley, and they take care of the rest for you. 

Briggs & Riley Kinzie Street Flapover Expandable Backpack

The Briggs & Riley Kinzie Street Flapover Expandable Backpack is a flapover expandable minimalist backpack. It’s thin but expandable to a bigger size for storing flexibility.

The material is their proprietary Tartex fabric allowing for durability with water-repellent infused into the fabric. You can then find top-grain leather touchpoints and access through the bag. The straps are padded with mesh for breathability and comfort. 

The compartments are similar to the Briggs & Riley backpack listed above. You can find a separate 15.6″ laptop compartment and compartments for tablets, pens, cards, sunglasses, zipper pocket, etc. all in another area of the backpack. There is an easy to access front pocket with a zipper for small accessories. Then your valuables like passports, cards, and cash can go into the RFID blocking zipper pocket on the back of the backpack. 

Designer Lightweight Backpack

If you wish to have a minimalist backpack holding a small notebook, charger, and laptop, then look no further to the Designer Lightweight Backpack. This backpack offers a little compact experience just for people that want to carry around a laptop.

As you can see from the picture, the material of the backpack is felt and canvas-like material that isn’t water-repellent. So, if you are caught in the rain, make sure your bag stays dry, or it won’t do much protection from the rain as other bags on this list. However, the material is unique as it’s soft all around and super slim. In fact, this is the smallest backpack on our list.

You will find the laptop sleeve suitable for up to 15.6″ laptops and a notebook, both of which will be located under the flap. Then in the front of the backpack, you can find a small pocket where you can store your charger or other small accessors like dongles. Reviewers do love the size and weight of the backpack as it’s meant to be super light.

KAUKKO Outdoor Backpack

For the minimalist hikers out there, the KAUKKO Outdoor Backpack is for you. It’s on the larger size, robust, and ready for the outdoors. It’s made out of 600D polyester fabric, which is prepared for action fighting off the elements. Then there is also a nylon lining, which makes the backpack soft and comfortable. Both of these materials together create a water-repellent backpack.

The straps are designed with padding and mesh for support and comfort. Then on the back of the backpack, you will find meshed padding that has caved out sections to allow better airflow to keep you cool. 

This is the most enormous backpack on the list, being able to hold 22L of capacity. The laptop compartment can fit up to a 15.6″ laptop. Then there is an outer compartment that can hold up to 18″ object like a huge editing or gaming rig, clothes, umbrella, books, hiking gear, etc. There is a mini pocket on the front of the backpack that allows you to hold tiny accessories. Then you can find two side pockets for two water bottles. 

What I love about this backpack is the design. The material is durable enough for nature, but also stylish enough with accent stitching, leather, and metal. It’s basically a good compromise of design and practicality. 

Final word

As you can see, there are many different types of minimalist backpacks. Some are so thin that you can only fit a laptop, while others can be used for hiking. No matter what, you can narrow down your preferences and find out what will work for you.

11 Best Rain Ponchos for All Occasions [2020]

Sometimes a sunny day becomes an unexpected cloudy rainy day. No matter where you are, the proper rain protection can help make your travel or commute into work or school much more pleasant and protect you and your clothes from the elements.

In this article, I will explain what types of rain ponchos are available and give you a lot of recommendations for some of the best rain ponchos out there. 

What are rain ponchos?

To my surprise, I asked a few of my friends what they thought about rain ponchos and some of my friends didn’t know what a rain poncho was, or at least didn’t know the exact name. Maybe rain ponchos are less of a trend now? In reality, rain ponchos are actually far more useful than you might expect and they can also be quite fashionable. 

A rain poncho is basically an oversized hoodie that repels water away from your clothes and body. It will usually have a hood and sleeves for your arms. So, you could wear a rain poncho over your regular clothes to keep your clothes dry from the rain. Or in other words, think of an oversized raincoat that should cover most or all of your body.

However, there are two different types of rain ponchos, multi-use or disposable.

Multi-use rain ponchos

Multi-use rain ponchos, also known as reusable rain ponchos, are similar to any other article of clothing that you can use multiple times. 

You could use reusable rain ponchos almost every day if it was raining and not have to worry about buying a new one as you can keep the same reusable rain poncho day in and day out. 

If you want to save the environment, reusable rain ponchos are far better for the environment as it’s not going directly into the trash after one use. You could think of reusable rain ponchos as reusable water bottles, instead of buying a single-use bottle of water, you could fill up a refillable water bottle that produces less plastic and trash than single-use water bottles in the long term. 

Disposable rain ponchos

Disposable rain ponchos are typically given out or bought when we least expect them. They are good for one-time use, but nothing more. Most of the time the quality of disposable rain ponchos are weak and will wear and tear after a day of use making them ultimately useless after a day. 

You can find disposable rain ponchos at many convenience stores and supermarkets, but as they are disposable they are typically thinner and the material is almost like wearing a plastic bag over your clothes.

Places like Niagara Falls will hand out disposable rain ponchos when you go to the falls via boat or visit the caves. Once you are done you will throw them away without any intent to use them again.

Disposable rain ponchos aren’t the best for the environment. Think of plastic bags you get from the grocery store. Once you use them, it’s hard to use them as they tear or leak very easily and just create more waste. So be mindful about the impact on the environment. 

Rain poncho vs umbrella vs jacket

It will all come down to preference, but most people will agree that umbrellas are great for everyday living. Umbrellas are light and easy to put away into a backpack or bag. Umbrellas are great for cities or parks. However, umbrellas cannot handle strong winds and still leaves you vulnerable to the elements. 

A rain poncho, on the other hand, will cover you from your head to your feet or knees. You will have your hands free as the poncho is a piece of clothing you wear over your regular daily clothing. It also will handle windy weather with ease as you’re wearing it blocking out the elements from hitting your skin or clothing.

A rain jacket is great as it’s easy to take off and put on leaving your hands free, but it will only cover your upper half. So, your legs are still exposed to the elements. A jacket is great for both cities and the great outdoors for short periods of time.

So, in the end, you will have to decide which one is right for you based on your circumstances. 

The best rain ponchos

HLK.Sports Rain Coats EVA Reusable Rain Coat Jacket with Hood

The HLK.Sports Rain Coats EVA Reusable Rain Coat Jacket with Hood is probably the best rain poncho for casual use.

It’s made out of thick biodegradable EVA material that is light enough for most and impacts the environment slightly less than other ponchos. It’s better to be eco than not, especially when you get a reusable poncho. 

What is great about this poncho is the fact that it is compatible with a medium-sized backpack making it easy for daily use. So, if you are wearing a backpack, you should keep an eye out for ponchos that are easy to wear with a backpack. Most ponchos allow you to wear a backpack, but some will fit backpacks a little easier than others.

I for one like how the poncho is also slightly opaque allowing you to show off your clothes underneath.

The HLK Sports Rain Coat poncho fits up to size XL unisex as it’s 59″ by 27.5″ including the hood.

Womens Rain Poncho Stylish Polyester Waterproof Raincoat with Hood

The Womens Rain Poncho Stylish Polyester Waterproof Raincoat with Hood Zipper Styles is marketed for women, but with a classic polka dot design that makes it eye-catching. The front length is 36.2” and the back length is 40.6”. So, as someone who is 5’10”, it would be short on me.

However, this poncho would still be good enough for boys and girls or adult women. Plus, it includes an anti-leak portable bag making it easy to clip on backpacks or handbags. It is perfect for keeping the contents of your bags dry if you are done with the rain poncho and need a place to put it.

The poncho is described as a cape as the sleeves are part of the main poncho. Because of the poncho design, this poncho is actually easier to wear as it’s more like a blanket instead of a hoodie. I kinds think of it as a shorter snuggie. This poncho would be great if you want something that looks less like a standard rain poncho and more like a unique rain outfit.

MELIFLUOS Raincoat Poncho for Women with Hood and Polka Dots Design

The MELIFLUOS DESIGNED IN SPAIN Raincoat Poncho for Women with Polka Dots Design is another rain poncho that is made for women, as it’s shorter with gender-specific design features throughout. If you’re over 5’5″, the poncho will reach down to your knees. 

The foldable durable design is great if you want a clear rain poncho to show off your clothes underneath, but also have elements of unique Spanish design. You have stylish faux pockets that aren’t useable, but many reviewers still enjoyed how it looked.

It’s available in one design and the material is thicker as it’s a little more like rubber material. As it’s a PVC material, it’s less eco-friendly than EVA material, but will help up in the long run. Some have said the smell was terrible when it first arrived, but after one day of hanging, the smell went away. 

ISusser Disposable Emergency Raincoats

The ISusser Disposable Emergency Raincoats, Colorful Rain Poncho with Hook Portable Ball is a unique disposable rain poncho that is packed in a pokemon like a ball that clips onto a bag or backpack. The poke type ball is 2.5″ in diameter, making it crazy portable. The poncho itself is 35.4″ by 47.2″.  So it’s large enough for most average height men and women, while being longer for children. 

Each ball is a different color, but the unisex rain poncho inside has no color and is a little clear. The material won’t be the best as it is compact and thin, but useable for one day. 

As it’s a disposable rain poncho, it won’t be all so fashionable. However, if you are traveling as a family or your kid is on his or her way to school, this could be a great poncho to have clipped to your bag. The advantage of always being prepared for any rain is awesome and kids would most likely use it as it’s like opening a colorful toy with a prize inside. 

FWG Rain Poncho Waterproof Raincoat

Probably the most interesting rain poncho I have ever seen is one that would transform. The FWG Rain Poncho Waterproof Raincoat is a transformable rain poncho. Yes, a rain poncho that turns into a tent.

I never thought a rain poncho could double as a tent, but they made it happen and wow it’s interesting. It can be folded into the size of an iPad, 9” by 3.15” and while wearing it as a poncho, its front length is 36.5″, back length is 40.5″ and width is 58.5″.

It’s not the most comfortable poncho on the market, let alone stylish, but being so unique allows it to be useful for anyone that needs a poncho and a tent combo.

The material, Polyester PONGEE,  will be more rugged and thicker than other ponchos on this list, so don’t expect to use this poncho for daily use. However, if you like to hike, this poncho would be a great choice withstanding wear and tear better than other ponchos on this list. 

Adventure World Globotrekker Lightweight Backpack Poncho

For the backpackers out there, the Adventure World Globotrekker Lightweight Backpack Poncho is an interesting rain poncho that can cater to the world backpackers. The poncho fits all as the length is 51″ without any backpack. So, once you had a backpack on, the back would be below your knees. 

Coming in seven different colors, the backpacker’s rain poncho can cover you and your oversized backpack while you trek through the jungle or get to your next destination.

Another plus about the poncho is the high-quality ultra waterproof 210T Terylene fabric. It’s also equipped with a drawstring hood and zipped neck

While I am not a backpacker myself, I prefer briefcase and carry-on, this poncho is very innovative and useful catering to globetrotters.

Disposable Rain Poncho (Extra Thick) with Drawstring Hood

The  Disposable Rain Poncho (Extra Thick) with Drawstring Hood is a pack of six disposable rain ponchos that come in yellow, red, and blue. 

Being a disposable rain poncho, it’s not going to be the strongest material as they might rip easily, but still great for a whole day of use. Compared to the poke like ball rain ponchos, which are listed above, these disposable ponchos are slightly stronger and can endure an eventful day at an amusement park or touring around a city sightseeing. 

These could be great to stuff into a backpack for a group of people knowing it will rain as this is another poncho that would fit all sizes. It might be perfect for a day at an amusement park or on a field trip where you need to be prepared for anything during that one day but not a regular occurrence. 

Transparent Waterproof Raincoat for Women

If you want a 100% clear rain poncho, the Waterproof Raincoat Transparent Rain Poncho is perfect if you want to show off your outfit. 

As the rain poncho is made for women, it won’t fit most men, but as a woman, you can easily show off your normal everyday outfit or suit while you walk through the rainy streets of NYC. 

The material, which is EVA, is thick and holds form easily, but the one negative would be not being so compact if you want to stuff it in a bag. The material is similar to rubber as the manufacturing process to make it clear made this poncho more thick than others on this list. 

The length comes in at 43″, making it an ideal size for most women.

LOHASCASA Women’s and Big Girl’s Waterproof Raincoat

The LOHASCASA Women’s and Big Girl’s Waterproof Raincoat is a stylish women’s poncho that comes in 12 different colors. It’s 40.5″ in length, making it ideal for most women or children. 

What makes this poncho special though is the material being less like a rubber material and lighter than the other ponchos. The material is polyester, it will last a good amount of time as it can withstand most normal wear and tear. In fact, it’s a two-layered poncho has a breathable underlayer that doesn’t make you too hot unlike other ponchos above. Reviews rave about the material and how compact it can get in a handbag. 

If you prefer a lighter more breathable rain poncho, this would be one to consider. 

4ucycling Raincoat

The 4ucycling Raincoat is more of an oversized pullover rain jacket, but with poncho-like material synthetically assembled (nylon made), that repels rain better than most rain jackets. Being a synthetic assembly, it is rugged and feels very different from all other materials used on this list. 

The length is 49.5″ making it almost as long as most ponchos, but less baggy and more fitted like a pullover. It comes in army-green or black for the colors, I personally prefer the black.

My favorite thing about this pullover is the fact that it has a big kangaroo-like pocket in the front with a zipper. Having a huge pocket like a kangaroo is super useful if you don’t want to put anything in your pants pockets or purse. Then there is elastic in the sleeves fitting to your wrist so the sleeves don’t cover your hands by moving too much.

The pullover is more like a jacket than a poncho, so it means it’s easier to move around in because of no rubber-like material constricting you. 

ZHENWEI Womens’ Rain Coat with Hood

Again, another rain jacket is on this list, but as it’s similar to a rain poncho I think it should be included. The ZHENWEI Womens’ Rain Coat with Hood is a traditional rain jacket that measures in 39″ in length. Meaning it will be long enough for most women as it’s long enough to reach or pass the knees. 

The great thing about a button-up rain jacket is the ease of taking off and on the jacket. No need to pull it over your head as you can easily unbutton it where you take it off and on as a jacket. Unfortunately, it has no pockets in or outside of the jacket. As there are no pockets, it’s less useful in my eyes, but still many reviews still enjoy it. 

There are 15 colors available all fitted for women. The material is eco-friendly EVA that is slightly thicker than other jackets or ponchos on this list, but as a jacket, you can easily adjust the buttons to make it more breathable.

I think this could be a great option if you want a jacket that is long, but not a pullover or a poncho.

Final word

No matter if you settle with a rain poncho or not, I do hope this list helped you pick your next purchase to protect you and your clothes from the rain. 

Best VPN for International Travel [2019]

During your travels, you might have noticed that some countries block websites or limit media because of government censorship laws. Luckily, VPNs exist and they can be used to counter censorship, increase your privacy on open networks, and change your internet location with one click.

In this article, I go over why VPNs are needed during your travels, key features that VPNs should have, and what VPNs are the best.

What is a VPN?

VPN stands for “virtual private network”. Simply put, the VPN connection you create will encrypt your data from your device to a server that then decrypts your data. Once your packets (aka data) are decrypted it then gets routed to the internet.

Think of it as a private tunnel from your device to a server that allows you to bypass government, ISP (internet service provider), or other lurkers spying on the local network or between your device and the internet.

Use cases for a VPN can be endless like using a VPN on open public wifi or when you want to access content when it’s blocked by an ISP or government.

You could be wanting to access Google in China. As we all know, Google is blocked in China. So, you connect to a VPN that allows you to connect to the internet that isn’t blocked as the VPN server you are connected to would be outside of China.

For example, I connect to a VPN server in Hong Kong and visit Google on my device. When I am connected to a VPN all my data goes through the VPN server in Hong Kong before it goes to me or Google.

Therefore, all data between my device and the VPN server will be a secret to China as only myself and my VPN server will have a secret key that decrypts my data. However, any data between the VPN server and websites (Google in this example) would be decrypted as it’s now the regular internet.

Basically, a VPN is a network that is all about hiding before it goes outside to the internet, hence the name virtual private network.

Down below I explain everything you need to know about a VPN during your travels all around the world and at home.

Why should I use a VPN during my travels?

VPNs can be used for many different reasons, but during your travels, you might realize that some countries block certain sites you use every day. Sometimes a VPN can be useful to make the website think you’re in another country. Then there are public wifi networks where there is no password making it easy to intercept your internet traffic with ARP spoofing attacks.

No matter if your goal is to avoid censorship or virtually move to the other side of the globe, you can do it with a VPN.

Avoid website censorship and blocks

You might be aware of some countries that block websites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, Gmail, Netflix, and Wikipedia to name a few. Mainland China, in particular, has the “Great Firewall of China” which blocks many of our favorite sites, like all that I listed above. If you want to see all the websites blocked in Mainland China, you can find the list here.

Good VPNs are able to bypass any country’s censorship and blocks. Very good VPNs are able to work within China bypassing the Great Firewall or other countries’ website blockers. 

For example, I was in Turkey in October and they blocked Wikipedia, so I had to use a VPN to access Wikipedia. Then when you are in Indonesia, Telkomsel (a cell phone service provider and ISP) blocks Netflix.

So, all you have to do is turn on the VPN and connect to a VPN server outside of the country you are in to access blocked sites and content.

A VPN can easily bypass the country or ISP that blocks certain websites making it easy to keep your regular internet habits.

Virtually move your location

VPNs give you the ability to change your server that you connect to. So, you could connect to a server in Japan making you have the appearance of being in Japan when you are sitting at home in the USA.

Why would you ever want to connect to a server in another country?

Well, once you select a VPN server in another country, websites will think you are in that country. When you are connecting to a server in another country, websites or services will display content based on the location of the VPN server you are connected to.

Netflix is a good example of a service that has different content libraries in each country. So, the US Netflix library is different than the Japan Netflix library.

In the past, this has also been a way to take advantage of cheaper airfare tickets that go on sale in a given country (though this method does come with some risk).

VPNs allow you to virtually appear like you are in another country.

Public and open wifi networks aren’t secure

When you are connected to a public or open wifi network, anyone can see what websites you visit. Luckily, people cannot see what you are exactly doing on the website, but they can see the website name. Some older websites or apps might not be secure enough making everything you do on that website visible. A VPN basically wraps your internet traffic in a secure packet that you and your VPN service have the key for.

Think of the VPN acting like a secure line between you and the VPN server you are connected to so people on the same wifi network cannot see what you are doing.

Then there is the risk of ARP spoofing attacks (basically someone creating a clone of the open wifi network that intercepts your internet traffic.) ARP spoofing attacks are less of an issue now, but if someone is spoofing a wifi network, it would mean they can see everything you are doing without you ever knowing. 

Open wifi networks are still super common. Hotels use open wifi networks. Airports use open wifi networks. Coffee shops use open wifi networks. The list can go on, but a VPN will hide all your traffic from anyone else trying to look at network traffic as all they will see is an encrypted packet.

Key features that VPNs should have

Various server locations

VPNs most importantly need various server locations so you can connect to the closest VPN server for the best speeds.

If you were in Mainland China, a VPN provider that has a VPN server in Hong Kong is important as that would be one of the best location for a VPN server when you are in China. However, if you were in Europe, connecting to the Hong Kong server would create latency which impacts your speeds. Therefore, VPN server locations within Europe would be important. 

So, when looking for a VPN provider, you should check if they have VPN servers in the country you are visiting or nearby countries.

Unlimited bandwidth and data

No matter if it’s your home ISP, cell service provider, or a VPN, unlimited bandwidth is key for consistent speeds without throttling or limits.

If you have limited bandwidth, which is typical with free VPN providers, you will find that speeds are sometimes slow. With limited data, then one Netflix movie in HD could eat up most of your data.

Having unlimited bandwidth and data will keep your VPN experience consistent without any hiccups.

Which VPN is the best for traveling?

There are many VPNs in the market place. I personally use VPNs consistently no matter where I am in the world. I have a few important things that I look for in a VPN:

  • Consistent fast speeds
  • Wide server footprint
  • Netflix capable servers
  • Unlimited bandwidth and data


One of my favorite VPN providers has to be ExpressVPN. I have personally been using ExpressVPN for four years now as I originally got it during my trip to China back in 2015.

Now I use it regularly during my travels and at home as speeds are consistent with plentiful servers on every continent. ExpressVPN offers 3,000+ servers in 160 locations and 94 countries. I never had an issue finding a nearby server during my travels. 

ExpressVPN offers unlimited bandwidth and data. You can also have five simultaneous connections on five different devices at a time.

It offers Netflix and Hulu capable servers in various countries like the US, Canada, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, South Korea, and Japan making it easy to access Netflix and other country’s libraries. 

ExpressVPN has easy to use apps on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and other devices. With the app, you can see all the locations that have ExpressVPN servers or run speed test on your Windows or Mac app to determine which server will be the fastest from where you are at that moment. ExpressVPN also offers a feature called “Smart Location” for a one-click connection to a nearby premium server without the hassle of finding a server.

You can also manually set up the VPN on other devices without installing an app. 

I guess the only negative thing about ExpressVPN is the price.

  • 1-month plan: $12.95
  • 6-month plan: $59.95
  • 12-month plan: $99.95

While there are certainly cheaper VPNs out there, ExpressVPN is the one of the most consistent VPNs out there. And as someone that works online, I need consistency. You can learn more about ExpressVPN here.

Other VPN providers

ExpressVPN certainly isn’t the only VPN provider on the market.


Another global VPN provider is VyprVPN. It’s known for bypassing the Great Firewall of China and other countries that censor websites and content with their Chameleon technology.

Servers are widespread across the globe, but fewer than ExpressVPN. With a total of 700+ servers in over 60 countries, you won’t have to worry about being too far from a VPN server. Plus, unlimited bandwidth and data are in every plan.

Servers in the US, Canada, and the UK support Netflix and Hulu.

There are two plans, vyprvpn and vyprvpn premium. The premium version is substantially better than the regular vyprvpn plan as the premium one offers Chameleon protocol for bypassing country censorships and 5 simultaneous connections. The prices for the premium plan are:

  • $80 for one year
  • $12.95 for one month

VyprVPN is a good alternative to ExpressVPN for world coverage and bypassing censorships. You can learn more here.

NordVPN (aka the fallen)

You probably have heard of NordVPN before. It’s usually the most frequently advertised VPN on the market.

Unfortunately, NordVPN had a server attack by a hacker. It wasn’t targeted at NordVPN as two other VPN providers had been attacked the same day. However, NordVPN wasn’t aware of the attack since they used a third-party datacenter. 

The third-party datacenter failed to notify NordVPN making NordVPN unaware of the breach. Once NordVPN was made aware of the breach, they terminated their contract with the third-party data center and did a security audit of all their servers. This attack was on one server out of 3,000+ in their whole network at the time.

However, there is something slightly unsettling. NordVPN claims no user credentials were leaked, but reports note that 2,000 user credentials were leaked and a couple was still valid. The credentials that got leaked had emails and plain-text passwords.

With all of this known, can NordVPN be recommended? 

Maybe, it can be. While it wasn’t my favorite VPN, it is still fast and worldwide. NordVPN has 5000+ servers worldwide in 59 countries. It also bypasses a country’s firewall like China or others. Plus, it supports Netflix on servers in the US, Canada, Germany, UK, France, and Italy.

Prices aren’t too bad and still cheaper than ExpressVPN. NordVPN always discounts its service with prices like:

  • 1-month plan: $11.95
  • 1-year plan: $84.88
  • 2-year plan: $119.76
  • 3-year plan: $125.64

NordVPN was and is still a good VPN. Would it be my first choice? No, I think there are better VPNs and find it surprising that a breach happened like this with user account information in plain-text with no encryption.

The best free VPN

Most modern routers will have a VPN server feature built-in. So, you could be in Mainland China and create a VPN server on your router that can handle multiple connections so you can access any website just as if you were in the US.

This method works just fine if you have a solid internet connection in your home with at least 100mbps download and 20mbps upload. Now, this won’t be the fastest VPN solution, but it’s free and would work better than other free VPN providers as there would always be bandwidth limitations and data caps.

Final word

I think VPNs are important when you travel as open wifi networks and censorship is still an issue. Sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry when using a VPN in public places.


Frontier Airlines Cancellation & Change Policy Guide [2020]

Frontier is like any other low-cost airline in the USA where the cheap tickets are set up to be à la carte for seat selection, baggage, and priority boarding. However, Frontier probably has one of the best change and cancellation policies of any airline in the USA right behind Southwest.

In this article, I will explain Frontier Airlines’ generous change and cancellation policy in detail and then I will show you how to change or cancel a flight, step-by-step. 

Updated September 18th to reflect the new cancellation policy.

Frontier Airlines flight change policy

Frontier has a generous change policy, especially if you’re someone that loves to book months before the flight. As you can see below, Frontier has a better and cheaper change policy than most other airlines:

 Regular ticketThe WORKSAward ticket
Within 24 hours after initial purchase (made 7 or more days before departure)$0$0$0
60 days or more prior to departure$0$0$0
59 to 14 days prior to departure$49$0$0
13 days to 8 days prior to depature$119$0$0
Within 24 hours after initial purchase (made less than 7 days before departure)$119$0$99
Within 7 days of departure (including same-day standby)$119$0 ($119 for same-day)$99

The WORKS bundle can cost you a hefty penny. Sometimes the price is less than $100 and sometimes it’s more than $100. Each route will determine the price. It can be very valuable to some, but only if you need everything included like carry-on, a checked bag, seat selection, priority boarding, free changes, and refundability.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

24-Hour risk-free Cancellation/Change

Tickets purchased seven days (168 hours) or more before the scheduled departure date are eligible for free changes and cancellations within 24 hours of the flight purchase date. Frontier holds the ticket for 24 hours and then charges you once the 24 hours are up. Therefore, your purchase will post to your credit card statement with a 24-hour delay. However, Frontier will hold the funds on your credit card.

Tickets purchased less than seven days (168 hours) before scheduled departure date aren’t eligible for free changes or cancellations.

This could give you a little more than 24 hours to change or cancel your ticket made directly through Frontier, only if you booked your flight seven days or more before the departure date. Tickets made through travel agencies like Expedia, Priceline, Orbits, etc. will have to go through the travel agency’s 24 hours change and cancellation policy.


Fees will be per passenger for the whole itinerary unless noted.

Regular tickets change fees are $0 for 0 days or more before departure, $49 for changes made 59 to 14 days prior to departure, and $119 for changes made 13 days or less prior to departure. Same-day standby/change will also be $119.

The WORKS tickets have no change fees until 24 hours before departure, which will then occur a $119 change fee for a same-day standby/change.

Award tickets change fee is $99 for modifications made seven days or less. For changes before eight days or more prior to departure, the change fee will be $0. Modifications can only be done over the phone.


Regular tickets changes made within 24 hours and greater than seven days will be free. Changes made 60 days or more prior to departure will be free. Changes made 59 days or less prior to departure will be subject to a fee.

The WORKS tickets changes made anytime before 24 hours prior to departure will be free. Changes made within 24 hours prior to departure will be subject to a fee.

Award tickets changes made eight days or more prior to departure will be free. Changes made within seven days prior to departure will be subject to a fee.

Price changes

Flight changes will be subjected to price differences if the value of the new ticket is higher than the original of a regular ticket or award ticket. You will have to pay the difference in ticket value. Ticket values that are less in price than the original ticket value will receive a credit called Frontier credit.

For example, if you hold a regular ticket that originally cost $500 and change the flight that now costs $400, you will be credited $100. However, if you change the flight that costs $600, you will be charged $100 since the value of the new ticket is higher. (The same concept applies to the WORKS ticket, but instead of credit you get a refund to the original payment method.)

  • Related reading: Check out the full review of the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard!

Frontier Airlines cancellation and refund policy

Frontier cancellation fees are mostly the same price as their change fees, except for the award ticket redeposit fees. The WORKS is the only way to get a fully refundable ticket with Frontier.

 Regular ticketThe WORKSAward ticket
Within 24 hours after initial purchase (made 7 or more days before departure)$0$0$0
60 days or more prior to departure$0$0$75
59 to 14 days prior to departure$49$0$75
13 days to 8 days prior to depature$119$0$75
Within 24 hours after initial purchase (made less than 7 days before departure)$119$0$75
Within 7 days of departure (including same day standby)$119$0 ($119 for same-day)$75

24-Hour risk-free Cancellation/Change

Tickets purchased seven days (168 hours) or more before the scheduled departure date are eligible for free changes and cancellations within 24 hours of the flight purchase date. Frontier holds the ticket for 24 hours and then charges you once the 24 hours are up. Therefore, your purchase will post to your credit card statement with a 24-hour delay. However, Frontier will hold the funds on your credit card.

Tickets purchased less than seven days (168 hours) before scheduled departure date aren’t eligible for free changes or cancellations.

This could give you a little more than 24 hours to change or cancel your ticket made directly through Frontier, only if you booked your flight seven days or more before the departure date. Tickets made through travel agencies like Expedia, Priceline, Orbits, etc. will have to go through the travel agency’s 24 hours change and cancellation policy.


Fees will be per passenger for the whole itinerary unless noted.

Regular tickets cancellation fees are $0 for 60 days or more before departure, $49 for changes made 59 to 14 days prior to departure, and $119 for changes made 13 days or less prior to departure. Same-day cancellations will also be $119.

The WORKS tickets have no cancellation fees until 24 hours before departure, which will then occur a $119 cancellation fee for a refund.

Award tickets don’t have any cancellation fees, but there is a fee for redepositing the miles into your account for $75.


Regular tickets cancellations made within 24 hours and greater than seven days before departure will be free. Cancellations made 60 days or more prior to departure will be free. Cancellations made 59 or less prior to departure will be subject to a fee.

The WORKS tickets cancellations made anytime before 24 hours prior to departure will be free. Cancellations made within 24 hours prior to departure will be subject to a fee.

Award tickets cancellations made anytime after the 24 hours cancellation window will be subject to an award redeposit fee.


Regular tickets refunds are issued as Frontier credit for future flights. Therefore, you can only use the credit for Frontier Airlines in the name of the passenger that the credit was issued to.

The WORKS tickets refunds are issued back to the original payment method. Therefore, if you used a credit card to purchase a WORKS bundled ticket, your credit card will be refunded when you request a refund.

Award tickets miles would be re-deposited back into your account and if you’re eligible any fees charged at booking will be refunded.

No show and missed flights

Frontier Airlines doesn’t have an official no show policy, which means if you don’t show up for your flight, your ticket is gone and cannot be used ever again. You will not get any credit back from the ticket, or you will not get another ticket for a later flight. Of course, agents have the power to rebook you on a later flight with a valid excuse.

Frontier Airlines same-day standby for earlier or later flights

When flying on a regular or the WORKS bundled ticket, you can do a same-day standby for an earlier flight at the airport or call Frontier reservations before arriving at the airport for a confirmed seat on a later flight. The fee is $119 for same-day standby and changes. For Frontier Elites, same-day standby fee is waived.

For award tickets, you have to call in before the flight to make sure there is availability for same-day confirmed changes. The fee is $99, but elites have the fee waived.

Remember, standby is subject to seats being available. So, be aware some flights might not have any seats available.

Same-day standby to alternative airports

If you wish to do same-day flights to alternative airports, you can do so from the list down below. That means if you want to fly into another airport the same day and they are listed in the same bullet down below, you can do so.

For example, if my original destination airport was Orlando (MCO), but I prefer Tampa (TPA), I could change the same day as they are alternative airports, or also known as sister cities.

  • Birmingham (BHM) and Huntsville (HSV)
  • Bloomington (BMI) and Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
  • Boston (BOS), Bradley (BDL) and Providence (PVD)
  • Boston (BOS), Portsmouth (PSM) and Portland, ME (PWM)
  • Charleston (CHS) and Myrtle Beach (MYR)
  • Charleston (CHS) and Savannah (SAV)
  • Charlotte (CLT) and Raleigh-Durham (RDU)
  • Chicago Midway (MDW), Chicago-O’Hare Airport (ORD), Chicago Rockford (RFD), Dane County (MSN) and Milwaukee (MKE)
  • Cincinnati (CVG) and Louisville (SDF)
  • Colorado Springs (COS) and Denver (DEN)
  • Columbus (CMH) and Cincinnati (CVG)
  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL), West Palm Beach (PBI) and Miami (MIA)
  • Fort Myers (RSW) and Sarasota (SRQ)
  • Harrisburg (MDT), Trenton (TTN) and Philadelphia (PHL)
  • Long Island (ISP), Newark (EWR), Trenton (TTN), Philadelphia (PHL) and LaGuardia (LGA)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) and Orange County/Santa Ana (SNA) and Ontario (ONT)
  • Madison (MSN) and Milwaukee (MKE)
  • Ontario, CA (ONT) and Palm Springs (PSP)
  • Orange County/Santa Ana (SNA) and San Diego (SAN)
  • Orlando (MCO) and Tampa (TPA)
  • Phoenix (PHX) and Tucson (TUS)
  • San Antonio (SAT) and Austin (AUS)
  • San Francisco (SFO) and San Jose (SJC)
  • Sarasota (SRQ) and Tampa (TPA)
  • Washington-Dulles (IAD), Washington-National (DCA) and Baltimore-Washington (BWI)

How to change a Frontier flight online

From the homepage, you will want to select “my trip/check-in” to show the box to type in your last name and confirmation code. Proceed to the next screen by pressing search.

If there are multiple people on the same reservation (PNR), just use one of the last names and confirmation codes to bring up the trip itinerary.

You will be directed to the trip confirmation page.

On the trip confirmation page, you will see the option to change flights. Select “change flights.”

A popup to the right side of the screen will appear titled “itinerary changes.” If you have more than one flight on your itinerary, you can select one or multiple flights that you wish to change.

To change a flight, you will have to select a flight. Notice the check that now appears with the boxes to change the origin and destination airports along with the date of departure.

Once you input the new information, press “change” to proceed.

On the next page, you will see the flights available. The prices shown are the price of a new ticket and whatever fare difference to your current one will show on the next page.

After selecting your flight, bundle (only perks bundle is available if you didn’t select the WORKS), and other add-ons you will input your payment information. Then fees associated with your changes will be shown. (Refer to the change policy section outlined above.)

When you confirm your changes, you will see your new trip details in your trip confirmation page along with an email sent right away.

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How to cancel a Frontier flight online

From the homepage, you will want to select “my trip/check-in” to pull up the box to type in your last name and confirmation code. Proceed to the next screen by pressing search.

If there are multiple people on the same reservation (PNR), just use one of the last names and confirmation codes to bring up the trip itinerary.

You will be directed to the trip confirmation page.

On the trip confirmation page, you will see the option to change flights. Select “cancel booking.”

You will be directed to a new page displaying information like fees, if applicable, but I owe no fees as I was canceling the booking made within 24 hours and greater than seven days before departure.

After clicking “confirm changes” you will see your cancel confirmation along with an email sent right away. It will also show any fees you paid if applicable.

Canceling or changing a Frontier flight on the phone

You can cancel or change flights over the phone with Frontier Airlines.

  • Reservations: +1-801-401-9000
  • Assistance for the hearing impaired: 711

How to get Frontier fees waived

There are two ways to get some or all of Frontier fees waived, one is fly enough to become an elite with Frontier or another is purchasing the WORKS bundle at booking.

Elite status

Any level of status can get certain fees waived like same-day confirmed fee and reward redemption fees waived.

All you need is to fly 20,000 qualifying miles or 25 segments to become Elite 20k. Benefits include free seat assignment, priority boarding, free carry-on, family pooling, and stretch seating upgrade at check-in. Some of these benefits do help to make your flight a better one.

The WORKS bundle

As I explained above, the WORKS bundle creates a regular ticket into a refundable ticket and can change the ticket whenever you want. Plus, if you refund the ticket, the original payment method gets refunded. On top of that, the money you spent on the WORKS bundle also gets refunded. Changes and cancellations can be done anytime for free 24 hours or more prior to the flight departure.

In contrast, Frontier’s regular tickets policy is 59 days or more prior to departure free changes and cancellations, but you can only be refunded in the form of Frontier credit for future flights with Frontier.

Third-party ticket change or cancel

If you bought your Frontier flight through a travel agency like Expedia you will have to make changes/cancellations through the travel agency that you purchased the ticket through. Change or cancellations might result in additional fees by the travel agency. I recommend always booking with the airline directly unless a third-party agency has a better price with no added fees.

Frontier baggage policy

If you are new to Frontier, baggage isn’t included in the base fare. So, I suggest you to read our article about baggage fees when flying Frontier Airlines so you know what to expect.

Final word

When it comes to cancellation and change policies, Frontier is surprisingly relaxed and not price gouging you compared to the likes of Delta or Alaska. Even their elite program has fee waivers for certain fees that do come in handy. So, I do hope this article helps you better understand Frontier’s policy for changes and cancellations.

Cover photo by Tomás Del Coro via Flickr

Alila Hotels Joining World of Hyatt (Finally)

Alila is one of my new favorite hotel brands as it ranges from boutique to full-on luxury at their properties around the globe. It’s truly different at each of their properties making it truly special experience when staying at an Alila.

As of June 25, Alila is now participating in World of Hyatt. Hyatt will have almost all Alila properties participating in World of Hyatt, but sadly two properties and one cruise won’t be participating.

Alila timeline for joining World of Hyatt

Back in October 2018, Two Road Hospitality got bought out by Hyatt adding 4 new brands into the World of Hyatt portfolio. Hyatt is one of the few programs that try to take things slow when they are adding brands and properties into their portfolio, unlike Marriott which throws all brands into one program wishing for them to understand the program.

Alila is the next brand being integrated into World of Hyatt and you can see the timeline for Alila properties joining World of Hyatt along with categories associated with them.

Alila properties joining June 25, 2019:

  • Studios at Alila Seminyak (Category 1)
  • Alila Solo (Category 1)
  • Alila Ubud (Category 3)
  • Alila Seminyak (Category 5)
  • Alila Villas Uluwatu (Category 7)
  • Ventana Big Sur (Category 7)

Alila properties joining June 26, 2019:

  • Alila Bangsar (Category 1)
  • Alila Manggis (Category 2)
  • Alila SCBD (Category 3)
  • Alila Koh Russey (Category 6)

Alila properties joining July 15, 2019:

  • Alila Diwa Goa (Category 2)
  • The Diwa Club by Alila (Category 3)
  • Alila Jabal Akhdar (Category 6)

Alila properties joining July 16, 2019:

  • Alila Fort Bishanarh (Category 4)
  • Alila Anji (Category 5)
  • Alila Wuzhen (Category 5)

Sadly, the two properties that aren’t joining World of Hyatt is Alila Jakarta and Alila Yangshuo. Also, Alila’s tiny sailboat sailing the Indonesian archipelago Alila Purnama won’t be joining as well.

Seeing Alila Yangshuo and Alila Purnama not join are two Alila’s that are truly special and considered to be very nice properties. On the other hand, I wouldn’t care less about Alila Jakarta joining World of Hyatt as it has aged rather poorly with some rooms not being remodeled with maintenance issues from my current stay as of writing this article. If you did stay at Alila Jakarta, ask for a remodeled room, they are far better.

I did ask the staff at Alila Jakarta, why aren’t they participating in the World of Hyatt program. Their response was “we are preparing to participate.” I asked again in a different way and they came back with the same response. So, I am guessing they cannot join at this time because they aren’t fully remodeled yet with maintenance issues. (That is just my speculation. I will update this article if I get a different answer.)

Alila properties giving a new feel for Hyatt

Alila is a fun brand, not because of partying, but each property is unique in its own right. They focus on hospitality, nature, and service very well as most of their properties are less than 100 rooms/villas. 

My first stay at Alila was at Alila Ubud. While the base rooms are just okay, the villas are truly an experience on its own. Plus, all the staff remembered my friend and I the next day, even if they never met us. During my stay at Alila Ubud back in March of this year, I did a bid to upgrade to the Valley Villa. It overlooked the valley right in the trees no one else in sight. Truly magical and private, even the monkeys visited us during our stay.

The Valley Villa had an outside bath, that was placed in the middle between the bathroom and the bedroom. Everything was placed with attention to details with complimentary snacks and fruit in the room along with reusable glass water bottles filled by their new filtered water system. It didn’t feel like a normal resort, it felt like we were at home in the forest.

Seeing Alila Ubud as a category 3 hotel makes it a sweet spot for World of Hyatt as the property averages $250+ a night.

Alila Ubud Valley Villa view from the bed.

Alila Ubud infinity pool (Image source Alila Ubud)

However, Alila Ubud is just one of the many beautiful Alila properties that are an experience by themselves.

Ventana Big Sur is yet another Alila property that is iconic, plus expensive. It’s going usually for $1000+ a night, but using points it’s now easier than ever to stay at this category 7 property. Plus, it’s the only Alila property located in the Americas.

I haven’t stayed at Ventana Big Sur, but when it comes to aspirational redemptions in the US, this would be my top place to use Hyatt points at.

Ventana Big Sur an Alila Resort (Image source: Ventana Big Sur)

Then there is Alila Jabal Akhdar. Located in the mountains of Oman for a retreat away from the dessert, Alila Jabal Akhdar is a unique property with its remoteness and connection to nature.

Alila Jabal Akhdar will enter Hyatt as a category 6 averaging $400+ a night making it an aspirational property for redemptions. I was planning to visit this property when I tour the middle east later this year. When I go, I hope to share the stay.

Alila Jabal Akhdar (Image source: Alila Jabal Akhdar)

Will Alila still participate in Global Hotel Alliance?

Update July 1, 2019: No Alila property will participate in Discovery Loyalty as of July 1st. Alila Jakarta is in transition with owners and will decide to stay Alila or transition to another brand in August 2019.

For anyone that doesn’t know, Alila is apart of Global Hotel Alliance, also known as Discovery Loyalty. 

Currently, Alila is staying in the Global Hotel Alliance. They have no plan to exit the program. All of their properties, besides Alila SCBD, participates in the Global Hotel Alliance and I think they could benefit from both programs.

Why could they benefit? Most people that fell in love with Alila was because of the experiences with Discovery Loyalty.

Discovery Loyalty works in similar ways as other hotel programs, but this program instead of giving points for free nights gives out experiences for experience awards. You could redeem for free airport transfers, private unique tours, cooking class, private dinner, boat excursions, etc.

I fell in love with Discovery Loyalty because of the hotel brands and possible experiences. In a few days, I am expected to achieve their Black status, their highest tier of status which offers 6pm check-out, 9am check-in, and 2 category room upgrade. The unique thing is, there is no suite or villa that blacklisted from upgrades. So, you could book 2 rooms below the best suite/villa that might not be upgradable in the Hyatt program, but with Discovery you could be upgraded to that suite/villa if it’s available and unoccupied. 

However, when I become a Hyatt Globalist in July, I should try to compare the loyalty recognition between Discovery Black and Hyatt Globalist at the same hotel just for fun.

Final word

With Alila joining Hyatt, I can finally say Hyatt has some unique properties that fully participate in the World of Hyatt program, unlike Small Luxury Hotels that don’t offer elite recognition. It’s going to be exciting to use Hyatt points at aspirational Alila properties across the globe.

Delta Gold Medallion Benefits Review (Lounge Access, Qualification, Sky Priority) [2020]

Delta Gold Medallion elite status is the second tier of status in the Medallion SkyMiles program. It offers some of the same perks as Silver Medallion status, but the benefits become more serious at this level like receiving SkyTeam Elite Plus status, lounge access, and slightly better chances of receiving an upgrade to First Class. In this article, I will review the benefits of Gold Medallion status and see if it’s worth it.

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What is Delta Gold Medallion status?

Delta Gold Medallion status is Delta’s lowest tier status that offers SkyTeam Elite Plus status, which gives you Sky Priority and business class lounge access. Gold Medallion status is an upgrade compared to Silver Medallion status for a more enjoyable and seamless ground experience.

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Delta Silver Medallion qualification requirements

To become a Delta Gold Medallion, you will notice that the requirements are double of Silver Medallion status requirements. You will need to complete the following requirements:

  • 50,000 MQMs (Medallion Qualification Miles) or 60 MQSs (Medallion Qualification Segments)
  • $6,000 MQDs (Medallion Qualification Dollars) or MQD waiver

In comparison, here are the other requirements for all tiers of status for Delta:

Medallion TierMQMs or MQSs requirementMQSs requirement (only for US residents)
Silver25,000 MQMs or 30 MQSs$3,000 MQDs
Gold50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs$6,000 MQDs
Platinum75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs$9,000 MQDs
Diamond125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs$15,000 MQDs

The MQD requirements for Silver Medallion, Gold Medallion, and Platinum Medallion will be waived when you spend at least $25,000 on any of Delta co-branded credit cards. For Diamond Medallion you will have to spend $250,000 on any of Delta’s co-branded credit cards to get the MQD requirement waived.

By the way, if you’re looking to cut down on your travel expenses with a credit card, consider getting a card like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. It offers an early spend bonus worth $500 in travel after meeting the minimum spend and is great to cancel out all sorts of travel expenses.

Delta Status Match Challenge

Delta has a detailed chart for their status match challenge, and if your airline elite program is not on the chart, you can still submit it when you enroll for the status match challenge. You can enroll in the status match challenge here.

Once you enroll, it will usually take 5 business days, but up to 2 weeks if needed. After they have completed their review and determined if you’re qualified, you will have the status for 90 days. If you want to extend your status, you will have to complete a certain amount of requirements during those 90 days. Here are the requirements:

“If you enroll in the challenge between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018 and you complete the requirements, your Medallion Status will be extended through January 31, 2019.

If you enroll in the challenge on or after July 1, 2018 and you complete the requirements, your Medallion Status will be extended through January 31, 2020.” Source: Delta

Delta makes it easy to do their challenge. You can fly any of their partners, and those MQMs, MQSs, and MQDs will count towards extending your status. Plus, the Delta co-branded credit cards will still waive the MQD requirement if you spend $25,000 on their credit cards.

Gold Medallion upgrades and preferred seats

Delta Gold Medallion status gives you a slightly greater chance of receiving an upgrade to First Class or Comfort+. While you won’t be flying First Class every time, the slightly greater odds won’t hurt anyone.

Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades

As a Gold Medallion, you and a companion are eligible for upgrades to First Class and Delta Comfort+ beginning 72 hours prior to departure on Delta marketed flights. On select Aeromexico operated flights you are eligible for upgrades to Clase Premier beginning 72 hours prior to departure. On the day of departure, you are eligible for Delta One operated within the 50 states.

The main difference is getting upgrades 72 hours prior to departure. Meaning it’s possible to receive upgrades to First Class, Clase Premier, and Comfort+ a whole 3 days before your flight. In comparison, Silver Medallions will only be able to receive upgrades 24 hours prior to the flight.

For Delta One flights within the 50 states, you will only be eligible to receive an upgrade 24 hours in advance (the same as Silver Medallion, Gold will have priority over Silvers). Delta One routes like LAX to JFK are very competitive for complimentary upgrades, so don’t bank on it to receive an upgrade as a Gold Medallion. Receiving upgrades for Delta One is very rare.

(Do note: you aren’t able to receive upgrades to Delta Premium Select seats. That means on newly configured international flights without Comfort+ you won’t have access to better seats than preferred seats on planes like the A350.)

Fares that are eligible are all paid fares (except E fares), Award Tickets, Miles + Cash, Pay with Miles tickets, and Companion Certificates.

It’s a little ironic that I have never actually taken a picture of Delta First Class. (Photo credit: Delta)

As a Gold Medallion, your odds of getting upgrades are slightly greater. You won’t be upgraded every time to First Class, and even Platinum Medallions don’t get upgrades every time. As a Gold Medallion myself, I have only flown 3 domestic flights this calendar year that are eligible for upgrades and received one First Class upgrade and 2 Comfort+ upgrades. I would take that with a grain of salt, but compared to my years as a Silver Medallion the odds are better.

Preferred seating

Any Medallion member can pick any seat when booking a main cabin seat including exit rows, seats near the front of the cabin, or bulkhead seats. This is a nice benefit since you are able to select those exit row seats, which sometimes have more legroom than Comfort+ seats.

SkyTeam Elite Plus status

Probably the biggest benefit of Gold Medallion status is SkyTeam Elite Plus status on any SkyTeam member airline, which includes Delta. SkyTeam Elite Plus status gives you benefits like Sky Priority and business class lounge access. SkyTeam Elite Plus is similar to Star Alliance Gold or OneWorld Sapphire.

SkyTeam member airlines

Here is the full list of benefits:

  • Business class lounge access
  • Guaranteed reservations on sold-out flights
  • Sky Priority recognition
  • Priority at transfer desks
  • Priority at immigration and security lanes
  • Extra baggage handling
  • Priority baggage handling
  • Priority check-in
  • Priority seating
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority airport standby

(Bold is SkyTeam Elite Plus status benefits compared to the unbold which is SkyTeam Elite status.)

The most notable benefit is business class lounge access. Any SkyTeam member airline lounge is accessible while flying a SkyTeam airline. You can bring one guest with you to the lounge and enjoy some of those drinks.

Sky Priority

Sky Priority, aka fast track, is a significant benefit that helps save time and makes traveling easier. While flying Delta or another SkyTeam member airline, you get priority at security, immigration, check-in, transfer desks, boarding, and even get your baggage faster.

You can also get priority while flying partners like Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia.

Sky Priority boarding FCO

Extra baggage handling

Need to check-in a bag? You will get one bag for free flying any SkyTeam member airline.

On Delta’s partners GOL, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Australia you will also get one free bag.

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Sky Club and lounge access

Gold Medallions can access Sky Clubs and partner lounges when flying on Delta or airline partners when it’s an international itinerary.

Sky Club access

You can gain access to Sky Clubs when your itinerary includes international flights. Example: if you are flying from Orlando to Tokyo via Detroit, you can access Sky Clubs in Orlando and Detroit. If your flight is Tokyo to Orlando via Detroit, you can access Sky Clubs in Tokyo and Detroit.

However, Delta considers only Europe, Asia, South America, Central America, Africa, Canada, And Mexico international destinations. Caribbean, Guam, Palau, and Saipan aren’t eligible destinations for Sky Club access.

Partner lounge access

You will have lounge access to any of the airlines within the SkyTeam alliance when flying on international itineraries.

You will also have access to GOL, Virgin Atlantic (US lounges only), and Virgin Australia lounges when flying on international itineraries.

KLM Crown Lounge 52 AMS

Other benefits

As a Gold Medallion you can get other benefits that are worth noting and make traveling much easier like:

  • Waived same-day confirmed fees
  • Waived same-day standby fees
  • Dedicated phone line
  • Clear membership discount
  • Hertz Five Star status
  • Delta Vacation savings
  • 8 miles per dollar spent
  • Rollover MQMs
  • Priority waitlist

Waived same-day confirmed and standby fees

Waived same-day standby fees matter a lot to me. If you had to go on standby for an earlier flight, it makes a difference not to pay those fees and get home earlier.

Dedicated Medallion phone line

As a Medallion member, you have access to the Medallion phone line. The Gold Medallion reservations phone number is +1-(800)-325-1551.

Award miles bonus

As a Gold Medallion, you will receive 8 miles per dollar instead of the standard 5 miles per dollar that general SkyMiles members receive.

Since you will be earning more SkyMiles, you should read up the best ways to redeem your Delta SkyMiles.

MQMs rollover

For any Medallion member, your leftover MQMs will rollover to the next calendar year. If you have 60,000 MQMs at the end of the calendar year after qualifying for Gold Medallion (50,000 MQMs requirement), you will have 10,000 MQMs rollovers since those are considered leftovers that couldn’t reach the next status.

As a Medallion member myself, I try to strategize my flights around this benefit. I rather have lots more MQMs rollover than a few.

Clear membership discount

CLEAR is a wonderful service that allows you to cut to the front of regular TSA or TSA-precheck lines. Diamond Medallions can receive CLEAR for free. Silver, Gold, and Platinum Medallion members can get a CLEAR membership for $79 a year. This benefit is only useful if you want to save time and if CLEAR is at your airport.

You can read more about CLEAR here.

Delta Vacations savings

As a Medallion member, you can receive discounts when booking Delta Vacations. The discounts aren’t huge but could make a difference if you find a deal on Delta Vacations.

Priority waitlist

You can get ahead of the waitlist on paid tickets if your class of service is not available when making a reservation.

Delta Gold Medallion vs. United Premier Gold status

There are a few differences between the two programs second tiered status.

The first difference is how early upgrades can be confirmed. Gold Medallion upgrades can clear 72 hours prior to departure, but for Premier Gold it’s 48 hours prior to departure. Gold Medallions are also eligible to receive upgrades to Delta One within the 50 states, unlike Premier Gold.

Both of these don’t mean you’re more likely to receive an upgrade with Gold Medallion over Premier Gold; it just means your upgrade might clear sooner and have the added benefit of getting a rare upgrade for Delta One within the 50 states. (There is a lot of factors for upgrades, so take this with a grain of salt.)

The second difference, Premier Gold members get Marriott Gold status, while Delta doesn’t give any benefits or status for a hotel.

So in the end, both of these programs are very similar. The deciding factor will most likely come down to the route network. For me, Delta works for me since DTW is my base, but if I were based out of IAH than United would be better.

Daniel wrote a great article about United Premier Gold here.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card + Gold Medallion status

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
  • Welcome bonus up to 70,000 miles + 10,000 MQMs after meeting the minimum spend requirement
  • 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases
  • Priority boarding
  • First checked bag free (learn more)
  • 20% off in-flight purchases
  • Annual fee $195 (not waived)
  • 1 time economy companion pass
  • Annual miles and MQMs after spend requirement

The Platinum Delta credit card and Gold Medallion status is a great combination. The card comes in handy for earning MQMs and bonus miles. Spend $25,000 a year and have the MQD requirement waived, earn 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 miles. Spend a total $50,000 a year and have another 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 miles added to your account. The companion pass is a great benefit that I use every year to buy one ticket and get the second one free plus tax.

I recommend reading our guide to applying for Amex cards here.

Final word

Delta Gold Medallion status is a huge step up regarding benefits compared to Silver Medallion. While I wouldn’t bank on getting First Class upgrades, the chances become slightly greater compared to Silver Medallion. However, lounge access and Sky Priority makes a huge difference regarding a nicer flying experience making it more enjoyable and faster to get your way through the airport and relax.

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