Fly&Dine Interview+Giveaway: Frequent Miler + $50

Posted in Fly&Dine Interview

UPDATE: We have a winner! Congratulations to Jack. According to my random drawing, you’ve got $50 to Starbucks coming your way!

It’s been a while, but the Fly&Dine Interview+Giveaway series is back! For this installment, we’re talking to Frequent Miler, one of the best guides for the credit card game on BoardingArea. We got the skinny on incorporating food into your mileage strategy and if you hang around until the end of the interview, you’ll be rewarded with a chance to win a $50 gift card to Starbucks by answering this week’s giveaway question in the comments section. Now let’s get to that interview…

You’re a master of credit cards, so which cards work best for food-lovers?
Two of my favorites are the US Bank Cash+ card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  The no fee US Bank Cash+ card lets cardholders choose two 5% cash back category each quarter, and Restaurants is one of the categories that can be chosen.  This will give you 5% cash back on all restaurant spend with a limit of $2,000 spend per quarter.  Meanwhile, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card gives cardholders 2 points per dollar for all dining and travel purchases.  And, on the first Friday of each month, they offer 3 points per dollar for dining.  The points earned can be redeemed for cash, or, better yet, converted to airline and hotel loyalty programs for award travel.

When you’re going on a mattress run/mile run, what’s your strategy for food?
I rarely do mattress runs or mileage runs, so it’s hard to say.  When I’m with my wife I’m more likely to splurge on the best available food.  When by myself, I’m more likely to pickup a slice of pizza.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had outside of your home city? What made it so special?

That’s a really tough question to answer, partly because I’ve had so many terrific meals and partly because I have a terrible memory :).  One that comes to mind was dinner in Lufthansa’s first class lounge in Frankfurt.  I ordered the Tom Yum Goong soup after an enthusiastic recommendation from the waiter.  It was fantastic!  The irony was that I was on my way to Bangkok at the time, yet this Thai soup was better than anything I tried while in Thailand.  And, that’s saying a lot since the food in Bangkok was great!

If you could use your miles for a meal at the best restaurant in the world or a one-night stay in the world’s best hotel, which would you choose and why?
Assuming both options represent equally good value for my miles, I would go for the best restaurant in the world.  While I very much appreciate getting a good night’s sleep in a fine hotel, I can’t imagine my sleep being that much better in the best hotel than anywhere else.  On the other hand, I bet that the best restaurant in the world would serve food that even I would remember for years to come.

Would you fly in and out of an airport just because you liked their dining options? What’s your favorite airport restaurant?
I could certainly imagine picking one route over another if I knew that one had better dining options.  But, no, I wouldn’t fly somewhere just to eat the airport food if that was the sole purpose of the flight.  My favorite airport restaurant must be the Lufthansa first class lounge.


Looks like a visit to the Lufthansa First Class Lounge is in order! Thanks for weighing in, Frequent Miler! Now it’s time for the Fly&Dine giveaway. This week, I’m giving away $50 to Starbucks for answering this simple question in the comments:

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had outside of your home city and what made it so special?

On Sunday night, I’ll choose a winner at random from the comments and that lucky person will get to enjoy lattes and espressos galore! What are you waiting for??? ENTER NOW!


Find past Fly&Dine interviews here:

Points & Pixie Dust

View from the Wing

Hack My Trip

Million Mile Secrets

Points, Miles, and Martinis


One entry per person. No purchase necessary. In fact, there’s nothing to purchase. By entering, you agree that you’re cool with the fact that Fly&Dine makes all the decisions and those decisions are final, even if you don’t like them. Contest closes at 11:59pm Pacific on Sunday 8/17/2014. Winner will be contacted via email. Please provide a valid email address when leaving your comment. If we don’t receive a response from you after one week of being notified, a new winner will be chosen at random.
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  1. Probably one of my most memorable and wow meals was in the Hotel du Paris at Alain Ducasse Louis XV. It lasted over 3 hours with 12 kinds of breads to choose from and the best pumpkin soup covered in fresh shaved
    Truffles. The best

  2. Wow, I must have been sleepy when I answered these questions. When asked, “What’s the best meal you’ve ever had outside of your home city?” I somehow interpreted that to mean “best airport meal”. The Lufthansa 1st class terminal meal was definitely very good, but certainly not the best I’ve ever had!

    One of my favorite meals was during my recent trip to Murren, Switzerland. At the Hotel Bellevue we sat on their outside deck overlooking the mountains and valley below and I ordered their Venison dish, which was terrific. The food made the dinner very good. The view and ambiance made it spectacular.

  3. One of the best meals I ever had was an anniversary dinner at Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, Californa – in the Napa Valley. The outdoor setting overlooking the vineyards is exquisite. The meal was unique, beautiful and delectable – we ordered the prix fixe vegetarian option – and even my meat and potatoes-oriented husband loved it. And of course, the company – my husband of 30 years tops the list of making any meal special.

  4. One of my best meals was at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco. The Award Winning New Yorker was the best pizza I ever had. It was also special as it was the night after I got engaged.

  5. Not sure the name of it because it’s in Thai but it’s a GIANT buffet in Chiang Mai. Luckily the 1st time I went I took a picture and was able to show it to the tuk tuk driver and he found it fine on my next trip!

  6. the best steak ever. I cook a mean steak on the grill but this one blows any steak I’ve had in the States out of the water.
    We did not speak a lick of French when we stumbled into this bustling little restaurant in Paris. We sat down and was asked how we liked our meat cooked. We looked confused and just said “medium” can’t go wrong with medium right?
    It turns out that they specialize only in steak frites. It had the most amazing mustardy/green sauce on steak with amazing shoestring fries.
    I’ve never been the type to add sauce to steak, here you had no choice and it was DELICIOUS. It’s called Le Relais de l’Entrecôte. That was 6 years ago and I remember the taste like it was yesterday. We plan on going next year to revisit this restaurant. BEST. STEAK. EVER!

  7. Sushi in Hakodate, Hokkaido. Tachigui (standing room only booth) spot at the train station. Melt in your mouth sushi.

  8. One of my favorite meals was in London at Pied a Terre, a small French restaurant. We had the tasting menu with the wine accompanying the meal. One of the memorable dishes was the bacon brioche…really a great meal!

  9. Fabulous multi-course lunch in the restaurant of Guggenheim museum in Bilbao Spain to celebrate my mother’s 80th birthday 12 years ago. I still think about it! All local basque food…

  10. Definitely the meal we had at our ryokan in Kyoto. 16 courses served to us in our room in our komonos. Each course was an exotic dleight!

  11. Love all the grilled and deep-fried pineapple in Dominican Republic. It is so refreshing and fit the location perfectly.

  12. On my honeymoon we went La Villa Mahana in Bora Bora. I did the tasting menu which I think was 150 EUR or possibly more. It was amazing. It was by far the most I’ve ever paid for a meal but it was well worth it. The caviar, lobster, steak etc.. all of it was delicious.

    I even got to meet the chef after and take a photo with him. By far the culinary highlight of my life!

  13. Every morning while in Paris, myself, my husband, and my friends went to a variety of bakeries and ate fresh croissants and had fresh orange juice. While a simple meal, it was fun to have freshly made food and spend time with friends we never get to see. I sincerely hope I get to return in the future for more croissants and friend time.

  14. One of my best meals was a wedding cake & hors d’oeuvres at our wedding ceremony site set in the Valley of the Fire. It was very simple but the mode of transportation to get there (two helicopters for the wedding party), beautiful mountainous surroundings and, of course, the occasion made it priceless.

  15. Sampler at Iron Works BBQ in Austin, TX. It was my first meal of the visit and I had just had a long day of travel!

  16. One of the best meals we’ve had outside our home city was at Avec in Chicago. Outstanding and imaginative, plus amazing value.

  17. Our meal at Sundara Bali (at Four Seasons) earlier this year. From appetizer to dessert, everything was fabulous. Best of all, it was free!

  18. I just came back from Bali after enjoying a 4-course meal by Ju-Ma-Na @ Banyan Tree Ungasan’s guest chefs from Paris. Definitely one of the best meals I’ve had in my life so far.

  19. eleven madison park in new york city years ago. same chef humm as now, but it was affordable back then, before all the accolades and 3* michelin status. the tasting menu was the best meal i have ever had, along with superb wine pairings.

  20. Went to the best Grill place in Kansas City. I cant remember the name, but it was true BBQ , they serve right from the grill to your plate and you can have any meat they have on the grill. It was amazing

  21. Hands down, it was dinner at the Buenos Aires Grill in the Recoleta section of Bs.As. The steaks were magnificent, and done only as they can be done in Argentina. Big, bold, and flavorful cuts of perfectly seasoned grass fed beef from the Pampas. The pomme frites were crisp and flavorful. The wine selection, including some of the most amazing Argentine Malbecs complemented the meal. The ambiance was perfect – part traditional steakhouse, part bistro, part estancia main house. My mouth is watering just thinking about this place.

  22. Pachapapa restaurant in the San Blas neighborhood in Cuzco, Peru. It was a great way to kick off the honeymoon with incredible Peruvian cuisine. Peruvian cuisine is overlooked by foodies. The diversity of unique dishes in Peru is the world’s best kept culinary secret!

  23. Probably at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park NY because all the ingredients were fresh and tasty!

  24. North Main BBQ right outside of DFW was the best meal (penny for penny) that I’ve had…nothing better than a hole-in-the-wall smoker in a strip mall 🙂

  25. Canard a l’orange with my wife in Paris. The food was great, but the location and the company are what always make a meal spectacular.

  26. The best meal I have ever had was in Sri Lanka. It was a hole in the wall that the local construction workers go to. It was in the middle of the day, and I was really hungry. I saw this place that look like it serves food, so I strolled in. The owner didn’t speak very much English, so I did the point and gesture to say, “I will have what he is having”. When the food is served, there were no utensils. I was conscious about using which hand to eat with, and spent half a minute looking around before settling with the right hand (later I found out, it didn’t really matter). The food was just vegetable curry, but it was the best vegetable curry I have ever had, together with crackers, rice, and other small dishes. The ambience certainly adds to the allure. And like my mum used to say, everything taste good when you are hungry. 🙂

  27. I always enjoy getting a simple grouper sandwhich everytime I go to Key West…It is so good when it is fresh

  28. Stumbled across a fantastic Thai restaurant when in Berlin (of all places) a few summers ago. Fun owner, great food, ended up going back twice during our three day stay!

  29. Orenchi ramen / South bay, California.. A surprising michelin rated restaurant in the middle of nowhere. The best ramen ive had to date.

  30. My favorite meal thus far has been Citronelle’s vegetarian tasting menu. The menu was inventive, and the food was awesome!

  31. Easily the best meal I had was at Le Meurice in Paris. Totally worth the splurge for a chance to eat there. YOLO!

  32. The best meal I ever had was more about the dining atmosphere and environment. We were in Tokyo to celebrate our honeymoon and we were having lunch at Azure 45 with a jaw-dropping window table looking out over Tokyo Tower and Roppongi. Could not have been more memorable!

  33. Seafood stew in Jeju, South Korea. All of the seafood was fresh and the broth was phenomenal. The best thing was that the seafood stew was $10.

  34. sometimes the simplest things are the best, like homemade pasta and tiramisu, eaten while sitting on the steps to the grand canal in venice

  35. We’ve now had 2 wonderful meals at Envy in the Renaissance Hotel in Las Vegas. Their truffle fries are seriously addictive!

  36. I love a very simple but delicious beef noodle soup that I get at the Grand Hyatt in Taipei Taiwan. Absolutely love it.

  37. Mrs. Wilkes in Savannah, GA. The food was amazing, surprisingly well priced and between waiting in line and sitting at a table for 10, we got to meet a lot of different people. The best part, when we went to pay at the end, the gentleman taking the money saw how skinny my teen daughter was and only charged half price for her. I can’t wait to go back again!

  38. All you can eat hotpot in Ximending in Taipei! It was something like $20 for seriously the best selection for hotpot I’ve seen anywhere + all kinds of drinks, desserts, name brand ice cream. Amazing.

  39. Hard to pick just one but I am a man who loves his brunch. When visiting NYC over the Christmas holiday 2 years ago, my wife and I had what was by far the best brunch I’ve ever had at Norma’s inside the Le Parker Meridien New York. The smoked salmon benedict must have had half a pound of smoked salmon on it! Her crepes were delicious and quite large as well. The coffee was a french press pot that was sat on your table and the juice was fresh pressed. Absolutely phenomenal food and service.

  40. My favorite meal was at the Four Seasons in Macau. The full breakfast buffet had a mixture of local and western foods. It was a great way to try local dishes while enjoying the comforts of home.

  41. Steakhouse in Buenos Aires. There is nothing better than to be accompanied by family over a great wine and steak. And in Argentina? I’ll take it!

  42. Dinner at the Star City Casino in Sydney, Australia before a show at the Opera House. Best seafood chowder ever!

  43. A recent great meal was at the restaurant on top of Hotel de Mahe in Pondicherry, India. They say they put a modern twist on traditional Indian food. I’m not very food-motivated but eating exquisitely, thoughtfully spiced shrimp on the roof with the ocean breeze blowing was enough to make even insensitive me pause to savour the food.

  44. Lobster Thermidor aboard Singapore First from LHR-SIN. The meal was memorable because it was my first time flying Singapore First and I was the only passenger in First Class! Amazing experience. Oh and I was on my way to Bali from SIN so it was just such a memorable meal and trip!

  45. I had a fabulous dinner I’m chicago at Hub 51. It was special because a friend joined me in Chicago for the express purpose of cheering me on in a half marathon.

  46. I had a very delicious breakfast of banana pecan pancakes in Nashville. Everything was fresh and homemade including the toppings and the meal was plentiful and mouth-watering. I’m not a breakfast person but these were yummy!

  47. Best meal? Honestly, it was a smattering of stuff at a place I totally don’t recall. we ate well, cheaply, and with the best compaby. isn’t that what it’s all about?

  48. Any of the great meals out with friends and family when I travel. Food is important, but not as important as love and friendship!

  49. That’s easy. We had the Cajun Boiled Crawfish, Potatoes, Corn, Sausage in New Orleans. I was amazed at its size and it was so good — I’ve never had anything like it. I guess that’s what made it special.

  50. Tacos in Guadalajara at a taco stand. Best Al-pastor! Along with at torta ahoghada! It was fantastic and the setting couldn’t have been more perfect as it was near the historic colonial downtown!

  51. Lobster on Menemsha Beach on Martha’s Vineyard. There is something magical about a lobster, a bottle of good champagne, and a fantastic sunset.

  52. Our best meal outside our home city was at La Toque in Napa Valley, CA. We had a five course meal with wine pairings– the sommelier even poured our dessert wines as he saw how much we were savoring the evening. Total tab was close to $400 for the two of us–too bad I didn’t know about points at that time!!

  53. I actually have two that come to mind; one for the food, the other for the experience. The first was in London. We stayed in a horrible cheap hotel near Paddington, and after several beers one night walked to a nearby spot that was listed online as “good Indian.” It turned out to be some of the best Indian I’ve ever had, and the owners were very gracious and helpful in preparing a great meal experience for us. The second was in Peru. We talked ourselves into trying cuy (Guinea Pig), so our trekking guide met up with us after our return to Cusco. He drove us about 2 hours outside the city because according to him you can’t eat cuy in Cusco since it’s all geared toward tourists. We ended up in a woman’s house where she cooked us an entire meal (including the rodent) and served us. We sat at her kitchen table with other locals and had an unbelievable time. As for the cuy…what else would one expect? It tasted like chicken.

  54. The best meal I’ve ever had outside of my home city? Fried chicken in Savannah, GA of course! 🙂 It was amazingly good…!

  55. Moran’s on the Weir, just south of Galway. The biggest, sweetest oysters I’ve ever had, all washed down with a fresh pint. All flavors I will never forget. Plus, going with my family meant I had some excellent company!

  56. St. Elmo’s steakhouse in Indianapolis! Best steak I’ve ever had and the shrimp cocktail is ridiculously good!

  57. One of the best meals I’ve had outside my home city in recent memory was at Criollo at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. I was with my best friend from college and it was a great introduction to New Orleans cuisine.

  58. Pretty much ALL my meals in Venice, Italy because the food tasted so much better than any Italian meal I’ve had anywhere else!

  59. Sometimes I’ll pick flying through ATL just to eat at One Flew South. IMHO, it’s one of the best airport restaurants.

  60. Dom – São Paulo. Especially after a Brazil World Cup game victory. Would have been consoling after a loss too.

  61. Korean BBQ, katsu, and mandoo combination plate in Oahu at the Kimchee restaurant. Affordable and really tasty and filling.

  62. I once had a very memorable bistro dinner at Chez Dumonet in Paris during the millenium new year – it was the last dinner I ever had with my grandfather.

  63. Brunch at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. Perhaps not the best food in the world, but the experience is SO worth it

  64. Hahaha, I caught that too. I was indeed raising my eyebrows that the best meal was an airport lounge one.

    One of the more memorable dinner was in Athens, Greece. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant now, but the view was amazing (window view to the Parthenon), the food was delicious (I had steak, and I was starving) and I was just happy to be sitting down after a long day of walking. So that was a really good meal — when you’re tired and hungry, and you’re treated to great view, great service and rest. (Of course, the bill was on the higher end, but it was worth it…)

  65. I second the earlier comment of “chilli crab in No Signboard Restaurant in Singapore”! The crab was made tasty, juicy, spicy, and easy to deshell.

  66. I had some amazing lobster ravioli at this cool italian restaurant in boston! We had great seats and i was in fabulous company!

  67. I would have to be dinner at Taillevent in Paris. Best foie gras I have ever tasted, it was a surreal flavor.

  68. Sushi breakfast at Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo! Wake before dawn and take the long walk from Teikoku (Imperial) Hotel through the still sleeping Ginza and arrive at crazy busy Tsukiji in time for the remarkable tuna auction. Then wander to small shops surrounding the market for the absolute freshest chirashi zushi breakfast – reasonably priced and eaten standing at the counter. Heaven. I hope that when the new Tsukiji opens it will retain some of this charm.

  69. dinner at Michael Mina in San Francisco – so good and even though it looked like the portions were tiny, some how I felt soooo full

  70. The most memorable meal I had outside my home city was in Paris, France at a super-touristy place (Chartier) with impatient but funny waitstaff. The food was good, the ambience frenetic, and the conversation with its international guests, truly memorable.

  71. Chase ink you get gift cards from office supply store so you earn 5x the points ie TGIFridays, Macaroni Grill etc
    For restaurants that you can’t find gift cards for my go to card is Chase Sapphire you get 2x points and first Friday of each month it’s more. Chase is the card for me

  72. I just had a great meal in Munich, with great beer, good pretzels and bread, and excellent entertainment from the band and party in the next roo!

  73. My favorite would be just about any restaurant in Milwaukee with a good Friday night fish fry. I grew up there & although I haven’t lived there in a long time, whenever I go back to visit I love going out for one with my dad. My SO would answer Daalder Café in Amsterdam. They served him this Irish coffee after dinner that was gorgeously put together.

  74. Best meal I ever had was at Achafalaya in New Orleans. It is a beautiful and small restaurant in the Garden District. rebuilt with reclaimed wood from Katrina I remember the meal, which I liken to sophisticated New Orleans food, like it was yesterday and cannot wait to go back. I truly love ‘southern’ food and they serve the best I have ever had. I had the Chicken and Andouille Gumbo for an app and the Shrimp and Grits. Both very ‘basic’ dishes you would think but these were the finest examples of each that you will ever have. Again, sophisticated New Orleans fare that cannot be topped. It was just perfect.

  75. The best meal I’ve had outside of my home city was in Miami/Ft Lauderdale. I had the best ever Chilean Sea Bass dish at a restaurant that is no longer in existence in the area. It was something about the taste of the sauce that the fish was cooked in that i can not describe. I’ve often tried to replicate the sauce but to no avail.

  76. Paris France with my wife. Chez Gladine. A tiny bistro serving French inspired Basque food. All tables are seated with mixed groups and quite cozy. The food is amazing yet simple and not fancy.

  77. Best dinner recently was at Hereford House in Kansas City. Wife and I went there during mini-vacation to KC before schools start and schedules get busy. Steaks were cooked perfectly.

  78. Wow, have been to 80 countries and have eaten a lot of meals outside my hometown and am a foodie to boot, so this is a tough one. I am a particular fan of Les Halles in NYC and their mussels/frites satisfies the francophile in me.

  79. Kosher McDonalds in Argentina – only because it was my first meal as a married woman with the love of my life! Otherwise, Roka in London – absolutely phenomenal meal with amazing ingredients and such creativity!

  80. Was with my sisters in Australia ,my sister’s birthday and restaurant was so cozy and have a very good atmosphere, the best service ever.

  81. The best meal I have ever had while away from home would have to be Qsine restaurant onboard the cruise ship Celebrity Summit. The novelty of the entertaining presentations of food items, the fact that everything there comes on small plates / tapas style, and the playfulness of ordering one’s dinner items and drinks by iPad – and yet all while still maintaining a stunningly high degree of sumptuous quality and attention to the best attributes of fine dining – made this spot an absolute treat! Plus, it was on the occasion of my daughter’s 8th birthday, and while on a cruise of course. Nothing could be better than this!!

  82. best dinner was at a hidden gem of a pizza parlor in san francisco…i had sat down by myself after a long day of walking around and the couple sitting next to me struck up a conversation with me and gave me great tips about the city!

  83. In-n-Out in CA is to DIE FOR! the fact that you could enjoy such a burger after a day by the beach or right off the plane just makes it so much better!!

  84. I am not sure about the ‘best’, but the most surprisingly tastiest food I have had came from a small diner in Mosul called Kings Restaurant. They had kabobs that were fantastic!

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