Subject: Re: do it yourself arrangements
From: GRACE CATTAROSSI (snipped)--

> When we travel to Europe we do it with upgrades through Amex so what I do
>is call the airline and get an upgrade. I do not like to give our credit card in >the internet.

Hi Grace--

We always have a very difficult, frustrating time trying to get upgrades using Amex's flier miles. Would you please amplify how you go about upgrading with these flier miles. We usually fly Continental/Alitalia to Italy from Newark. We usually just give up and buy the two-for-one tickets through Amex--and get more flier miles which then just go into even more flier miles!

> Regarding hotels...

More often than not, hotels usually have a web site and/or an email address which makes it fairly easy to discuss room, price etc. arrangements by using email. While in the past there was a problem with hotels responding to email, I find that problem has been very much reduced. On previous trips I usually just telephoned the hotels to make arrangements but found that totally unnecessary this last time.

Your golden rules are excellent suggestions!

I use a search engine called Copernic which costs about $30. It can be described as a super meta search engine. That is, a search engine that searches other meta search engines. It often amazes me how it can find things on the net. For the travel planner it is truly fantastic! I have no interest whatsoever in it, other than as a user. I know it sounds silly to pay for a search engine but for $30, this is a great buy.

Looking forward to hear more about using flier miles.