Travel Expert

18 01 2016

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 2.57.38 PMEd Salvato is editor in chief of ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine designed for smartphones and tablets. Get: FREE 3-month subscription! He’s also an author, global gay travel expert & author. Read his bio. Need travel advice? Post a comment below or send an email. Header photo above: Cristian Ricardo Flores.


Top 7 Ways to Leverage the Marriott/Starwood Loyalty Program Merger

28 09 2016

Marriott/Starwood mergerFrom ManAboutWorld. When the Marriott/Starwood merger closed last Friday, the frequent traveler world was surprised with a same-day linkage of the two loyalty programs, immediate reciprocal elite memberships, and the ability to shift points between the two programs freely, at a 1 Starpoint = 3 Marriott Rewards point ratio.

Starwood Gold Elite members (who only needed 10 stays or 25 nights to qualify) got the biggest bonus, since Marriott Rewards Gold (which requires 50 nights) offers benefits more closely aligned with SPG platinum, notably free breakfast and lounge access at most Marriott hotels. Elite qualification nights are not shared or transferable currently, so you’ll need to be careful not to split your nights in a way that jeopardizes your status.

The combination of the Marriott/Starwood programs created some unexpected bonuses for elite members. And some newly minted ways to instantly become Marriott Rewards Gold — like spending $30,000 on the SPG Amex card in a year.  Even better, are these seven sneaky clever ways to get or leverage your new status for significant travel benefits.


Platinum Amex Cardholders get awesome benefits, including SPG Gold Elite membership. Which gives you Marriott Rewards Gold, which is even more valuable: it includes free breakfast and lounge access at most Marriott hotels — a benefit you only get at the Platinum level with SPG.

2. If you’re a Delta Skymiles Diamond or Platinum Member, you’re now gold with Marriott.

Like American Express Platinum card holders, you’re also entitled to automatic SPG Gold Elite through the Crossover Rewards program. Once you register, your SPG Gold status gets you Marriott Rewards Gold.


RewardsPlus, a Marriott/United Airlines partnership offers Marriott Platinum Elites a United MileagePlus silver elite. Once your SPG and MR accounts are linked, you can apply for the benefit with United based on your Marriott Platinum status.


SPG Crossover Rewards grants Delta Skymiles Silver membership, Once your Marriott Rewards and SPG accounts are linked, you can link your SPG and Delta accounts.


RewardsPlus grants Marriott Rewards Gold to United MileagePlus Gold members. And that of course, gets you SPG Gold once your Marriott and Starwood accounts are linked.


Almost every SPG airline partner offers a 1:1 point transfer ratio. But the united ratio was 1:2, requiring twice as many starpoints. But transfer 90,000 Starpoints into 270,000 Marriott Rewards points, and redeem for a RewardsPlus vacation package. Those 90,000 Starpoints become 132,000 MileagePlus miles, and a free 7-night Marriott Category 1-5 hotel stay. (Same offer with 7 nights at a Category 9 hotel is 130,000 Starpoints; 180,000 Starpoints at Tier 5 Ritz-Carlton).

A similar Travel Package offer is available for 60,000-120,000 miles on the following carriers: Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Alaska Airlines, AirBerlin, Air Canada, Air China, Air France/KLM, Alitalia, American Airlines, ANA, Asia Miles, Asiana Airlines, Avianca-TACA, British Airways, China Eastern, China Southern, Copa Airlines, Delta Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Frontier Airlines, GOL/Varig,  Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia Airlines, Japan Airlines, Jet Airways, Jet Blue, Korean Air, LAN, Lufthansa, Multiplus, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Saudia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways Voyager, Southwest Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Turkish Airlines,Virgin America. Virgin Atlantic


You likely already have one or the other. But you should have both, earn the enrollment bonuses, and freely transfer points between the programs. Currently, you can earn 25,000 Starpoints for getting the Amex Card, and 87,500 Marriott Rewards points for their visa card. Once you’ve earned the Marriott bonus, switch your everyday, non-Marriott spending to the SPG American Express card, since the 1 Starpoint per $1 is worth three times as much as the 1 MR point per $1 from the Marriott Rewards card.

ManAboutWorld has information on many destinations around the world! Download our digital gay travel magazine for destinations around the globe. Find the ManAboutWorldApp on the iTunes App Store or Google Play. We support iPads, Android tablets, iPhones and Android phones. There are a few free publications in all of the apps. Register here for a FREE three-month subscription. Go on, what are you waiting for!

Photo du Jour: Yorke Peninsula, South Australia

28 06 2016
Photo du jour: Yorke Peninsula, South Australia

Yorke Peninsula, South Australia

This photo of Yorke Peninsula, South Australia was taken by ManAboutWorld correspondent, Michael Siebert

The Yorke Peninsula is a 3-hour drive from Adelaide, South Australia. It’s a playground for outdoor adventurers and photographers dream. More information:

Upcoming Art Events in Berlin

16 06 2016
Street art, berlin

Street art, Berlin

Berlin is a super gay-friendly destination and still one of the best bargains in Europe even though prices are starting to spike. Why not go now? Here are a few art events through October to time your trip with courtesy of our friends at Berlin Tourism Photo above by Troels Johannesen via Flickr Creative Commons 

►9th Berlin biennale for Contemporary Art

until September 18, 2016 at various locations

Since its inception in 1998, the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art has become one of the art world’s premier cultural events. It brings together some of the most influential artists, thinkers, and personalities and presents a cross section of artworks by internationally renowned as well as emerging artists. Each edition of the Biennale features around 50 Berlin-based artists with the majority of them producing new works for the exhibition. The events explore artistic developments to present, the unseen and the unfamiliar at the core of Berlin’s inspiring atmosphere. The New York based collective DIS are the curatorial team of this year’s Biennale edition. The upcoming events will function as a platform for collaboration of different kinds, embracing contradiction, blurriness, and confusion.

►Dada Africa: Dialogue with the Foreign

August 5 – November 7, 2016

2016 marks the 100th anniversary of Dadaism and the Berlinische Galerie will throw a big party to celebrate the occasion. About 120 works from collections in Germany and abroad will be presented in five sections. Dadaist works engage in a direct dialogue with artifacts from Africa, Asia and Oceania. The show reveals how much the Dadaists looked to art beyond Europe in formulating their new aesthetic departures. DADA’s revolutionary attack on traditional notions of art and culture in the early 20th century laid the groundwork even then for new ways of seeing the Other.

►Long Night of Museums

August 27, 2016

Berlin’s popular Long Night of Museums is poised to again become an inspiring and fun late night event, when some 100 large and small museums, presenting established and new collections, open their doors from 6 pm Saturday evening until 2 am Sunday morning. Music, theater, and culinary events will enhance the permanent and temporary exhibitions and promise to make the nighttime museum visit a unique experience. Buy just one ticket and you get unlimited access to a special shuttle bus service and admission to all participating venues and events.

►5th Berlin Art Week

September 13-18, 2016, various locations

A key fall event, the Berlin Art Week is dedicated to contemporary art and combines exhibitions, art fairs, art awards, and an auxiliary program featuring talks, films, and tours. The Berlin Art Week provides new, surprising insights into private collections, project spaces, and the city’s sites of artistic production. Center pieces this year will again be the art fairs abc art berlin contemporary and Positions Berlin – Art Fair.

►European Month of Photography

October 1 – 31, 2016, various locations

Since 2004, the European Month of Photography has been taking place every two years in Berlin, presenting a wide range of exhibitions and events on historic and contemporary photography. The largest German festival for photography presents a collaboration of museums, cultural institutions, galleries, embassies, project spaces, as well as local photography schools. On the occasion of its 10th anniversary 2014, the EMOP Berlin had an impressive record to its name: 2 million visitors, 500 exhibitions by as many partner institutions, 30,000 photographic works shown, and 2,000 participating photographers.

►Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Hieroglyphics

September 23 – February 12, 2017 at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum for Contemporary Art

Referring to his cityscape paintings, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, the German expressionist painter and one of the founders of the artists group “Die Brücke“, spoke of “hieroglyphs as signs of expression.” Immediate ecstasy, Kirchner wrote, leads already in the preliminary sketch to “complete hieroglyphs.” The variety of visual experience, “ecstasy,” is reduced to abbreviations, to eloquent details such as hats, shoe tips, window frames, or bridge arches. With this focus, the upcoming exhibition directs attention toward 18 works by the artist in the museum’s own collection, ranging from the early Seated Nude of the Dresden Brücke period, to Bathers on the Beach and dense works Meadow Flowers and Cat from the artist’s late works.

►Feuerle Collection opens in former WWII bunker

October 2016

Collector Désiré Feuerle is planning to open a private museum in late 2016, to house his collection of international contemporary and Southeast Asian art, as well as Chinese design. Just like the well-known Boros Collection, the Feuerle Collection will be permanently be displayed in a former World War II telecommunications bunker, which has been refurbished by British architect John Pawson. The museum aims to provoke a dialogue between works of different cultures and eras. After a sneak preview during the 9th Berlin Biennale, the official grand opening of the Feuerle Collection will be celebrated in October 2016.

Twitter Chat Tuesday, June 7 3-4pm. Follow #PrideGuide

6 06 2016
Travel safetyTune in to #prideguide on Twitter tomorrow June 7th, for a very important Twitter chat! LGBTI Travel Twitter Chat sponsored by U.S. Department of State (@TravelGov) and us (@MAWtravel)
Follow ‪#‎prideguide‬!

When? Tomorrow – Tuesday, June 7; 3pm – 4pm ET; 12 noon-1pm PT
Goals: This Twitter chat focuses on safe LGBTI travel overseas. The idea is to connect with gay U.S. citizen travelers and Travel safetyanswer any questions they have about safety, logistics, or other issues while traveling abroad and to introduce them to the resources available at (and elsewhere) for LGBTI travelers and all travelers.

It’s an opportunity for all organizations who are concerned about LGBTI travel safety to participate in this important discussion.

Brendan Vacations + Ireland = Perfect Honeymoon Vacation

10 05 2016
The Temple Bar Pubfront in close up with artwork of medieval characters, Brendan Vacations, Ireland

Temple Bar

Celebrate your love in Ireland with Brendan Vacations, as featured in ManAboutWorld’s guide to Weddings, Honeymoons and Celebration Travel. [Download it for free.] Ireland is a magical place with hospitable, engaging people. It’s the only country on the planet that granted marriage equality by a referendum (a year ago this month) — overwhelmingly exclaiming that LGBT people are truly welcome here.

These locales are shown here but don’t take our word for it. Go, now! Note: The dollar is strong against the euro which is used in the Republic of Ireland so a vacation in Eire is more affordable than ever. For surprisingly affordable luxury, culture and romance in Ireland with Brendan Vacations, download ManAboutWorld’s FREE guide now.

Gorgeous and gay friendly, Ireland makes a perfect backdrop to any celebratory experience. Whether you’re traveling as a couple or in a big group, Brendan Vacations — leaders in vacations in Ireland and Scotland — will help you customize your trip built around fabulous venues throughout the country with options created to meet any budget from Guided Vacations to Self-Drive. ManAboutWorld recently visited on a Private Chauffeur trip which included the stunning Cliffs of Moher the renowned and so-Irish-it-hurts Temple Bar (above) and the gay-owned Mustard Seed at Echo Lodge, with phenomenal food among many other stops.


Battling Homophobia in Indonesia with Alturi

5 05 2016
Alturi battles homophobia in Indonesia and around the world

Homophobia in Indonesia

Increasingly outrageous and homophobic comments by senior government officials in Indonesia are creating an atmosphere of growing intolerance and hostility towards the LGBTI community there, according to Steve Roth, co-founder and director of Alturi (as well as ManAboutWorld global correspondent).  It has gotten bad enough that some of the most vulnerable in the community have been forced to flee their homes to seek protection and safety elsewhere. 

The Indonesian LGBTI network Arus Pelangi has quickly put together an emergency response program – including a safe house, relocation assistance, a national hotline and other support services – to help those most in need but their funding for these efforts is limited.  So Alturi has teamed up with Human Rights Watch and OutRight Action International to launch a campaign here in the U.S. to support their work.

With support from Americans and others around the world, Arus Pelangi will be able to provide these much needed emergency services for the LGBTI community through the end of the year.

The press release on the following page contains more details.  You can also check out the campaign here.   Read the rest of this entry »

First-Ever Guide to LGBT Business Travel- FREE from ManAboutWorld

26 04 2016
LGBT Business Travel Guide

LGBT Business Travel Guide

Get the first-ever LGBT Business Travel guide from ManAboutWorld. 

We’ve learned from experience that LGBT businesspeople and entrepreneurs face added pressures not only in the workplace but especially when they travel for business — being expected to perform at high levels amid uncertainty.

On April 25, we published the first LGBT Guide to Business Travel. As you know, business travelers have little discretion in where they go for work and for LGBT business travelers this experience can be more than confusing; it can be downright frightening. Imagine traveling to a nation like Uganda — one of 76 countries where LGBT conduct can be criminalized. Something as simple as communicating to your partner on social media raises caution flags. How do you stay connected? Meeting local LGBT people privately may put you at risk of violence or possibly to locals if in public. Who can you trust about your identity whether it is people you meet or your own employer while traveling for business? The Guide covers everything from common questions, such as choosing to be open at work, but also serious concerns about personal safety.


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