Main WikiMiles Staff

WikiMiles Staff

WikiMiles is a nonprofit website dedicated to helping people travel easier by teaching them to use their airline miles and points more efficiently. We navigate these complicated programs so you don't have to. WikiMiles is grateful that our contributors and columnists work on a strictly volunteer basis to provide our readers with unbiased advice and expertise on the travel industry.


Gennady Podolsky


Gennady got the travel bug as a young kid. His mom bought him a subscription to a travel magazine and he was hooked. As an Applied Mathematics undergraduate student in Ukraine, he got a full scholarship to Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. He became so fascinated with the US travel industry and launched his first travel agency in 1994 after finishing his sophomore year. The Internet had just taken off so he built a website and 3 months later, Yahoo, the dominant search engine of the day, named the site among the coolest sites of the week. It was 2 years before Expedia and Travelocity were founded.  

After learning the ropes of the travel industry, he realized his real passion lied in working with clients to find solutions to their travel puzzles.

Travel writing is something he has wanted to work on for a long time, but could never find the time while managing a busy travel practice. The travel pause for the COVID-19 pandemic presented a unique opportunity to write for this site. 

Helping clients utilize their miles and points for their trips has been a crucial piece of the travel puzzle from the very beginning. There is a lot of value in loyalty programs, but airlines, credit cards, and hotel programs make it difficulty to unlock that value. Gennady is grateful for the opportunity to share these insights with WikiMiles readers.

Pavlina Kochmarivska


Pavlina Kochmarivska is an air travel agent with 3 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry. She graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Transport Technologies (Air Transport) and in 2020 with a Master of Science degree in Organization of Transportation and Management of Air Transport―both at the National Aviation University in Kyiv, Ukraine. 

She’s earned her Global Distribution System (GDS) Certifications from Sabre and Amadeus. 

Teamwork, flexibility, problem solving, computer software and application knowledge, and Mathematics are part of her skills and expertise. Pavlina’s favorite pastime is finding the best miles redemption deals!

Elena Ardasheva


Elena’s incredible journey to become one of the most experienced and versatile travel industry professionals started in her home town - small resort city on the south shores of the Baltic Sea in Latvia. Throughout her accomplished career she excelled as a hotel manager, tour guide and destinations specialist; working at the most prestigious and popular destinations across Greece, Croatia, Egypt and Italy. 

In 2010 Elena was recruited to be an executive travel advisor and document specialist at a popular multinational travel agency in Chicago. 

Elena is passionate about travel, exploring new places, learning different cultures, and she thrives to ensure that travelers have the most amazing and fulfilling experience visiting their destination. She can help navigate complex travel requirements and restrictions, especially during unpredictable pandemic times. 

Robert Viljakainen


Robert Viljakainen is a seasoned professional with over 12 years of diverse experience in the travel, technology, and hospitality industries. As a manager of various travel industry projects, he excels in building and nurturing relationships with clients, creating user-friendly web pages, and managing multiple reservation platforms such as TripAdvisor, Viator, Bokùn, and others.

With a background in IT, Robert brings a unique blend of technical and travel expertise to his role. He is well-versed in operating systems such as MAC OS, Windows OS, and Linux, and has honed his skills to meet the ever-changing demands of the industry.

In his free time, Robert is a dedicated contributor to WikiMiles, where he utilizes his passion for travel and technological know-how to write informative and engaging articles. With seven years of hands-on experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, he has become a seasoned professional and an asset to any team.

Ece Tanyer


Ece Tanyer is the current editor of Wikimiles. She graduated in 2019 with two Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Relations and Communication (Public Relations and Advertisement) at Galatasaray University in Istanbul, Turkey and in 2020 with a Master of Arts degree in European Interdisciplinary Studies at the College of Europe in Warsaw, Poland.

As a result of her polyglot upbringing, interest in international affairs and passion for languages and cultures, she considers herself a future global nomad. She enjoys traveling around Europe, buying books in languages she doesn’t speak yet and writing whenever she has a chance.

Kaan Koker


Kaan is a registered lawyer and corporate counsel and attorney. He has advised on the international mergers and acquisitions and transactions of international and local companies. Additionally, he has experience in aviation, corporate and commercial and project finance law. He also worked at the firm representing the biggest airport in the world. He has gained experience working for multiple Legal 500 law offices.