Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

United Airlines Changes MileagePlus Premier Qualification Requirements for 2016

United will require 20% additional spending in 2015 to qualify for Premier Status in 2016.

Business travelers experienced changes last year to their loyalty programs, as a number of airlines transitioned from mileage-based awards to dollar amount requirements to qualify for elite status.

But United Airlines recently updated their qualification requirements again. Their program is now in line with Delta’s elite qualification requirements, which were announced last month.

United will require 20% additional spending in 2015 to qualify for Premier Status in 2016:

  • Silver – Increase from $2,500 to $3,000
  • Gold – Increases from $5,000 to $6,000
  • Platinum – Increases from $7,500 to $9,000
  • 1K – Increases from $10,000 to $12,000

It is interesting to note that two of the three largest U.S. carriers–Delta (#2) and United (#3)–have changed from a mileage-based to a revenue-based award program. American Airlines, now the largest U.S. carrier after its recent merger with U.S. Airways, has not announced any changes to their current mileage-based award program.

But the question now becomes: How will these changes impact available seat upgrades?

Business Travel

4 Gifts for Frequent Flyers & Business Travelers

With all the holiday specials, now is one of the best times to buy gifts for the business travelers in your life. Travel-friendly items are a fun, but often forgotten idea. Here is a list of some great gifts travelers will love.

Gift ideas for frequent fliers

  1. Inflight Wi-Fi Credit – Save your traveler from having to spend (up to) $49 for in-flight Wi-Fi by visiting and purchase a 1-hour or day pass. You could also gift your frequent flyers with unlimited Wi-Fi on all Gogo equipped flights for $59.95/month.
  2. Noise-cancelling headphones – Give the gift of relaxation. These headphones will help any traveler doze off to their happy place with some soothing tunes for the duration of their flight with absolutely no disruptions.
  3. Membership to airport lounges – The best way to avoid crowded airport terminals is in an airport lounge, which also provides a selection of refreshments while you relax or catch up on work. Lounge Club and Priority Pass membership gives travelers access to more than 20 lounges throughout the United States. And of course, there are the United Club and the Delta Sky Club offered by United and Delta Airlines. Memberships can be purchased on their sites.
  4. Portable Device Chargers (no outlet needed) – There will be no more waiting for outlets in the terminals with these portable power banks. The EasyAcc power bank can charge four phones or two tablets simultaneously. Other options are the myCharge power bank and the mophie Powerstation.
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Management Travel News Travel Tips

Managing the risk of Ebola for Business Travelers

ebolaBCD Travel’s November newsletter, Move, presented an article about managing the Ebola risk. Based on a survey taken by subscribers, Move presented valuable data and suggested risk assessments to consider, should you have travelers in certain areas of the world. One interesting note from the survey—68% of respondents think that Ebola-related risks to business travelers are serious, but nothing to panic about. I add to this my advice: Don’t listen to the media’s fear tactics while they try to stay ahead of each others’ ratings.

The Move article further discusses that while Ebola is certainly different from an ash cloud, dealing with any crisis “begins with understanding your vulnerabilities.” To see more of the survey’s findings, follow this link to the Move article.

Travel Industry Travel News

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Updates

Business travelers spend a lot of time in airports. Whether you like to arrive early for your flight, experience a delay, miss a connection, or have a cancellation, you may find yourself wandering the airport. Personally, I enjoy the dining and shopping experience at airports, especially ones that have a lot to offer.

While attending a recent luncheon at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac), I had the privilege of learning about the updates this particular airport has completed, and will undergo, to help make the travel experience more enjoyable.

First, North Satellite’s renovation has begun. Alaska Airlines is expanding this concourse and will increase the number of gates from 12 to 20. With this expansion, more restaurants and shops will be added. This project will be completed in 2016.

Additionally, the international terminal will be relocated to Concourse A with a multilevel structure. An aerial walkway will connect the existing international arrivals in South Satellite to the new terminal. This will support a new customs and immigration facility with more passport kiosks to provide faster processing times for travelers. Delta Air Lines will have the majority of their flights from this concourse. This project is estimated to be completed in 2018.

Local flare you can find at SeaTac Airport:

  • Beecher’s – homemade cheese and Beecher’s famous “World’s Best” Mac & Cheese
  • Starbucks – even though they are worldwide, Seattle takes pride in their local coffee
  • Made in Washington – local eats and drinks to buy for you or as gifts
  • Music – live music by local artists throughout the airport, 7 days a week
  • + much more. With a total of 39 shops and 51 restaurants and cafes, there is plenty to keep you busy.

Data outlining SeaTac Airport’s growth (2013 stats):

  • 34.8 million passengers went through SeaTac, 14th in the United States
  • 291,536 metric tons of cargo was handled
  • International passengers are up 10% year over year
  • 52% of the airline market share is Alaska Airlines
  • 12.7% of the airline market share is SkyTeam
  • 12.3% of the airline market share is Delta Air Lines

The next time you are traveling to Seattle or just passing through, you will find an airport with many options awaiting you. And keep an eye out for continued growth and expansion with new options to explore in the future.

Business and Leadership Business Travel

Christopherson Business Travel is Nine-Time Utah 100 Award Winner

Utah-100Twenty years ago, MountainWest Capital Network introduced the Utah 100 Awards Program, a premier recognition that awards three categories of businesses: 1) Utah’s 100 fastest growing companies, 2) the 15 Emerging Elite (businesses that have between 2–5 years of operation and show significant promise for future growth and success), and 3) the top 15 revenue growth companies (businesses who have had significant revenue gains from year to year).

The 100 fastest growing companies in Utah are selected from thousands of eligible applicants throughout the state and represent a broad cross-section of industries.

Christopherson Business Travel is honored to be recognized as one of Utah’s 100 Fastest Growing Companies, for the ninth time in 20 years. In addition to this prestigious award, Christopherson was also ranked #13 of the 2014 Top 15 Revenue Growth Companies.

We acknowledge our ownership, employees, and loyal customers for making this growth and continued success possible!

To view the full rankings and list of other recipients, click here.

Company News and Announcements

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Business and Leadership Business Travel

3 Steps to Effective Client Collaboration

Christopherson Business Travel recently collaborated with our client CHG Healthcare in an effort to identify best practices and create simplified solutions for their travel management program.

col·lab·o·rate \k?-?la-b?-?r?t\ (verb) : to work with another person or group in order to achieve, do, produce, or create something

Collaborating with clients is an important part of my role as an Account Manager for Christopherson Business Travel. Recently, I was invited to participate in a collaboration meeting with our client CHG Healthcare, in an effort to come up with best practices and simplified solutions for them.

CHG did a fine job organizing the details, the meeting itself was highly beneficial as we were able to create and modify processes that will make their overall “user experience” better, and follow up tasks were assigned. It also gave me an inside view of CHG’s organizational and professional practices, which impressed me greatly.

Having been involved in this meeting, I have identified three important steps to encourage an effective collaboration effort:

1. Identify a clear goal.

Know why you’re meeting together. What is the end purpose? What are you trying to fix or create? Once you’ve identified the goal, don’t allow anything to sidetrack your collaboration.

2. Involve/invite all the key players (and make sure everyone participates).

Every individual (or department) is going to have a different perspective, and each of those perspectives is important. What might seem like a solution for one group, may create problems for another. Make sure that everyone has a chance to share opinions and ideas. If one person is dominating the discussion, shift the focus and specifically invite others to weigh in on how certain ideas will affect them.

3. Assign follow-up tasks.

Make sure someone has been assigned to keep track of assignments. Once the meeting is over, send those assignments out with clear deadlines for completion. The whole meeting will have been for naught if action isn’t taken and followed up on.

I appreciate my relationships with all my clients and am certain that collaboration and sharing ideas is the best way to learn and be engaged.

Business Travel Vacation Travel

Why do we travel?

Sometimes we are required to travel (in the case of business travel, for example), but sometimes we choose to travel as a leisure activity.  As a vacation travel consultant, I’m usually in the midst of preparing for my next journey. One of my latest trips was unforgettable! I traveled to Machu Picchu, Peru, where I found the Peruvian culture to be amazingly warmhearted and authentic. Machu Picchu was definitely the highlight, as it is archaeologically and visually breathtaking.

As I was preparing for my trip to Peru and managing my clients’ travel, it made me wonder what motivates a person to travel? Travel takes you away from the normalcy of everyday life, routines, and responsibilities. When you travel, you place yourself in an environment where you are unfamiliar with the surroundings. You maneuver your way through airports, hire local transportation, and find accommodations. You manage through climate, time zone, currency, and cultural differences. Travel takes you away from your element, but we all know it is definitely worthwhile. The new experiences and amazing adventures we encounter enrich our lives.

We arrange vacations to beautiful beaches and exciting cities. We choose to participate in activities we would never consider at home, such as taking a helicopter ride over a volcanic island such as Hilo, Hawaii, or maybe photographing the Big Five while on safari. We zipline though tropical Costa Rica, or parasail on famous beaches. Our travels may urge us to learn some of the local language, traditions, and rituals, or to study up on amazing wines.

Leisure travel is healthy; it de-stresses you. Travel allows you to be in the present moment, fully immersed in the new landscape, colorful cultures, history, and welcoming locals. I believe when you travel you become a richer person; you are more accepting and understanding of other cultures and people. I believe that when you travel you gain confidence. From the moment you touch down at your destination, you are interacting and connecting with the locals. You are faced with the unfamiliar, navigating your way through your destination, and having a marvelous adventure.

Everyone travels for different reasons. This is a big world and there are many ways to experience it. When you next get a break from corporate travel, and want to use up some of those vacation days, I hope you will contact me to arrange your next travel adventure!

Doreen Lopez is a travel advisor for Christopherson Business Travel’s leisure division, Andavo Travel.

Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Tips

Do You Know What Happens to Lost Luggage?

lost luggage
99.5% of all checked bags are picked up. But what about the remaining 0.5%?

Where does your luggage go when an airline loses it? You might think it simply disappears into a black hole–somewhere akin to the mysterious void where missing socks in the dryer end up–but the truth, you may find, is much more strange.

Lost bags and all of their contents eventually find their way to a retail store/warehouse in Scottsboro, Alabama, called the Unclaimed Baggage Center—a facility so large it’s bigger than a city block. In fact, it is one of Alabama’s top tourist attractions hosting more than one million visitors each year from every state and more than 40 foreign countries. It is the only lost luggage store in the United States. There’s even a museum to house the Center’s most unique finds.

Ninety-nine and a half percent of domestic airlines’ checked bags are picked up at the baggage carousel. The airlines conduct an extensive three-month tracing process with the remaining 0.5% of unclaimed bags in an effort to reunite them with their owners. It is only after claims are paid on these remaining lost bags that the airlines sell them to the Unclaimed Baggage Center.

So what can you find there? The short answer: everything. The store stocks more than 7,000 new items daily. And if you’re imagining a cluttered store full of worn clothing and junk, think again. The staff sorts out only the best items for the retail floor. All of the clothing is professionally cleaned and laundered, which is why they also boast the largest dry cleaning facility in the state, laundering approximately 50,000 items each month. Fine jewelry is cleaned and appraised, and all electronic items have their memories cleared of personal data and are tested to make sure they work. Prices are comparable to what you’d find at a thrift store, often coming in less expensive than market value.

By now you may be wondering if you might find your long-lost luggage at the Unclaimed Baggage Center. It’s certainly possible, but even if you find it, it’s not yours anymore. And you’ll have to buy it back.

Friendly reminder: Always label your luggage in multiple areas.

Company News and Announcements

Payment Provider Wex Finding Virtual-Card Niche With TMCs


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