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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Tips

Sighted: A Gym In An Airport!

When you travel for work, it’s hard to maintain your lifestyle. Finding time to exercise or follow a healthy diet can seem almost impossible when your priorities are centered on networking, deadlines, and adhering to a schedule. After a long day of meetings, I often find myself, pacing,  just to get in a few more steps in before my plane boards. Apparently, I’m not the only business traveler attempting to burn calories while waiting at the airport.

New Airport Gym

Enter Roam Fitness, a new company establishing workout facilities in airports.  Opening their first gym in the Baltimore/Washington International Airport, it’s the first of its kind to hit the air travel industry. It is located after the security gate at the D/E connector. Not only is having a gym in an airport a potential game-changer, but their amenities appear to be top-of-the-line and well aligned with business traveler’s needs. A few services they provide:

  • cardio equipment
  • free weights, medicine balls, stability balls, yoga supplies
  • TRX system
  • stretching space
  • bathrooms with private showers
  • towel service
  • lockers
  • clothes and shoe rentals for unprepared members
  • vacuum seal to contain sweaty garments post-workout

The company has plans to open other locations, with several more airports on the horizon. The airports in negotiations are Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport,  Pittsburgh International Airport, and Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. They have their sights on 23 additional airports, mainly located in the United States, but also including Heathrow Airport in London.

Depending on your frequency to the Baltimore/Washington International Airport, a membership may work with your budget. They offer day and month passes, as well as annual passes. These annual passes include additional perks, such as a 24-hour advance reservation on showers.

I’m probably not the only traveler excited for a healthy airport activity like a gym. This advancement in is a push in the right direction for a healthy lifestyle, especially for on-the-go business travelers.

Read next:

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Travel News

TSA Readily Available on Social Media

Need a quick answer about airport security or carry-on luggage, but don’t have the time to read through government websites? Your wishes have been granted! The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is now available via Facebook Messenger and Twitter! These two social media profiles use the name ‘Ask TSA’, which is separate from their main TSA profiles. While Ask TSA has been available on Twitter since September 2015, they joined Facebook Messenger on July 7. Though not a 24-hour service, their Facebook Messenger contact hours are extensive. They are available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

Ask TSA is eager to assist you with any questions identification through security lines, lost items, or acceptable carry-on items. You can even take a picture of the item in question, and tweet or Facebook message them for the answer.

Ask TSA Contact Information-

Their Twitter handle for customer questions is @AskTSA

Their Facebook Messanger can be accessed through their Ask TSA Facebook page. Once on the page, click the ‘send message’ button to begin correspondence.

At Christopherson Business Travel, we understand the value of having a support team on call when things go wrong. That’s why we provide our clients 24-hour customer service.  When something goes wrong, as it often does with travel itineraries, we are always here to help find the best solution. Contact us to learn more about our customer service and additional benefits.

 

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Business Travel Travel Industry

Delta Air Lines and Starwood Hotels Launch Crossover Rewards Program

Although I am not a pro at maximizing my preferred traveler and credit points, I was excited to hear the announcement that Delta Air Lines and Starwood Hotels and Resorts have launched a joint loyalty partnership.

The new program, which begins March 1, is called Crossover Rewards and allows Delta Medallion and Starwood Preferred Guest members to share program benefits to earn more Skymiles and Starpoints when traveling with either brand.

In Delta’s announcement, they state: “SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion members will have access to added benefits including priority check-in, 4 p.m. late checkout and free in-room internet access when staying at Starwood Hotels and Resorts. All Delta Medallion members also will earn one mile per dollar spent on eligible room rates when staying with Starwood in addition to the Starpoints usually earned for their stay. In turn, SPG Platinum members will receive one free checked bag, priority check-in and priority boarding when flying Delta. SPG elite members will earn one Starpoint per dollar spent on eligible flights in addition to the miles usually earned for their flight.”

This program will be a great advantage for frequent business travelers and brings added value to both of these companies’ loyalty programs. It will also be interesting to see if this is the beginning of a new trend that will benefit everyone chasing points.

Customers can register for Crossover Rewards with Delta or with Starwood, beginning March 1.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

The Ten Commandments of Travel (+1)

As business travelers we all need a break, however we travel so much for work that the thought of another trip (even if it IS a vacation) makes many of us us want to sit down and just say NO! My advice? Take an organized tour or cruise. From the minute you step on the plane to the minute your journey ends, everything is taken care of for you. But first and foremost you must obey the Ten Commandments of Travel. They might not have come from God, but if you follow them, you very well could be treated like one. Enjoy!

The Ten Commandments of Travel (+1)

  1. Thou shalt not expect to find things precisely as they are at home, for thou hast left home to find things different.
  2. Thou shalt not take anything too seriously, for a carefree mind is the basis for a great vacation.
  3. Thou shalt not let other tour members get on thy nerves, for thou art paying good money to enjoy thyself.
  4. Thou shalt not worry. The person who worrieth hath little joy and few things are fatal.
  5. Thou shalt not judge all the people of a country by one person with whom thou had a problem.
  6. Thou shalt in Rome, do somewhat as the Romans do.
  7. Thou shalt be on time, for if thou art late thou shalt make thy own way to the next hotel.
  8. Thou shalt carry thy passport at all times, for a traveler without a passport is one without a country.
  9. Thou shalt learn to say “Thank You” in any language. Verily, it is worth more than gold.
  10. Thou shalt acquaint thyself with the currency of the land in which  you traverse, and thus thou shalt not be cheated.
  11. Thou art welcome in every land. Treat thy hosts with respect and thou shalt be an honored guest.

So let it be written–it’s not too late to purchase a gift certificate from Andavo Travel, Christopherson Business Travel’s vacation planning division. Certainly, nothing could be better than opening up a present full of vacation excitement on Christmas morning. Call our travel experts today! 801-327-7600 or 1866-327-7600

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Don’t Check Your Manners with Your Luggage: 3 Major Annoyances for Business Travelers

business traveler annoyances Many surveys have been conducted on what really annoys travelers, and whether it’s a frequent business traveler, the occasional vacationer, or a family with kids in tow, the major annoyances seem to be the same. Here are three of the worst, and while they seem to be common sense for most of us, they’re apparently not, since they top almost every list.

  1. Traveling while sick: Who wants to sit next to someone who is coughing and sneezing on a 3-hour flight? After all, you are going to breath the same circulated air at some time during the flight.
  2. Seat etiquette (or lack thereof): I think we’ve all had an experience with the obnoxious seat tapper–those people who sit behind you listening to their music and tapping to the beat. There’s also the space invader–those who feel they need to lean their seat back during the entire flight, knocking your laptop screen down, or just being in the way when someone needs to get out of your row. And of course there’s the seat grabber–those people who grab on to the top of your seat on the way to and from the restroom. (I personally don’t mind people using the seat back for support in situations like this, but keep in mind, I may have to use it for a flotation devise so try to keep it in one piece.) And last but not least, there’s the eternal talker. The minute you sit down you’re greeted with a barrage of twenty-one questions. What do you do for a living? Where are you from? Where are you headed? Do you want your peanuts? Don’t get me wrong, I’m OK with friendly talk, but some people never stop! This is when I usually pretend to fall asleep.
  3. Violating the overhead bin rule: With the introduction of checked bag fees there has been a dramatic increase in on-flight carry-on luggage. Most airlines are really trying to help. They are adding extended bins, larger bins, and will often check your carry-on at the gate, usually at no cost. But have you seen what some people call a carry-on? They try to pass a huge suitcase off as their small roller board. Then they have trouble lifting it into the overhead bin. It takes two body builders and a can of axle grease before the bin door can be closed!

While these are just a few of the major complaints of travelers, I’m sure we each have our own we can add to the list. And for most of us, the rule of the road (or the plane) for dealing with them is to simply bite our tongues and think to ourselves, “This too shall pass.”

Categories
Business Travel

Which Airline Credit Card is Right for You?

Have you been considering an airline credit card? You really can’t get through an airport terminal anymore without seeing the advertisements or being asked by an airline employee if you’d like to sign up for their branded card. “Earn 25,000 miles just by signing up … that’s enough miles for a free ticket!!” Well, I don’t know about you, but I can’t recall the last time I redeemed 25,000 miles for a free ticket.

My advice? Don’t get drawn into the card just for the initial free miles you’ll receive when you sign up. Look into all the benefits and interest rates, and pick the one that is right for you.

For example, the Delta Gold SkyMiles® card by American Express® has a $95 yearly fee, which is waived the first year. This card offers one free checked bag for up to 9 people on your booking. The card will essentially pay for itself if you and a companion were to take just one trip a year and each check a bag. It also offers priority boarding, which means you should be able to find that coveted space in the overhead bin before the majority of passengers board the aircraft.

If United Airlines is your choice, they have similar benefits with their MileagePlus® Explorer Card by Visa®. United also includes two complimentary day passes to the United Club® every year. The airline clubs are a great place to wait for your flight. You can relax a bit, and avoid the crowds at the gate.

Hotels, and even Disney, also offer their own branded credit cards so you can earn points for room nights and travel packages. So be sure to check out all the benefits before signing up.

You can compare most cards by visiting CreditCards.com.

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

Upcoming Changes to United’s MileagePlus Program

Mileage programs have become a major source of revenue for U.S. carriers and a primary source for retaining business travelers and keeping them away from competing carriers. United’s MileagePlus members, for example, are waiting with anticipation for the official launch of the new 2012 program, which will take effect once United and Continental have completed their conversion to a single technology system, scheduled for later in the first quarter of 2012. United will advise its members of the effective date in the coming weeks. Until then, United’s MileagePlus and Continental’s OnePass programs will continue to operate separately.
The new United MileagePlus program will have four membership levels:
Premier 1K
100,000 Premier qualifying miles or 120 Premier qualifying segments
Premier Platinum
75,000 Premier qualifying miles or 90 Premier qualifying segments
Premium Gold
50,000 Premium qualifying miles or 50 Premier qualifying segments
Premier Silver
25,000 Premium qualifying miles or 30 Premium qualifying segments
Global Services will continue as an exclusive, invitation only program for United’s top customers. United is also offering additional ways for travelers to earn miles through a MileagePlus Explore Card. Complete benefit information and details can be found online at MileagePlusMergerUpdates.com.

Categories
Travel Management Travel News

Status: What Can You Do To Get It At This Late Date?

Here we are, rapidly winding down 2010 and taking stock of what remains to be done this year. Each year, achieving status with your primary airline carrier brings increasing value to the traveler, especially at the higher levels. Last year I posted a whole slew of promotional offers that would get qualifying miles to those who registered. I’m sorry to say that this year, most of the airlines aren’t offering any promotions that will help.
EXCEPT American Airlines. They are offering triple miles and double elite qualifying miles for all travel originating out of Raleigh Durham, Nashville, St. Louis or Pittsburgh between now and the end of the year. American Airlines does require you to register prior to travel.
If you want status on Delta, United, Continental, US Airways or Alaska, you will have to fly enough to accrue those miles, as usual. The good news is that, on average, airfares are still fairly low and if you are creative, you can find ways to maximize the miles accrued on a trip. For example, if you are planning to go to Ft. Lauderdale from Salt Lake City, you can fly on the nonstop and get about 1,500 miles in each direction. However, if you are willing to connect in JFK, you can accrue about 3,000 miles in each direction. And if you are already at the silver status, many programs award you a bonus of an additional 25% of the actual miles flown – so instead of getting 3,000 miles, you would receive 3,750 qualifying miles. Yes, this does add time to your trip, so you will have to decide if the extra miles are worth your time and stress.
If you are pursuing status on an airline that counts segments toward status (such as Delta), there is an alternative strategy: do lots of short trips. If you have to fly between Los Angeles and Denver, you may want to connect in Salt Lake City. That gets you four segments per round trip, and you only need 30 to make silver status. Again, it’s a matter of whether the extra segments towards achieving status are worth your additional time and stress.
If you don’t currently have status, but you expect to be traveling frequently next year, you may find it worthwhile to spend a little time and effort to qualify for it. Not only do you get benefits like access to preferred seating and upgrades, but most carriers also waive the fee for the first checked bag and give you priority check in and boarding. In addition, many airlines are more willing to go out of their way to assist a loyal customer vs. the person who only travels once or twice a year.
Hopefully some of these strategies will help you get or keep your airline status!

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

Upgrade me please…

After scanning through various articles this week I came upon one titled How to Score an Upgrade: Air, Car and Hotel on CNN Money.com.  I was so enthralled that I thought I would share parts of it with you along with some extra’s from Christopherson Business Travel.

AIR:

Your odds: One in one hundred.
Pick your plane wisely. Passengers on certain Boeing 757s (with 26 first-class seats to 158 in coach) have a better shot than those on an Airbus 320 (12 first-class, 126 coach). Check out a plane’s layout at seatguru.com.
Scope out the cabin. The more empty seats in first class, the better your chances of landing one. To check out the load factor, go to the airline website just before check-in, start to book a business-class ticket, and click “view seat map”.
Ask at the right time. The best day for upgrades is Saturdays; fewer elite travelers fly then. Go to the agent and say something like: “If you need to bump people from coach to first, please consider me. I’m low maintenance — and my back is killing me.”

HOTEL:

Your odds: One in five.  Occupancy rates for the first half of 2010 were estimated at a dismal 56% (down from 63% in ’07), reports Smith Travel Research.
Ask your Christopherson agent for negotiated specials. Christopherson has negotiated rates in various cities where you might be traveling to. For example, most likely when booking the Christopherson rate at the Hilton in Salt Lake City your chances for an upgrade are good plus you receive a complimentary loaded buffet breakfast, free parking, free internet and double Hilton points.
Stay at business hotels on weekends. You can improve your upgrade chances by staying Thursday to Sunday vs. midweek.
Ask multiple times. Use the special-requests option when booking your hotel.  Once your reservation has been made by a Christopherson specialist, call the hotel directly. Talk to the desk clerk at check-in, “We’re here celebrating special event. Any chance of an upgrade?”
Check in late. Most guests show up around 3 p.m., so arrive after 7, when the front desk knows which rooms are left.

CARS:

Your odds: One in 20. Many car vendors cut fleets in 2008 and 2009, making upgrades less common.
Choose the right car. If a company runs out of the vehicle class you reserved, you will be upgraded. Book a midsize car — it’s the most in demand.
Reserve at the right time. Friday nights and Monday mornings are peak pickup times. That means there’s less chance the car class you specify will be available.
Ask for special offers. Ask your Christopherson agent for any free or discounted weekend days (Avis coupon code TUCAO53 and mention your corporate AWD number. Exp 4/2011. Coupons available at Christopherson Business Travel while they last). Check with your credit card company or coupon travel magazines.
For more information Christopherson’s corporate competitive advantages please contact one of our account managers at allam@cbtravel.com.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

It’s back – CLEAR – the Verified Identity Pass!!

I am so excited about the recent news involving CLEAR’s come-back now that the economy is beginning to recover and the long process of Alcear’s purchasing of VIP’s CLEAR assets from bankruptcy is completed.
I loved this service!! Hopefully within a year to 18 months the airports that provided the original Clear service will follow Denver’s lead. It is a much needed service for those of us who travel for business but can’t quite chalk up enough miles for the airline programs yet are on the road enough to make CLEAR’s subscription fee worth every penny!
So… all travelers who were members of Clear, those jealous every time you watched your fellow road warriors in the “Clear Lane” move quickly through the security lanes, and those who want to know more about this value-added program; go to their website and let them know which airports are important to you in providing this time-saving service.

Categories
Travel Management Travel Technology

What good are a million frequent flier miles if they expire before you can use them?

All of the major airlines except Continental have slapped expiration dates on their frequent flier miles, generally one to two years. Activity on the accounts — like flights or credit card awards — will prevent expiration. But even frequent travelers can be surprised when miles expire on an airline they don’t often fly.
Some airlines, including Delta, show mileage expiration when you log into your frequent flier account on its Web site. Some don’t. So staying on top of all the relevant dates can be challenging.
The advantage of using software or a third-party Web site is that you can monitor multiple rewards accounts at one time. A few will send you an alert if your miles are close to expiring. And most let you track hotel and rental car rewards programs, too, all in one place.
The biggest and oldest of the sites is MileageManager. It has about 120,000 members, according to Randy Petersen, who runs parent company Frequent Flyer Services as well as InsideFlyer magazine.
Petersen said one advantage of having multiple accounts in one place is that after your trip, it’s easier to make sure you got credit for all of your spending. If you took a trip to Dallas, he said, “you will see your flight, your hotel — ‘hey, where’s my car rental?’ ”
Here’s a rundown of what you’ll find on some of the more popular mile-tracking sites. All three will also track car rental and hotel programs. However, not every site tracks every provider’s program, so check to make sure the programs you use the most are available on the site:
MileBlaster
Costs $6.99 per year. Available on the Web, as a widget for Windows or Mac computers, or as an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch and Nokia phones. You’ll have to pay twice if you want to use it on your phone as well as at mileblaster.com. The service includes e-mail alerts that your miles will soon expire, and some versions allow tracking of accounts for multiple users. A status bar shows your progress toward your next award ticket on each airline.
MileageManager
Costs $14.95 per year. Available at mileagemanager.com as well as travel organization Web site Tripit.com. (Expiration alerts at Tripit are part of the “pro” version, which costs $69 per year.) You can specify how far in advance you want to be notified about expiring miles. MileageManager requires separate accounts for each family member, so the bill could run up for someone who wants to manage several accounts. (The company says it’s looking at the possibility of multi-user accounts in the future.) The service will also monitor a flight you’re interested in and notify you if an award seat becomes available.
Traxo
Free. This one is the newest of the bunch. Traxo aims to let travelers see both the balances in their loyalty programs, as well as information on upcoming trips. It also says it will notify you that you didn’t get credit on a recent trip, as well as notify you that there is a mileage promotion for a trip you just booked.
Source: www.msnbc.com

Categories
Travel News

Attention all rental car drivers

Cashless toll roads are becoming a huge problem for car rental companies who in turn are hiring third party collection agencies. These agencies then tack on outrageous fees which show up on a renter’s credit card bill sometimes months later.
For instances on my last trip to Denver I did not sign up for the daily toll road access fee figuring I would not need to travel on E-470 (cashless toll road) which is exactly what happen. What if, however, at the last minute my meeting ended late, there was a horrific accident on I-225 backing up travel for hours; what would I have done? Most likely wanting to get home that evening I would have taken E-470 in order to make my flight and then worried about the fee later. With some rental car companies you have a choice of a daily toll fee of $8.95, or $32.95 a week…OR… by declining a fee and then driving on a cashless toll road receiving fines long after your expense report has been completed, approved, and paid.
In Jeffrey Leib’s article in The Denver Post, Nov 29, 2009, “Cashless E-470 takes toll on rental-car drivers in the form of fines,” he talks about how irritating the problem can be and how one traveler was fined $125 – only $11 being toll fees.
Christopher Elliot on his blog, www.elliot.org discusses this same problem, http://www.elliott.org/blog/are-car-rental-companies-overbilling-customers-for-toll-violations and how charges and fines are also showing up months later for supposed traffic violations, http://www.elliott.org/blog/help-my-car-rental-company-charged-me-for-running-a-red-light.
In other words – BE AWARE!!

Categories
Business Travel Travel News

2010 Travel Forecast…Doom and gloom or back on the fast track!

Christopherson Andavo Business Travel is a member of the National Business Travel Association.  The below article is one of the many we have received from them with regards to travel forecasts in 2010.
The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) — the leading global business travel organization — has provided its members with the 2010 U.S. Business Travel Buyers’ Cost Forecast. This latest installment of the widely-respected annual tool for the U.S. corporate travel industry forecasts the following ranges for changes in travel rates/fares:

Average U.S. Domestic Rates / Fares
Average
rates/airfares
2009
% change
expected for 2010
AIR $299* -2% to +3%*
HOTEL $136 -2% to – 8%
CAR RENTAL $46 -1% to -3%
* Airline ancillary fees may increase the cost
of an airline ticket by 30% or more

With air travel and car rental costs expected to remain nearly flat and hotel rates expected to decline, businesses expect to travel more. That growth in travel is expected to lead to increases in travel expenditures.

  • Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) of travel managers responding to an NBTA survey expect business travel volume to grow in 2010.
  • 56 percent of travel managers project their total travel spend to increase in 2010; another 31 percent expect their total travel spend to remain flat year over year

Travel and meetings buyers also expect to see an easing of travel & meeting reductions in 2010.  Compared to the previous year, the percentage of travel managers expecting to see cuts has gone down in the following areas: number of meetings (-27%), non-essential travel and conference (-20%) and event attendance (-15%).
In the new business travel environment, corporate travel managers expect to drive good values with preferred travel suppliers:

  • 70 percent of buyers expect to negotiate better hotel discounts for 2010.
  • More than 30 percent forecast better discounts with airlines, and car rental companies.

Methodology
The  NBTA 2010 U.S. Business Travel Buyers’ Cost Forecast is based on primary findings from an online survey completed by 180 U.S.-based NBTA Direct Members (corporate travel buyers) between the dates of August 13 and September 24, 2009, as well as additional analysis of data collected from sources such as the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Smith Travel Research, IHS Global Insight, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Categories
Travel Management

Airline Fees, Alliances and Saving Money

Airline alliances – what is the fuss all about? Besides the ability to earn a free ticket by flying virtually any airline in the world is there really any benefit to knowing which alliance you should belong to? Well, consider this: “How to make consumer-hated airline fees more digestible” was the subject of a three-day meeting earlier this month of the Ancillary Revenue Airline Conference in Huntington Beach (fancy speak for a gathering of airline executives and businesses that serve the industry interested in finding ways to offer coach passengers separate products and services typically offered as part of the ticket price for business and first class passengers). The New York Times estimates that airlines collected $USD 10.25 billion in such fees in 2008 – a staggering 346 per cent increase over 2006. CLEARLY – fees are here to stay and more likely than not will spread to more services offered by airlines.
Understanding airline alliances – who partners with whom and who offers reciprocity – is one way you can avoid paying the fees being levied against the normal traveler these days. OneWorld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance ALL waive ancillary fees for their preferred customers.
To learn more about how to leverage your airline memberships while keeping a little extra money in your pocketbook over the holidays, call Christopherson/Andavo Travel and our trusted travel advisors will be glad to answer your questions.

Categories
Travel Management

Airline Business Programs

Did you know that there are Airline Travel Rewards programs for Small and Medium type Businesses?  In addition to Frequent Flyer points for the individual Traveler, Companies can also earn airline travel reward points based on total company travel spend that can be redeemed for:

  • Free Tickets
  • Free Upgrades
  • Free Airline Club Memberships
  • Free Airline Movie/Drink Coupons
  • Frequent Traveler Status Elite Levels
Airlines that have these company reward type programs include:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

For more information on how your company can benefit with these airlines business programs, please contact a representative at Christopherson Business Travel!

 
Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

TSA initiates Secure Flight program

The U.S Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has initiated a new program to require the airlines to provide additional information for passengers regarding more detailed identification. The program is called Secure Flight and when fully implemented will require airlines to provide information such as passenger gender , birth date and full name. For now, travelers may not see much of a difference because the program is being rolled out in steps. The TSA is seeking this information so it can expedite security screening and clear passengers for flights.
Airline software programs need to be revised to accept the new information that wasn’t previously required. The TSA is giving the airline industry time to implement programs to hold and transmit the information. The goal is to have airlines ready to provide this additional data to the TSA by late summer on domestic flights and by fall for international flights. The timeline is flexible at this time and full implementation may not be realized until 2010.
What does this mean for travelers? The best proactive step travelers can do is check the forms of identification they use for travel and be sure that their legal name reads the same on drivers license and passport. Also be sure that membership numbers for airline , car and hotel frequent flyer programs also read with the same name information so travel credit can continue to be automatically credited to accounts.

Categories
Travel News

Need Miles? Here some ideas

With summer vacations fast approaching and wallets seemingly thinner than they should be, more people are turning to their frequent flyer programs to help lower the expense of their vacation.  Some folks are discovering that their miles have been devalued over the last year or two and suddenly need a few more miles in order to secure the flights that they want.

Here are some options that may allow you get a few more miles.

US Airways is offering double qualifying miles.  The offer runs through April 30th, 2009.  You do need to register prior to traveling.  The url is https://www.usairways.com/awa/Content/dividendmiles/promotions.aspx.
United Airlines has a variety of offers which can be found at: www.United.com/mileageplus under the Airline Promotions section.  These range from bonuses of 10,000 miles for flying on specific routes to triple miles in some markets.  You do need to register in order to gain these benefits. Most of these offers require that travel is completed by late April or early May so you will want to get started as soon as possible.
American Airlines is offering members of the AAdavantage program the chance to earn double elite status miles from now until June 15th, 2009.  You do need to register at www.aa.com/dbeqm in order to get these miles.
Delta Air Lines is currently offering bonuses for flying between Cincinnati and select cities.  The have a weighted or scaled approach to their bonuses.  Travel must be completed no later than the 12th of May, 2009.  The first roundtrip is worth 3,000 bonus miles and by the time you complete your fifth trip you will get 10,000 for your trip.  You do need to register for this trip at: www.delta.com/cvgbonus.
Continental is offering a variety of promotions, including double elite qualifying miles.  Most of their current promotions require travel to be completed no later than May 31st, 2009.  You will need to register at www.continental.com/onepass and go to News and Offers for the specifics.
Other strategies for enhancing one’s miles can including using specific car rental agencies, staying at hotels and participating in their frequent guest programs, or one can get miles by taking advantage of various credit card offers or there are the shopping and service options. 
The car rental agencies typically offer some set number of miles per rental, regardless of the length and cost of the rental.  Generally these offers range between 250 and 1000 miles per rental.  You can use rentals to help build your miles incrementally over the course of a year.
The hotel programs generally allow you to convert their points into frequent flyer miles.  Depending on the program, it may not be worth converting the points to miles since the points can be used for free night stays.
The credit card programs frequently have hidden costs ranging from fees to utilize miles, to higher interest rates or fees to transfer points to miles.  My advice is to do your homework to make sure that the program works for you before signing up.
The shopping and services option that most airlines now are can be a gold mine of miles.  You can get miles for purchasing everything from music at iTunes, to buying dinner, to purchasing electronics at Best Buy.  Plus you can get miles for using Netflix, or Brinks Home Security or T-Mobile or for using partners when you do your mortgage or when you make investments through select brokerage firms, just to name a few options.  If you are going be spending the money for shopping or if you need to get a mortgage or you are buying an investment or any number of other services, why not get miles for it.
Last but by no means least, you can purchase a limited number of miles directly from the airlines.  So if you find that you are short by 1000 or 5000 miles, you can buy enough miles to get you to that next award level. 
Hopefully you will find that some or all of these ideas are helpful and allow you to maximize your miles and allow you to enjoy your summer vacation at little or no cost to you.

Categories
Travel News

TSA Secure Flight

What the TSA is going to require starting May 1st, 2009, is as follows:
1. The name on the ticket MUST match the name on the valid government issued photo ID presented at check in and at the TSA security checkpoints. This means that if the ID reads “John Q. Smith”, then the ticket must read “John Q. Smith”. If there is a name mismatch the traveler may be subjected to extensive secondary screening and may be forced to miss the flight or may even be denied boarding.
2. At the same time, the TSA is requiring the airlines and travel agencies, acting as an agent of the airlines, to gather the following information and submit it through the GDS to the TSA. We must submit the full name, including first, middle and last name, gender and date of birth. This must be done for every flight entering, departing or fly through the airspace of the United States. It is not required for flights that don’t enter that airspace. So fights between Sydney and Brisbane are exempt.
To be accurate, this is voluntary. A traveler may opt out however in doing so the traveler may be subject to additional screening or denied transportation or authorization. Also, the TSA may share information provided with law enforcement or intelligence agencies or others that it deems necessary.
See www.tsa.gov for more details about privacy.
So what does this mean to you, the traveler?  It means that whatever source you use for booking your travel will be asking you for more details about yourself.  You are likely to get the following questions.  First, how does your name appear on the identification that you use when you check in at the airport?  Second, what is your full, legal name, date of birth and gender?  If you are booking with an agent, you may not be asked about your gender however online booking sources will be asking that question.  You have the right to decline to answer any of these questions, however you will potentially be subjected to extra screening and the TSA reserves the right to deny you entry into secured areas, such as the boarding areas.  That would cause you to miss your flight.
That won’t be the only impact it has on travelers.  It may impact your frequent flyer accounts, hotel frequent guest programs and car rental programs.  Since most of these reward programs require that the name on the reservation match the name on the account this may cause some issues if your name on your identification doesn’t match the name on the program.  For example, if your frequent flyer account is in the name of John Public and your government issued photo id is in the name of John Q. Public, the name on your reservation isn’t going to match your frequent flyer account and therefore you won’t earn miles and you won’t get any of the benefits of your status.  So what do you need to do?  You need to contact the airline in question and change the name on your account to match the id that you use when you check in.  A word of caution here, if you travel internationally, the id that you will be using to check in with the airlines will be your passport and yet most people don’t carry their passport with them when traveling domestically and thus use their driver’s license as their photo id at check in.  You may want to make sure that both your passport and your driver’s license names match as well.
Okay, so you’ve started to change your name on all of your identification so that it matches and you’re changing your frequent flyer accounts to match your id.  All is wonderful and you are pretty much done, right? Wrong!  You will want to insure that all the hotel and car programs have the same name as your photo id.  Why?  Because when your reservation is made the name that goes on your ticket will be the one that your car and hotel are booked under and if those account numbers don’t match, you may not get your points and the perks that your status entitles you to.  So you will want to contact those companies as well and change your name to match everything else.
The bad news is most of the companies involved say that it will take four to six weeks to change your name on your account.  The good news is that you’ve got that at this point.
Given that this program doesn’t start until the 1st of May, unless it is pushed back again, it will take a while for it to ramp up since many people have already booked travel well into the summer months and their names don’t match exactly.  Our suggestion is to get started now and hopefully by the time that the TSA and airlines get this up and running, you will be ready to go.
Happy Travels!