Educational Posts on Loyalty Programs

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Allpoint Network: Access Your Cash Surcharge-Free While Traveling

You’re in a new city and have discovered an under-the-radar restaurant but they only accept cash. You’re checking into your hotel and need cash to tip the staff. You’ve found a few treasures at the open-air market but none of the vendors have a credit card reader.

These are only a few of the reasons you might need good, old-fashioned paper money while traveling—and an ATM is likely where you’ll have to go to get it, despite the certainty of paying surcharge and out-of-network fees just to get your hands on your own money. But before you resign yourself to getting nickeled-and-dimed by your bank and the ATM owner, you may have an alternative.

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Comparing Premium Economy Products on the Domestic Legacy Carriers

Over the past several years, airlines have taken steps to differentiate their classes of product segment in order to maximize revenue. Cabin configurations traditionally consisted of either two classes (economy and business class) or three classes (economy, business and first class).

Now planes are configured with four or even five cabins, with the more recent additions being premium economy. In many cases, premium economy has become the new “middle class” as airlines have done away with first class, and are flying with planes that have standard economy, premium economy and business class.

Let’s take a closer look at premium economy products by comparing the products and services offered, as well as the booking process and elite upgrade rules.

Delta Airlines

Delta’s premium economy offering is called Comfort+. This product is clearly the best of the three legacy airlines. Comfort+ seats offer 3 inches of additional leg room compared with standard economy seats. The seats are located in front of the main economy cabin, so you will be able to exit the plane faster.

There is dedicated overhead bin space so you don’t have to worry about your roll-aboard getting checked at the ramp. You receive priority boarding so you can get on the plane and get settled more quickly. Delta offers complimentary alcoholic beverages including beer, wine and spirits. The seats include both connectivity and power so you can charge your devices while you fly.

You will have a choice of a variety of complimentary premium snacks instead of just the standard offerings like pretzels and peanuts. Longer transcontinental flights include additional sleeping and entertainment amenities such as a pillow, blanket, complimentary headset and amenity kit. The seats on these flights also recline up to 50% more than standard economy. In addition, since this is a true premium economy product, it is being sold as a separate class of service. This means that the seats can be booked directly as an award ticket for a price between the standard economy price and business/first class price.

Features of Delta's Comfort+
Features of Delta’s Comfort+

There are a variety of details to keep in mind if you are an elite member looking to upgrade from a standard economy seat. The availability rules based on elite status are as follows:

  • Diamond and Platinum elites can get confirmed upgrades at the time of booking
  • Gold elites can be confirmed beginning 72 hours prior to departure
  • Silver elites can be confirmed beginning 24 hours prior to departure

Elites may be upgraded along with one companion traveling on the same reservation. In a tweak to the program, companion upgrades are now based on the highest elite status of the two people. Previously, upgrades cleared based on the lowest status, which was very irritating to higher level elites who may have been passed over by passengers with a lower level of status because their companion had an even lower status.

There is one significant downside to the way Delta handles upgrades into Comfort+ seats. If you are cleared for an upgrade, the upgraded seat is automatically assigned based on availability. Therefore, you could have reserved a window or aisle seat in standard economy and be “upgraded” to a middle seat in the Comfort+ section. You will have to decide for yourself what is more important: avoiding a middle seat at all costs, or the extra legroom, snacks, and free drinks offered in Comfort+.

If you decide you’d rather not take the chance of ending up in a middle seat, there is an easy way to opt out. When you make a booking, and click on the upgrade request link, there are two separate boxes. One is for upgrades into first or business class, and the other is for upgrades into Comfort+. You may simply check the box for first/business class, and leave the box for Comfort+ unchecked. This will ensure you are only considered for upgrades into first or business class. The relevant portion of the screen will look like this:

Comfort+

American Airlines

American does not have a true premium economy offering on domestic flights. However, it does have a product called Main Cabin Extra. Some people simply refer to these seats as “extra legroom seating”. The list of amenities is quite short. The only real benefits are extra legroom and a position in the plane in front of the standard economy seats.

Unlike their true premium economy seats on long haul international flights, these Main Cabin Extra seats are not a separate class of service. This is nice because it means that an upgrade is not required; you simply select the seat at the time of booking. Main Cabin Extra seats are highlighted in red, and the price is displayed for those who do not receive complimentary access. As you can see, some of the seats that cost extra are simply the exit-row seats and are not located as far forward in the plane as the rest of the Main Cabin extra seats.

Main Cabin extra seats

  • AA elites with Platinum status or above have complimentary access to these seats.
  • Gold elites may select these seats and receive a 50% discount at booking, and complimentary access if seats are still available within 24 hours of departure.

United Airlines

United is very similar to American in that they do not offer a true premium economy product on domestic flights, but they do offer extra legroom seats which are called Economy Plus. As with American, these seats are not sold as a separate class of service, but are available to select at the time of booking. The screenshot below shows an example seating map with Economy Plus seats in blue:

Economy Plus seats in blue

United has different rules for elite access and guest privileges.

  • Those with Platinum elite status and above receive complimentary access for themselves and up to eight companions at the time of booking.
  • Those with Gold elite status receive complimentary access for themselves and up to one companion at the time of booking.
  • Silver elite members may receive complimentary access for themselves and up to one companion at the time of check-in.

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Unclaimed Baggage Center: Lost Luggage Gets a Second Chance

The more often you travel by plane, the more likely your chances of having to deal with a delayed, lost, damaged or otherwise mishandled baggage incident. At its best, such an occurrence is inconvenient. At its worst—maybe you packed your all-time favorite outfit or your great grandmother’s prized silver—it’s downright heartbreaking.

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Compare Bus and Train Routes and Fares with Wanderu

Whether you hate the hassle of airline travel or want to see more of the world from the ground, buses and trains offer a cost-effective alternative for reaching almost any destination. Of course, planning a trip that utilizes these public transportation resources has traditionally been challenging, requiring review of multiple carrier websites to find and compare routes and costs. Fortunately, this is no longer the case—thanks to Wanderu.

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Are Virgin Atlantic Miles Better Than You Think?

It’s easy to get Virgin Atlantic miles because the carrier has a long list of transfer partners, but Virgin’s Flying Club program isn’t known for its generous redemptions. However, there are some great deals hidden in the program’s award charts that shouldn’t be overlooked.

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VolunteerMatch Brings People Together For a Cause

If you’re looking for the satisfaction that comes with helping others, you may have found it hard to find an organization that needs someone just like you.

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Priceline Offers Vacation Packages Based on 2017’s Top Movie Releases

Wouldn’t it be nice to travel the globe like a celebrity, visiting all the best places before the masses are clued into their fabulousness? Or conversely, making places fabulous simply by your presence there?

Well, we can’t offer you a ticket to instant celebrity. But we can provide you with some insight about where movie stars have been spending their time (at least during their work hours.)

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Holistic Holiday at Sea: Cruise the Caribbean while Improving Your Lifestyle

When you think about going on a cruise, what images come to mind? If you’re like most, you may envision sun-filled skies, gentle waves, relaxing pools, endless buffets of decadent dishes, plus pants that are too tight and a scale that reads at least 10 pounds heavier by the time you return home. But what if you could enjoy all the best features of a cruise vacation while simultaneously getting a jumpstart on a healthier lifestyle? With Holistic Holiday at Sea, you actually can.

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A Dating App Turns Hate Into Romance

Have you ever longed to meet someone who hates Justin Bieber as much as you do? Well, there’s an app for that. It’s called Hater, and it’s taken the dating world by storm.

Hater creates romance by matching people based on who or what they loathe. Public Relations Director Sam Terris said the app’s mission is to get the dealbreakers on the table, rather than go through five dates only to find out that “Joe is a conspiracy theorist.”

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Capital One’s New Premier Dining Rewards Card is a Foodie’s Best Friend

Do you have a passion for food? Whether you’re on the hunt for the next hot dining trend, hanging out with friends at the local brewpub, or planning a dinner party at home, Capital One just released the perfect card for you, the Premier Dining Rewards card.

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Undercover Tourist: Save Money on Popular Florida and California Attractions

Florida is a popular destination for vacationers from all over the world. According to the Orlando Sentinel, nearly 113 million tourists visited the Sunshine State last year. Orlando, the central Florida city that Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando Resort call home, is home to some of the biggest attractions for travelers.

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What You Need to Know About Malaria

For many of us in the industrialized world, malaria seems a distant and fading issue, encountered only when visiting the most remote regions of the globe.

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Fetch Better Care for Your Pets With Rover

As much as you love your dog, it’s not always possible to travel with them. You could ask a friend, family member or neighbor to drop by and take care of the everyday duties, but not all dog owners have that luxury.

That’s where Rover.com can help.

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Which Miles or Points Should You Use When Making an Award Booking?

Travel hackers have more choices than ever when it comes to which points or miles currency to use when making an award booking. In many cases, the most obvious choice isn’t always the most economical.

For example, if you wanted to book a flight within the U.S., you first choice may be to use the miles of a domestic airline. However, it may be possible to pay a lower number of miles by booking that same flight via the award chart of an international partner. In all cases, you will want to compare the value of mileage redemption to the redemption rates available for fixed value currencies.

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Find Your Travel Inspiration with YouCouldTravel

World travel can seem daunting. After all, there are many places to go, a lot of preparations to make, and some uncertainty about what you’ll find once you reach your destination. Fortunately, there are tools online to help ease both your burden and your anxiety about traveling abroad. We found one called YouCouldTravel.

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Upwork: Helping Freelancers Earn from Anywhere in the World

upwork

Imagine traveling the world, exploring exotic locations, immersing yourself in extraordinary cultures, and meeting new exciting people, all while earning a living. Sounds like a dream, right? Fortunately, it’s one that can become your reality—even if you’re not a travel blogger or adventure photographer—with the help of Upwork, a web-based platform designed to connect freelancers with companies and the contract jobs they need to fill.

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Making Sense of Airline Fuel Surcharges

Beware of fuel surcharges when booking a flight, whether you are using miles or cash. The practice of imposing fuel surcharges blossomed around 2004 when world oil prices spiked. But they can vary greatly from one carrier to the next, even on carriers flying the same route with the same aircraft.

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Cruiseline.com Helps You Unravel The Mysteries Of Cruising

If you think you’re the only person in your circle of friends who has not been on a cruise, think again. According to Cruiseline.com founder, Faraz Qureshi, “In North America, 85% of people have never been on a cruise.” Qureshi gets that statistic from the Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA).

The fact that only 1 in 5 people in the U.S. and Canada have ever taken a cruise is one of the leading reasons Qureshi created Cruiseline.com in the first place.

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Make Nightlife Plans on the Fly with WINGiT

Imagine that you’re out in a new city—let’s say New York—and you want to go where the local residents are going, such as an event that they are recommending to each other. Alban Sayag had that same wish, and built a solution that generates hyper-local recommendations on the fly.

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How to Score Discounted Business Class Award Tickets

Being able to cash in your miles and points for an award flight is a great feeling. Even better? Getting an incredible deal. The key to redeeming fewer miles is to take advantage of sweet spots found on award charts to book flights for great prices compared to what else is out there.

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