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Every person has interests, but sometimes it can be a real chore to sift through all the possibilities. One company wants to bring the fun to the people on vacation, rather than the other way around.
Ceetiz, a web platform and iPhone application created in 2012, does just that by helping individuals find the right activities in a sea of thousands of worldwide offers. Sebastien Gal, the chief marketing officer for Ceetiz, said the company’s goal was to give people the right tools based on their budgets, time restrictions and organization requirements. He talked with RewardExpert.
Transferring points from credit card rewards programs, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, or American Express Membership Rewards is a great way to fly on their partner airlines, but that’s just the beginning. Since so many airlines are members of airline alliances (and those that aren’t can partner with other airlines in ways you wouldn’t expect), it feels sometimes that you can use points to fly on almost every one of them.
Travel is an expensive yet popular hobby. According to the U.S. Travel Association, direct spending on domestic and international leisure travel by Americans totaled more than $683 billion in 2016. These U.S. residents logged 1.7 billion person-trips for leisure purposes last year—at an average cost of $400 per person-trip. The U.S. Travel Association defines a person-trip as one-person travel away from home overnight in a paid accommodation or on a day or overnight trip to a destination 50 miles or more (one way) from home.
Knowing where and how to search for award space is one of the most important, and most complicated aspects to using your frequent flyer miles effectively.
Unfortunately, the airlines do not make this an easy task. Some airlines only show awards for some partners, other airlines won’t show you all of the valid connections you can make – just to name some of the challenges you are likely going to run into. Oftentimes, you won’t even know that these things are problems.
You may be already involved with incentive travel because it involves the credit card airline miles you gain or the loyalty points you obtain by traveling with a particular airline. Those are just a few examples and there is a not-for-profit who ensures the industry as a whole is always moving forward.
If you’re unfamiliar with SpotHero, you probably drive in areas where parking isn’t an issue. Lucky you! For many living in or visiting high-population, ultra-packed cities, however, the company has come to be a lifesaver.
We spoke to Kristen Cho, Vice President of Marketing at the company, to learn more about SpotHero, its story, and where it’s going.
Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, you don’t want to leave your business behind. That’s where Hightail comes in, allowing colleagues to view complex information and make critical decisions from all parts of the globe. According to Hightail’s Chief Marketing Officer, Deborah Holstein, “Everyone is able to participate regardless of where they are geographically.”
Do you live to travel? If you’ve found your way to RewardExpert, it’s a safe bet that you do. After all, earning enough points and miles to score free airline tickets requires diligence and a well-crafted plan—two things your average sporadic vacationer rarely has. It’s even possible you love traveling so much that you’ve imagined quitting your job and spending the rest of your years journeying around the globe. But while that’s an attractive daydream, it doesn’t leave much room for family, friends, or future retirement savings.
If you’re new to earning points and miles through credit cards, you have many options when it comes to what cards you can get and earn the bonus on.
This changes when someone has been signing up for cards for a while due to some rules that various credit card issues have. Deciding which cards to get first is pretty straightforward if you know what to look for.
The home page at Stride Travel includes a banner that says “Life’s too short for vanilla vacations.” While most of us would agree with that conclusion, planning that perfect combination of travel, accommodations and sightseeing is not an easy task.
What if you didn’t have to search for a good travel agency or company, because the agency or company could find you?
Zicasso connects luxury travelers with pre-qualified travel specialists. You identify the country you plan to visit, along with any special interests you have, and Zicasso matches you with top tour companies or agencies who can plan your ideal trip.
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.
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’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.
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:
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.
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 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.