Travel Weekly's Readers Choice Awards for 2013 is mostly a round up the usual suspects, with hardly any surprises. Travel Weekly is a leading publication for travel agents and industry suppliers, and almost 9,000 of its readers selected winners in 62 different categories. Among the highlights:
Domestic Airline: This one—first out of the box—surprises me. Delta is a generic giant legacy airline. Its business-class product—presumably an important consideration to the industry—may well be tops in the U.S., but its coach class is the usual low-end product. Delta falls behind American and United in its terrible record for frequent-flyer seat availability. From a consumer prospective, JetBlue offers a far better coach-class product, Virgin America consistently earns higher traveler opinion scores, and Alaska seems to operate a sharper legacy-style operation....read more»
This season, travel group AAA anticipates an increase in the amount of holiday travelers hitting the road, for the fifth consecutive year. According to AAA's 2013 holiday travel forecast, 94.5 million Americans will venture 50 miles or more from home during the 12-day holiday-travel period from December 21 through January 1.
According to the group's Chief Operating Officer, Marshall L. Doney, "AAA is projecting more Americans to travel than ever before to gather with friends and family, exchange presents and ring in the New Year."...read more»
Following is our regular summary of the latest travel news and best frequent traveler promotions reviewed during the past week.
If it was a good deal—or a notably bad deal—from an airline, hotel, or car rental loyalty program, you can read all about it here, and plan your travel accordingly.
The escalating battle between Delta and Alaska Air at Seattle and Salt Lake City is generating big bonus-mile opportunities for frequent flyers.
Beginning on January 9, 2014, members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program will be able to earn and redeem points for stays at Caesars Entertainment hotels. And vice versa. ...read more»
For several years, Delta coexisted more than peacefully with Alaska Airlines in Seattle, which is both hub and headquarters for Alaska. In fact, the two airlines were close marketing partners, linked by code-share flights and reciprocal frequent flyer program participation.
Although the code-share and loyalty-program links remain in place, for now, the relationship between the two airlines has turned nastily adversarial.
The tensions began with Delta's loading up on new service to and from Seattle, and tipped into battle mode in October when Delta launched a double-mile promotion for flights between Seattle and Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas.
Alaska responded with a more robust offer, including more routes to and from Seattle, and adding elite-qualifying miles to the bonus mix....read more»
Beginning on January 9, 2014, members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program will be able to earn and redeem points for stays at Caesars Entertainment hotels. Reciprocally, members of Caesars' Total Rewards program will be able to earn and redeem points for stays at Starwood hotels.
On the earning side, members will earn two Starpoints per $1 spent at Caesars hotels, plus their normal Total Rewards earnings.
Caesars nights (but not stays) count toward Starwood elite status. But only 10 nights are counted, and they only apply toward earning Gold or Platinum status....read more»
This summer, when United and Marriott rolled out RewardsPlus, a package of reciprocal benefits for members of the two companies' programs, it was on a temporary basis, in effect only through the end of 2013.
With both Congress and the DOT possibly poised to ban inflight cell calls on U.S. carriers, it's unlikely that the decision will come down to the airlines themselves. But if it does come to that, at least one of the largest airlines has made its position on the matter a matter of public record.
In a memo to Delta employees, subsequently distributed as a press release, company CEO Richard Anderson made it clear that, at least on his watch, inflight cell calls would not be supported....read more»