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. ... read more»
IHG Rewards members can make their points go farther when redeeming for award stays at 21 hotels in Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Award nights at the participating hotels can be booked for 50 percent fewer points between April 15 and May 2, for stays between April 29 and June 12. ... read more»
Effective today, one of the world's largest airlines is making a surprising change to its booking policy. According to a confirmation email received this morning:
Delta Air Lines will no longer charge a fee for customers who purchase their tickets over the phone through Reservation Sales or in person at airports and other ticket office locations.
Previously, Delta instituted a Direct Ticketing Charge of $25 per ticket when purchased over the phone through Reservation Sales and $35 per ticket when purchased at airports and other ticket office locations. Charges varied for some locations outside of the United States. Delta does not charge a fee for customers who purchase tickets on delta.com or through the Fly Delta app.
So, no more fees for Delta bookings made by phone or at a ticket counter. ... read more»
Is this the "golden age of flying"? I'm in daily contact with many travelers, journalists, and industry analysts, and I don't know anyone who would consider such an assertion to be anything but ludicrous. So my answer is an unqualified "No."
Yet there's one company that's claiming just that. And no, it's not The Onion.
According to Airlines for America, the organization that is paid to represent the interests of most U.S. airlines:
This truly is the golden age of flying. New and refurbished aircraft, larger overhead bin space, in-flight Wi-Fi and competitive prices are just a few examples of how airlines are investing more than $1.4 billion a month to improve the flying experience for our customers. ... read more»
In February, when Starbucks announced it was converting its frequent-drinker program to a revenue-based scheme, there was a collective groan from the caffeinated crowd. As with similar conversions by the major airlines, Starbucks' new earning rules would mean fewer rewards for most customers.
Under the old scheme, program members earned one Star per visit, and attained Gold status after 30 visits. Having reached Gold status, members received a free drink or food item after every 12 visits. (Sub-Gold members receive little beyond a free birthday drink.)
Under the new scheme, which took effect on April 12, members earn two Stars per $1 spent, but need 300 Stars to reach Gold status. And a free drink or snack will require 125 Stars. ... read more»
Today, two storied travel brands that are destined for the scrap heap announced a marketing partnership that only serves to make their imminent demise that much sadder.
Points earned in the loyalty program of Starwood hotels, which will be acquired and absorbed by Marriott, can now be converted at a 1:1 ratio into points in the loyalty program of Virgin America, which is being acquired by Alaska Airlines. And members of Virgin America's Elevate program can now earn two points for every $1 spent on Starwood stays. ... read more»
InterContinental Hotel Group's next points promotion, Share Forever, begins next month and features bonuses for both the member's own IHG Rewards account and to share with other program members.
Between May 1 and September 5, IHG Rewards members can earn "at least 65,000 bonus points - plus a free night to share." ... read more»
If asked to name my favorite U.S. airport, most days I'd say it was Smith Reynolds, more commonly known as the Winston-Salem airport in North Carolina. What I'm thinking of is not Smith Reynolds as it exists today, but as it was in the latter years of the 20th century, when I had business reasons to visit Winston-Salem on several occasions.
My flights to Smith Reynolds were operated by US Airways Express; they were the only scheduled commercial flights available, until service was terminated in 2000. Those flights were a carry-over from US Airways' acquisition of Piedmont, which was headquartered in Winston-Salem. ... read more»
Enter the PureWow "2016 London Trip" sweepstakes by May 14, 2016, for a chance to win the grand prize: a three-night trip for two to London, including business-class air on La Compagnie, hotel, breakfast, and afternoon tea.
To enter, provide the requested contact information (zip code, email, etc.) on the sweepstakes landing page and press "Submit." Done! Time required to participate: less than 30 seconds. ... read more»
In case you hadn't noticed, the Big Three legacy airlines have changed their pricing policy for multi-city trips. And yes, you guessed it: The new policy makes such trips more expensive. In some cases, much more expensive.
That's disconcerting for travelers, who for years have been told that roundtrips were cheaper than one-ways. But price increases are a fact of travel life. And with the airline industry's ongoing consolidation, the outlook is for ever-rising prices ahead.
What makes this latest pricing initiative newsworthy is its timing. American, Delta, and United imposed an identical new policy practically simultaneously. And that, as any bona fide consumer advocate will tell you, suggests collusion. ... read more»