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This Week in Travel News: 19 May 2017

This Week in Travel News

Active travelers have a need to know! Every week, there are things that can and do impact the art and act of travelling. Things you need to know about. We’ll report the highlights here, so you can focus on what you do best: Travelling! In case you missed it, here’s what happened This Week in Travel News!

Delta Airlines This Week in Travel News via

Delta SkyMiles get a Lyft

As of this weekend, Delta frequent flyers have a new way to add a few SkyMiles to their account.

The airline has joined forces with Lyft to offer Delta customers 1 mile per dollar spent on Lyft rides. Plus, through the end of August, you can earn three miles per dollar on Lyft rides to/from airports where the service is available. For a limited time, new customers who sign up for Lyft through Delta will get two $10 credits that can be used for their first two rides within sixty days.

Since most Lyft fares are $10 or less, you’re not likely to earn a free flight anytime soon, but those extra miles add up. Delta customers can also earn one mile per dollar on stays with AirBnB booked through Delta.

American Airlines This Week in Travel News via

American Upgrades its Upgrade Process

But don’t think that will work in your favor, unless you are among the most elite of flyers.

After restructuring the AAdvantage frequent flyer program last year, American Airlines has upped the ante for upgrades at the gate. In the “old world,” upgrades were based mostly on your elite status, and how early you checked in and asked for that coveted first class seat. That was then.

This is now: Upgrades will be based on these criteria moving forward:

  • Elite status
  • Type of Upgrade (ie: System upgrade, purchased upgrade, etc.)
  • 12-month rolling EQD (Elite Qualifying Dollars, or how much you’ve spent.)
  • Booking code (Again, cheap fares probably won’t qualify.)
  • Date and time of your request (As a tie breaker, maybe?)

The move solidifies the airline’s commitment to retain and reward high-value passengers.

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Marriott/Starwood This Week in Travel News via

Hotel Bonus Offers

Last week, we mentioned IHG’s new Accelerate offers for IHG Rewards members. This past week, the Marriott / Starwood brands announced their summer offers.

Marriott Rewards’ MegaBonus offers members as much as 4,000 bonus points per stay. Beginning with the second stay after registering, members receive 2,000 bonus points per stay between 27 May and 4 September (Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day). Members can earn another 2,000-point bonus for each of the different Marriott brands they stay at, after their first brand, for the potential of 4,000 bonus points per stay. Members must register in advance, and can only register through 30 August. With 18 brands worldwide, and no limit on qualifying stays, the sky’s the limit.

During the same time period, members of Starwood Preferred Guest program can earn double points for weekday stays of two nights or longer, and triple points for stays of two nights or longer that include a Friday or Saturday, at participating locations. Again, members need to register in advance, through 30 August. Starwood credit card holders can get an additional 1500 points when paying with the card at participating locations.

Strong Dollar Equals Strong Tourism

Normally, that would not be surprising, but at a time when global travel is taking hit after hit, it is welcome news. Thanks to a weaker Pound, U.S. travelers are heading to the U.K. in droves. Online travel agency Expedia reported an 80% first-quarter jump in bookings for travel to the UK, versus the same period last year as Americans take advantage of the 13% slide of Sterling against the Dollar since the Brexit vote. Expedia’s figures show UK hotel and flight packages are more than 45% less expensive than last year.

Meanwhile, inbound tourism has leveled off after three years of strong growth. That has led airlines to offer attractive prices for travel from across the Atlantic also. In a Press Association interview, Expedia’s global head of transport, Greg Shulze, said the perception of the U.S. as an attractive destination “has certainly been impacted” by efforts to tighten border controls since November’s election.

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Emerald Waterways This Week in Travel News via

More European River Cruise Options

UK travel company Fred. Olson Cruise Lines has launched a new river cruising program aimed at American travelers. Olson River Cruises is launching river cruise holidays from April through November 2018. The 156-guest riverboat Brabant will sail 5- to 25-night itineraries on the Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle rivers. 30 sailings on the Brabant go on sale 26 May.

Emerald Waterways welcomed three new Star Ships to bring their fleet to 7 vessels. The Emerald Liberte will sail France’s Rhone and Saone rivers as part of the Sensations of Southern France itinerary from Lyon to Avignon. Emerald Radiance joins the Secrets of the Duoro itinerary, sailing roundtrip from Porto. And Emerald Destiny will sail the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers.

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