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4 tips to build your bleisure travel muscles

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the rubber meets the runway

bleisure travel

Taking the blah out of business travel is easy when you combine a little leisure “me time” on your trip. Just ask any seasoned road warrior and they’ll wax poetic about the bennies associated with “bleisure” travel. Nerdwallet.com recently offered some nifty tips for mixing business with pleasure that are worth taking note of:

4 tips for bleisure travel

If you plan to blend your business and leisure travel, here’s how to make it a win for you and your company.

GET TO KNOW GOOGLE FLIGHTS

Yuan says Google Flights “allows you to find all the cities, and the fares, near your destination. It’s a great way to tag on other travel.”

He recalls one of his most memorable bleisure trips. “I had several meetings in Jakarta, and I thought, ‘Where can I go for the weekend before?’” Through Google Flights, he found that he could fly from Jakarta, Indonesia, to Bali for less than $100. “If I’m flying for 24 hours to get to Jakarta from the United States, I want to go ahead of time. So I spent the weekend in Bali, and it was also the weekend of my birthday.”

GET TSA PRECHECK OR GLOBAL ENTRY

For frequent travelers, TSA PreCheck or Global Entry is essential for expediting the security check. You don’t need to remove your shoes or belt, and you can keep your 3.4-ounce liquids in your bag and your computer safely in its case. TSA PreCheck costs $85 for five years and Global Entry is $100 for five years. (Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck.)

Several popular travel rewards credit cards, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ and The Platinum Card® from American Express, reimburse cardholders for these fees.

REACH ELITE STATUS IN AN AIRLINE’S LOYALTY PROGRAM

“If you don’t have status on an airline, get that first,” Yuan says. Elite status in a frequent flyer program gives you airport lounge access, priority boarding, complimentary upgrades and more. When you’re on long-haul flights or visiting multiple cities, these luxuries can make travel a  better experience.

WATCH YOUR EXPENSE REPORT

Keeping your personal expenses separate from your business expenses is a no-brainer.

“We’ve found that many employees will have two separate credit cards — one for business expenses and one for personal expenses — which makes it easier for reporting purposes,” Bandourian wrote.

Again, make sure you review your company’s rules and guidelines regarding travel first.

For more tips and advice on the best travel reward credit cards and earning more points, read our post with travel reward and credit card expert, Jason Steele.

Did you know…Air France unveils redesigned and expanded Business class lounge at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport?

Air France announced today the reopening of a completely redesigned, much larger and totally renovated Business class lounge. With an open kitchen, private saunas and a detox bar, the company has created a real bubble of well-being for its Business customers and Flying Blue Elite Plus cardholders in Hall L at Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Terminal Two.

 air france business class lounge

The 3,200 sq. m. lounge will open in two stages. The first part of 2,180 sq. m. was unveiled on January 25 and the second section, which will reveal new areas, is set to be unveiled in July 2018.

“This lounge is perfectly in line with Air France’s strategy to move upmarket, in the same way as the lounge at Terminal 2G,” explained Anne Rigail, Customer EVP. “It has been designed to surprise our customers with innovative services on the theme of well-being and gastronomy.”

A subtle balance between elegance, comfort, and creativity, this lounge reflects the identity of the Air France brand. In the choice of materials, furniture and with a palette of bright colors, Air France and the agency Brandimage have designed a refined new lounge, a new ambassador of chic French style.

The largest well-being area in an Air France lounge 

For the first time, an Air France lounge is devoting more than 550 sq. m. entirely to well-being. In a refined setting, everything has been designed to immerse the customer in a cocoon where time seems to stand still. The well-being area provides customers with:

·         An “Instant Relaxation” area to relax comfortably on loungers or in mini-suites for optimal rest;

·         A detox bar to relax, with a selection of fine teas;

·         An area dedicated to facial treatments with two private cabins where customers can benefit from the expertise of Clarins beauticians;

·         Two private saunas to freshen up between flights;

·         Large luxury showers.

Fine dining on show

 air france business class lounge

The lounge highlights the finest French dining experience:

·         A “La Table Gourmet” dining area, designed in the spirit of a Parisian brasserie, with an open kitchen where a Chef prepares tasty hot dishes by putting the final touch on the dish in front of customers;

·         A self-service offer which invites customers to discover seasonal flavors for all tastes, with simmered casseroles, salads and pastries;

·         A selection of wines and Champagnes chosen by Paolo Basso, world’s best sommelier in 2013.

Digital art at the heart of the customer experience

In collaboration with French start-ups Superbien and Tetro and the agency Brandimage, Air France has created a real immersive and sensory experience thanks to digital services:

·         In the entrance hall, a series of screens accompanies customers and takes them into a world of travel with soft and airy lighting effects;

·         A three-dimensional digital creation is on show in the center of the well-being area. A surprising art form that changes shape, intensity and color throughout the day;

·         A sky with soothing lighting, in a light therapy style, for a moment of complete relaxation.

Unique spaces

To meet the needs of all customers, Air France has also come up with:

·         “Le Club”, a private area, to spend time alone or with others in a warm atmosphere;

·         “Le Petit Salon” to take time out in a place where all is quiet and smartphones are silent;

·         An “At Your Service” area, to be assisted by Air France staff in the lounge to reserve showers and saunas, change seats or flights, etc.;

·         “Air France Shopping” showcases to discover and purchase a selection of unique Air France-branded objects.

 

Did you know…5 unexpected ways to earn bonus points?

frugal travel guy logoFrugal Travel Guy blogger, Anya Kartashova, recounts five unexpected methods she used to earn air and hotel travel bonus points in 2017.  Here are a few of her bonus building gems:

  • Enroll your American Express card in their Pay Over Time feature and earn an easy 10,000 Membership Rewards points.
  • Look for award point opportunities with Chase. This fall, they ran a promo for Sapphire-branded credit cards, like Chase Sapphire Preferred, where you could earn an extra point for every transaction paid via a digital-wallet app, such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, Chase Pay and Samsung Pay.
  • Marriott Rewards NFL Promo — Marriott Rewards has partnered with the National Football League and asks football fans trivia questions on Twitter almost every Sunday during the NFL season. Questions range from “How wide is an NFL football field?” to “How many players can each NFL team have on the field?” Every correct answer equals to 1,000 Marriott Rewards points!

    Read more at: 5 Unexpected Ways I’ve Earned Bonus Points This Year | Frugal Travel Guy

 

 

 

Did you know…Air Travel Fairness urges US DOT to halt approval of airline antitrust immunity without new consumer protection?

air travel fairnessAir Travel Fairness, one of the largest traveler advocacy organizations in the U.S., called on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to reject any applications from airlines for either new or expanded antitrust immunity (ATI) agreements between carriers without first instituting new protections from the harm these schemes are causing consumers.

Airlines with antitrust immunity are able to freely cooperate between each other on fares, schedules, fleets, marketing programs and operations.  Essentially, these mega-joint ventures operate as if they are a single, giant airline.

For example, once approved for antitrust immunity, two airlines that previously competed against each other for travelers’ business, perhaps offering the only nonstop flights on a given route, behave as if they are one company. The two airlines can share costs and revenues on flights, set prices including minimum fares offered on each of their flights, reduce capacity if too many low-priced seats are offered, or do away with the type of bonus and discount programs offered to frequent flyer program members when two or more airlines are vigorously competing for travelers’ business in a truly competitive market. The airlines might call this efficiencies of scale, but consumers are the big losers.

The consumer impact is the same as when a market with two competitors changes to only having one. Two airlines, in this case, essentially merge into one, but there is no change in ownership. Continue reading →

Did you know…Chile has been named the top travel destination for 2018?

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 is the highly anticipated collection of the world’s hottest destinations that should be on every traveler’s wish list in the year ahead. The world’s leading travel media authority reveals its selections of the top 10 countries, cities, regions and best value destinations that Lonely Planet experts recommend travelers experience in 2018.

Chile takes the coveted top spot of the best country for travelers in 2018 (Check out our post with the Chilean Tourism Board). Seville receives the accolade of number one city in the world to visit next year. Hot on the Spanish city’s heels is the American comeback city Detroit and Australia’s oft-overlooked capital Canberra. The region which Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 declares the number one must-see in the coming year is Belfast and the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland, with Alaska in second place. Tallinn, Estonia has been crowned Lonely Planet’s best value destination of 2018, closely followed by Lanzarote in the Canary Islands and Arizona in the USA.

San Juan is also showcased in the 10 best cities list. Lonely Planet’s Central America and Caribbean destination editor Bailey Freeman said, “While Puerto Rico’s capital was hit hard by the hurricane last month, San Juan’s resiliency will have it back on its feet for travelers in 2018.”

Deciding what destinations to include in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel annual selection is a considered process involving Lonely Planet’s most experienced travelers providing hundreds of recommendations of places not to be missed. These places are then shortlisted by a panel of in-house travel experts who consider criteria such as topicality, novelty, and wow-factor to decide what to include in the inspirational travel yearbook – available in hardback for the first time this year.

“These are the places you shouldn’t miss next year,” said Lonely Planet’s US magazine managing editor Alex Howard. “From Alaska to South Africa, our community of travel experts have named the top places to experience. Whether they’re coming into their own, celebrating an anniversary or have seen a resurgence in recent years, all these destinations are worth a visit in 2018.”

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 features trends and experiences to prepare for in the year ahead. Top trends include destination races, vegetarian and vegan travel, and exploratory cruises. Lonely Planet’s experts also rank the top 10 best new openings, places to stay and culture trips for families.