MTS Traveler Newsletter Masthead
Serving our clients since 1953
Unused Ticket Tracking Saves You MoneyIt’s easy to forget about unused tickets because the airlines do not remind you that you have them and then you lose the ticket value.  We track unused tickets for you and look for opportunities to exchange them for new tickets.  In the past 12 months, we have exchanged unused tickets for a total value of $221,501.11!


Hidden Airline Fees Have You Seeing Red?

In addition to the cost of your flight, these days you can also be charged for checked bags, a seat reservation, a seat close to the front of the aircraft, early boarding privileges, drinks and snacks, etc … Enough already!!  Together with the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Menno Travel Service is working to persuade Congress and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to require the airlines to provide us with full access so that we can help you make an informed travel decision. We hope you will join us in signing the petition before September 22 at MadasHellaboutHiddenFees.com.

Medical Insurance For Frequent Travelers

No one likes to believe that a medical emergency will strike them or their employees, especially one that requires medical evacuation and repatriation expenses that can cost upwards of $1 million. But when it does happen, are you and your employees covered?

MedJet Assist is a travel insurance supplier that provides emergency medical flight services to the hospital of your choice, not just the closest medical facility. It will also provide one additional seat on the flight for a companion to accompany the injured policyholder. The annual membership fee for individuals is $250 and there are special rates for companies that have multiple travelers.

Access America is another insurance company that provides similar coverage with their Med Vac plan that comes with a $1 million cap and costs approximately $500 per year.  They also offer an annual Business Traveler Insurance policy that includes trip cancellation/interruption and baggage coverage in addition to the evacuation coverage.

Contact Deb or Geof if you would like more information on Medical Evacuation or Business Traveler insurance coverage.

 

Face-To-Face Is Still The No. 1 Way To Meet And Connect

A new survey of 150 travel buyers and 230 senior business travelers conducted by American Express Business Travel and the Institute of Travel and Meetings revealed that although technology-based communication methods are now the norm for internal meetings, only 22 percent of respondents favored video conferencing as a means to conduct business and maintain relationships.

Overall, the survey showed that new technologies — from mobile solutions to social media — play dual roles in business: as an alternative to travel (video conferencing and telepresence) and an enabler of travel (mobile devices enhance productivity while on the road).

A recent survey conducted for the U.S. Travel Association asked 800 business travelers and executives to estimate their conversion rate for prospects they met in person, the average response was about 40 percent, compared with 16 percent for contacts they didn’t meet face-to-face. Similarily, they responded that 75 percent of their clients either require or prefer in person meetings.

Changes to Card Benefits With Continental Airlines

Cardmembers enrolled in American Express’ Membership Rewards® program can currently redeem points for frequent flyer miles in the Continental OnePass® frequent flyer program.  Platinum Card and Centurion members also receive complimentary access to Continental Airlines President’s Club® lounges when traveling on Continental Airlines.  Unfortunately, these benefits will end next September 30, 2011.  You may wish to convert points to the OnePass program before that deadline.
New Benefits for Platinum and Centurion Card Members

American Express will begin offering the following additional travel benefits to consumer and small business Platinum Card and Centurion Card members as of December 1, 2010:

$200 Airline Fee Credit – Cardmembers can check a bag or enjoy an in-flight meal on American Express.  Every year American Express will cover up to $200 of incidental airline fees that are charged on the Cardmember’s enrolled Card on a selected airline. The $200 Airline Fee Credit can apply to fees such as baggage fees, flight change fees, in-flight food and airport lounge day passes.

20% Travel Bonus – When Cardmembers use Membership Rewards Pay with Points to pay for part or all of their travel including airlines, hotels, cruises and vacation packages, they will get 20% of those points credited back to their account.  For example, if a Cardmember redeems 30,000 points to pay for an airline ticket, American Express will credit 6,000 points to the Membership Rewards Cardmember’s account.

For more information, or to sign up for a card, contact Geof.
Our Favorite FREE Travel Apps for Smartphones

There are plenty of travel-related apps for the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android and the list is growing at a fast pace.  Here are few of our favorite FREE apps:

Trip Advisor – 35 million (and counting) hotel reviews.

TripIt – There are a lot of “travel management” programs out there that help you keep track of things such as flight and hotel confirmation numbers. TripIt is extremely good at parsing the confirmation emails you get from hotels, airlines, and Menno Travel Service.

Yelp – The one-stop shop for reviews of just about everything, from restaurants to beaches, museums, salons, and auto shops. Need a dentist, pharmacy, or (hopefully not) a doctor? Turn to Yelp to find out which places get the locals’ approval.
ATM’s and Travel Abroad

ATM’s at destinations around the world can be a vital source of local currency and decent exchange rates. However, with many banks seeking to keep a tight rein on fraud, some travelers are finding it harder to use their debit cards at ATMs in certain countries.  We always recommend that our clients contact their bank or check out its website before they leave to find out if their debit card will work at their destination.  Here are some additional tips:

Take several days supply of foreign currency purchased at Menno Travel Service before you leave home.

Take a variety of payment options, such as credit cards, debit cards, and currency, to be prepared for all circumstances.

Go to a bank if you have problems withdrawing cash from an ATM. Many debit cards can also function as a credit card, which will allow you to get a cash advance (though at a higher interest rate than a normal debit transaction).

Bring your bank’s contact information when you travel, just in case your card fails to work like you expect.

If your PIN number is longer than four digits, go to your bank and have it changed. Many ATM’s abroad, especially in Europe, do not accept PIN numbers longer than four digits.

If your PIN number is based on letters, translate the letters into numbers before leaving the country. Many ATMs abroad only have numbers on their keypads.

Always have your Menno Travel Service travel agents’ contact information with you. It’s good to have an ally back home you can call whenever a problem arises.
Beware: New Hotel Scam

This story was heard at a travel industry conference and we would like to share it with you so that you are aware of the scam…

“Sally Watkins reports an agent friend was in a Courtyard by Marriott in the Denver area recently.  The ringing of the room phone woke her up and the caller identified himself as from the front desk.  He said that they were trying to transmit the credit cards of the guests who had checked in that day to their central office and they had to be in by 1 a.m.  He asked for the agent’s credit card details.  She said no.  The man said they could send someone up to the room to get the details and again the agent refused.  The next day when she asked about the call they said the call was made from the hotel but it was a scam that had hit several hotels in the Denver area recently.”
30 Days of Unlimited Inflight Internet on Delta for $19.95

Delta Air Lines is currently offering a special inflight wi-fi deal. You can purchase it while on your next Delta wi-fi enabled flight by looking for the GoGo inflight wi-fi signal before launching your browser.  Click on the Gogo 30 Day Delta Pass and enter promo code 6283060599rh on the payment info page to redeem your $10 discount before October 31, 2010. Click Delta Airlines Wi-Fi Service for more information.


High Speed Internet Access at Marriotts

Effective January 7, 2011, Marriott Rewards will expand free high-speed internet access worldwide as a benefit for Gold and Platinum Elite members who stay at all JW Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Renaissance Hotels and The Autograph Collection.  Last May, Marriott Rewards began offering Gold and Platinum Elite members free high-speed Internet access at hotels throughout North and South America .

Marriott International next year will begin offering free high-speed Internet access globally to travelers in the top tiers of its reward program staying in its upper upscale brands.


Miami’s Skytrain Opens At Miami Airport

The Concourse D skytrain debuted recently, taking passengers from one end of the mile-long concourse to the other within five minutes for connections to flights, baggage claim, stores, restaurants and passport control.  There are stations at four main areas of Concourse D.  The four-car trains can carry 9,000 passengers an hour and cuts walking time by 70% for domestic connections and 34% for international passengers.


Travel Free With “Pay With Points”

Most American Express cards are eligible to earn  Membership Rewards points which can be redeemed for travel at Menno Travel Service!  Simply book your travel the way you always do with Menno Travel and we will redeem your points for payment.   Companies can save money by using their rewards points for their corporate travelers and individuals can save on their vacation expenses.

If you are not an American Express cardmember, contact  Geof to learn how you or your company can begin earning and using Membership Reward points.

Phone: 574-534-1521 * Fax: 574-534-2158 www.mennotrav.com