MTS Traveler Newsletter Masthead

 January 2012

  ***Celebrating the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr. ***

 American Express Membership Rewards Pay Off!

Recently Menno Travel redeemed a company’s American Express Card Membership Rewards for 28 airline tickets, resort accommodations, meals and entertainment totaling $68,000 for their company retreat. The only out-of-pocket expense they incurred was for three rental cars. 

And, another company receives between 200,000 to 300,000 American Express Membership Rewards monthly on their card account. They have been able to use Pay with Points for all of their airline tickets.

The American Express Pay with Points program is a seamless process at Menno Travel Service, with no additional charge.  Click here for more information on Pay with Points and then contact Geof or Deb to see how simple this can be for you!

Don’t have an American Express Card? Click here for a description of the card types and benefits and to apply for a card.

Incentive Travel Corner

Most companies offer an incentive travel program for an ROI through increased sales, shifting seasonality, moving stale inventory, or introducing new products.  While these “hard” benefits are important, it’s important not to miss out on the “soft” benefit of building strong relationships with your customers through shared experiences.

The best way to ensure shared experiences is by using a controlled venue where interaction among the group is guaranteed. Las Vegasand a huge cruise ship are tough places to keep a group together.

River cruises inEuropemight be the right option for you.  Ships have 75 to 82 staterooms and can be chartered or part-chartered with enough advance notice.  Space is tight for 2012, so now is the time to plan for 2013.  River cruises offer great value with accommodations, all meals onboard, wine and beer with dinner, and most sightseeing included.

For the 2013 season, AMAWaterways offers a choice of 7-night cruise venues in France aboard the MS AmaLegro or MS AmaDagio.  Cruise round-tripParis on theSeineRiver to enjoy the splendor of Paris, beautiful Honfleur, Monet’s gardens,Rouen and the Normandy D-Day landing beaches.  Or cruise the South of France and revel in Roman ruins,Provence and splendid vineyards.   Both itineraries contain fabulous excursions and more than 80% of the staterooms contain a full sliding glass door with French Balconies so each guest can soak up the beauty of the countryside right from their stateroom.

Contact Mary Ann or Moe for your next incentive program.

Welcome Ronda Morris to Menno Travel!

We welcome Ronda Morris as our newest Group and Incentive Travel Specialist. Ronda started in group travel with Warsaw Travel Specialists about 30 years ago.  In recent years, Ronda owned and operated Destinations Travel in Warsaw.  Menno Travel acquired Destinations in December adding Rebecca Gehrke as a vacation travel specialist and Ronda to our group department.

In addition to her knowledge of travel suppliers and destinations, Ronda brings strong organizational and technology skills.  Ronda joins Maureen Russell, Tara Nisley, and Mary Ann Holderman in Groups.

Hertz Mobil Gold Alert

“Carfirmation” is a cool mobile alert that Hertz offers Gold Plus Rewards members. They will let you know which car you will be driving and where it will be parked when you arrive. That way you can head straight to your car, get in and go! To sign up for this alert, or to update your preferences, click here.

If you (or your company) do not have a Hertz Gold Plus membership, contact Geof or Deb to sign up for a fee-free account through Menno Travel Service.

Reminder: Notify your Menno Travel agent if your Hertz number has changed.

SkyTeam Introduces Priority Airport Service

SkyTeam, the global airline alliance, offers SkyPriority, a series of priority airport services to Elite Plus, First and Business Class customers. SkyPriority was created by Delta Air lines in 2010 to ensure a common and consistent service standard for priority airport services, and due to its success, SkyTeam adopted the program. The roll-out of the program will start in March 2012 at selected airports.

SkyPriority services include:

Priority check-in areas

Priority baggage drop-off

Priority service at airport ticket offices

Priority service at transfer desks

Priority lines at security, where available

Priority boarding

Priority baggage handling 

Each member airline has its own implementation date and roll-out timeline. Some of the first airports where SkyPriority will be launched areAmsterdam,Atlanta,Guangzhou,Nairobi,ShanghaiandTaipei. By early 2013, SkyPriority will be visible at over 1,000 airports.

The Wall Street Journal’s Middle Seat Puts American Last

Each year the Journal releases Middle Seat, ranking carriers on their customer service performance. American was picked for last place as the airline that loses bags, cancels flights and has the worst customer service. The best-performing carrier last year was Alaska Airlines, the smallest among the seven majorU.S.airlines. Delta came in second after placing ninth in 2010.  United/Continental just came in ahead of American with their combined scores.

The Middle Seat scorecard ranks major carriers each year on a number of key measures important to travelers: on-time arrivals, long delays, canceled flights, mishandled bags, passengers bumped from flights and complaints filed with the Department of Transportation. Delta engineered a major operational turnaround last year. In 2010, Delta was second-worst in punctuality and baggage handling among rival airlines and it had the highest rates of canceled flights and consumer complaints filed with the DOT. For 2011, Delta ranked in the top three in five of six categories.

More Airline Consumer Protection Laws to Kick In

There are new Department of Transportation airline consumer protection rules going into effect January 24. Airlines will have to promptly notify travelers via their websites and phone of delays of more than 30 minutes or flight cancellations. And they have to include all government taxes and fees in advertised fares (they’ve got until January 26 on this one). They’ve got to show all baggage fees during booking and on e-tickets. Finally, once you’ve bought a ticket, they can’t raise the fare unless it’s due to a government tax and you agree to pay the increase.

This is a huge win for anyone trying to control travel costs. Last May we asked for your help to encourage our government policymakers to come up with these rules, and now we see results, so thank you!

TSA Expands Pre-Screening to New Airports

Sick of that security check rigmarole of taking off your shoes and belt and pulling out your laptop and those three-ounce bottles of shampoo? The Transportation Security Administration is adding airports using the TSA Pre Check program. If you qualify for TSA Pre Check, you volunteer information about yourself that is embedded in the bar code of your ticket. You can then go through the expedited screening lane, which means you might not have to take off your shoes or pull out your laptop. Pre Check is now available at Las Vegas’ McCarran International. Next up: Minneapolis-St. Paul and LAX. United Airlines is joining the program; some of American Airlines and Delta Air Lines’ frequent travelers are also eligible as well as participants in Trusted Traveler programs, including Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS, who are U.S.citizens and are flying on participating airlines. For more information click here.

Vacation Value

**American Express Platinum and Centurion Card Members Specials**

Book any 5-Night or longer Royal Caribbean cruise between now and February 15 and receive these exclusive Cruise Privileges Program benefits:

►Two category upgrade or between $50 to $300 onboard credit per stateroom

        – Offer (either upgrade or onboard credit) will be determined by stateroom category selected.

►Complimentary dinner for two in a specialty dining restaurant*

►Bottle of premium champagne

        *Guests aboard ships without a specialty restaurant will receive a complimentary spa treatment in place of dinner.

In addition, if you book a balcony or above category stateroom on a Royal Caribbean cruise before February 15 you will receive a Complimentary Spa Treatment**, just by booking with an American Express Travel Representative!

                ** Bookings must be created at least two weeks prior to sailing.

If you are not a Platinum or Centurion Card Member, or if you do not have an American Express card, click here for a description of the card types and to apply for a card.

American Express’s Cruise Privileges Program offers added benefits on Royal Caribbean and other premium and luxury cruise lines for Platinum and Centurion cardmembers.  Your Menno Travel vacation specialist can provide full information.

Contact dorothy@mennotrav.com or your Menno Travel vacation specialist today to take advantage of this American Express special or to book any cruise or land vacation.

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Menno Travel Service Phone: 574-534-1521 / 800-635-0963 * Fax: 574-534-2158

www.mennotrav.com

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