Menno Traveler – March 2015

~ a newsletter for our business travelers ~

Online Booking Tool Mobile App
Menno Travel’s online booking tool, Deem, includes a mobile app for booking air, car and hotel reservations. You can view all your reservation details in one place. Flight alerts about delays, gate changes or cancellations keep you on track.

Fares that are out of your company’s travel policy are clearly identified. Along with Deem’s expense management you can quickly add images of receipts to your digital wallet and then submit expense reports for review and approval. Managers can review and approve expense reports, ensuring company policies are being enforced and you are being reimbursed in timely fashion.

Contact Geof Landis if you are interested in learning more about Deem, our convenient online booking and expense management option.

Mission and Humanitarian Travel
In addition to corporate travel management, Menno serves religious travel needs, specifically those of missionaries, church organizations, and pastors. We handle the travel arrangements to conferences, study tours, and student groups. We have access to mission fares and assist with travel insurance for short or long term assignments.

We have experience with destinations in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, in addition to North America and Europe. We can assist with procuring visas, passports, and other travel documents, obtaining information on required or suggested health measures, and obtaining information on allowed baggage and excess baggage costs. We can also provide customized travel reports for destinations and current state department international travel advisories and warnings.

If you know anyone looking for help planning Mission or Humanitarian individual or group travel, contact Ron Yoder.

Ronda Morris Taking on New Responsibilities
In addition to handling corporate travel reservations, Ronda will be working with our corporate accounts to provide sales and customer service support. Contact her at ronda@mennotrav.com or call 574-534-1521 if you have questions about the services you currently receive from Menno Travel.

Booking More Than The Major Airlines
Are you surprised that we book Jet Blue and Southwest and Allegiant airlines? Don’t be! We are a full-service corporate travel management business, booking airlines, hotels, and car rentals to suit your business travel needs. Let us know if you have a special request and we will see if we can help you out, using our connections with our suppliers.  We are people with the right connections!

Two Ways You Will Save Money Using Menno Travel
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 Delta SkyBonus tickets: If you have a SkyBonus account, remember that we can save you money by managing your account and suggesting when it is most advantageous to use points instead of paying for a ticket.

American Express Membership Rewards Points: As an American Express Travel  Representative office, we are able to book your travel, charge it to your American Express card and then credit your American Express card account using your Membership Rewards Points.

Contact Geof Landis if you are interested in taking advantage of either the SkyBonus or Membership Rewards Points programs.

Were Your Travel Plans Affected by Winter Storms?
We are so glad to have winter in our rearview mirror! Winter storms always cause a lot of flight cancellations and stranded travelers. Jill, Dee, Ronda and Ron were kept busy again this winter, watching flights and re-accommodating travelers to get them where they needed to go.

To ensure that you receive immediate assistance, please let the person directing your call know when you are stuck and calling us from an airport. We also check all of our reservations to flag those that may be affected by weather so that we can proactively get you on your way.

SBN Airport Valet Parking Great Option…Especially for Winter
Did you know that South Bend International Airport (SBN) offers valet parking service? For the same price as short-term parking, the service will have your car cleared off, warmed up and ready just steps outside the terminal doors when you arrive.

Simply follow the signs at the airport front drive. Then give the attendant your flight information and car keys. When you return, your car will be waiting at the curb! Cost for valet parking is $5 for up to one hour and $13 for 1-24 hours. Call 574-288-4912 or 800-681-8885 for more information.

Delta Redefining Service Classes On Flights
Delta is redefining the products it offers into five distinct products including Delta One, First Class and Delta Comfort+ which offer customers the best of Delta’s services by providing premium products while Main Cabin and Basic Economy will offer value options.

For example, Delta Comfort+ is adding premium snacks and complimentary Starbucks®, beer, wine, and spirits on most flights. They will also have a location toward the front of the plane, have more legroom and on some longer flights, extra recline. In addition, Delta Comfort+ includes Sky Priority® boarding and dedicated overhead bin space and Wi-Fi and complimentary premium entertainment through Delta Studio™ where available.

Visit DELTA.COM/EXPERIENCE or click here for complete details on Delta’s renewed suite of experiences. For a product chart, click here.

Delta SkyMiles Updates Delta has expanded the number of airline partners that SkyMiles members can select to redeem for award travel. Delta also recently updated the Fly Delta app to give customers the ability to book award travel from mobile devices. Or, call Menno Travel and we will be happy to assist you with your award travel bookings as well.

Customers can now earn (Medallion Qualification Dollars) MQDs, regardless of ticketing carrier, for travel on most of Delta’s airline partners, which will help achieve Medallion status faster. MQD earning varies based on carrier, percentage of distance flown as determined by Delta and fare class paid.

New one-way award tickets beginning as low as 10,000 miles plus taxes and fees, are available through December 31, 2015, for travel in select U.S., Mexican and Caribbean markets. Check out your favorite destinations and plan a trip now!

US Airways and American Frequent Flyer Programs Combining
American Airlines and merger partner US Airways will combine their frequent-flier programs. The US Airways Dividend Miles® program will be combined into the AAdvantage program and here’s what you need to know:

Once the programs are combined, your US Airways Dividend Miles mileage balance, Preferred‑qualifying activity and million mile balance will be transferred into your AAdvantage account on a one‑to‑one ratio. Elite status level will be determined by looking at your combined elite‑qualifying activity for 2014, and separately, your combined 2015 year‑to‑date elite‑qualifying activity. It may take a few days to transfer everything, but you’ll receive an email you once it’s completed.

You’ll continue earning miles when you fly on American, US Airways, oneworld and other participating airlines, as well as with over 1,000 partners. And, you’ll still be able to redeem miles for flights, upgrades on American and US Airways, car rentals, hotel stays and more.

Dividend Miles award bookings and mileage upgrade requests will be disabled a few days before the two programs are combined to allow time to integrate your accounts. If you plan to redeem Dividend Miles for an upcoming trip, plan to book now.

Once the programs are combined, Dividend Miles will be converted into AAdvantage miles, and you’ll be able to redeem AAdvantage miles with American.

Hyatt Launches Free Wi-Fi To All Guests Worldwide All Hyatt hotels and resorts worldwide will provide free Wi-Fi to guests on an unlimited number of mobile devices or laptops in guest rooms and social spaces at Hyatt-branded hotels. Platinum and Diamond Hyatt Gold Passport members will receive a free upgrade to premium Wi-Fi service in those spaces wherever available, and guests will have the option to purchase premium service in those locations.

Marriott To Use Apple Pay Marriott International, Inc will become the first global hospitality company to offer Apple Pay. Guests using Apple Pay at check-in will simply bring their iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or soon, Apple Watch, near the contactless reader at the front desk. When their device responds with a subtle vibration and beep, the payment information has been securely captured. There will be no need to provide a credit card upon check-in.

At select Marriott Hotels, guests have been testing an app for service requests, enabling them to chat in real time with hotel staff to make requests, such as extra towels, valet service, dinner reservations and more. Marriott will launch an app for the Apple Watch, upon availability. With the Apple Watch app, Marriott Rewards members will be able to use it to check-in in advance, receive prior notification when their room is ready, and checkout at nearly 4,000 hotels globally. Marriott expects to start rolling out Apple Pay this summer beginning at select hotels.

A Look Back at Airline Commissions 20 Years Ago
20 years ago the airlines started cutting travel agencies out of their commission structure, forcing travel agencies to either stop selling airline tickets or start charging fees.  At that time, many travel agencies went out of business, fearing their clients wouldn’t suddenly begin paying for their services.

At Menno Travel, our clients’ need for our services continued and we began to charge fees based on our cost to provide the service.  Other agencies weren’t so lucky. There were about 36,000 accredited travel agencies that dwindled to fewer than 10,000 during the first 10 years of commission cuts. So much changed with technology and is changing more every year. Many agents were forced to treat travel as a business and the good ones survived.

Thank you to all of our clients who believe in travel services, including managed corporate travel!