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Are Frequent Flyer Programs Worth It Anymore?

Airline loyalty

In an upheaval of frequent-flier programs, major domestic airlines will soon be basing your benefits on the amount of money you spend with the carrier rather than on the distance you fly—a move that privileges front-of-the-plane travelers over those who are more price-sensitive.

Delta led the charge in February, saying that beginning next year it will calculate your award miles according to ticket price, rather than miles flown. United made a similar announcement in June. (They also both instituted minimum-spend requirements for elite status with their programs this year.) JetBlue, Southwest, and Virgin America already have similar models in place.

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How Do Airlines Decide Who to Bump?

Passenger at Airline Customer Service Counter

Each carrier makes its own rules regarding who gets boarding priority when a flight is oversold or over capacity because of a change in aircraft. After looking for volunteers to give up their seats, some domestic carriers bump those who checked in last; others start with passengers in the lowest fare class. All of them give priority to people in special circumstances: those whose trips would be severely delayed, travelers with disabilities, unaccompanied minors, and (naturally) people in premier cabins or with elite loyalty-club status.

Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@timeinc.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.

 

Photo: iStockphoto


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Expert Travel Tips from Mashable's Seth Rogin

Mashable's Seth Rogin

Seth Rogin, the chief revenue officer of Mashable, shares his business travel tips, from must-pack items to his favorite airport amenities.

Q: How often do you travel?

A: About one trip per week. My nephew Michael recently pointed out that I've flown enough miles to take three trips between Earth and the moon.

Q: What are your must-pack items?

A: I always have extra international plug converters and a solar phone charger. Power is power.

Q: Airport lounge amenity you can't live without?

A: Being connected is everything to me, so strong, reliable Wi-Fi is key.

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Expert Travel Tips from the Founders of Yabu Pushelberg

Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu

Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu, founders of the design firm Yabu Pushelberg, share business travel tips, from their favorite carry-on bags to the lounge amenities they can't live without.

Q: How often do you travel?

GP: We're flying at least twice a week–sometimes more. At least once a month we're doing a five- or six-day international trek.

Q: What is your go-to travel app?

GY: Luxe City Guides app. It has cheeky and opinionated guides, featuring insider stuff in big cities from Beijing to Bangkok.

Q: What are your must-pack items?

GP: A sweater for the plane, comfortable sneakers, and my Mophie iPhone battery pack case.

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Expert Travel Tips from NBC News' Katy Tur

Katy Tur

Katy Tur, a correspondent for NBC News, shares her business travel tips, from how to she survives red-eyes to her favorite airport terminal. 

Q: How often do you travel?

A: I'm gone at least a full four months of the year. In the news business, it's feast or famine. A slow cycle can keep you home for weeks. Then suddenly, something bubbles up and you're gone for months. In March, I packed for a week in London. It turned into a seven-week journey that took me to Italy, the Netherlands, Malaysia, and Australia.

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Q+A with Celeb Hairstylist Serge Normant

201408-hd-serge-normantjpg

As one of the industry’s most sought-after stylists, Serge Normant is the ultimate globetrotter—a shoot in Paris one day; overseeing his New York City salons the next. The man behind Hollywood's most luxurious locks (he’s styled the likes of Julia Roberts, Reece Witherspoon, Gisele Bündchen, and more) sits down with T+L’s Katie James to reveal his tips and tricks for mastering summer hair—at home and abroad.

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Expert Travel Tips from Twitter's Melissa Barnes

Melissa Barnes

Melissa Barnes, Twitter's head of global brands, shares her business travel tips, from how she fights jet-lag to her go-to app.

Q: How often do you travel?

A: Between 50% and 60% of my time is on the road.

Q: What is your go-to travel app?

A: American Airlines app. I've checked into many a flight as I'm speeding to the airport. (Disclaimer: I'm usually in the back of a cab and not driving when I'm checking in via my phone)

Q: What are your must-pack items?

A: A charger for my Mac, an international converter, workout clothes, a pair of heels, and a good dress. And I'm always packing a few extra super chargers for my phone. As long as I've got power, I can figure the rest out.

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Q+A with Soccer Star Tim Howard About How #LoveTravels

201408-hd-tim-howard-marriott-lovetravelsjpg

In June, Marriott International launched its #LoveTravels campaign, encouraging LGBT travelers to feel at ease while staying with Marriott brands during their travels. Today, the company announced that it is broadening the message to individuals of any orientation, with an expanded lineup of celebrity endorsements such as soccer star Tim Howard and fashion maven Angela Simmons.

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Q+A with Country Music Singer-Songwriter Lee Brice

201408-hd-lee-brice-q-and-ajpgJust weeks before the release of his new album, I Don’t Dance, singer-songwriter and South Carolina native Lee Brice sat down with T+L to talk Charleston, Music City, and life on the road.

Q: What can fans expect from I Don’t Dance?

A: The new album is very dynamic. It’s diverse in that it mixes all the different types of music that I grew up listening to. I’m such a country guy at heart, and I can’t not be a country man singing country music, but there are little dazzles of the things that I love in R&B and the things that I love in rock, and blues, and gospel music. Some of that stuff comes through on the record. And then just be ready for a very personal record. I try to tell the truth on it. 

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The Way I Travel: Phil Winser

Phil Winser

Phil Winser, restaurateur and co-owner of N.Y.C. hot spots the Fat Radish, the East Pole, and the Leadbelly, reveals his travel essentials—and his favorite destinations.

Sense of Adventure

My father used to organize expeditions for the Royal Geographical Society in London, taking scientists to remote places—caves in Brunei; Oman’s Wahiba Sands. I still use his Globe-Trotter suitcase. It reminds me of old-​world travel, when exploration was at the forefront of excitement.

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