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Skift Business Traveler: Getting Into the Credit Card Game

@grantkmartin

Jan 17, 2014 12:00 pm

Jim Bourg  / Reuters

Jim Bourg / Reuters


What to Know Now

Several separate parties over the last few weeks have asked me about the best credit card for business travel so I figured I’d bring it up in one of our columns. Most analysts seem to agree that the Starwood SPG Amex and the Chase Sapphire (or iteration therein) work best for travelers because of their airline-agnostic points programs. That means that you can earn SPG or Chase Ultimate Rewards points in a separate account and disburse it to almost any airline in a huge network when you need the miles, rather than being locked to one American or Delta card and program.

I won’t link to either card because I’d rather not endorse them in this newsletter, but you’ll find plenty of writers out there with plenty of deep (and profitable) links. So here’s what you need to do: keep an eye on the Flyertalk credit cards forum and watch for bonus deal from either credit card. A 40,000 or 50,000 point signup bonus shows up pretty frequently and that’s the time to apply. You can check The Points Guy and View From the Wing for tips as well, just know that they’re going to take a profit off of your linked application.

Note that a big component to having a rewards card is knowing when to spend your points, but that’s a topic for another day.

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Top Story

If you live on the east coast, your travel patterns could be changing soon. Landing slots up and down the Atlantic are shuffling as a result of the merger between American and US Airways, and because of that, some traditional routes are going away. The good news though is that the rodeo will bring more competition to the area, which means that business travelers may get to spend more time with underdogs like Virgin America and Southwest. Either way, between new routes and changes to many of the legacy frequent flyer programs, now is a good time to reassess your elite qualifying strategy for the year.

Social Quote of the Day

 A Q&A with @Kayak’s CEO on how his company dominates and what they suck at, too

— @jasonclampet, Cofounder and Head of Content at @skift

Airlines New Plane Binge

Airlines

U.S. Airfares Continue to Rise Despite Additional Revenues Reaped from Fees: The price to board an airliner in the United States has risen for the fourth straight year, making it increasingly expensive to fly almost anywhere. Read more at Skift

FAA Looking at Pilot Error in Airport Mix-Up: Missouri Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill said Wednesday that the botched landing of a Southwest Airlines flight near Branson, Mo., appeared to be the result of pilot error. Read more at USA Today

Southwest To Keep Free DISH Programming On Flights For the Rest of 2014: Southwest Airlines and DISH announced Thursday that the free programming offered on Southwest flights will continue being free through the end of 2014. Read more at Skift
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Airports

New Orleans Mayor Looks to Boost the Economy with Airport Terminal Project: Sweeping walls of glass that evoke the slaloming curves of a giant luge track dominate the drawings of a brand new terminal at Louis Armstrong International Airport, unveiled with great pomp Thursday by a coterie of public officials. Read more at Skift

Colorado Springs Airports Installs Marijuana Amnesty Boxes: The Colorado Springs Airport on Wednesday installed amnesty boxes for people who didn’t realize that it’s illegal to possess marijuana on a plane or even at the airport.  Read more at The Denver Post

American Express Plans to Open More Airport Lounges: Faced with the pending loss of Platinum cardholders’ free access to American Airlines and US Airways airport lounges in March 2014, American Express plans to open new lounges at LaGuardia and San Francisco airports. Read more at Skift
Steve Hafner headshot

Tech

Skift Q&A: Kayak CEO on Why Metasearch Competitors Can’t Keep Up: Six months or so after Priceline completed its $1.8 billion acquisition, Kayak CEO Steve Hafner likes the competitive cards he’s been dealt, and it isn’t merely about being part of Priceline, with its nearly $60 billion market cap. Read more at Skift

Business Travelers Choose McDonald’s Over 5-Star Restaurants on the Road: Business travelers aren’t always asking their employers to pay for lavish steakhouse dinners when they’re on the road for work. They’re more likely to spend their dollars at bargain chain eateries such as Chick-fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts, Panera Bread, and McDonald’s, a study released today shows. Read more at Skift

BMW i3: Driving the Electric Rebel in Munich’s Stable: BMW’s i vehicles are intended to give the carmaker the flexibility to do weird, cutting-edge things with materials and power plans that would be frowned upon in the company’s established portfolio of top-selling cars like the 3, 5, and 7 series. Read more at The Verge
Hotel San Jose Bunkhouse Hotels

Hotels

The Tiny Hotel Group From Texas That’s Rethinking the Lodging Experience: The most unique hotel marketing copywriting in existence might be the Mañanifesto of El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas (pop. 2,121). The treatise is an ode to a more mature, aware and nuanced life, in the same way that Apple’s “Think Different” or Nike’s “Just Do It” campaigns promote a life vision versus merely a consumer brand. Read more at Skift

U.S. Government Looks Into How Hotels Handle Emergency 911 Calls: A Texas grandfather’s initiative to allow hotel guests to dial 911 without having to press 9 first — spurred by his granddaughter’s inability to call for help when her mother was stabbed to death — has prompted a federal official to reach out to major hotels. Read more at Skift

With Social Media Bookings Less is More: Hotel companies are moving past using social media to drive bookings and are now beginning to use it to conduct reservations. Although still in its infancy, sources say the cutting-edge approach holds great potential, especially thanks to its low-cost, high-convenience contribution to the bottom line. – Read more at Hotel News Now

Your Turn

Today’s Travel Skills chat on Twitter run by our friends Chris McGinnis and Johnny Jet is focused on business travel. Check it out online between noon and 1PM ET with the hashtag #travelskills.

Tips and Comments

Can be sent to gm@skift.com and @grantkmartin. We publish the Business Newsletter twice a week on Monday and Thursday (and occasionally Friday).

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