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What to Know Now
Lost a bit in the United Mileage Plus ruckus last week was a small service upgrade to American and US Airways operations: Reciprocal elite upgrades. According to Examiner, the upgrades started on June 11th and are limited to 24 hour availability — so normal elite upgrades prior to checkin will go on unmolested.
It’s a small step to create peace among the ranks prior to full mileage program integration in 2015. And since American and US Airways are the only two legacy loyalty programs remaining that don’t have a minimum spend requirement, now’s the time to stock up on elite status. Rumor has it that changes for them will come for the 2016 loyalty year.
Priceline continued its buying spree last week by announcing that it’s acquiring OpenTable, the tool for making dinner reservations around the world. How is this relevant to business travelers, you ask? It’s all about packaging. Like TripAdvisor, Priceline aims to be the one-stop-shop for all of your travel needs, where you can book a flight through their engine, kick down to a hotel booking (with a hefty discount for you and a commission for them thank you) and then bounce over to a few dinner reservations — all without leaving the Priceline mansion. Soon they’ll be packing your bags too.
The acquisition is still in motion, but expect tighter integration between OpenTable and Priceline in the coming months.
Social Quote of the Day
Two HUUUUUGE deals in travel this week: Priceline Buys OpenTable / Skift Buys Gadling. I hear the 2nd one is a much bigger deal.
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Delta’s Big Plans to Dominate Seattle Hub: Delta Air Lines Chief Executive Richard Anderson has ambitious plans to build up Seattle as the airline’s West Coast international gateway and its eighth domestic hub. Read more at Skift
JetBlue Unveils Its Business Class, Mint: When the first JetBlue Transcon A321 leaves JFK for Los Angeles Sunday, a new era will begin for the airline. In the front now on the JFK-LAX flights will be five rows of a premium class with lie-flat seats. Read more at Forbes
Budget Airline PEOPLExpress Starts Selling Tickets: A frugal gateway from the Pittsburgh area to eastern Virginia is opening up with the Friday announcement of the re-launch of PEOPLExpress at Pittsburgh International Airport. Read more at Skift
Los Angeles Airport Is Bringing the City’s Farmers Market to the Terminal: Los Angeles International Airport is bringing some local flavor to its Delta terminal with the opening of The Original Farmers Market. Read more at Skift
Singapore Changi Airport to Lure More Flights by Cutting Airlines’ Fees: Changi Airport Group the management company for Changi Airport, Singapore, has announced that it will commit S$100 million additional funds through various initiatives and take measures to reduce the cost to airlines of flying to Changi. Read more at Skift
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Location-Sharing Startup Glympse Secures $12 Million in Funding: Location sharing startup Glympse raised a fresh $12 million round of funding, the company announced. Read more at Skift
Earin’s Tiny Wireless Earphones Recharge While They’re in Your Pocket: A group of former Sony Ericsson and Nokia engineers reckon they can create two miniscule, music-dedicated buds with independent batteries and AptX-compatible wireless receivers. Read more at Engadget
Virgin America Launches New Website: Last month, we rolled out the beta version of a brand new virginamerica.com to members of our Elevate community and a variety of other frequent VX travelers – including the team at Google. Even though the early reviews are still coming in we have to say…we already feel pretty. Read more at Virgin America
Brooklyn is Hip But Queens is Where the Hotel Boom Is: Most visitors to New York City think of Queens as the place where they arrive and leave via the airports—but it turns out that the borough is increasingly where travelers rest their heads at night. Read more at Skift
Peninsula Hotels Turns to YouTube to Make a Statement About Its Brand History: It’s not often that we see a global hotel brand publish a full-length documentary about itself on YouTube, so the release of The Peninsula Hotels‘ well-produced video caught our eye. Read more at Skift
Passport Health, the folks that provide all of your immunizations before traveling deep into the Borneo jungle, turns 20 this year. Here’s to another 20 years of malaria dreams.