What to Know Now

With American finally giving in and lighting its loyalty program on fire and the eminent trainwreck of the Starwood and Marriott Rewards programs on the horizon, 2016 is going to be an interesting year for miles and points junkies. Many are decrying the whole game altogether. But for those dedicated, there’s still plenty of hope.

The New York Times has a good basic summary on the global upcoming changes, but the gist of the strategy for 2016 business travelers is to stick with one airline and hotel, build up elite status (and any minimum spend) then reap the benefits. Sadly, there’s going to be little space for off-brand travel.

The good news is that there’s still a game to play, at least for now.

Social Quote of the Day

For Cyber Monday, I’m going to replace my left arm with a servo-assisted robot limb. Because that’s what this holiday is all about, right?

@worldmattworld |  Matt Gross, Wandering Writer/Editor

Dreamliner Interior HR


U.S. Regional Airlines Ask for Break From New Pilot Safety Rules: U.S. regional airlines are preparing to ask the government to loosen 2013 pilot safety restrictions they say have unnecessarily caused a shortage of qualified flight crews. Read more at Skift

Cabin Design Can Make Passengers Love Flying Again Says Boeing: The right cabin design can make passengers feel that they have more room onboard, even when they don’t, and make flying a more pleasant experience. Read more at Skift

Delta Air Lines to offer sleep wear from Los Angeles to Shanghai and Sydney. Starting on December 15th, 2015 those who are seated in Delta business class or Delta ONE from Los Angeles to Shanghai and Sydney will be provided sleep wear to enjoy on the flight and to keep after the flight. Read more at Renes Points

5 Charts Showing China’s Fastest-Growing Aviation Markets: With the number of Chinese outbound tourists at more than 100 million this year, it is important to assess which are the fastest-growing markets for this country of one billion-plus people. Read more at Skift



Airport Group Promises 50 Carbon Neutral Airports in Europe by 2030: During the presentation of the Airport Carbon Accreditation program at COP21, in Paris, the European airport industry committed to raising the number of carbon neutral airports in Europe to 50 by 2030. Read more at Skift

Lost in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport? Ask the Robot for Help: Meet Spencer, a wide-eyed, 6’2 robot who’ll guide you to your gate—and give Star Wars’ BB-8 a real run for the “cutest android of 2015” honor. Read more at Conde Nast Traveler

U.K. Lawmakers Oppose Third Heathrow Runway Without Safeguards: The expansion of London’s Heathrow Airport should be delayed until it can give guarantees that it will meet environmental requirements, a panel of lawmakers said. Read more at Skift



U.S. Moves to Fingerprint and Photograph Travelers From Visa Waiver Countries: Travelers to the United States from “visa waiver” nations would have to provide fingerprints and photos under a U.S. Senate bill to intensify scrutiny of foreigners, one of several border-tightening measures offered since the Paris attacks. Read more at Skift

Uber’s making it easy to request rides from other apps: With the introduction of the Uber API last year, the ridesharing company began opening its platform to third-party services. Today, Uber’s expanding on that goal by launching the Ride Request Button, a feature developers can easily integrate into their iOS and Android apps. Read more at Engadget

Fogo Island Inn


Expedia CFO: Airbnb Getting Into Hotel Bookings Is a Serious Threat: The online accommodations business will undoubtedly be transformed over the next few years and Expedia CFO Mark Okerstrom said his company should take seriously the prospect that Airbnb might enter the hotel-booking business. Read more at Skift

How a Remote Canadian Inn Became the Future of Local Luxury Hospitality: At the easternmost tip of Canada, Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland has received huge international exposure since opening in May 2013 due to its high luxury level and high concept architecture located in a wholly non-traditional travel destination. Read more at Skift

Hilton Negotiated Favorable Concessions From Online Booking Sites: Hilton Worldwide completed a series of negotiations with major online travel agencies over the last quarter and wrangled important economic and marketing concessions, according to CEO Chris Nassetta. Read more at Skift

Hotel Chains Scramble to Poach Elite Customers as Year Draws to a Close: With many elite Starwood customers unsure about the long term future of their favorite Starwood Preferred Guest rewards program, competitors are now taking turns at chipping away at their loyalty. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

The legendary Pico Iyer (speaker on The Art of Stillness) has a great story on the walk that made him fall in love with Japan over on BBC Travel. Find it here.

Tips and Comments

Can be sent to gm[at]skift[dot]com or to @grantkmartin

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Photo credit: An employee works at the reception of the Four Points hotel in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad. Amit Dave / Reuters

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