Skift Take

Loyalty is the big battle ahead for travel brands in 2016.

What to Know Now

Delta and Starwood have their Crossover Rewards Program. United and Marriott have something similar. And now American Airlines and Hilton are getting cozy.

As of last week, American seems to be carefully reaching out Hilton elite members to offer them complimentary Gold or Platinum status, a feat usually requiring 25,000 or 50,000 flown miles. The campaign seems to be targeted (so check your spam box!) but some out in the community are reporting a successful match.

Why the sudden generosity? American has been aggressively been building up its elite ranks over the last 12 months as disenfranchised members from other carriers change their loyalty. With things finally settling in the airline space, it’s now time for them to target parallel markets. And the first stop on that train is the massive pool of Hilton elites.

Social Quote of the Day

 is this picture an allegory of our future ? the people in a virtual reality with our leaders walking by us.

@ndebock | Nicholas Debock

Let the Vacation Begin


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United Airlines tells pilots it may retire all of its Boeing 747s by 2018: United told pilots on Friday that it may retire all of its 747s faster than expected, with the last one leaving the fleet as soon as 2018. In the past, executives suggested the 747s could stay at United into 2020, or even later. Read more at

Airlines Make 25% of Revenues From Fees: How Smart Flyers Avoid Them: Airlines now get one-fourth of their revenue from sources other than fares — mostly fees — and one of the biggest is a charge of up to $200 to change or cancel a ticket. Read more at Skift

How couples cope with the drama of air travel when only one is a seasoned traveler: Travel is full of stresses. But for couples with different flying predilections, the knives can really come out, especially when only one is an experienced traveler. Read more at the Wall St Journal

JAL aeroplane flies over ANA aeroplanes at Haneda airport in Tokyo


Lyft and Uber Get Green Light to Operate at New York City’s Newark Airport: Transportation officials say ride-sharing firms won’t be blocked from operating at Newark Liberty International Airport. Read more at Skift

Florida Bill May Allow Guns in Airports: Florida flyers may soon be able to exercise their Second Amendment rights in airport terminals if a new bill clears both chambers of the state legislature. Senate Bill 1500, introduced by State Senator Wilton Simpson, passed through the Senate Criminal Justice Committee in a split vote and will go on to the Judiciary Committee for consideration. Read more at Flyertalk

New Agreement Makes Tokyo-Bound Flights Better for U.S. Passengers: U.S. airlines won the right to fly into an airport near downtown Tokyo during daytime hours, making travel to the Japanese capital more convenient for travelers and potentially more profitable for the carriers. Read more at Skift



Air France Is Finally Bringing In-Flight Wi-Fi to International Flights: The French, renowned champions of the work-life balance, are about to lose one of their last sanctuaries from the connected world: the aircraft cabin. Read more at Skift

Virgin Galactic’s New Tourism Space Ship Is Coming: Virgin Galactic rolled out a new version of its SpaceShipTwo space tourism rocket Friday as it prepares to return to flight testing for the first time since a 2014 accident destroyed the original, killed one of its pilots and set back the nascent industry. Read more at Skift

Passengers Can Soon Download In-Flight Entertainment Before They Fly: In-flight entertainment is getting a new twist. Global Eagle Entertainment launched an app this week that will allow travelers to download content onto their smartphones and tablets days or weeks in advance of departure. Read more at Skift

Gogo Makes Moves to End Its In-Flight Wi-Fi Dispute With American Air: In the latest development in the dispute between Gogo and American Airlines on in-flight Wi-Fi service, Gogo has filed an updated 8-K form with the SEC, asserting that it is rescinding a Gogo letter issued to American on February 12, which led to American Airlines’ taking legal action, and this now could make the legal action against Gogo moot. Read more at Skift



NYC’s St. Regis May Be on the Block As Starwood Unloads Assets: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. may be in talks to sell properties including the St. Regis New York as part of a goal of finding buyers this year for its remaining hotels, valued at $1 billion, Chief Executive Officer Tom Mangas said. Read more at Skift

Accor’s Different Approach to Running Hotels Results in Strong Profits in 2015: Accor SA, Europe’s largest hotel operator, said 2015 profit increased almost 11 percent as an overhaul of the French company paid off and demand for accommodation rose in most of Europe. Read more at Skift

Choice Hotels CEO on Vacation Rentals and Instant Gratification for Millennials: Choice Hotels launched a vacation rental business and is doing it by leveraging its in-house SkyTouch technology and distribution platform as it works strictly with vacation rental management companies and not individual property owners. Read more at Skift

Marriott CEO Tells Starwood Loyalty Members ‘You’ll Be OK’: Marriott International’s impending purchase of Starwood Hotels and Resorts will have transformative effects throughout the two companies’ existing business, from concerns about over saturation in markets like New York City to an overabundance of brands in one company’s stable — the new company will have 30 of them. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Lucas Peterson is the new Frugal Traveler at the New York Times, and he just live tweeted an enormous Megabus fire. Check out his feed out.

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Photo credit: A promotional image for Hilton HHonor's mobile app. Hilton HHonors

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