We're heading into one of the busiest and most stressful times of the year for travel but it doesn't have to be that way. These startups can't guarantee you speedy check-in and security lines but they can help assure you that you're getting your miles' worth and making the best booking.
This week’s five startups seek to help travelers prepare for travel bookings for the upcoming, busy holiday season when millions of travelers take to the skies. They want to help travelers focus on low-cost carrier fares, how to navigate airline loyalty programs and how to tap into exclusive retail offers and Wi-Fi access at major airports.
Airlines tend to shoulder much of that blame for why the holidays can be stressful at airports. But it doesn’t have to be that way and these companies show consumers that it’s possible to make smart bookings and maximize their miles when airlines are trying to squeeze revenue out of travelers.
HelloWings is a metasearch site for low-cost carriers.
>>SkiftTake: One of HelloWings’ largest advantages appears to be that it eliminates all airlines in search results that aren’t low-cost carriers as it believes some consumers only want to see and fly with those airlines.
SlingShot analyzes travelers’ information across preferred destinations, frequent flyer program participation, credit history, spending patterns and more to create personalized rewards points redemption plans.
>>SkiftTake: Yes, redeeming airline miles in general can be confusing. But that’s only after you convince travelers it’s worth trying to redeem them in the first place. A recent Skift analysis found as much as 80 percent of U.S. airline loyalty members hadn’t redeemed any points in 2015, for example.
Frequent Flyer is a mobile app that allows travelers to exchange survey participation for airline miles. The app measures location data in the background and travelers receive surveys based on the places they’ve visited. They accrue airline miles with each survey response they make and can earn up to 100 airline miles a month.
>>SkiftTake: Whether travelers want their locations tracked and want to answer multiple surveys is up for debate. Earning 100 airlines a month also isn’t much of an incentive and barely gets travelers a free flight at the end of the year.
Flip provides information and exclusive retail offers at airports. It also allows travelers one-click access to free Wi-Fi at 350 airports.
>>SkiftTake: Flio had us at one-click free Wi-Fi access, still a rarity at many airports.
AwardAce helps travelers look up redemption rates for miles on several global airlines. It also explains which credit card programs tie into which frequent flyer programs.
>>SkiftTake: The airline industry, with the three legacy U.S. carriers as prime examples, has moved towards measuring loyalty in dollars spent rather than miles flown. AwardAce’s solution is useful in navigating points redemption.
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