Reflecting on 2019, travel expert Johnny Jet shares six things he’s discovered from his travels this year.
It’s hard to believe it’s nearly 2020! A lot has changed in the travel world this past decade and many can argue that 2019 had seen the most significant changes of all.
I have flown more than 50 times, stayed in countless hotel rooms, and attended a dozen travel conferences over the year and have learned and experienced a lot during my travels.
1. Airline loyalty is not like it used to be
If you fly fewer than 75,000 miles a year and buy cheap plane tickets, then it no longer really pays to be loyal to one airline or even an alliance. That’s because airlines continue to make it harder to achieve elite status for those who buy cheap tickets, no matter how much they fly.
Choose whatever flights are cheaper, offer the best schedules, and have the fewest number of stops. Airlines now sell first class for much cheaper than they used to so even those with elite status are not getting upgraded as much as before.
Use one of the best credit cards for international travel to help you save money on foreign transaction fees while still earning points/miles and taking advantage of their travel perks.
2. Not all planes are created equal
Always look at the different types of planes on the routes you’re flying. For example, I fly Los Angeles (LAX) to Miami (MIA) regularly and American Airlines has nine nonstop flights a day between the two cities. On eight of those flights, they fly a cramped A321 with an old-school first class that just has recliner seats.
But, one of the flights is on a widebody 777, which has plush, lie-flat business-class seats and a really nice premium economy. Of course, I pick the 777 every time, since the flight will be that much more comfortable than on a narrow-body plane, no matter the class of service I’m in.
3. Ridesharing can be a headache
The old adage “you get what you pay for” is certainly true when it comes to getting picked up at the airport. Yes, Uber and Lyft are much cheaper than other car services. But many times it’s not worth it because (in my experience) the drivers can be unaccommodating, not wanting to travel too short or too long a distance. Even worse, I’ve had some terrible drivers who just weren’t reliable.
When I travel for business or with my family, I splurge to make sure there are no hassles, which is why I use and promote Blacklane (I’m a brand ambassador). To me, this luxury service is worth the cost of the professional, headache-free experience.
4. Use miles and points
One of the best ways to save money on travel is to play the miles and points game. These days it’s more and more difficult to earn miles for flying so the best way to earn points is to get a credit card with a large signup bonus.
The best miles credit cards have bonuses that are easy enough to earn while still offering plenty of perks. Just make sure you can pay off your credit card in full every month. Otherwise, it’s not worth it if you’re paying a bunch of interest fees.
5. Get travel insurance
Full disclosure: I’m a brand ambassador for the travel insurance provider, Allianz. But, regardless of my relationship with them, I would still highly recommend that travelers get travel insurance since it will give you peace of mind and protect you when the unexpected happens.
If you get hurt or sick while away from home, you don’t want to get stuck with an enormous hospital or doctor’s bills. No matter which company you choose, always read the fine print and understand the terms of the policy you purchase.
6. Passenger shaming is real
The effect of travel on the environment and the concern about the carbon footprint left by travelers is real, as is the passenger shaming of frequent travelers.
I have many friends that fly multiple times a week because they’re addicted to travel. They used to post about all of their flights on social media. But, they have recently cut back so they don’t get shamed by others. This year, I’ve learned about different ways to help reduce my carbon footprint when I travel.