Chase And Instacart Announce First Co-Branded Credit Card


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Since June 2020, Chase and Instacart have partnered to offer benefits to Chase cardholders, including complimentary Instacart Express membership and discounts. On Wednesday, the bank and food delivery service announced that they would be launching an Instacart co-branded credit card.

The Instacart Mastercard® credit card will be the first co-branded card offered by a food delivery service. The card will give consumers the ability to earn accelerated points on Instacart purchases and give several other benefits, perks and savings.

A joint press release states the card will be released to the public sometime this year.

Here’s what you need to know about the new card offering, and what benefits are currently available to Chase cardholders.

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Chase announces Instacart Mastercard credit card

This announcement comes at a ripe time for grocery delivery.

According to a recent survey from PowerReviews of 8,000 U.S. grocery shoppers, 73% of respondents had purchased grocery items online within the most recent three months of being surveyed. In 2017, that number was a modest 17%.

As we approach the two-year mark of the first pandemic lockdowns, Americans have clearly adopted the stay-at-home shopping model, and this new credit card announcement is a bet that habit won’t change.

Select learned that while the card is being announced today, the details of the card, including spending categories and benefits, will be released later this year.

However, we do know the card is a World Elite Mastercard®. This means cardholders will have complimentary 24/7 concierge service, cell phone protection, Shoprunner benefits and access to Priceless® experiences

But if you’re already using Instacart regularly, you may benefit from the perks offered on other Chase credit cards.

Chase cards that qualify for Instacart Express

There are several dozen Chase credit cards that offer a complimentary membership to Instacart Express, which is the subscription model offering free delivery on Instacart orders over $35 and reduced service fees. Through Jan. 31, 2022 customers who sign up for an Instacart Express membership with an eligible Chase credit card can receive a free membership until April 30, 2022, and $10 off their next order of $35 or more. Once the free Express membership ends, the account auto-renews into an annual membership ($99 annually) on April 30, 2022, unless you cancel beforehand. 

Here are two cards we recommend based on the welcome offers and excellent rewards you can earn with each.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great travel rewards credit card that offers a great sign-up bonus, along with bonus points on travel, dining. Plus it earns 3X points per dollar spent on online grocery purchases, including Instacart. The card has a $95 annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Rewards

    $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases, 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022, and 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

    15.99% to 22.99% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is a valuable cash-back credit card that earns rewards in specific categories.

As you spend on the card, you can earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining at restaurants (including takeout) and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases on up to $20,000 spent in the first year. In addition, the card comes with a 0% intro APR offer on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months of card membership (variable APR of 14.99%–23.74% afterward). The card doesn’t have an annual fee.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • Rewards

    Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 1.5% on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 cash back. That’s 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    14.99% to 23.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Intro fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Bottom line

This new card announcement isn’t a shock as grocery delivery has skyrocketed in popularity. However, the convenience of grocery delivery comes at a cost. It’s known that Instacart can upcharge on the items you order. For example, a gallon of milk may be $4 in the store, but you may pay $5 for that same gallon when ordering through the platform. And it’s also customary to tip your Instacart drivers for their services.

If you enjoy shopping online for your groceries, you may ordering online and picking up the groceries yourself to save money. In many cases, this service is offered at no additional charge to you. Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns bonus points or cash back on grocery purchases.

But if you value your time more than the premium of using Instacart, you may want to keep your eye out this year for this new credit card offering.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.



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Frontier Airlines announce affordable nonstop flights at Hobby airport to 3 top travel destinations


HOUSTON – Frontier Airlines announced several new additions Tuesday at Hobby Airport that will provide affordable routes for its passengers to three popular destinations around the U.S and Mexico.

Domestic International Sales Manager at Frontier Airlines, Alfredo Gonzalez, announced the new routes out of Hobby that will start at $39 are Cancun, Mexico; Las Vegas; and Orland, Florida.

Starting on May 26, Gonzalez said they will start nonstop service to the city of Cancun three times a week, with an introductory rate of $79 and on May 27, service to Las Vegas four times with a starting rate at $59 and also staring on May 27, they will begin nonstop service four times a week to Orlando with a starting rate at $39.

“We’re excited to expand in Houston and add William P. Hobby Airport to our route map with three nonstop routes beginning this May,” said Josh Flyr, vice president of network and operational design. “Frontier takes low fares to heart – it’s the core of our business – and today’s announcement of new flights to Cancun, Las Vegas and Orlando furthers our mission to make flying more accessible and affordable for everyone. We look forward to launching service at HOU and bringing increased air service competition to the market.”

Copyright 2022 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.



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Online Travel Update: Marriott and Rakuten announce partnership; Sonder continues to expand distribution network; Expedia combines loyalty programs | Foster Garvey PC


Marriott and Rakuten Announce Partnership
(“In Marriage of Two Giants, Marriott and Rakuten Take Vow on Loyalty,” July 10, 2021 via WIT)
Marriott International and Japanese e-commerce platform (e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications all linked through a rewards program) Rakuten Group announced a partnership last week that will provide members of the parties’ loyalty program with benefits under each program. Under the partnership, Marriott gains direct local access to Rakuten’s approximately 100 million members for promoting Marriott’s hotel brands and offering travel experience customized for Japanese travelers. In exchange, Rakuten members – once enrolled in Marriott Bonvoy – will enjoy discounted member rates, opportunities to earn and redeem program points and other member-only opportunities. Enrollment in Marriott Bonvoy will be via a simplified one-click process on the Rakuten platform. According to John Toomey, Marriott’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing in the Asia-Pacific region, the partnership is part of Marriott’s ongoing efforts to focus on local markets via partnerships and other collaborations with in-country partners. The announced partnership is scheduled to launch in phases, with the first phase starting late next month.

Sonder Continues to Expand Distribution Network
(“Hotel Engine to Offer Sonder Inventory to Business Travelers,” October 7, 2021 via Phocus Wire)
Short-term rental company, Sonder, continues to add corporate distribution channels for its rental inventory. In July, Sonder announced that it was adding its inventory to the major global distribution systems and partnering with several well-known travel management companies and travel consortia. This past week, Sonder and the corporate travel booking and management platform, Hotel Engine, announced that Sonder’s inventory will appear on the platform this month.

Expedia Combines Loyalty Programs
(“Expedia Group to Combine its Rewards Programs Creating Mega Loyalty Platform,” October 5, 2021 via Travel Weekly Australia)
Expedia Group announced this past week its plan to combine the loyalty programs of its various travel brands into a single loyalty program. Members of the combined program will be able to earn and redeem points on each of Expedia’s brands – Expedia, Travelocity, Hotels.com, Orbitz and notably, VRBO – for a wide variety of products and services – air, hotel, cruise, car rental, vacation rental and activities.


Other news:

Data Privacy Laws Forcing Changes in Digital Marketing
October 6, 2021 via Travel Weekly
As the digital privacy landscape shifts, experts say that travel companies will likely need to adapt their online marketing strategies accordingly. Although online privacy has long been a hot topic, concern over the protection of personal data has come to a head in more recent years, driven in part by regulation.

Google Agrees to Government Request to Pull Ads Linking to Fake Travel Sites
October 5, 2021 via CBC – Politics News
On Tuesday, Google agreed to a request from the Government of Canada and changed the results that appear when travelers coming to Canada search for the ArriveCan app — an effort to protect travelers from paying unnecessary fees to phoney websites.

Asia’s TruTrip Adds Refund Subscription Service for Hesitant Business Travelers
October 4, 2021 via Skift (subscription may be required)
A Singapore-based corporate travel booking app has launched a subscription package that lets companies refund their trip — with no questions asked. TruTrip’s new TruFlex feature provides an instant refund of at least 80 percent of incurred costs for travelers in the event of trip cancellations.



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Pleasant Holidays and Journese Announce Travel Advisor Incentive


WHY IT RATES: It pays to be a travel agent when working with Pleasant Holidays and Journese.—Donald Wood, Breaking News Senior Writer.


Pleasant Holidays and its luxury brand, Journese, today announced an incentive that is a win-win, rewarding current advisors and new alike with bonus TRIP Points. TRIP is the company’s travel reward incentive program where travel advisors earn points redeemable for personal travel with every booking.

Trending Now

Travel technology, man with airplane and laptop

“As we approach the season of thanks, we want to show our appreciation to the loyal advisors who sing our praises. Our Travel Advisor Referral Incentive awards 500 bonus TRIP Points each to travel advisors currently booking with us and to the new travel advisors they refer to begin working with us,” said Jack E. Richards, President and CEO. “In addition, the travel advisor who refers the highest number of qualifying travel advisors with registered bookings will win the Grand Prize: a three-night stay at Planet Hollywood Adult Scene Cancun, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort – Adults Only.”

The incentive is open to travel advisors who currently book with Pleasant Holidays and/or Journese who refer new travel advisors who have not booked with the brands in at least three years, if ever. The incentive bonus TRIP Points reward applies to the first new booking of $1,000 or more made by a newly referred travel advisor Oct. 18, 2021 to Nov. 15, 2021. Vacation package bookings may be for travel anytime to any destination and must be registered at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2021TravelAdvisorReferralBookingIncentive to qualify.

The newly referred travel advisor will receive 500 Bonus TRIP Points for their first qualified booking; the referring travel advisor will receive 500 Bonus TRIP Points for each new travel advisor they refer who makes a qualified booking. One Grand Prize will be awarded by Dec. 31, 2021.

For more information or to make a booking, travel advisors can visit PleasantAgent.com or visit Journese.com. Pleasant Holidays and Journese are members of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) and an active member of the United States Tour Operator Association (USTOA) and participates in the $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program.


SOURCE: Pleasant Holidays press release.





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Travel news: India, Bali and Vietnam announce opening plans


(CNN) — This was a pretty good week for the world’s wannabe jetsetters. The UK and Israel both cleared out their travel “red lists,” while India, Bali and Vietnam all announced reopening plans.

Here are 10 things we learned in pandemic travel this week.

1. The UK cut its ‘red list’ to just seven countries…

Thailand -- including Phuket, home to Vijitt Resort -- is coming off the UK's red list.

Thailand — including Phuket, home to Vijitt Resort — is coming off the UK’s red list.

Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images

The UK introduced a new system for international travel, relaxing testing requirements for many fully vaccinated travelers and designating destinations either “red” or “green.”

From October 11, England is set to remove 47 countries from its red list, leaving only seven red destinations: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

The rules vary in the rest of the UK (that’s Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.) Here’s the CNN Travel lowdown on what travelers need to know.

2. …But there was anger over its quarantine rules

There were accusations of discrimination at the start of October when the UK relaxed its inbound travel rules but fully vaccinated visitors from India and many African countries still faced mandatory quarantine in the UK.
The UK has now changed its restrictions so that from October 11, vaccine certificates will be accepted from close to 40 countries that were previously ineligible, including India, Brazil, Chile, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.

The UK’s recognized vaccines are Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), or formulations of these.

3. The CDC lowered the risk category for France, Portugal and South Africa

The CDC is now okay with vaccinated Americans heading to Iceland's Seljalandsfoss waterfall.

The CDC is now okay with vaccinated Americans heading to Iceland’s Seljalandsfoss waterfall.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

There was good news for Argentina, France, Iceland, Lesotho, Morocco, Nepal, Portugal and South Africa, and for Americans keen to travel there.

All eight were moved from Level 4 — the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s highest risk category — down to Level 3 (which is still “High,” FYI). This means the US travel advisory is to be fully vaccinated before traveling there, and to avoid nonessential travel if you’re unvaccinated.

Meanwhile, six destinations have moved from Level 3 to Level 4 (“Very High”) which means nonessential travel should be avoided by US citizens.

Those destinations are Armenia, Austria, Barbados, Croatia, Latvia and New Caledonia.

4. India will start letting tourists in this month…

India will begin granting tourist visas for foreign visitors for the first time in 18 months, the country’s government announced Thursday.

Tourists arriving by chartered flight will be able to do so from October 15, according to a press release from India’s Ministry of Home Affairs. Other arrivals will be permitted from November 15, it said.

5. …And Bali will gradually reopen too

People visit Kuta beach during sunset near Denpasar on September 26, 2021.

Bali’s Kuta Beach is pictured at sunset in September 2021.

Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP/Getty Images

The Indonesian island of Bali will reopen its airport to international arrivals on October 14, officials have announced.

Bali Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar will begin welcoming arrivals from a select number of countries, according to Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, Indonesia’s minister of maritime affairs and investment.

However, he didn’t clarify whether foreign tourists would be permitted. Here’s what we know so far.

6. Vietnam plans to fully reopen by June 2022

01 Phu Quoc FILE

Sanato beach on the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc.

Adobe Stock

Vietnam plans to reopen key tourist destinations from December to vaccinated visitors from countries deemed “low risk,” Reuters reports, ahead of a full reopening targeted for June 2022.

Vietnam still has a way to go when it comes it vaccinating its population: Just over 13% are fully vaccinated, making it one of the lowest rates in Asia.

7. Soon New Zealand will only let foreign nationals enter if they’re vaccinated

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces the country is moving from eliminating Covid-19, amid a persistent outbreak of the Delta variant, and will instead transition to a strategy of ‘living with the virus.’

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced in press conferences this week that the country is transitioning away from its Covid-19 elimination strategy and will start using vaccine certificates as early as next month.

From November 1, all foreign nationals entering New Zealand will need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Air New Zealand, the country’s flag carrier airline, has also announced that passengers on its international flights will need to be fully vaccinated from February 2022. Get the full details in our Covid travel guide to New Zealand.

8. Canada has issued a vaccine mandate for trains and planes

air canada plane in flight against blue sky

“By the end of November, if you’re 12 or older and want to fly or take the train, you’ll have to be fully vaccinated,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

iStock

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a nationwide Covid-19 vaccine mandate for rail and air travelers aged 12 and over, as well as for staff.

The mandate will start to be enforced by the end of October, with a short month-long grace period in which negative Covid-19 tests will be accepted. (More details here).
Over in South Asia, from the start of this month Pakistan has been requiring all air passengers aged 17 and over to be fully vaccinated.

9. Israel now lets its citizens travel anywhere

Venturing into the fairy chimneys begins a journey of discovery in this unusual place.

Israel has emptied out its “red” travel list, meaning Israeli citizens and residents can now travel anywhere in the world.

Until October 4, Israelis were still barred from traveling to Turkey, Bulgaria and Brazil because of high Covid rates.

Under current guidelines, travelers returning to Israel who have been vaccinated three times, or twice within the past six months, are only required to quarantine for 24 hours, or upon receipt of a negative PCR test — whichever comes sooner.

Unvaccinated individuals or those whose second dose was more than six months ago are still required to quarantine for a full week or receive two negative PCR tests.

The Israel Ministry of Tourism has also announced that it’s working on plans to allow individual vaccinated tourists to visit the country from November. Currently it’s only open to small groups of tourists or individuals visiting family members.

10. The airline industry is set to lose nearly $52 billion in 2021

An Air France plane prepares to take off from Nice Cote d'Azur airport in August 2021.

An Air France plane prepares to take off from Nice Cote d’Azur airport in August 2021.

JP Pariente/Sipa via AP Images

Airlines will lose $51.8 billion in 2021, more than previously forecast, according to an updated outlook from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Net losses for 2020 were also revised higher, to $137.7 billion. More woes are expected next year too — a $11.6 billion dollar loss is projected. The group expects the industry to return to profitability in 2023, IATA Director General Willie Walsh said October 4 at the group’s annual meeting in Boston.

The other big news out of Boston is that the global group of 290 airlines agreed to a resolution committing them to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

CNN’s Melissa Alonso, Pamela Boykoff, Matt Friedman, Hadas Gold, Swati Gupta, Marnie Hunter, Masrur Jamaluddin, Lilit Marcus, Francesca Street and Nimi Princewill contributed to this report.



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Travel news: India, Bali and Vietnam announce opening plans


CNN

By Maureen O’Hare, CNN

This was a pretty good week for the world’s wannabe jetsetters. The UK and Israel both cleared out their travel “red lists,” while India, Bali and Vietnam all announced reopening plans.

Here are 10 things we learned in pandemic travel this week.

1. The UK cut its ‘red list’ to just seven countries…

The UK introduced a new system for international travel, relaxing testing requirements for many fully vaccinated travelers and designating destinations either “red” or “green.”

From October 11, England is set to remove 47 countries from its red list, leaving only seven red destinations: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

The rules vary in the rest of the UK (that’s Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.) Here’s the CNN Travel lowdown on what travelers need to know.

2. …But there was anger over its quarantine rules

There were accusations of discrimination at the start of October when the UK relaxed its inbound travel rules but fully vaccinated visitors from India and many African countries still faced mandatory quarantine in the UK.

The UK has now changed its restrictions so that from October 11, vaccine certificates will be accepted from close to 40 countries that were previously ineligible, including India, Brazil, Chile, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.

The UK’s recognized vaccines are Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), or formulations of these.

3. The CDC lowered the risk category for France, Portugal and South Africa

There was good news for Argentina, France, Iceland, Lesotho, Morocco, Nepal, Portugal and South Africa, and for Americans keen to travel there.

All eight were moved from Level 4 — the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s highest risk category — down to Level 3 (which is still “High,” FYI). This means the US travel advisory is to be fully vaccinated before traveling there, and to avoid nonessential travel if you’re unvaccinated.

Meanwhile, six destinations have moved from Level 3 to Level 4 (“Very High”) which means nonessential travel should be avoided by US citizens.

Those destinations are Armenia, Austria, Barbados, Croatia, Latvia and New Caledonia.

4. India will start letting tourists in this month…

India will begin granting tourist visas for foreign visitors for the first time in 18 months, the country’s government announced Thursday.

Tourists arriving by chartered flight will be able to do so from October 15, according to a press release from India’s Ministry of Home Affairs. Other arrivals will be permitted from November 15, it said.

5. …And Bali will gradually reopen too

The Indonesian island of Bali will reopen its airport to international arrivals on October 14, officials have announced.

Bali Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar will begin welcoming arrivals from a select number of countries, according to Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, Indonesia’s minister of maritime affairs and investment.

However, he didn’t clarify whether foreign tourists would be permitted. Here’s what we know so far.

6. Vietnam plans to fully reopen by June 2022

Vietnam plans to reopen key tourist destinations from December to vaccinated visitors from countries deemed “low risk,” Reuters reports, ahead of a full reopening targeted for June 2022.

The country announced in September that it would reopen the popular resort island of Phu Quoc to vaccinated foreign tourists this month, but that reopening has been postponed until November.

Vietnam still has a way to go when it comes it vaccinating its population: Just over 13% are fully vaccinated, making it one of the lowest rates in Asia.

7. Soon New Zealand will only let foreign nationals enter if they’re vaccinated

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced in press conferences this week that the country is transitioning away from its Covid-19 elimination strategy and will start using vaccine certificates as early as next month.

From November 1, all foreign nationals entering New Zealand will need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Air New Zealand, the country’s flag carrier airline, has also announced that passengers on its international flights will need to be fully vaccinated from February 2022. Get the full details in our Covid travel guide to New Zealand.

8. Canada has issued a vaccine mandate for trains and planes

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a nationwide Covid-19 vaccine mandate for rail and air travelers aged 12 and over, as well as for staff.

The mandate will start to be enforced by the end of October, with a short month-long grace period in which negative Covid-19 tests will be accepted. (More details here).

Over in South Asia, from the start of this month Pakistan has been requiring all air passengers aged 17 and over to be fully vaccinated.

9. Israel now lets its citizens travel anywhere

Israel has emptied out its “red” travel list, meaning Israeli citizens and residents can now travel anywhere in the world.

Until October 4, Israelis were still barred from traveling to Turkey, Bulgaria and Brazil because of high Covid rates.

Under current guidelines, travelers returning to Israel who have been vaccinated three times, or twice within the past six months, are only required to quarantine for 24 hours, or upon receipt of a negative PCR test — whichever comes sooner.

Unvaccinated individuals or those whose second dose was more than six months ago are still required to quarantine for a full week or receive two negative PCR tests.

The Israel Ministry of Tourism has also announced that it’s working on plans to allow individual vaccinated tourists to visit the country from November. Currently it’s only open to small groups of tourists or individuals visiting family members.

10. The airline industry is set to lose nearly $52 billion in 2021

Airlines will lose $51.8 billion in 2021, more than previously forecast, according to an updated outlook from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Net losses for 2020 were also revised higher, to $137.7 billion. More woes are expected next year too — a $11.6 billion dollar loss is projected. The group expects the industry to return to profitability in 2023, IATA Director General Willie Walsh said October 4 at the group’s annual meeting in Boston.

The other big news out of Boston is that the global group of 290 airlines agreed to a resolution committing them to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Melissa Alonso, Pamela Boykoff, Matt Friedman, Hadas Gold, Swati Gupta, Marnie Hunter, Masrur Jamaluddin, Lilit Marcus, Francesca Street and Nimi Princewill contributed to this report.



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Marriott International And Rakuten Announce Strategic Collaboration To Enhance Travel Experience | News


TOKYO, Oct. 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) and Rakuten Group, Inc. (JASDAQ: 4755) today announced an industry-first strategic collaboration set to elevate the travel experience of millions of Japanese customers traveling domestically and internationally.

The agreement between Marriott and Rakuten will leverage the strength of Rakuten’s digital expertise and capitalize on the current growth of Japan’s digital economy, alongside the global scale and the rapid growth of the Marriott Bonvoy footprint. This new agreement is designed to create a seamless, integrated travel experience and allow eligible members to enjoy benefits from both Marriott Bonvoy and the Rakuten loyalty program. The collaboration  will allow Marriott Bonvoy to connect directly with millions of Rakuten members to offer them unparalleled experiences and a diverse portfolio of Marriott Bonvoy’s 30 international hotel brands, and market directly to Rakuten’s customer base with content and promotions that are customized for the Japanese traveler.

“We are  excited to work with Marriott International to offer eligible Rakuten members the amazing benefits of Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s industry award-winning travel program,” said Kazunori Takeda, Group Executive Vice President, President of Commerce Company, Rakuten Group. “Rakuten customers have come to expect the highest standards of service and convenience, and Marriott is an ideal partner. This groundbreaking alliance will add incredible value for our members, enabling them to tap into the advantages of a global travel program.”

Rakuten is a global leader in internet services that empower individuals, communities, businesses and society, offering services in e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications. With more than 100 million members in Japan, Rakuten’s multi-faceted consumer offerings center on its ecosystem comprised of more than 70 services, amplified and enriched through integration with its flagship loyalty program, Rakuten Points. The Marriott Bonvoy portfolio comprises more than 7,800 hotels and resorts across 138 countries and territories around the world, including more than 70 properties in Japan.

“This collaboration with Rakuten underscores our optimism for travel recovery,” said Rajeev Menon, President, Asia Pacific excluding Greater China, Marriott International. “With a significant number of Japan’s population a Rakuten member, we anticipate this collaboration will allow us to strategically capture a greater share of a strong Japanese travel market and connect these travelers to our expansive portfolio of global brands. We’re delighted to be working with Rakuten to advance the recovery of travel.”

Scheduled to launch in phases from late-November 2021, the alliance is set to open up a world of benefits and elevate the travel experience for Japanese customers in the following ways:

  • Seamless and integrated digital travel experience: Enrollment in Marriott Bonvoy for eligible Rakuten members will be a convenient one-click process on the Rakuten platform using existing Rakuten member information.
  • Members get more: Eligible Rakuten members will be able to enjoy the benefits of Marriott Bonvoy such as access to member rates, ability to earn and redeem points and other exclusive benefits that come with being a Marriott Bonvoy member
  • VIP Experiences: Once Rakuten members join Marriott Bonvoy, they will be able to access a variety of Marriott Bonvoy points redemption options to exclusive experiences such as private concerts and family focused events through the Marriott Bonvoy Moments website.

About Rakuten

Rakuten Group, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is a global leader in internet services that empower individuals, communities, businesses and society. Founded in Tokyo in 1997 as an online marketplace, Rakuten has expanded to offer services in e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications to approximately 1.5 billion members around the world. The Rakuten Group has over 25,000 employees, and operations in 30 countries and regions. For more information visit https://global.rakuten.com/corp/.

About Marriott International

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of roughly 7,800 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 138 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company offers Marriott Bonvoy®, its highly-awarded travel program. For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.

About Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott Bonvoy encompasses Marriott International’s extraordinary portfolio of 30 hotel brands – including the largest collection of luxury properties, award-winning loyalty program, Homes & Villas by Marriott International, online retail shop with 13 branded boutiques, and access to endless experiences – all available through the Marriott Bonvoy Mobile app. For more information about Marriott Bonvoy or to enroll in the loyalty program for free and receive member benefits, visit marriottbonvoy.com and to download the Marriott Bonvoy Mobile app, visit mobile-app.marriott.com. Travelers can also connect with Marriott Bonvoy on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Cision View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/marriott-international-and-rakuten-announce-strategic-collaboration-to-enhance-travel-experience-301395415.html

SOURCE Marriott International, Inc.





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American, IndiGo Announce Codeshare Plans


American Airlines will codeshare with Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo when it begins new routes to India later this year, the carrier announced.

The codeshare agreement, pending U.S. and Indian governmental approval, will place American’s code on 29 of IndiGo’s domestic flights out of Delhi and Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore. The carriers expect to begin codesharing when American launches new service between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Delhi on Oct. 31. American service between Seattle and Bengaluru is set to begin on Jan. 4, 2022.

American first announced the Bengaluru flight in early 2020 as the only direct flight between Seattle and India as well as the only direct North American service to Bengaluru, though the pandemic has delayed the launch.

Besides the domestic Indian connections, American passengers also will earn AAdvantage miles when traveling on codeshare IndiGo flights. In addition, American Flagship Business cabin passengers will be able to access IndiGo partner lounges in Indian airports.



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Online Travel Update: Travelport and Amazon Web Services announce travel startup accelerator; recent studies reveal Generation Z’s online travel preferences | Foster Garvey PC


Where did summer go? It was another quiet week in the online travel world, though I expect things may pick up in the weeks ahead as everyone returns from their summer breaks. Enjoy.

Travelport and Amazon Web Services Announce Travel Startup Accelerator
(“Travelport Teams With Amazon Web Services to Support Travel Startups,” September 2, 2021 via Skift Travel News) (subscription may be required)
Recently, Travelport and Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the launch of a travel startup accelerator designed to provide travel entrepreneurs access to data and channel expertise, potential supplier partners (including hotels) and prospective travelers. The inaugural session will feature 10 travel startups with a focus on digital marketing and personalization. Judges will include representatives from American Express GBT, Internova and Priceline.

Recent Studies Reveal Generation Z’s Online Travel Preferences
(“What do Gen Z travelers want from online travel brands?” August 31, 2021 via Phocus Wire)
Generation Z travelers, those born between 1997 and 2021, are the focus of several recently issued traveler studies, including a recent study conducted by Phocuswright Research. According to the studies, Generation Z travelers (who have never experienced life without readily available internet access) are increasingly likely to rely on online travel resources (particularly, OTAs) for travel inspiration, planning and booking. Of particular note, although this generation has less brand loyalty and are less likely to belong to loyalty programs generally, enrollment in OTA loyalty programs is higher with this demographic than just about any other generation. The Phocuswright study also noted that this generation is more open to booking travel through other unique intermediary options like Google or travel membership services. What are Generation Z travelers looking for when they plan travel? The studies reveal inclusivity, diversity, sustainability, and safety and security take the highest priority.



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Travel and Tourism Industries Announce Net Zero Roadmap


As part of an effort to combat climate change, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) announced the launch of a Net Zero Roadmap for the travel and tourism industries.

The WTTC also revealed it would launch ground-breaking social and environmental research data to build on the organization’s annual Economic Impact Report (EIR) and support the travel sector’s drive towards net zero by 2050.

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Officials from the WTTC said during its virtual ‘Net Zero Travel & Tourism – From Ambition to Action’ event that the initiative is being run with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and professional services and consulting experts, Accenture.

“The launch of our Net Zero Roadmap for the Travel & Tourism sector and development of sector wide data to measure our success are major steps to show how Travel & Tourism is playing its part in addressing climate change,” WTTC CEO Julia Simpson said.

“WTTC, alongside our partners and sponsors, looks forward to offering tangible and meaningful solutions to meet the climate change challenge,” Simpson continued. “As a sector, we are aware that not all industries can achieve such goals at the same time, which is why our Net Zero Roadmap will be so critical.”

The Net Zero Roadmap will include an overview of climate actions in Travel & Tourism and action frameworks for specific industries to help accelerate climate commitments and emissions reduction.

Through the research projects, WTTC will regularly monitor and update the climate action inventory, providing continuous updates until the Travel & Tourism sector’s targets are achieved.





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