A few tricks in the business traveler’s toolbox can make life on the road a bit more sublime
by Ramsey Qubein
Shortcuts in life are rare, and road warriors are accustomed to working hard to climb the ladder of success. Still, there are a few time-tested fast tracks to special perks that travelers pick up along the way. Be sure to take advantage of them if you’re looking for an extra oomph in your travel repertoire.
Smooth Sailing at the Airport TSA Pre-Check is now so common that in some airports, the general lines can actually be faster. But airports with CLEAR lanes give Pre-Checkers a leg up. While a fee is involved for most travelers to join this expedited path through security using fingerprints or iris scans, the most frequent Delta fliers are treated to a discounted or even free membership. If you’ve got Delta Medallion status, it’s beneficial to sign up.
Others may notice that airlines like British Airways, Norwegian, and Delta have started testing facial recognition for boarding flights. What may seem a bit futuristic at first will certainly speed up the process once it becomes more commonplace. It’s not just for boarding either; immigration officials are testing it out at several airports to process overseas arriving passengers.
Even if facial recognition isn’t in use at your airport, there are other options. Global Entry users have long promoted their faster access through immigration, but the free Mobile Passport app does the same thing at many international airports. In fact, it’s easier because no interview or application is required. You simply enter your passport information and answer some customs questions while taxiing to the gate. Once in line, a quick scan by a border patrol agent completes the process. Or you can pay a nominal fee to save your personal data within the app. Be sure to download it before you travel.
Luxe Hotels on the Cheap If corporate budgets have you staying around the airport, don’t despair. You can still enjoy luxurious resort amenities and the spa facilities of those splashy properties nearby. A company called ResortPass offers a limited number of day passes to well-known resort pools, health clubs, and spas in 70 cities worldwide without having to fork over big bucks for an overnight stay.
Prices range from $15 to $150 for poolside cabanas and often include food and beverage discounts, wireless Internet and parking. Why work from a cramped hotel room when you can answer e-mails by a chic pool at places like the Four Seasons Hotel Miami or W Hollywood Hotel? This is an especially popular option for Airbnb guests.
And forget those personal concierge services. Hotel brands make it easy to request special attention at the tap of your smartphone. Services like the Marriott Bonvoy app allow guests to top up reservations with amenities like more towels, feather-free bedding and pillows, and specific minibar or dining requests.
Whether you’re just beginning your travels or returning to road warrior life after well-deserved time off, keep in mind that hotel brands often run elite status match programs to get you to perks faster. Best Western is well-known for its Status Match…No Catch program which awards immediate status to an equivalent level if you show proof of status with another program. Other hotel brands often run similar offers, although Best Western is regularly considered the most generous.
Travel can be tiring and costly. But for savvy travelers there are a few shortcuts to better travels if you know where to look.