Good morning and happy Friday! I'm sure many of you have already entered vacation mode, so I'll get straight to the point.
Here's what I got today:
- ❄️ More than 2,000 flights cancelled because of weather
- 📱 Need travel advice? Text the TSA!
- 🏨 More Marriott targeted promos to enjoy
❄️ Winter storms are wreaking havoc on airlines
Just when we think the year of insane delays and cancellations is over, mother nature steps in to remind us of her unparalleled might.
According to FlightAware, more than 2,000 flights have already been canceled this weekend, which will likely increase over the next day.
If any of you are traveling right now, I feel for you. It's frustrating, especially on a holiday weekend.
So although it might not help you this time, here are some tips for everyone should you run into delays and cancellations in the future:
Utilize weather waivers
Most airlines offer free waivers to change your flight in the event of expected bad weather like snow storms. They'll let you either fly sooner or push your flight back without charging the change fees. This is a win-win situation for travelers and airlines and one of the best ways to avoid sticky situations when it comes to weather.
Here is an example of Delta's page
for travel waivers related to this weekend's storm. Other airlines' pages can be found by running a Google search for "(airline) weather travel voucher).
Use flight tracking apps to monitor your flight and plane
This is something I do even when the weather is perfect. There are several flight tracking apps that can notify you if a flight is delayed or canceled.
My personal favorite is an app called Flighty
. One of the cool features of this app is the detailed tracking info on your specific plane.
So if your plane is running behind on the flight before yours, you can anticipate your own delay before the airline even announces it.
If you're an avgeek like me, you'll also love the nerdy data like tail number, plane type, plane age, etc.
I've been in a few situations where this data has allowed me to cancel and rebook a flight at the last minute before the other passengers even know the flight is delayed.
P.S. Hey Flighty... wanna hang out? Plz reach out if you want to collab.
Boy, oh boy, is this one of my favorite credit card perks. I can't tell you how much money I've saved over the years because of simple travel insurance that most people don't even realize comes with their cards.
This is a topic we can jump into in more detail in a future newsletter, but here's the summary:
If your flight is delayed or canceled and you incur expenses as a result, your credit card company might reimburse you for those expenses.
Just in 2022 alone, I've received over $700 of expense reimbursements from my credit card insurance coverage.
For me, this is an easy way to justify paying credit card annual fees since the money I've saved from the insurance alone makes the fee worthwhile.
FYI, the C**** S******* P********
card has excellent insurance coverage and a very low annual fee. For Canadians, The Amex Aeroplan Reserve card is my go-to when I fly Air Canada (which is pretty much every week).
At the end of the day, sometimes there's nothing you can do to avoid these situations. The best way to ensure your travel plans don't get totally ruined is to use these strategies to mitigate the logistic and economic impact when delays and cancellations do happen.
📱 Need travel advice? Text the TSA!
You know that feeling before a big trip when you're lying awake at night, unable to sleep because you're worried about what you can and cannot bring on the plane with you?
It's stressful because it's not like you can just send a late-night text to the TSA and ask them...
...until today, that is.
The TSA has recently launched a text service that allows passengers to get a thumbs up (or down) on bringing certain items in carry-ons and checked bags.
But just because this robo-chat runs 24/7 doesn't mean you can treat it like a late-night booty call...
All jokes aside, here is how the service works:
- Text the word TRAVEL to AskTSA (275-872)
- Choose one of the categories they respond to you with
- Ask away and get an automated response
From what I've seen, they even have real humans responding to more complicated questions to which the chatbot might not have a firm answer.
This is pretty cool. I know I've toiled over whether or not to bring certain things with me on trips for fear of having to leave them behind at the airport.
Having a simple, clear, and accurate way to get information straight from the TSA will definitely ease the minds of anxious travelers and those of us who occasionally bring questionable things on planes (I recently brought a traditional Omani sword back home from Muscat... that was fun).
🏨 Marriott showers us with more targeted promos
Over the last year, Marriott has been getting pretty generous with their targeted promotions. We've seen everything from free night awards, double points promos, credit card promos, and more.
Sadly, these offers seemed to dry up a couple of months ago, leaving Marriott enthusiasts like myself very sad.
Thankfully, Marriott has roused me from my depressing Oreo eating contest with myself by sending out another round of targeted offers.
I've seen no fewer than three different targeted offers making the rounds over the past week, and I'm going to tell you what they are so you can join in the fun, too (hopefully).
1. Double base points on weekend stays
This is the promotion that I currently have on my account. Basically, instead of 10 base points per dollar, you'll earn 20 base points per dollar on stays that include a Friday or Saturday night.
With my Marriott Titanium status, this means I'll be earning 27.5 points per dollar, plus the 6x points per dollar I earn from my Marriott credit card for a total of 33.5 points per dollar, which is actually insane.
2. Earn double points on stays of two nights or more
This is similar to the first promo, but instead of requiring a weekend night, you'll earn double points on any stay of at least two nights.
3. Double Elite Night credits
For every night you stay, you'll earn two elite night credits. This is a great opportunity for anyone looking to boost themself to elite status.
If you own a Marriott credit card
, you already get up to 25 elite nights for free every year. Between those nights and this promo, you could pretty easily reach one of the higher statuses for the following year.
Most of these promos seem to expire in late February or early March, though it can differ between accounts.
There's no guarantee that you'll have any offers on your account, but here's how you can check to see which promotions you might have:
- Go to the Marriott Bonvoy app
- Click on the "Account" tab
- Click on "My Promotions"
From here, you'll see a list of all promotions you're eligible for, including both public and targeted offers. Make sure you register for them to be eligible for the bonuses.
That's gonna do it for this week!
Do you want to learn more about travel insurance in a future newsletter? What's the strangest thing you've tried to bring in your carry-on bag? Let me know by replying to this email or reaching out on social media.
I hope you all have a wonderful, safe, healthy, relaxing, and fun holiday weekend.
See you Monday,