Before this weeks Top 5, I want to urge you just one more time to take a look at the Virtual Seminars and Workshops and even a whole line of specialist courses currently offered by our partner Context Travel. If I started listing them it would be unfathomably long, but please check out their offerings. For those of you missing the sights, the sounds, the tastes, and the LEARNING that goes along with travel, this is our absolute top recommendation right now.
My Sicilian Arancini Balls class with Gina (live from Rome) was a hoot and she was a wonderful host and teacher. I've picked just one highlight from the coming week. Visit the Loire Valley for $36 - Royal Châteaux of the Loire Valley with Sandra Laville, an art historian specializing in the link between European art, history and society from the 15th to the 19th centuries.
Promo Code J5TRAVEL for 10% off your first seminar, and 5% off every subsequent booking.
Click the photo below to check out ALL the possibilities and plan your 'virtual trip'.
Top 5 - Our Top 5 Sneakiest Secrets Right Now
Us travel advisors have access to many incredible resources beyond the general public's reach, which is just one of the plethora of reasons why your next trip, domestic or international should be planned with J5Travel. It's not such a sneaky secret any more that a travel advisor will have your back, save you endless hours of work, ensure you receive amazing value and amenities, make perfect recommendations that you hadn't even considered and for 2020 and beyond instruct you EXACTLY what the lay of the land is regarding health and safety protocols, what's open, what's not open, and much more.
Meanwhile the Top 5 features a few little tricks of the trade,
that you can use yourself if you so desire.
1. American Airlines Award Bookings
Fairly regularly AA offer "Web Specials" for award bookings with one-way pricing at just 5,000 Aadvantage points plus the minimal taxes. But how the heck do you discover what routes that amazing deal is available on? Well, click on the photo and you'll be taken to a rather well hidden page on the AA website that represents an Award Map. Simply enter your preferred departure airport and dates, leave the destination open as "Continental U.S" and input 5,000 into the "Total Miles to Use" box. Voila!
2. Marriott Properties Covid details
If you remember a couple of months back, I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte for a night just to check out hotel life during Covid. It was a smooth, safe stay, but my biggest gripe was pre-arrival, as nowhere on any Marriott site could I find details on what was open and closed.
Well Marriott appear to be ready to put this right, but there's a trick to view these details now.
You need the base website details of https://whattoexpect.marriott.com/CODE
Now each Marriott property has a 5 letter CODE, which is easily found when going to the regular hotel page. You extract that code, add it in place of CODE in the above url and voila!
Here's the example: I'm staying at JW Marriott Los Cabos in 3 weeks time and I'd really like to know what's occurring. https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sjdjw-jw-marriott-los-cabos-beach-resort-and-spa is the link and I want to extract the 5 letter code in bold and add that to the previous url. Click on the photo below for the result, and the nitty gritty details are under the Property Amenities & Services section. I quickly learned that the Spa and Fitness Club are open, and the only closure right now is the Kids & Teen Club.
3. Business Class flight awards
For those with a substantial balance of loyalty points, whether airline specific or credit card rewards, I have honestly not seen a better time for business class award availability than currently. Just in the last few weeks I have booked myself First Class from Dubai to Charlotte in November using Cathay Pacific's Asia Miles, and a valued client to Japan next summer, with business class awards there and back for the family of 5! Most award booking services out there charge a fee upwards of $200 per person. We provide this service complimentary if you are booking the rest of the trip with us. The sneaky trick? Click the photo below for the link to ExpertFlyer, our favorite resource for award searches across all airlines. Basic searches are free, though J5Travel subscribes to the Premium version. Also very useful for setting an alert when awards become available for a trip you may have in mind, and they provide accurate and detailed seat maps through their partnership with SeatGuru.
4. Convert Your Flight Credits to eVouchers
If you're just a little like me, you and the family may have a rather overwhelming number of flight credits that are due to be used by a certain fixed date or they will expire. The problem being you may not yet be ready to book anything yet. Mine are all with American Airlines.
Bear in mind the flight credits can also only be used for the individual whose name the ticket was originally issued.
Here's the trick if you are unable to use the credits to their full capacity. Say you have a $1,000 credit. Put on hold the lowest priced one-way ticket you can find for any date in the future. You should be able to find something for as low as $50. Call in to make the payment with your credit. You will then be issued an eVoucher (below) for the balance of $950 with 2 huge advantages:
- The value is extended by another year from the day of this new booking.
- The voucher may be used for other travelers if flying on the same itinerary as you.
5. Stay Informed
OK, this is hardly sneaky, but it's super important. As more of us gradually become more comfortable with traveling again, it's going to remain extremely important that you are fully aware of the requirements especially for your flight and for entry to your chosen destination. J5Travel is doing it's best to keep our Covid page up to date with resources to aid in this, but you should always ask a travel advisor if you have specific questions you are unsure about. We know where to find the answers. With protocols likely to change on an almost daily basis given the number of destinations out there, don't take any chances with your next trip.
If you might be ready to "Book Your Bubble" please hit the button below
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