[Roundup] Fewer People Are Traveling, But They’re All Booking Through Expedia

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. With U.S. airlines mortgaging their frequent flyer programs after eliminating award charts and changing/devaluing their mileage points, it’s difficult to score outsize value from collecting airline points/miles. And so it seems airline credit cards and mileage programs have peaked.

    Hotel programs still offer some good opportunities to score outsize value (and get free upgrades and benefits), but not so much the airlines.

  2. @ Gary — The Expedia story confirms what I suspected all along — the primary travelers right now are what I call the “non-travelers”. I hope that the airlines don’t adopt them as their new elites while I am away.

  3. Of course most people book through OTAs, and of course thats not understood here.

    Here you have an audience of people who mostly fly for work, and stay in boring chain hotels paid for by their corporate overlords.

    Booking through OTAs – you can stay far far away from chain hotels, and stay in real boutique 4/5* hotels, choosing the exact room your want, with exactly what you want as an add on (breakfast, lounge) Its also far easier to book a refundable hotels on OTAs.

  4. @bob
    You don’t get out much do you?
    I am a business traveler, I stay at boutique hotels if I want, I choose my flights, my itin, everything, and yet I very rarely use any OTA
    How did you reach your ridiculous conclusion?
    I work in the travel industry, a relatively high position, and I can promise you that the myth of the worst room going to the OTA is mostly right

  5. Hey Gary — on the OTA story, I like it that you left us to find the punchline ourselves! The survey was done by Expedia (obviously with the help of a survey agency). To me, no further explanation is needed.

  6. @Eric S – it’s not wrong though, even if it’s motivated reasoning, it’s very infrequent rather than brand loyal travelers now buying cheapest tickets on schedule and price. far fewer members of loyalty programs even.

  7. My experience as a frequent traveler has been like that of @Gene and @Doug. I have no idea where @Bob is getting the idea that OTAs are so wonderful.

  8. I wonder if people redeeming via Chase Travel or Citi ThankYou OTAs are enough to notice. If people aren’t transferring points for big international trips due to restrictions, and still spending on their point-earning cards, I could see a small shift.
    I’ve still never understood why nobody notices the Citi Prestige 5x OTA earning rate.

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