Nov. 7, 2022

Use These Travel Hacks To Make Flying Suck Less

Win the travel game with these expert tips


Nora finds out why air travel got so bad, and what you can do to make flying less annoying for yourself, and how to save money. Michelle Baran, senior travel news editor at Afar magazine, who covers the travel business, discusses the airline industry's rocky pandemic recovery. Travel expert and journalist Dayvee Sutton shares ways you can save money on your upcoming travel plans, including which credit cards offer the best travel points and perks.  For more info on our presenting sponsor, check out https://purple.com

 

Host: Nora Ali

Producers: Olivia Meade and Raymond Luu  

Video Editor: Sebastian Vega

Production, Mixing & Sound Design: Daniel Markus

Music: Daniel Markus & Breakmaster Cylinder

Fact Checker: Kate Brandt 

Senior Producer: Katherine Milsop

VP, Head of Multimedia: Sarah Singer 

 

Full transcripts for all Business Casual episodes available at https://businesscasual.fm

Transcript

Nora Ali: 

For Morning Brew, this is Business Casual, bringing you convos with people you know, and some you may not know yet, to make business less intimidating. Because money talks, but it does not have to be dull. I'm your host, Nora Ali. Now, let's get down to business.

If you've taken a flight anywhere over the past year or so, you know air travel has been rough. Consumer complaints about flying are up nearly 270% relative to pre-pandemic levels, according to a report from the US Department of Transportation. Between January and May of this year, 88,161 US domestic flights were canceled, according to Bureau of Transportation Statistics data released this summer. For context, that is 16,116 more flights than were canceled during the same period in 2019. And as one of our guests today reported, the bulk of the cancellations came from US legacy carriers American, Delta, and United, which also fly the highest number of passengers in the United States.

Today, we're talking about how air travel got so bad. But thankfully, we also discussed how it's on its way to getting better, and what you can do to make flying less annoying for yourself, like avoiding long delays and maybe even saving some money, which is extra helpful ahead of the upcoming holiday travel boom. First, we'll hear from Michelle Baran, the senior travel news editor at Afar magazine, who covers the travel business, and has reported extensively on the airline industry's rocky pandemic recovery in her piece this summer titled "How did Air Travel Get So Bad?"

Then travel expert Dayvee Sutton stops by to share some ways you can save money on your upcoming travel plans, including which types of credit cards offer the best points and perks. She also shares her top destinations to help you spend that precious PTO wisely. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this conversation on the biz of flying. That's next, after the break.

All right, Michelle. Welcome to Business Casual. Excited to chat with you about all things travel.

Michelle Baran: 

Yeah, absolutely. Excited to be here.

Nora Ali: 

Before we get into the million questions I have for you, because this is a very relevant and frustrating topic for a lot of our listeners, we have an icebreaker segment called OG Occupations. We'd love to know, what was the first job that you ever had in your life?

Michelle Baran: 

Oh, my gosh. I'm from Huntington Beach, California, in Southern California, also known as Surf City USA. My first-ever job was working at the snack stand at the beach, as a high schooler.

Nora Ali: 

Okay. Was there a snack that you remember, that stood out to you?

Michelle Baran: 

I mean, a lot of people ordered the churros. They were frozen and we had to throw them into a fryer. I mean, they're delicious. You can't go wrong with a churro, but when you have to make that many of them, it gets old.

Nora Ali: 

Yeah, I'm sure. I'm sure that gets exhausting. You're standing in the heat as well.

Michelle Baran: 

Yeah.

Nora Ali: 

All right. To air travel now. To start, how did we get here? Why does air travel suck right now?

Michelle Baran: 

Unfortunately, to get to where we are today, we have to go back to that awful time in 2020. We all maybe have a little PTSD when I even bring it up. But to put it all into a little bit of perspective, in February 2020, US airlines flew a total of 80.4 million passengers. That's both domestic and international fights. By April 2020, that number had gone into free fall and landed at three million. That's a 96% drop in passengers in a matter of weeks. What we all started realizing, in the entire travel industry, about halfway through 2020 is that the recovery would take years. Airlines, like so many other industries that saw their customer base vanish virtually overnight, were in crisis mode. They did receive a lot of government aid, but a lot of that assistance had strings attached. For instance, US airlines were barred from laying off workers, but they weren't prohibited from offering buyouts and early retirement bonuses. So, between March and November 2020, 93,000 airline industry jobs were lost, and half of the industry's aircraft were put into storage.

Nora Ali: 

We'll get to the staffing in a second, but you bring up the fact that aircraft is put into storage. I don't think most people are familiar with what it takes to take an aircraft out of storage and get it back up and running. So what does that involve?

Michelle Baran: 

First of all, these planes were parked. They sat there for a while. A good portion of them, I believe a quarter of them, were brought back, of the ones that were parked back in 2021. That's another part of the issue, is that it's not something where you just jump in, put in the key, and turn on the ignition and roll it out. These planes have to be...all the maintenance has to be done anew. The planes have to be cleaned. They have to go through huge checks. So, it's not a process that takes hours. They have to get from where they were parked to where they're going to be located. So getting the planes back up and running and into the skies is a whole other belabored operation. So yes, I think it's important for people to understand that it's not just the people, but also these really sophisticated aircraft. 

Though, I would like to make a little bit of a note here for green travel. Because one thing that was really interesting that did happen during the pandemic is we did see some airlines, many of the airlines, actually end up retiring some of their older, less efficient airplanes. Kind of using that opportunity to say, "I don't think it's necessarily worth bringing these planes back, because in the meantime, technology has been improving." And so we did see, in some ways that did speed up the purchase of and bringing online some cleaner, greener, more efficient aircraft. So I just want to make a note for that, though, because there are some silver linings to some of the crises that we were going through.

Nora Ali: 

That's one plus side, but doesn't take away from these near-term frustrations that so many people have been facing as they're traveling with cancellations, delays, staffing shortages. Going back to the staffing side of it, you mentioned things like buyouts and early retirements for pilots. Why isn't it as easy as rehiring people or hiring new workers when it comes to airline staff?

Michelle Baran: 

Let's start with the pilots, because, obviously, the plane isn't going anywhere if no one's flying it. Pilot training is just not as quick and simple as training someone to work in customer service or other sectors of the hospitality industry. To become a pilot, you need to have clocked hundreds of flight hours. It's a substantial investment in terms of schooling and paying for those flight hours. So obviously, it's not something that you can just overnight say, "Okay, well, travel's back, need several thousand new pilots. Where you guys at?" That's why you see airlines right now investing in training programs, increasing pay to get all those needed pilots up to speed, but obviously, it will take time.

Unfortunately, in the end, it's the smaller regional markets that are feeling the brunt of the shortage. Because as the major carriers cut back on their regional flights, as they try to build back up their pilot staff, they're focusing on larger markets with greater volume. So travelers located in smaller hubs, this could mean having to drive farther to get to a larger hub to catch a flight, or make more connections.

Nora Ali: 

Something that I've experienced, I know a lot of my peers have experienced, is the airlines trying to pay you money to take a different flight and bump you off because they've overbooked a particular flight. Why have airlines been overselling seats if they don't have the proper staff and resources? Why is that their strategy?

Michelle Baran: 

The recovery in travel was so rocky. Earlier this year, Delta CEO Ed Bastian admitted that the airlines tried too hard to make up for two years of pandemic losses, and were overambitious when the demand was hot. He told the Associated Press, "We probably pushed ourselves too far." The result was that between January and July of this year, more than 110,000 US domestic flights ended up being canceled. That's a pretty big number and a pretty big disappointment for people who were...many of which were traveling for the first time in two years. So it wasn't the best travel recovery story, at least for the first half of this year.

Nora Ali: 

Clearly a lot of kinks to still work out, but the US Department of Transportation is getting involved. Secretary Buttigieg had issued a new draft rule that the intent is to give customers stronger protections around refunds, and just make the experience a little bit more palatable for customers. Do we know if any of these changes that are coming from the Department of Transportation have changed anything for the better? Are customers on a path to not being so frustrated with some of these new rules?

Michelle Baran: 

The first one I want to bring up is the meals and hotel stays, because this was the most immediate change from the DOT's involvement with airline regulations. Right away, right off the bat, all the major US airlines committed to providing meals to travelers who are delayed by at least three hours. Take note: If you're delayed by at least three hours, you're owed a meal, and overnight hotel stays for travelers left stranded due to an airline issue. They now all lay this out in their customer service plans. This is something that is owed to you as a flyer: food and overnight stay, if it's the airline's fault.

The other thing that customers need to know is their rights as a flyer. The situation is different depending on who canceled or why the flight was canceled. Airlines are not required to refund passengers when a flight is delayed or canceled due to something deemed beyond the company's control. Something like bad weather, unfortunately, that's deemed beyond the company's control, and something like a pandemic. Part of the reason why, during the pandemic, we saw a lot of back and forth, and why airlines ended up issuing a lot of just like future flight credits. And something that they're continuing to try to do this year.

And this is why we see the DOT stepping in, because they are required to provide a refund when the flight delay or cancellation is due to an issue originating from the airline, so an operational issue or a staffing problem. If they canceled the flight because of something that happened on their end, an operational issue, you are due a refund. You don't need to take the flight credit. You can request a refund. If the cancellation is initiated by the passenger, if it was your decision to cancel for whatever reason, that's on you. You'll get your flight credit.

Nora Ali: 

What is the best way, in your opinion, to reach customer service? Because anytime I try to call, it's hours and hours, but I tweet at them and they do get back to me.

Michelle Baran: 

It's funny, I feel like there's the techies that are all about like "Get on the app and just work through the app, and do it yourself." One of the tips that come up for how to deal with travel and this kind of chaotic environment, which I think is really interesting, is because of this no booking...no change fee, I've been told that some people will just book a backup flight themselves, knowing...as things are kind of falling apart, knowing that they can just cancel that flight if need be, but kind of in the heat of the moment.

But yeah, getting through to customer service is always a potential issue. There's often a long line at the airport, if there's been big delays or cancellations. And waiting on the phone, you can wait forever. Obviously, booking direct with the airline...I mean, we can't recommend that enough, because you don't want to add another layer of a third party that you have to now deal with to help you dig out of this. A lot of people swear by booking with travel advisors so they can get on the phone. They can be your advocate, making the calls and trying to work things out, while you're at the airport also working the lines and the phones.

Nora Ali: 

Yep, that makes sense.

Michelle Baran: 

There's a few different ways.

Nora Ali: 

I will say having a loyalty to a single airline for me has been a big game changer, because they are more responsive if you have status and all of that, so I recommend that.

Michelle Baran: 

Yes, status helps.

Nora Ali: 

All right. We're going to take a very quick break. More with Michelle when we come back.

Okay. Michelle, we're approaching holiday travel season. I've been looking at flights. I have various family members who are trying to visit me in New York from California. It's over a thousand dollars for any weekend that you pick through the end of the year. It's kind of nuts right now. But Business Insider recently reported that the number of travelers flying during the winter holidays this season is expected to meet, if not surpass, pre-pandemic levels. More than half of Americans are planning to travel over Thanksgiving or Christmas. Searches for holiday travel are up 25% for Thanksgiving, and 35% for Christmas through New Year, versus last year. That's according to Expedia telling Insider. According to your research and reporting, do you think holiday travel is going to be as chaotic as summer travel was this year?

Michelle Baran: 

Okay. I would be shocked if the holidays were as miserable as Memorial Day weekend, which was kind of the height of what was a very challenging start to the year. I would also be extremely pleasantly surprised if things go a hundred percent smoothly, which is maybe a little bit of a cop-out of a response. I don't think it's going to be as bad as the start of the year, but there will naturally be some hiccups. Some of it could be weather-related. But you know, the good thing is that we have seen some improvements. Flight cancellations fell from 3.1% in June to 1.8% in July. After the disaster that was Memorial Day weekend, when more than 7,000 flights were canceled worldwide, 4th of July weekend and Labor Day weekend, which were sort of the next big tests of the industry, were both relatively quiet. We just did not see anywhere near the number of delays in cancellations and the chaos at the airports. So, I'm hopeful, but there's gonna be a lot of people traveling, and prices are crazy.

Nora Ali: 

Yeah, they are. Any tips and tricks to just make it easier on you as a traveler, during the holiday season specifically?

Michelle Baran: 

There's numerous, but I'll go through a few. Obviously, if you don't have it already, get TSA PreCheck and/or Clear. The lines at the airports are and will continue to be huge. This could mean the difference between making or missing your flight. Check to see if your airport has a fast pass security lane you can book in advance. This is a newer thing. Some airports, including LAX, JFK, and Newark, are giving travelers the option to make a fast pass reservation to head to the front of the security line at an assigned time. You do not need TSA PreCheck for this, and more and more airports are doing this. Kind of a little fun tip. Check to see if your airport has this fast pass option and you can just book a time to head to the front of the security line, which is...

Nora Ali: 

Does that cost money? Or...

Michelle Baran: 

No, it's free.

Nora Ali: 

It's free, if you know.

Michelle Baran: 

It's free.

Nora Ali: 

Yeah, okay.

Michelle Baran: 

Free, and now you don't need TSA PreCheck. So fun new feature at some larger hubs, too. List of hubs is growing, so just check your local hub to see if they do this.

Book with a credit card that has trip insurance coverage and/or buy travel insurance. So a lot of credit cards actually offer trip insurance or trip cancellation coverage, which will come in handy if it's something like a weather delay that might not be covered by the airline. If you don't have coverage through your card, then look into travel insurance, if it's a bigger trip, it's a more elaborate vacation and you want to make sure that you're covered.

And then just a couple other little things. Book the earliest flight out you can. Delays tend to pile up over the course of the day. Try to book a nonstop instead of a connecting flight. Obviously, again, reducing your chances. If you do have to have a connecting flight, schedule a longer layover. Because if your flight is a little bit delayed, one hour's not going to cut it. Shoot for at least two for domestic flights, and at least three for international layovers. Sometimes it means buying a little more expensive flight, but you don't want to be stuck at the airport and no connection. For a really, like a can't-miss event or gathering, experts recommend flying in a day or two early—a wedding, a cruise that's leaving on a certain day, fly in a day or two early. Build in some buffer.

This is another one that's come up a lot this year, which is consider carry-on only. I am a dedicated member of team checked luggage. I have always just loved to hand over my luggage and not worry about it, but this is the year that I invested in a nice carry-on and now travel with my carry-on, unless I'm with my kids, and that's another story. But yeah, just with everything going on with lost luggage, and if you have a tight connection, it might be the year to consider packing lighter and tighter. One thing that someone told me is that if an airline rebooks you onto a different flight after the flight was canceled, there's no harm in asking for some miles for the inconvenience. Which I thought was a really nice, just like, "Yeah, why don't try and get something for it." Even if they rebooked you, you've still lost time, might not be an ideal connection, so I like the idea of just, doesn't hurt to ask.

Nora Ali: 

Yeah, I guess the moral of the story here is, A, know your rights, and B, just ask, because most people probably think it's not worth it to go through the hassle of asking for even simple things like miles. But if you don't ask, you're not gonna get it. Really quick, Michelle, since you cover all kinds of transportation, how are cruises doing these days? Would you recommend that as a holiday trip?

Michelle Baran: 

Cruises are back. They're back. They're sailing. Just in the entire industry, there's been so much pent-up demand, so people are really excited to be back. It's just like with everything; everybody has a different comfort level. The pandemic really changed people's travel habits. And there are so many people that are ready to get back on a cruise. It's a really great way to see a lot of destinations from the comfort of a cabin. So yeah, there are these really amazing destinations that the cruises do, but not everybody is necessarily comfortable yet. But if you're up for it, they're sailing and there's amazing places to see.

Nora Ali: 

I feel like there's a lot of promos and discounts now, too. I get lots of marketing emails of discounts, because they're trying to get people back who don't feel comfortable going on cruises.

Michelle Baran: 

Exactly, just like the airline industry. I mean, the cruise industry actually was required by the CDC to come to a full halt. Needless to say, they really are eager to be up and running again. There's deals to be found. But believe it or not, they're also selling out. They do these amazing around-the-world cruises. It's months that you spend on a cruise, literally circumnavigating the globe. And these cruises, these blockbuster itineraries are selling out. So clearly, there's pent-up demand. Clearly, people want to get back out there.

Nora Ali: 

Wow. Sounds intense.

Michelle Baran: 

So they're definitely back. Yeah, it does sound intense. But also, when you look at the destinations, you're like, "Wow." You just spent five months on a cruise, but you just saw so many amazing places. So, I can also see how for some, if you have the time and the money, go for it.

Nora Ali: 

Why not? Okay, Michelle, so many good tips and tricks. Before we let you go, a quick, fun segment. It's a little game we call Bullish or Bearish, and this one is travel edition. I'm going to list a few popular travel honeymoon destinations, of course. A little touristy maybe, but you have to tell me whether you're bullish or bearish on these destinations.

Michelle Baran: 

Okay.

Nora Ali: 

Interpret that as loosely as you want. Are you excited about these locations? Are they overrated? Whatever. It's up to you. Okay, first one: the island of Kauai in Hawaii. It is the fourth-largest island and is sometimes called the Garden Island. Centuries of growth have formed tropical rainforests, forking rivers, and cascading waterfalls. Are you bullish or bearish?

Michelle Baran: 

I feel like I'm just going to be bullish about all of these, but...

Nora Ali: 

Yeah, I can tell. Because they're all great, by the way.

Michelle Baran: 

Right. I love Hawaii. I absolutely love Hawaii. I went there in February of this year after my whole family got Covid and we needed somewhere to...we needed a light at the end of the Covid tunnel. We didn't go to Kauai, but Kauai is actually one of my favorite of the islands. So, bullish.

Nora Ali: 

Okay. Next up, I hope I'm saying this right, Cyclades, Greece. This is the group of gorgeous islands in the Aegean Sea, including Santorini, Mykonos, some favorites. So bullish, right?

Michelle Baran: 

Yes. I mean, yes, bullish. Greece, again, you cannot go wrong. So beautiful.

Nora Ali: 

Even though they're kind of...I feel like it's very touristy or cliché almost.

Michelle Baran: 

Yeah. Greece is one of those places that I love to push for the off season, like now. Right now is a great time to go to Greece so that you're not dealing with the overcrowding. If you can, if your schedule allows for it. In general, I love off-season travel for those reasons.

Nora Ali: 

Yeah, totally. No, I think that's a good tip, though, just go during the off season. Okay, last one for you. My friend just came back from here and she was glowing upon return. The Amalfi Coast, Italy. This is from brides.com: "It's hard to picture a more classically romantic scene than Positano's steep village streets, Moorish architecture, azure water, and colorful lounges and umbrellas lining the dark sandy beaches." I know you're bullish on it. What are some tips on traveling to the Amalfi Coast?

Michelle Baran: 

One thing that's really interesting is, we did a story this summer on new regulations about driving the Amalfi Coast. Because it's so amazing and beautiful, there are actually some strict rules regarding driving the Amalfi Coast. People should be aware, if they want to do the rent a car and drive the Amalfi Coast thing, they should look into the regulations. And possibly look into alternate destinations in Italy if they want to do the drive. Again, as part of this kind of great travel restart and thinking about where we go, I do think, I hope, that there is a hunger to get off the beaten path a little bit. To look at the places that are really popular, and then, "Oh, what about these other small towns?" Just look at the map. Look at the map. If there's a place that you want to go, that you've seen beautiful images of, and see what's not too far away, that's a place you've never heard of. I think it's a really simple way to get away from the crowds, and to put less strain and pressure on these destinations, and also just discover something new.

Nora Ali: 

Well, Michelle, we will leave things there. This has been so great. Lots of good tips and lots of good information for our listeners. Thanks for joining us on Business Casual.

Michelle Baran: 

Yeah, thanks for having me. This was so much fun.

Nora Ali: 

Michelle Baran is the senior travel editor at Afar magazine. After the break, we'll hear from travel reporter and expert Dayvee Sutton. We'll share some of her favorite travel hacks to use right now.

All right. Hello, Dayvee. Welcome to Business Casual.

Dayvee Sutton: 

Yeah, thanks for having me.

Nora Ali: 

We love travel hacks, so let's get right into it. A while back, you wrote about the concept of glitch flights for NBC. That's a way to save big on a flight. What is that and how can you book one?

Dayvee Sutton: 

They're kind of rare, especially these days, but glitch fares—it's easy to remember, they're mistake fares. It's when an airline accidentally discounts a flight by much more than it's meant to, and it's kind of obvious. You might see a trip for $63 round trip from Atlanta to Chile, or $79 round trip to Puerto Rico. There's one that came up recently for $249 round trip to Rome in business class.

Nora Ali: 

What?

Dayvee Sutton: 

How they happen, it's caused by a number of factors. There's no magic one way of why they happen. It's a combination of human error and computer error. Another question that people have is, "Will the airlines...will they honor those tickets?" More often than not, they do honor the glitch fares, but they sometimes don't. Most of the time, they will just say, "Oh, my bad, here's your flight." That's where, if you see some of the situations that go viral, like, "I got this ticket for $50 to Sweden," then they typically just go with it. The airlines are making so much money hand over fist, so glitch fares are usually their issue.

Nora Ali: 

How do you track these? Do you just set alerts for price points?

Dayvee Sutton: 

There's a couple of different sites that kind of promote glitch fares. Those sites are changing all the time. So, I actually have a free guide of my favorite resources because we kind of keep up on those. Go to my website; there's a link for our free resources. We're always updating. We're currently updating as we're going into the holiday travel season, but there aren't many opportunities to find last-minute deals these days because the demand for travel is so high, and it's expected through 2023. But you can find them if you are tracking airfare, as you alluded to. That is one way to find it.

Nora Ali: 

What's your website where people can find these resources?

Dayvee Sutton: 

My website is my name, dayveesutton.com.

Nora Ali: 

Let's just talk about loyalty now. What's the best way to take advantage of points, of miles, when you're flying all over the place?

Dayvee Sutton: 

You have to think of what your travel style and what your goal is. If you're traveling a lot, like you're a business traveler, it is in your best interest to try to quarantine all of your travel to one system, whether you're flying United or Jet Blue, Southwest, because that's how you can accumulate all the benefits. And you can do it at a faster pace, especially if you're a business traveler and your company is flying you in these really expensive seats, then your points kind of compound even faster. That is one strategy.

But for most people, they're not traveling that often, so it is actually a good deal to go for the cheapest fight that you can find. But you want to make sure, especially since we are still kind of recovering from the pandemic, when travel kind of totally stopped, and things are kind of fluctuating and canceling all the time, you may not want to go to the lowest basic economy. You want to book a flight and a ticket, and even with your hotel and rental cars, that allows for some flexibility. So maybe one tier up. Something that will allow you to cancel or change your flight at the last minute, should you decide, "I'm not comfortable with flying right now." You need some flexibility in that ticket. For a while during the pandemic, all the airlines were allowing you to change without any penalties and fees. They've kind of abandoned that for right now. You really do have to pay attention to the ticket that you book, so that you don't take a loss if something changes with you personally.

Nora Ali: 

What are some other ways that you can optimize the price that you're paying? Does the day and time that you book your ticket, for example, actually matter?

Dayvee Sutton: 

That always comes up year after year. Is there a best day and time to book your flight? We all have access to these flights and these prices 24 hours a day. Really, the airlines operate on supply and demand. So there isn't that Tuesday to book your flight, that is not necessarily true. What is true in the sense of when to fly, you can get a cheaper ticket. Especially, we are going into our winter holiday travel season. Thanksgiving in particular is our busiest time domestically to fly. Going on the weekend is going to be much higher, much more crowded than any other time, as opposed if you were to fly on a Monday or a Tuesday. So, flying on a weekday, you can save, versus flying on the weekend. But booking that flight, the time of week isn't going to matter.

Now, there are some kind of general rules of how far in advance to save. For domestically, it's recommended about two months earlier than the flight to the destination that you want to go. And then for internationally, it's about two and a half. It's not a hard and fast rule, but you want to kind of give yourself that time to get the best deal for the flight, for the destination that you want to travel to.

Nora Ali: 

Yeah. I think something people are dreading over this holiday travel season is delays, cancellations. I just got back from a flight late last night. It was over two hours delayed. But if you're stuck at an airport, you've suggested going to the lounge. Some people might think, I don't have lounge access. I don't have an important membership. How is lounge access actually easier than you might think?

Dayvee Sutton: 

Especially if it's not crowded, you can find one of those lounges, maybe an off-brand lounge that's not connected directly to an airline. It just might say, "Priority Lounge," or something like that, in the airport. If you go up to them, sometimes the cover charge is only like $30.

Nora Ali: 

What are some of the best credit cards when it comes to points and miles when traveling?

Dayvee Sutton: 

First thing you want to do to maximize the points on your card is make sure that you have the right card for you and your lifestyle. You have to really do some researches. Chase has one. American Express has one. I use AmEx card. And the Capital One Venture X card. It can be really daunting and overwhelming, so we have some resources for you to check out there. But once you find the card that's for you, you get the most by taking advantage from their bonus offers. A lot of times, you want to make sure that you sign up at the time when they're giving these really huge extra points, like 60,000 points. And then the other strategy is to compare airfare prices. If you compare the prices from...I'm an AmEx person, so if I'm on the American Express website and I'm looking at...before I push the button to book that deal, I might just go to Google Flights and see what is out there, as well. Because it might be an industry-wide sale, or it might just be the American Express sale.

Nora Ali: 

Specifically, what about some of the cards that the airlines themselves offer, like United or Delta? Is that ever worth it?

Dayvee Sutton: 

It is worth it. I personally have an airline-specific credit card. I have the Delta American Express Platinum Card. Because I'm a business traveler and I consider myself a business traveler, I dedicate all of my travel, as much as I can when possible, to travel on Delta. I'm able to compound every move that I make, whether I'm using the card personally or professionally, on this card to get as many points as I can. Every time I use Lyft, I get more points through my Delta American Express. That is a specific strategy that I'm using as a business traveler. But if you are a general traveler and you don't have control over what airlines you're flying, whether business or personal, then maybe you want a non-airline-branded credit card. The benefit is, because I have an American Express that is connected to a particular airline, I get extra bonuses and benefits and upgrades within that airline's ecosystem versus if I use just another credit card.

Nora Ali: 

Dayvee, lastly, what are your top three travel recommendations right now?

Dayvee Sutton: 

We are heading into holiday travel, so keep your eye out for Black Friday sales. Believe it or not, the travel industry does huge Black Friday sales, from sometimes 30% to 50% off. If you've ever considered taking a cruise, the cruises are loading up to get you to go to places like Antarctica, Alaska. I just finished going on an Alaska cruise with Princess Cruises. That's something to consider. The same thing with tour companies, like REI Experiences.

As to where to go, well, it's a little tricky if you haven't planned your holiday travel yet. But an example of where to go is that Americans always love going to Europe over the holidays. I recommend, if you haven't booked a trip for Thanksgiving, we talked about it earlier, Thanksgiving domestically is our busiest travel time of the year, and it's a specifically American holiday, which means domestic flights. So if you really want to get away, you could sneak your family away somewhere internationally. Not to Mexico or the Caribbean, but you can probably find a last-minute deal going to some place like Europe or the Middle East. It is really nice because the supply and demand factor comes in play here. International demand will be low and that can mean a deal for you.

Nora Ali: 

If you fly on Thanksgiving, that's probably even cheaper, right?

Dayvee Sutton: 

Yes. I always say that...nobody likes to fly on Thanksgiving. That tip on flying on the holiday works also for Christmas.

Nora Ali: 

Yes, I have done that before. You save a lot of money that way. Well, Dayvee, we've gotten some great tips from you. Thank you so much for joining us on Business Casual.

Dayvee Sutton: 

Thanks for having me.

Nora Ali: 

This is Business Casual, and I'm Nora Ali. You can follow me on Twitter @NoraKAli. That's Nora, the letter K, Ali. I would love to hear from you if you have ideas for episodes, comments and thoughts on episodes you loved, fun segment ideas, just shoot me a DM and I will do my very best to respond. You can also reach the BC team by emailing businesscasual@morningbrew.com. Or call us. That number is (862) 295-1135. If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe to Business Casual on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen. If you liked the show, please leave a rating and a review. It really, really helps us. And guess what? We are on YouTube. If you've ever wondered what I look like, what our guests look like, or what anything else looks like, full episodes are available on our very own YouTube channel. That's Business Casual with Nora Ali. Again, Business Casual with Nora Ali on YouTube.

Business Casual is produced by Katherine Milsop, Olivia Meade, and Raymond Luu. Additional production, sound design, and mixing by Daniel Markus. Kate Brandt is our fact checker, and AB Silver is our senior booking producer. Sebastian Vega edits our videos. Our VP of multimedia is Sarah Singer. Music in this episode from Daniel Markus and the Mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder. Thanks for listening to Business Casual. I'm Nora Ali. Keep it business, and keep it casual.