IN GLOBAL TRAVELER’S 14TH ANNUAL GT Tested Reader Survey awards, we celebrate those winners deemed the best in travel for the year. Our Quint Status reflects those winners collecting the same GT Tested Reader Survey award in the same category for the fifth consecutive year. In previous years, the Hall of Fame reflected winners collecting the same GT Tested Reader Survey award in the same category for 10 consecutive years. While we don’t have any winners entering the Hall of Fame in 2017, we expect to see the recipients of this year’s Quint Status inducted into the Hall of Fame in the years to come.
Carefully selected by our distinguished readers, the annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards applaud the best of the best in the travel industry, honoring the readers’ favorite airlines, credit cards, destinations, hotels and travel goods and services. GT’s readers are expert travelers, flying in first and business class on domestic and international carriers and staying in 4- and 5-star properties around the world.
This year, four commendable companies reached Quint Status. The elite group has been consistently recognized by our readers for having the highest standards of service, a penchant for achieving excellence in their respective fields and striving toward the future with new innovations.
We’re happy to welcome these new inductees into the winners’ circle. The fantastic four include United MileagePlus (Best Frequent- Flyer Bonus Program), LifeMiles (Best Frequent-Flyer Award Redemption), China Airlines (Best Airline in North Asia) and United MileagePlus Explorer Card from Chase (Best Frequent-Flyer Affinity Credit Card Redemption).
United MileagePlus won Best Frequent-Flyer Bonus Program for the fifth consecutive year. Partnerships with brands like Hilton, Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and others allow members to earn bonus miles when they book a vacation. Most recently, members could book a stay with Hilton and receive 5,000 bonus miles. The program continues to lead in the industry, offering new incentives and initiatives for its members that help sustain its brand loyalty.
Readers also voted LifeMiles Best Frequent-Flyer Award Redemption for the fifth consecutive year. The unified loyalty program between Avianca and TACA integrates the best practices of two airlines to benefit members. LifeMiles boasts more than 5 million members around the world and has been recognized globally for its redemption ability. In 2014 LifeMiles became the only loyalty program in Latin America to receive a Freddie Award. Members of LifeMiles have access to more than 1,200 cities; 1,000 VIP lounges; and more with the award-winning frequent-flyer program.
China Airlines is the Best Airline in North Asia for the fifth year in a row. The airline’s commitment to constant innovation in airline technology, safety, convenience, comfort and entertainment made it a repeat winner with our readers. The company boasts a fleet of 96 aircraft, including 75 passenger jets, which fly to 143 destinations in 29 countries and districts. From the moment travelers step on board a China Airlines flight, they are welcomed with the finest hospitality and accommodations. “If you have not flown China Airlines’ business class … I suggest you try it,” said Francis. X. Gallagher, publisher and CEO, Global Traveler, speaking of his experience flying with China Airlines from New York (JFK) to Taipei (TPE) this past September.
United MileagePlus Explorer Card from Chase takes home Best Frequent-Flyer Affinity Credit Card Redemption for its fifth year. Members earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 on purchases within three months of opening an account, and two miles for every dollar spent on tickets from United Airlines. Additional benefits include your first checked bag free, priority boarding and no foreign transaction fees. The MileagePlus Explorer Card wins consistently in this category because it makes it easy for members to redeem the miles they’ve earned when booking their next trip.
Congratulations to all of the winners. Who will we welcome into the Quint Status club next year?
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
Southwest Airlines is adding new flights to, from and within Hawai’i, beginning mid-January 2020. The airline will add a new daily service between Sacramento International Airport and Honolulu (HON), plus new non-stop flights between Oakland (OAK) and San Jose (SJC) and both Kauai (LIH) and the Island of Hawai’i (KOA).
The Luxury Collection welcomes its eighth property in China with the opening of Na Lotus Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Nanning. The property is situated in the capital of the Guangxi Province, in a high-rise landmark building in the business district.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
WalletHub compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 24 key metrics to determine the best destinations for an upcoming Oktoberfest celebration. The brand’s study found the estimated cost for an American to attend Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, is $5,000. Munich boasts a $1.43 billion annual economic impact on Munich. During Oktoberfest, nearly 2 million gallons of beer are consumed and more than 510,000 whole roast chickens eaten.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Qantas will start using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on its Sydney–Santiago route starting in late June 2020.