AirTran Is Building in Orlando and Taking on Allegiant: AirTran Airways is launching a slew of new routes into Orlando and many of the new flights target Allegiant Airlines, the specialty carrier that has made its reputation serving tertiary nonstop markets. The new Orlando offerings from AirTran are three weekly flights from Charleston, West Virginia (beginning June 25); four weekly flights from Allentown/Lehigh Valley (June 25); three weekly flights from Asheville, North Carolina (June 11); four weekly flights from Knoxville (June 12); and three weekly flights from Atlantic City (June 12). AirTran is also adding daily flights from its Atlanta hub to Portland, Maine, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Both routes are seasonal and will operate between June 11 and September 8.
Hyatt Pumps Up the Benefits for Gold Passport Elites: As the competition for those of us still traveling turns brutal, the major hotel chains are ratcheting up the benefits for elite members of their frequent-guest programs. At Hyatt Gold Passport, for example, Platinum Level members now receive free Internet access. Hyatt's best customers, Diamond members, get free Internet, too. The Diamonds now also receive upgrades to the best available rooms when they check in, including access to those on the Regency Club or Grand Club level; four suite upgrades a year; and free continental breakfast and evening cocktails in the club lounges. If club-lounge access is not available, Diamond members will receive full breakfast and 2,500 bonus points. Finally, Hyatt has also eliminated blackout dates on award redemption for all Gold Passport members. If a standard room is available, it can now be claimed for an award night. Meanwhile, InterContinental has responded to the Hyatt move by offering free Internet to its Ambassador members. … The merger of Northwest Airlines into Delta Air Lines and the end of the WorldPerks frequent flier program is also changing credit card partnership arrangements. Delta will stick with American Express, which means the end of the WorldPerks Visa card from US Bank. The bank has begun converting Northwest fliers to a new card, and Delta is urging Northwest fliers to apply for a Delta-denominated Amex card.
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Joe Brancatelli is editor and publisher of JoeSentMe.com, a non-commercial Web site for business travelers. Copyright 2009 by Joe Brancatelli. Licensed by contract for Orbitz use.