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January 16, 2018

In this edition of the Travel News Brief: essential travel risk management strategies, ten of the most anticipated luxury hotel openings, self-driving cars, new state department travel advisory system, tips to fight travel anxiety, and more!

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Travel Crisis Management: Preparing for an Emergency

When a business sends its employees on trips, whether to a domestic location or somewhere abroad, traveler safety should always be the main focus. Read More

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Alaska Airlines and Virgin America now “one airline in the eyes of the FAA”

Business Traveller — Alaska Airlines’ president Ben Minicucci has hailed “a big moment for our company”, following the issuing of a single FAA operating certificate for Alaska Airlines and Virgin America.

Note: Due to the merger with Alaska Airlines, Virgin America Frequent Traveler numbers are all now erroring as invalid in the Sabre GDS and Concur Travel, so the numbers need to be removed from traveler profiles. Travelers will need to sign up with Alaska Air to get a new number to use on Virgin America flights. Read More

Lufthansa Group Airlines Change How Miles & More Award Miles are Assigned

Travel Daily News  — Going forward, the assignment of award miles will be based on the price of the flight. Bonus award miles for status members doubled at Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines, among others; No change to status miles and privileges. Read More

United Airlines Fills Out Route Map with Eight New Routes

USA Today  — United’s latest expansion will add new connections from six of its hubs to a total of eight destinations across six states. Read More

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Let Hilton Honors Upgrade You in 2018

Travel Pulse  — Starting in April, Hilton Honors members will be able to give elite status as a gift to a travel companion, roll over qualifying nights and enjoy new elite tier bonus rates. Read More

Hilton Experiments with the Hotel Room of the Future

USA Today  — The room of the future is being mapped out in a space tucked away near the lobby of a suburban hotel in Northern Virginia. Read More

10 of the Most Highly Anticipated Luxury Hotel Openings in 2018

Travel Market Report  — Here are 10 of the most highly anticipated luxury hotel openings coming this year… Read More

Hilton Updates 'Do Not Disturb' Policy, Requiring Alerts for Signs Up More Than 24 Hours

Travel Market Report  — Hilton cited managing suspicious activity and guests' welfare as cause for the change. Read More

Waldorf Astoria's Rome Cavalieri Launches New Experiences

Travel Pulse  — A new Suites Experiences program provides unique and luxurious local opportunities exclusively for guests staying in suites. Read More

Marriott's Delta Hotels Enters Asian Market

USA Today  —Marriott expands its North American Delta Hotels brand to Asia. Read More

Hyatt to Implement New 48-hour Cancellation Policy but Exempt Some Elites

Frequent Business Traveler  — Hyatt Hotels and Resorts announced a new cancellation policy that goes into effect January 1, 2018. The change, which the company said will allow the hotelier to manage guest room availability “more effectively,” requires guests to cancel reservations at least 48 hours prior to arrival. Read More

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Self-Driving Cars Are Set for Mainstream Use in 2018

Skift  — The wait for the self-driving future is coming to an end. The earliest real-world applications of autonomous vehicles will arrive in 2018. Read More

Take a Ride in a Self-Driving Lyft

The Verge — Lyft is partnering with self-driving technology company Aptiv to offer rides in its robot taxis during CES in Las Vegas next week… Read More

IRS Increases Mileage Deduction Rate for 2018

Business Travel News — The IRS' business mileage deduction rate for 2018 has increased. Starting January 1, U.S. taxpayers and companies will receive a deduction rate of 54.5 cents for recorded business mileage on a personal car, up one cent from last year's 53.5 cents. Read More

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State Department Launches Travel Advisory System

Business Travel News — The State Department launched a travel advisory system that advises U.S. travelers about the risk in each country around the world. Read More

Homeland Security Issues New Rules for Electronic Device Searches

Travel Mole  — CBP agents will only check internal files on devices and not via cloud storage. Read More

TSA Confirms REAL ID Deadline Extension

Travel Market Report  — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has officially extended its Jan. 22, 2018 deadline for the implementation of the REAL ID Act. Read More

The TSA is Now Waiting Until 2020 to Use a Passport to Fly Domestically & Alerts

Business Insider  — Identification requirements for domestic air travel for residents of nine U.S. states were set to change in January 2018, but on Thursday the TSA confirmed to Business Insider that the new requirements are being postponed until October 1, 2020. Read More

Airlines Testing Biometric Technology to Expedite Boarding Process

CBS News  — Airlines are experimenting with facial recognition technology in an effort to speed up the boarding process. Passengers on a recent JetBlue Airways flight from Boston to Aruba used facial recognition scans to verify their identities before boarding. Read More

Government Travel Warnings & Alerts

U.S. Department of State  — Click here for information on current government issued travel warnings and alerts. Read More

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Why You Should Check Your Passport’s Expiration Date Right Now

Travel + Leisure — Each country has a different rule for incoming passport expiration dates… Read More

9 Tips to Help Fight Travel Anxiety

Forbes  — If you're currently nervous flying or traveling in general, these 9 quick tips can help you calmly fight anxiety… Read More

What Travelers Must Know for 2018

Los Angeles Times  — Here are 18 things on the travel horizon… Read More

The Best New Airport Amenities of 2017

USA Today  — Airports and airlines were both enthusiastic and creative in the quest to better serve air travelers on the ground. Read More