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Travel News: Virgin Voyages, United Airlines, and European Travel

In Travel News for November 8h, 2022 we talk about Virgin Voyages record setting party, United Airlines Premier Status, and how the U.S. Dollar is affecting European Holiday Travel

Virgin Voyages Sets World Record

Virgin Voyages has recently celebrated the maiden voyage of their newest ship, the Valiant Lady.  In a very “on brand” moment for Virgin, they did so by breaking a world record.  On November 4th, in Bimini, Bahamas, at the Virgin Voyages beach club the Guinness Record for largest gathering of people dressed as Merpeople was shattered.  The celebration featured music, champaign showers, mermaid beauty pageants, and “Shelfies”. A total of 457 guests dressed up to make the celebration one for the record books.  The Valiant Lady is Virgin Voyages second ship, the Resilient Lady will be the next ship to launch in 2023.

United Airlines Modifies Premier Status Requirements

United Airlines has recently revealed that the threshold to earn premier status with their Frequent Flyer program, Mileage Plus, will increase in 2024.    To earn Premier Silver status, the lowest status level, travelers will need to fly 12 flight segments and earn 4,000 premier qualifying points, this is up from eight segments and 3,000 qualifying points to earn the same status in 2023.  Qualifying points aren’t the same as miles, the airline rewards 1 qualifying point for each dollar spent on United flights, a fraction of a point for each dollar spent on a partner airline, and 500 points for each $12,000 spent on the United branded credit card.  The airline has raised the bar across the board, so expect higher thresholds for Gold, Platinum, and 1k status.

High Demand for European Holiday Travel

In a surprise to no one, new market data has shown that the strength of the United States Dollar has increased American demand for European travel, especially during the holiday season.  While inflation has raised the cost of travel at every level, the U.S. Dollar being close to Parity with the British Pound and Euro have made the increase less noticeable for travelers.   The Holiday Travel season runs from November 23rd through January 5th. The top 5 destinations in order are: London, England; Paris, France; Madrid, Spain; Rome, Italy; and Amsterdam, Netherlands.  What’s more interesting then the top five is the destinations that have seen the largest increase in demand compared to 2019.  Those are Lisbon, Portugal with a 173% increase; Stockholm, Sweden with a 160% increase; Athens, Greece with a 154% increase, and Copenhagen, Denmark with a 144% increase.  Travelers should be aware that as long as the Dollar remains strong, demand for European destinations will remain high. Our advice, make your travel reservations early.

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