Monthly Archives: November 2015 Unveils Gift Card

Card copy

Recently, I went to a media event for, to reveal new offerings for holiday savings and insights on travel trends for 2016. Here are some highlights.

Perhaps’s big news is the release of a gift card that can be used toward its various participating hotels within the U.S. and Canada. What seems neat about the gift card is that it goes beyond specific brands, so for the most part you get to pick – and apply – from multiple options for where you want to stay. It only goes toward new hotel reservations.

The gift cards are said to have no application fees or exploration dates; just apply the balance when you’re making your booking. They can be sent electronically or as a plastic card. Amounts can start from $10 and go up to $500.

At the breakfast,’s North American VP and GM Josh Belkin shared some info about the company’s Cyber Monday sale. For Cyber Monday, is encouraging travelers to supply their email address and in return get sent a discount range that is said to give savings that can range from $250 to $1,000. Reservations have to be booked that day.

As for 2016, had various predictions for destinations on everything from stays to visits. They include:

  1. Queens will surpass Brooklyn as the most popular destination for NY visitors staying in the outer boroughs. If Lonely Planet was right about picking this borough as a must-see location, its diverse food scene and hotel offerings will be enticing.
  2. Buffalo will emerge as a top travel destination, as data finds Rust Belt cities like Buffalo (as well as Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh) have gotten an upswing in visitors for the past two years.
  3. Milwaukee is also on the upswing for visitors, and is projected to become a’s Top 50 Domestic Destination. It’s due to the Midwestern city’s  brewery and culinary scene and other attractions.
  4. Mexico will gather more international visitors beyond its traditional places of Cancun and Maya Rivera, and Canada will continue to shine as an under-the-radar destination.



Win Trip to The New York Times Travel Show from Allianz Global Assistance

453847425This week, I received some news about a contest held by Allianz Global Assistance, a travel insurance company, that is now under way until December 4, 2015. This contest will give consumers and bloggers an opportunity to win an all-expenses paid trip to NYC to attend The New York Times Travel Show (January 8 – 10, 2016 at the Jacob Javits Center) and meet some leading travel personalities.

Called the VIP Allianz Global Assistance “Concierge” experience, the featured offerings are some pretty nifty perks. They include:

  • A special guided tour of Lower Manhattan;
  • Lunch with renowned travel author Pauline Frommer of Frommer’s Travel;
  • Breakfast with travel personality Mark Murphy;
  • Dinner with the “Travel Trifecta” or also known as leading travel bloggers Johnny Jet, Gary Arndt, and Lee Abbamonte.

The three-night package also has airfare, accommodation at Ink 48 – a Kimpton Hotel, access to The New York Times Travel Show, a travel itinerary curated by Pauline Frommer, and a NYC City Pass for VIP admission to iconic NYC landmarks, including the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Winners will also receive an Allianz Travel Insurance “Go Bag,” comprising of a GoPro, Portable Power Pack, Passport Holder with RFID Protection, and a personally-autographed edition of “Frommer’s EasyGuide to New York City.”

Consumer travelers can manually enter through a custom Facebook app on the Allianz Travel Insurance USA Facebook page. As for bloggers, they can enter by embedding the Allianz “Content Capsule” – an easily imbedded microsite with engaging videos, infographics and travel tips – onto their websites. The blogger who drives the most traffic from their readers to the contest entry through the Content Capsule will win the trip.

The official rules for this contest are listed here. It officially ends on December 4, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. ET.