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Here’s how you can make your flying experience easier this summer

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Select’s editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles we think our readers will find useful. We earn a commission from affiliate partners on many offers, but not all offers on Select are from affiliate partners.

There are few industries like travel that have roared back with as much consumer demand after the pandemic-related lockdowns.

Airlines predicted it would take years for consumers to fly again at pre-pandemic levels. But as vaccination efforts persisted and restrictions were lifted, Americans began to travel again. However, the airline industry has not been able to keep up with the public’s appetite for flying, resulting in major flight delays and cancellations throughout the U.S..

So before you head to the airport for your next flight, keep in mind the following tips to give yourself the best chance of smooth travel.

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Airports and airlines are equally struggling

The travel experience right now, as cleverly put by The Atlantic, is suffering from ‘nothing works syndrome.’ And much of this has to do with one core issue: a lack of staffing. But with one large issue comes several smaller problems like weather, air traffic control issues and a reduced amount of available aircraft, all which contribute to an overall system meltdown.

Here’s an idea of what travel demand and delays look like right now:

On June 26, TSA reported it counted nearly 2.5 million people through its checkpoints. It was the highest number since Feb. 11, 2020 — which was right before Covid-19 shut down the world.

Between 2013-2019, the total number of flight cancellations never exceeded 70,000 in an entire year. There have already been over 76,000 so far in 2022, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and we’re not even halfway through the year.

Unfortunately, if you need to fly, there isn’t much you can do to avoid the larger issues. But there are several things you can do to make your experience an easier one.

How to keep your travels smooth amid staffing shortages

1. Avoid layovers when booking, and book direct

If you can avoid layovers, it may benefit you for a simple reason: the fewer flights you take, the chance for issues to arise becomes smaller.

Additionally, it may be tempting to book your next flight with a third-party travel service (i.e. Expedia or Priceline) to save a few dollars as airfare prices have skyrocketed. However, if you run into delays or cancellations, the airline may not be able to assist you directly if you booked through a third-party — you’ll first have to deal with the travel booking service’s customer service line to remedy your issues.

2. Show up early, and avoid checking your bag

It’s the most cliché suggestion out there, but arriving early can help you avoid the panic of missing your flight and disrupting your travels. Long lines to check a bag or to get through security could cause you to accidentally miss your flight. And as airlines are packing their planes, missing your flight could leave you with few options to rebook as seat inventory remains low.

Also, you may consider packing a bit less and bringing your bag onboard with you. One of the areas airlines are struggling to hire and keep staffed is bag handlers. So not only is your bag at risk of being lost or damaged, but it could also be a while until you receive your bag at your final destination. And if you’re strapped for time, the time it takes to check your luggage could lead you to miss your flight.

And Sandra McLemore, president of Travel Marketing & Media, strongly recommends using online check-in. “Just one minute after check-in closes, your seat will go to someone on a waitlist. And you won’t get a credit, let alone a refund,” she tells Select.

3. Enroll in an expedited security program

Expedited security perks have arguably never been more valuable. Programs like TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and CLEAR can save flyers a significant amount of time. And the best part is that many travel credit cards offer perks to cover the application costs.

I currently have Global Entry (which includes membership to TSA PreCheck), and paid with my IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card, which gives me a $100 statement credit to cover the Global Entry or TSA precheck application cost. Over the last five years I’ve flown close to 100 flights, and expeditated security has saved me anywhere from a few minutes to sometimes over an hour each trip. And since Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck, I get expedited security clearance anywhere in the U.S. and can clear customs quickly when returning to the U.S. after a trip abroad.

There are several cards that include credits for expedited security programs, including the Bank of America® Premium Rewards credit card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. But if you’re not interested in a rewards card, you can simply pay online to enroll in one of the programs.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

  • Rewards

    Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • Welcome bonus

    Receive 50,000 bonus points — a $500 value — after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

    15.99% to 22.99% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Information about the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Rewards

    Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases plus, 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2025

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

    17.74% to 24.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

4. Use lounges rather than regular airport food options

Another area that has dramatically suffered is airport dining. Whether it’s a lack of staffing, supply chain issues or outrageous pricing, airport dining has become more difficult since the onset of the pandemic.

For example, when I flew through the Detroit airport a few months ago, the Starbucks franchise was completely closed as they didn’t have workers. And when I flew through San Diego, its Starbucks location was charging an extra 2% fee for “employee retention.” For the restaurants that may be available, you could find yourself waiting some time to be served.

To save both money and time, you may consider visiting an airport lounge. They typically have free food and drinks available, and you can receive access simply by having one of many different travel credit cards.

For example, I’m an authorized user on the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which gives me access to Priority Pass lounges around the world. The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express also provide widespread airport lounge access, including Priority Pass membership and access to Delta SkyClubs and Amex Centurion lounges. Terms apply.

However, keep in mind that lounges have become busier as a plethora of credit cards have started to award lounge access.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

On the American Express secure site

  • Rewards

    Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 1X points on all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 within 6 months of card membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit Needed

5. Be prepared for the worst-case scenario

You can take as many precautions as you’d like, but sometimes the cards won’t fall in your favor.

But when things go awry, the first thing to do is not panic. It’s happening to many other travelers, and there are solutions available. But to protect yourself against this, you may consider doing the following:

  • Give yourself extra time. For example, you may consider flying to your destination earlier than you need so if there’s a delay, you have some wiggle room.
  • Begin looking for alternative solutions immediately. As soon as you hear of a delay or potential cancellation, it’s wise to find solutions like a hotel room or even another flight. Because it will be you and everyone else on your flight trying to find solutions all at once as well.
  • Book travel with a credit card that has travel insurance. If you experience a delay or even a cancellation, some of the costs, unfortunately, will fall on you as the traveler. That can include things like food or a hotel (depending on the airline and circumstances of the delay and/or cancellation). However, credit card travel insurance will help cover the costs you may incur during a delay or cancellation — just make sure you pay for your travel with your travel credit card so the insurance goes into effect. When my flight was canceled last Christmas in San Diego, the coverage from my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card kicked in and covered the incidental costs.

Bottom line

For rates and fees of the Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Information about the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.





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Ford CEO says 65% of U.S. dealers agree to sell EVs

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Ford F-150 Lightning trucks manufactured at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn Michigan.

Courtesy: Ford Motor Co.

DETROIT – About 65% of Ford Motor’s dealers have agreed to sell electric vehicles as the company invests billions to expand production and sales of the battery-powered cars and trucks, CEO Jim Farley said Monday.

About 1,920 of Ford’s nearly 3,000 dealers in the U.S. agreed to sell EVs, according to Farley. He said roughly 80% of those dealers opted for the higher level of investment for EVs.

Ford offered its dealers the option to become “EV-certified” under one of two programs — with expected investments of $500,000 or $1.2 million. Dealers in the higher tier, which carries upfront costs of $900,000, receive “elite” certification and be allocated more EVs.

Ford, unlike crosstown rival General Motors, is allowing dealers to opt out of selling EVs and continue to sell the company’s cars. GM has offered buyouts to Buick and Cadillac dealers that don’t want to invest to sell EVs.

Dealers who decided not to invest in EVs may do so when Ford reopens the certification process in 2027.

“We think that the EV adoption in the U.S. will take time, so we wanted to give dealers a chance to come back,” Farley said during an Automotive News conference.

Ford’s plans to sell EVs have been a point of contention since the company split off its all-electric vehicle business earlier this year into a separate division known as Model e. Farley said the automaker and its dealers needed to lower costs, increase profits and deliver better, more consistent customer sales experiences.

Farley on Monday also reiterated that a direct-sales model is estimated to be thousands of dollars cheaper for the automaker than the auto industry’s traditional franchised system.

Wall Street analysts have largely viewed direct-to-consumer sales as a benefit to optimize profit. However, there have been growing pains for Tesla, which uses the sales model, when it comes to servicing its vehicles.

Ford’s current lineup of all-electric vehicles includes the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup, Mustang Mach-E crossover and e-Transit van. The automaker is expected to release a litany of other EVs globally under a plan to invest tens of billion of dollars in the technologies by 2026.



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Tim Draper predicts bitcoin will reach $250,000 despite FTX collapse

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Tim Draper, founder of Draper Associates, onstage at the Web Summit 2022 tech conference.

Ben McShane | Sportsfile via Getty Images

Venture capitalist Tim Draper thinks bitcoin will hit $250,000 a coin by the middle of 2023, even after a bruising year for the cryptocurrency marked by industry failures and sinking prices.

Draper previously predicted that bitcoin would top $250,000 by the end of 2022, but in early November, at the Web Summit tech conference in Lisbon, he said it would take until June 2023 for this to materialize.

He reaffirmed this position Saturday when asked how he felt about his price call following the collapse of FTX.

“I have extended my prediction by six months. $250k is still my number,” Draper told CNBC via email.

Bitcoin would need to rally nearly 1,400% from its current price of around $17,000 for Draper’s prediction to come true. The cryptocurrency has plunged over 60% since the start of the year.

Digital currencies are in the doldrums as tighter monetary policy from the Fed and a chain reaction of bankruptcies at major industry firms including Terra, Celsius and FTX have put intense pressure on prices.

FTX’s demise has also worsened an already severe liquidity crisis in the industry. Crypto exchange Gemini and lender Genesis are among the firms said to be impacted by the fallout from FTX’s insolvency.

Last week, veteran investor Mark Mobius told CNBC that bitcoin could crash to $10,000 next year, a more than 40% plunge from current prices. The co-founder of Mobius Capital Partners correctly called the drop to $20,000 this year.

Nevertheless, Draper is convinced that bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, is set to rise in the new year.

“I expect a flight to quality and decentralized crypto like bitcoin, and for some of the weaker coins to become relics,” he told CNBC.

What is DeFi, and could it upend finance as we know it?

Draper, the founder of Draper Associates, is one of Silicon Valley’s best-known investors. He made successful bets on tech companies including Tesla, Skype and Baidu.

In 2014, Draper purchased 29,656 bitcoins confiscated by U.S. Marshals from the Silk Road dark web marketplace for $18.7 million. That year, he predicted the price of bitcoin would go to $10,000 in three years. Bitcoin went on to climb close to $20,000 in 2017.

Some of Draper’s other bets have soured, however. He invested in Theranos, a health startup that falsely claimed it was able to detect diseases with a few drops of blood. Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos’ founder, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for fraud.

‘The dam is about to break’

Draper’s rationale for bitcoin’s breakout next year is that there remains a massive untapped demographic for bitcoin: women.

“My assumption is that, since women control 80% of retail spending and only 1 in 7 bitcoin wallets are currently held by women, the dam is about to break,” Draper said.

Crypto has long had a gender disparity problem. According to a survey conducted for CNBC and Acorns by Momentive, twice as many men as women invest in digital assets (16% of men vs. 7% of women).

“Retailers will save roughly 2% on every purchase made in bitcoin vs dollars,” Draper added. “Once retailers realize that that 2% can double their profits, bitcoin will be ubiquitous.”

Payment middlemen such as Visa and Mastercard currently charge fees as high as 2% each time credit cardholders use their card to pay for something. Bitcoin offers a way for people to bypass the middlemen.

However, using the digital coin for everyday spending is tough, since its price is very volatile and the coin is not widely accepted as currency.

“When people can buy their food, clothing and shelter all in bitcoin, they will have no use for centralized banking fiat dollars,” Draper said.

“Management of fiat is centralized and erratic. When a politician decides to spend $10 trillion, your dollars become worth about 82 cents. Then the Fed needs to raise rates to make up for the spend, and those arbitrary centralized decisions create an inconsistent economy,” he added. Fiat currencies derive their worth from their issuing government, unlike cryptocurrencies.

Meanwhile, the next so-called bitcoin halving — which cuts the bitcoin rewards to bitcoin miners — in 2024 will also boost the cryptocurrency, according to Draper, as it chokes the supply over time. The total number of bitcoins that will ever be mined is capped at 21 million.



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Three pharmaceutical stocks were top performers last week

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