Glenn's predictions range from far-out to feasible, and it's worth noting that it's not always easy to tell the difference. Here's a sample of what he expects in 2019.
The U.S. will tax tickets purchased with frequent-flier points at $50 for domestic, $100 for international coach and $500 for international business class. Free tickets require so many frequent-flier miles anyway that travelers will switch from mileage cards to cash-back cards. And the fact that airlines award points based on fare rather than miles means frequent-flier programs won't be worthwhile for the 80 percent who don't fly enough to get status. Meanwhile, even typical elite status won't offer a decent chance at complimentary first class upgrades on the U.S.'s Big Three airlines; that will require Premier 1K or Global Services on United, Executive Platinum on American or Diamond on Delta. At Southwest, fares for passengers will continue to rise to compensate for their bags flying free.
Once travelers are in the air, though, Wi-Fi will become decent, as airlines started upgrading in 2018 to make the product worth paying for. American promised free texting over a year ago and thus likely will add free SMS this year, catching up to Delta, Southwest, Alaska and United.
Expect $25 per night "destination fees"—descendants of the $25 to $75 "resort fees" prevalent in Las Vegas and destination resorts—at many hotels in large cities. Also expect the window of advance notice required to avoid hotel cancellation fees to increase from 48 hours to 72. Business travelers will stay at more four-star hotels as the strong economy reduces employers' concentration on cost-cutting. Meanwhile, major hotel brands also will offer Airbnb-type offerings, filling a need for business travelers who might be interested but who work for companies that are concerned about security and quality.
At the hotel, expect more free Wi-Fi. Now it's mostly free for loyalty program members and at many three-star-and-lower properties. Marriott just might be among the first to make it free across the board in an effort to build a positive vibe among the guests staying at former Starwood/current Marriott properties. Relatedly, Alexa will appear in hotel rooms, replacing the TV remote, thermostat, clock and even light switch. Plastic hotel key cards will go the way of paper airline tickets, as smartphones allow for Bluetooth-enabled keyless entry. Bonus for hotels: This requires users to download the hotel company's app.
And Starwood Preferred Guest members who've folded into Marriott's loyalty program will start jumping ship this year as free nights become harder to earn thanks to watered-down points-earning capability on SPG credit cards.